Guernsey adults needing oxygen and extended time-outs for annual basketball battle

In The Wind - column by Mark DeLap

Mark DeLap
Posted 4/5/23

Guernsey adults play ball to help raise funds

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Guernsey adults needing oxygen and extended time-outs for annual basketball battle

In The Wind - column by Mark DeLap


GUERNSEY – The battle lines were drawn March 21 in the east gym at Guernsey-Sunrise High School as the four student factions spilled into the hearts of the community adults made up of parents, community leaders, staff and teachers.

It was a night that was meant to entertain the community with a soup supper and a basketball tournament of epic proportions. It was a tournament where regular defense was outlawed and the rule was pretty much, there were no rules.

Instead of conventional basketball defense, the teams resorted to the “slap and hack” defense of desperate men and women who had minds telling them that they were 18 years old again and bodies that told them they were idiots for lacing up a pair of tennis shoes.

“It’s a night to just come out, have a meal with your family and enjoy the fun,” said Guernsey-Sunrise school principal Liesl Sisson. “There are a few kinds of soups to choose from and multiple kinds of sides and deserts.”

The night kicked off with the streets packed with cars around the high school which resembled the same scene during sports season. Personally, getting an invite to the big dance, I decided to go early to at least dribble and shoot a basketball. Something I hadn’t done for months. Unfortunately there was no warmup that I could find for out of shape lungs and leg muscles. Without a track meet of their own, the last time this kind of traffic was seen was at the last of the basketball games.

But basketball wasn’t quite finished. At least not in Guernsey where the tournament bracket didn’t have an Owl or a Huskie, but did have black team, a green team, a blue team and a red team – all synched up with the theme at the beginning of the year that split the “Army” into four competing factions.

I wore the colors of Altruismo. Oh, the green machine fought for me, but after about 20 minutes of play, nobody wanted the old man.

On this particular night, adults all laced up their tennis shoes for a co-ed tournament, the likes of which Guernsey has never seen.

Basketball coaches Steve Zimmerman was manning his team while girl’s coach, Curtis Cook ran the scoreboard. The blue team had celebrities in 2022 such as Mindy Kelley who retired from the sport after just one year, but veteran coach and parent Scottina Haase teamed up with Reva Marie Falen for an imposing back court. The black team and pre-tournament favorite had the student coaching legend Adian “hard-noggin” Noggle coaching them and he had some big “kids” to work with such as First State Bank president Dan Sisson and Guernsey parent and former basketball player, yours truly.

With students doing the refereeing, it was said to have been one of the only times where the kids could rule against the parents. And they did. Actually, after they learned how to blow the whistles properly, they were quite good. At first, they sounded like sick patients doing whistle therapy.

The first game of the night pitted the blue team against the black team and the black team prevailed in a last second shot that sealed the deal 17-16. This catapulted them into the championship game. In the second semifinal game, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas as the red team went up against the green machine and although the red team were behind by double figures, they came back and made a game of it.

In the championship game I had 20-something teammates who said, “I can’t feel my legs,” to which I responded, “come back in 40 years and tell me something I don’t already know. But, the black team unleashed the secret weapon of the “Bang Brothers which included Tyler Schiele and myself wearing fuzzy football helmets. We still lost by six, but who knows how much worse it would have been without that bit of crazy hanging out like an untucked shirt.

Most of the adults said that the next morning it was quite hard getting out of bed without major sound effects and some said they had forgotten they no longer had 25-year-old legs. For the most part, the student coaches tried to implement plays, but the patented “old person panic and shoot method” prevailed without many whistles from the student refs.

One one event, an adult questioned his own son as to where the whistle was, to which his son, replied, “I saw no foul.” The black team lost and that student ref will be grounded until further notice.

The gym was packed, the competition was fierce and everyone walked away already planning their strategies for next year’s games. Guernsey’s night was simply “The Final Four” and from that an inaugural champion was crowned. Congratulations Green Isbindi.

For a fundraiser, it was the best idea I’ve seen a high school program come up with in a long time. Personally, I felt like the guy in “The Longest Yard” laying on the ground exclaiming, “Can a corn.”