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Goodman: Canby's Nothing But Net tournament proves winning isn't everything

You didn't need to do well -- or even play -- in the charity basketball event to appreciate its variety of benefits.


by: JEFF GOODMAN - The 14th-annual Nothing But Net charitiy basketball tournament July 27 at Wait Park exemplified Canby's sense of community.If you played in or watched any of this year’s Nothing But Net tournament July 27 in Canby, maybe you witnessed the shrug. Maybe you saw the sheepish grin.

Maybe you were the one offering the sequence of gestures, acknowledging your good basketball fortune by speaking the language of the lucky. Maybe you were the one launching the shot from beyond the arc and curling the fingers of your shooting hand towards the basket as you watched the ball float toward the hoop, intending it to sail smoothly through the net only to have it slam off the backboard and plow through the nylon with the grace of a resigning politician.

That exact long-range bank shot snagged a prominent role in my team’s experience this year. It happened on the winning basket. Twice. For the other team. That exact long-range bank shot delivered two heartbreaking endings to close games and, ultimately, eliminated my team from the tournament.

But winning isn’t everything (or maybe it is, and I just tried convincing myself otherwise in the hours after my teammates and I were knocked out of our bracket). Indeed, the 14th-annual edition of the Rotary Club of Canby’s event, which unfolded on the streets surrounding Wait Park, provided plenty of reasons for the hundreds on hand to stop for a moment and admire a good thing. We need more of that these days.

The tournament is philanthropic at its core, generating money for the Rotary Club’s many charitable endeavors. The local chapter’s members gather the day before to set up the baskets, lay down red tape for out-of-bounds lines and spray white arcs on each court. They help with registration and scorekeeping. As their navy blue T-shirts read, they’re Rotarians at work — all for good causes.

The tournament builds teamwork and camaraderie. Youth players, Canby High School athletes and coworkers spent time together in a fun and fundamentally important activity, honing the interpersonal skills they’ll use on the court and off it. Even members of the city’s police and fire departments took their turn on the main court for the latest installment of a time-honored rivalry series.

The tournament promotes physical fitness. Elephant ears notwithstanding, the daylong event does its job to encourage children and adults alike to get off the couch, get outside and get their hearts pumping. Consider that the obesity rate in Clackamas County was estimated at 23.6% in 2009, a figure that coincides with rising healthcare costs to address associated conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes. One day of basketball isn’t going to solve our nation’s ongoing epidemic, but it’s a start.

Ostensibly, the tournament is also a shot in the arm for the local economy. On a day when several local businesses rallied around the Rotary Club’s nonprofit mission by serving as sponsors, hundreds of people passed through downtown Canby. That’s not the case on your average Saturday morning. There’s no concrete set of data to prove it, but it seems reasonable to believe the influx of players and spectators was complemented by an increase in action for local stores.

Perhaps most of all, though, the tournaments exudes a sense of community. That aspect was made particularly clear to me by one of my teammates, an East Coast native and Portland-area resident who made his first-ever visit to Canby for Nothing But Net. After playing in a few games, watching a few others and soaking in the atmosphere, he remarked that he hopes to live in a town like Canby one day. And the communal vibe was no small part of the allure.

At the end of the day, I started reflecting on my team’s back-to-back-to-back losses, each one by just a few points. Still playing the woulda-coulda-shoulda game in my head, I felt compelled to think I participated in Nothing But Net and got nothing but a T-shirt. When the disappointment wore off, though, I quickly realized I got so much more than that.



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