LYNN — For nearly 25 years, the Lynn Parks and Recreation Summer Basketball League has been one of the marquee summertime activities in the city. Bringing together kids of all ages from every corner of the city, the free league serves as a great option for kids looking for a competitive, yet fun, basketball atmosphere.
“It’s one of the biggest events we have every year,” said Fred Hogan, who has been involved with organizing the league for over 20 years now. “It’s free for all kids, and it’s one of those things where you can just show up and register, so you can come by and enjoy yourself any day of the week.”
As a summertime staple in Lynn, many great players of all ages have participated in the league over the years. Hogan still sees many of them around town.
“We’re always running into people who played in the league in the past, and they can’t say enough good things about it,” Hogan said.
The league has evolved as it has grown. At the beginning, the league was run exclusively out of Breed Middle School with only four teams. It eventually added more age groups, bringing in more groups and allowing it to continue to grow. About 10 years ago, Hogan and Jeff Byrd, who also helps with organizing the league, decided to expand even further by putting a league on the east side of town as well.
Now, in its current configuration, the league is split between West Lynn (run out of Breed) and East Lynn (run out of Lynn English). Each area has three divisions: elementary school (fifth grade and under), middle school (sixth, seventh and eighth grade) and high school, and each division is made up of four teams. In all, that’s 24 teams across the city. The West Lynn league runs on Mondays and Tuesdays at Breed, while the East Lynn league runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at English.
“We decided to expand to help out the kids, make it so they didn’t have to travel as much,” said Hogan. “It really helped us grow once a lot more kids had access to play, and it’s added a cool new dimension to the league that we didn’t have before.”
That new dimension is the addition of a playoff system and a championship game between the two sides of the city. After the teams battle to make it to the top of their league, the top teams from each side will meet in a city championship game to be played at a neutral site. Following the game, which will be played a Marian Gardens, there will be an awards ceremony with prizes, food and music.
“It’s something that the kids really look forward to every year, they all want to be the best team in Lynn and make it to the championship,” Hogan said. “It’s great because it helps make the league a little more competitive while still keeping it fun for everyone.”
The league kicks off next week, with the West Lynn league starting things off Monday at Breed and the East Lynn league commencing Wednesday at English. Hogan points out that in order to sign up to play, all you have to do (as long as you’re a Lynn resident) is show up at either Breed or English on the day of the games and sign up.
While it is free to sign up and play, Hogan also warns potential players to get down to the courts early, as there’s only a limited amount of jerseys.
“I guess it’s a good problem to have, but we had to make a strict jersey policy where if you show up without your jersey, you just can’t play,” Hogan, a former coach of the girls basketball team at Lynn English, said. “There are just so many kids who want to play and a limited amount of jerseys, so we have to enforce it somehow. The local sponsors who put their names on the jerseys do a great job helping us out.”