Champions emerge from the court

The 69’ers Winters Men’s League basketball team includes (from left) David Damey, Michael Tomelloso, Sam Newman, Cesar Rameriez, John Botro, Henry Nicholson, Eddie Ramirez, Gerardo Aguilera and Juan Tovar. (Courtesy photo)

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It was a grueling, two-month season of basketball, but one of the teams has emerged as the 2022 champions of the Winters Men’s League.

The league itself is filled with athletes of all shapes, sizes, ages and skill levels. Games are — mostly — competitive with players busy hustling as much as they are chewing out the referees for missed calls and lackluster officiating.

Regardless, this basketball league is a healthy dose of competition and camaraderie for everybody who participates. After a pandemic-long hiatus, the league returned to the Young Gymnasium and every team jockeyed for the prestigious championship. After the dust settled, the 69’ers emerged as champions.

“COVID made everyone wonder if Men’s League would ever come back, and it did thankfully,” said the team’s three-point assassin Gerardo Aguilera. “It’s always a good time having some friendly competition against the guys you grew up with in town. So is getting beers with them after the games.”

The competition — as friendly as it was fierce — wasn’t enough to outdo the 69’ers, who will maintain their championship status for another year. The team better not get too comfortable, however, because top contenders such as the Toon Squad, Gafflers, Grumpy Old Men, and the Trash Bags are seeking to dethrone the champs.

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