It’s another of those annual events of which there are many in Castleisland. There are few, if any, with the vintage of the 45 year old St. Mary’s Basketball Club Blitz. The annual Indoor Market is the only other local event which could come close to ‘The Blitz’ in terms of longevity.
It started its life with a handful of posters in an equal measure of shop windows in town in December 1970. And it went off without a fuss as a two-day event at The Astor Cinema and Ballroom.
That the 12 teams and 18 games played over a ten-hour period attracted a crowd of 350 people was a phenominal achievement and so unlike anything seen here before.
However, those two days and that handful of games ignited something in the normally sleepy, post Christmas town and it hasn’t been quite the same ever after. Ask any parent who cares to recall the pre-blitz days and the change they’ve seen in children and grandchildren and Christmas time behaviour since.
The blitz stayed in The Astor up to and including Christmas of 1975. By then it had expanded to four days, eight competitions, 360 players and a crowd of 762.
The following year the brand new Castleisland Community Centre opened its doors to the event and that tradition began for a whole new generation of players and followers.
In 1994 the event celebrated its silver jubilee and it attracted a staggering total of 1,750 players involved in 190 games with crowds of over 11,000.
And it’s still a work in progress and long may it continue.
Anybody wishing to play in or enter a team in this year’s Blitz should contact: tournament director, Donal O’Connor at 087 6984941, secretary, Sile Kenny at 066 71 41994 or Gerard Murphy at 087 7742250. The Blitz, now in its 45th year, will be held from December 26th to December 30th 2014. Closing date for entries is Monday, November 3rd.