Photo by Lukas Eggen
Mark Weisensee helped lead his team into the rec league playoffs with a 4-2 record during the season.
As of Wednesday, July 16, 2014
DALLAS — It was just like old times for Mark Weisensee on Thursday evening as he drove to the basket.
Weisensee, who graduated from Dallas High in 1989, played varsity basketball for the Dragons before joining Oregon State as a walk-on in 1995.
After a church basketball league he participated in ended, Weisensee’s basketball days seemed over until the city of Dallas offered a men’s basketball league.
“We don’t go seeking leagues out necessarily, but since this one was right in our backyard it seemed like a good way to get exercise and for us to be a little competitive,” Weisensee said.
So Weisensee helped form a squad and returned in 2014 as one of eight teams.
“The team I’m on, most of us are in our mid-40s and have been basketball players,” Weisensee said. “Most of us played in college, actually, and are now living in the area raising our families.”
The teams are preparing to begin the men’s rec league playoffs on Thursday, but you won’t find Weisensee stressing.
No, for this group, games once a week are more than enough basketball.
“The days of us practicing and practicing are long gone,” Weisensee said. “We did that when we were in our 20s and 30s, but we’re very competitive. I’m pretty sure we’re the oldest team in the league, so winning it all would be nice. It’ll be hard against these younger players who can run faster and have more endurance. But we’ll be playing to win.”
Weisensee said players are happy with the number of teams this year. And it’s not just former players looking to compete against each other filling up the teams, either.
“It’s open for everyone, no matter if you’re ultra-competitive or just looking to have a good time,” Weisensee said.
That mix is exactly what organizers are hoping for. Jake Frazier serves on the adult recreation committee and said the city is hoping the leagues can help bring more dollars back to Dallas.
“Before, people would have to go to Salem to participate in these sports,” Frazier said. “There just wasn’t anything for adults to participate in. When that happens, then they’re buying lunch or dinner in Salem, or stopping for a cup of coffee in Salem. We thought that was silly and that we could help bring those dollars back into Polk County.”
But even Frazier wasn’t expecting the response over these first two years.
“In all honesty, I think we have been surprised with the turnout so far,” Frazier said. “But we’re thrilled that people are enthusiastic about this.”
Weisensee is already looking forward to taking part again in 2015 — and he is hopeful that the league will continue to grow and attract a variety of players.
“I think as long as the leadership remains committed to this, this should become a fun summer tradition,” Weisensee said. “I think we’re all learning how to fine tune things, but as this continues to grow, I think you’ll get people from other communities coming to be a part of this as well and maybe even have ‘A’ and ‘B’ leagues.”