SKYCITY Breakers guard Kirk Penney has a date with the World Masters Games – he just isn’t sure what he will be doing.
He has been roped in along with former friends and team mates with television and radio presenter Sam Wallace in a story that is a reflection of many of the teams and individuals winding back the clock to take part in the event that starts with the opening ceremony on today.
Wallace pulls no punches when it comes to talking about his former Under 14 rep team mate in Penney, indicating that everyone has to pull their weight on this team, regardless of the fact you might be the only player with NBA on your playing CV.
“Most of us played together years ago, once we stopped playing properly we formed a Wednesday night team called the Mighty Balboas – we all played against each other or together at Harbour in rep grade teams. We have stuck together as mates since, but we have all been busy these past few years and haven’t been playing – that is until one of the guys (Campbell) put the call out and said let’s do this, let’s go for the Masters.
“Everyone that was keen to play got together, we chose two captains and then chose teams and Kirk was the last to be chosen – so he was made coach by default. Seriously, when you have shooters like Campbell Patterson and myself in the team, Kirk was never going to get a look in.”
Penney seems to know the pecking order and is happy to be the subject of his former team mates gentle ribbing.
“I will be sitting at either the top or the bottom of the bench, the main thing is I will be there on the bench somewhere, bantering with them, it just depends what they want me to do. I am a little concerned about their lack of training, I am hoping that they are doing something, maybe a little meditation in lieu of preparation because I know they are not getting the court time they need, but I am sure they will be ready to go.”
Indeed the only training session so far turned into a visit to the pub, but Wallace seems unperturbed by that or the fact Penney didn’t show.
“Our only training session was cancelled and we went drinking – so to be fair at the moment our thoughts are more on the injuries we might get rather than wins.
“In all seriousness, we tried to convince Kirk to play but he is resting that body for what might be considered a little more important with the upcoming Breakers season. If this is the start of a transition into coaching though, rest assured we will make this the hardest transition possible – we are not fit and we have no ability.
“But we never listened to any of our coaches, we feel we know best and Kirk will be treated no differently, he is more of a water boy to most of us to be fair…”
Wallace feels getting the ‘old band’ back together is symptomatic of what the World Masters is all about, and Masters sport generally.
“This is what Masters is all about, it has provided the spark to get back into it and that should be what it is all about, finding those passions again. Basketball gets in your blood – like all sports I guess. Even just getting back with the boys and talking with them has brought it back into my life, I am watching NBA again and it rekindles the fire, it is cool.”
“It is amazing how many people are playing that I know, people reconnecting with old friends and team mates, it is pretty exciting for everyone just to get back together. I know of some teams that have been training together for a while so they have really connected in a cool way, I think the Masters Games is a great concept and it is neat for it to be on our shores this year.”
Regardless of what his role ends up officially being, Penney knows he might have given himself a tough assignment over the next week or so.
“It could be tough, I was considering signing up as a player just in case, but I didn’t because I knew Sam had the tools to make all the threes, he better not let me down, he is one of my star players on this roster, amongst a group of stars it has to be said.”
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