The Springfield College men’s basketball team hosted its annual alumni game in Dana Gym on Saturday. Over 20 former players — in addition to family and friends — were in attendance for the game.
The program’s first alumni game took place two years ago. Since then, the event has become an annual time for players from past seasons to get together.
“(The players) were craving for it, so we made sure to do it this year,” said Brock on having the game. “We wanted to make sure we did it this year and get into the habit of doing it.”
There is a lot to like about the event from Brock’s perspective. Not only does it serve as a way to catch up with former players, but it gives former players — no matter what year they graduated — the opportunity to play together on a team.
The latter is one of Brock’s favorite aspects of the game.
“I just like seeing the different years gather — guys I coached at different times,” said Brock. “Seeing guys create relationships from different years is really fun.”
The alumni game was Brendan Abad’s first since graduating in 2017. Returning to the college gave him an opportunity to recall all the good times he had while donning the maroon and white.
“(This game) brings back memories,” said Abad. “I try and take what I learned here and bring it into my high school program and coaching. It is great to be back — a lot of great memories. It has been a good time.”
Abad is currently a teacher of health and physical eduction at Smith Academy in Hatfield. He also coaches basketball and volleyball in addition to track & field.
In his years as a student-athlete at Springfield, Abad believes he learned a lot of valuable lessons. He has made an effort to instill the same principals he learned at the college into his teaching and coaching.
“Playing for Coach Brock and the program helped me develop work ethic and the ‘never give up’ mindset,” said Abad. “I try my best to relate that to my students and athletes.”
One of Abad’s favorite aspects of the game was — even if he hadn’t seen some of his teammates in a while — it felt like nothing had changed once he started hanging out with them.
“Stuff like this is awesome, because even if you don’t see anyone for three or four years — at events like this — if you see them, it is like (you saw them) yesterday,” said Abad. “It all comes back.”
The alumni were split into two teams for the game — one wore gray while the other wore maroon.
The maroon team won in a game that came down to the wire. Although it was a pickup game amongst friends, the defense from both teams was intense.
Brock sat in the corner of the gym for most of the game and chatted with old friends and players as both teams ran up and down the court.
He did enjoy yelling out to players every once and a while during the game with some coaching advice — even if it was to no avail.
“They didn’t listen to me then — and they aren’t listening to me now,” said Brock with a smile.