First Annual Newaygo Gus Macker a Giant Success
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
Aerial photos by Brandon Badgero
Regardless of how one defines success, the first annual Newaygo Gus Macker fits that description. Walking around the courts to get the vibe of the players and spectators, not a single person had anything negative to say about the event.
Parking? Well handled.
Competition? Tough and fair.
Food trucks? Divine.
Registration? Full of helpful people with smiles on their faces.
Port-a-pots? Clean as a whistle. (Schultzes cleaned them multiple times each day!)
Weather? Rock solid.
Refs? Even the refs weren’t complained about! Miracles do happen.
Championship Sunday brought tears of frustration from the teams who really thought they were coming home with hardware, but also worthy lessons learned and hope for the future. It also brought epic smiles, hugs and high-fives for the teams who walked away with the big trophies for the winning bracket or the smaller but ever so coveted Toilet Bowl trophies.
Event director Tara Nelson informed Near North Now that the total number of teams was 229, making it 916 players to join in the action on the courts: a record for first year attendance from Gus Macker in the last 5-10 years.
Her favorite part when it was all said and done? When "the local police stayed after to play basketball with the kiddos," she said. "They had to be so hot in their uniforms after two 80+ degree days in the sun and they took the time to build relationships with the kids."