Where have all the hoopers gone?
That’s what Town of Payson Recreation Coordinator Joe Harris is asking himself now that the long-running adult basketball league might fold for lack of participation.
With the registration deadline set for Feb. 5, only three teams have signed up to play.
In order to have any sort of league, Harris needs at least four teams.
“We hope we get four teams in the next few days, but we just don’t know,” Harris said.
The lack of participation has the P&R coordinator scratching his head in bewilderment mostly because the men’s league has long been one of the most popular town offerings.
About 25 years ago, when the population of Payson was much less, the adult men’s league thrived.
“We had three divisions with nine or 10 teams in each division,” former P&R sports coordinator Teddy Pettet said. “We even had a popular over 35 (years) league.”
Pettet remembers the league having its roots in a group of townsmen showing up for pick-up games in Julia Randall gym.
“I used to go watch my dad (Ted) play,” he said.
Pettet and Tim Fruth, who both helped keep the league up and running in the formative years, recall the town taking over sponsorship of the league in the mid 1980s.
“Don Fishel ran it and Teddy and I officiated,” Fruth said.
Pettet, now a recreation coordinator in rural Idaho, believes Payson’s problems might not be unique.
“We are trying to start a men’s league up and we are having some problems finding enough (players),” he said.
In an attempt to keep the Payson league alive with the addition of another team, Harris has a sign-up sheet so individuals can register at the P&R Green Valley Park offices. If enough players sign up, the fourth team can be formed from those individuals.
“If we can get 10 players, the fee would only be $30 each, which is very reasonable for 12 games and a tournament,” Harris said.
The registration fee per team is $300. As it stands now, Payson Regional Medical Center has entered a team and two other un-sponsored squads have also signed up. If the league is a go, play will begin in mid-February and continue through March.
Games are played at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursdays in old Payson High School gymnasium.
Players must be at least 18 years of age and out of high school.
Also, registration for third- and fourth-grade coed basketball was to have ended Jan. 30, but Harris said limited late registrations are available.
The fee is $25 per player, which includes a jersey and a basketball. The season tips off in mid-February. For more information, call Harris at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.