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Dorrance Halverson started shooting baskets by himself at the Levy Senior Center shortly after the court was built in 2002. More players began to join in the program the next few years, leading to pickup games at noon. Bob Swedlow joined in 2013 and Chuck Pierret joined in the fun 2.5 years ago. But last year Covid-19 hit and the center shut down.
This was incredibly disappointing for the 10 regular players who used the court on a weekly basis.
But finally, after a year and a half hiatus, senior basketball, a favorite activity for many members, returns to the Levy Senior Center.
Although the Evanston center hasn’t fully reopened, it is starting to allow limited activities including indoor basketball.
Swedlow has been playing at the center since 2013 and has played senior basketball for close to 30 years.
Swedlow says he loves playing because it is a great way to connect with others. “This is more about playing a couple times a week than tournaments. That’s really the essence of this. Guys getting together to play ball.”
The members are happy to play basketball once again.
“I love seeing the guys and getting exercise.” said Pierret.
While the focus of the program is weekly pickup games and social connection, there are opportunities for higher level competition. Players can participate in state and national tournaments. The state tournament is once a year while the national tournament is every two years. Teams can qualify for the national tournament (Senior Olympics) by finishing first, second or third at their state tournament. The teams are limited to 10 or fewer people who play three on three half court games. The teams are grouped into age brackets: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, etc. The Senior Olympics has many different sports with thousands of people playing. The next takes place in May 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Halverson and some of the early members of the basketball program helped form the first team that went to the national games from the Levy Senior Center. Halverson and Swedlow have played in New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Minnesota, California, Alabama, and other places in the United States.
The Levy Senior Center’s basketball program is open to men and women who are 55 and older. The center hasn’t fully reopened yet, but there are limited activities that are on site. They are continuing to open more activities as COVID numbers decrease in Evanston.
Before the Levy Senior Center closed, there were men’s pickup basketball games on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. The men played half court 4-on-4. The other side of the court was reserved for women’s basketball. Currently, pickup games are on Tuesdays.
Halverson, Swedlow and Pierret say they are happy that basketball has reopened at the Levy Senior Center, so they can get back to normalcy.
“Basketball is one of the best games ever. Men and women can enjoy shooting hoops from early childhood all through adulthood and well into old age. We thank the Levy Senior Center Foundation for all of the support they have given to the Levy senior basketball program over many years,” Halverson said.
Anyone wishing more information about the basketball program may call the Levy Senior Center at (847) 448-8250.