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Basketball at Fort Hill – Not Just for Kids

Fort Hill Activity Center is buzzing with activity, especially on Saturdays, when the youth basketball league is in full swing. However, kids are not the only ones playing at the gym. Every Tuesday night from November through April a group of men, ages 35 and up, meet at Fort Hill Activity Center to play basketball. Not just a pickup game, this is the A Division of the official Park District Men’s 35 and Over Basketball League.

“It’s a lot of fun and a good way to stay in shape,” said Joe Bertsch, team captain for the Hilltoppers.

Joe Bertsch speaks with Kamen Entchev from NCTV

Bertsch’s team has been together for three years. Most of the members are in their mid-30s to early 40s and know each other from attending their kids’ soccer games. “Someone mentioned that the Park District had an adult basketball league, so we signed up,” said Joe. “The first year we joined the B league and came in second; the next year we moved up to the A league and again finished second. We have an athletic group. Most of us played basketball in high school and some played D2 or D3 in college.”

Another team in the A division, the Mud Club, has been together for 18 years. “We started in our mid-thirties and now, some of us are in our mid-fifties,” said team captain Mike Rubinstein. “It helps us stay in shape and it’s a great stress reliever. My family is all for it.”
Mike Rubinstein, Mud Club captain

On December 5, 2017, Naperville Community Television reporter Kamen Entchev visited the Men’s League at Fort Hill and spoke with both team captains. View excerpts from the interviews and the game here.

The teams play two 20-minute periods with a running clock until the final two minutes, with no fast breaking. “It’s not as much running as a regular basketball league, but it’s still a good workout,” said Mike.

The Men’s 35 and Over Basketball League met for more than 20 years in a school gym before moving to Fort Hill Activity Center in the fall of 2016. “Fort Hill is beautiful,” said Joe. “I grew up in Kentucky, where we didn’t have a lot of opportunities like this. I’m impressed with the Park District and how well organized this league is.”


To a large extent, what keeps the men coming back each year are the fun and friendships formed on their teams. “We all look forward to it.  We go out afterwards and catch up with each other. It doesn’t feel like a workout,” said Joe. Mike agreed. “I have a lot of friends on the team. We work up a sweat and then we go out afterwards.  It keeps us young.”

Opportunities to get involved

Adult Athletic Leagues. The Naperville Park District organizes adult leagues in the following sports: basketball, baseball, cricket, flag football, golf, softball, soccer and volleyball. You can find information about these leagues by searching the Park District’s online registration system under Athletics or look in the Adult Athletics section of the Program Guide for details about the leagues. Some of the leagues offer registration either by teams or by individuals, who then will be placed on a team. For those interested in softball, baseball, cricket or soccer, check the Spring Program Guide for details when it is released February 28.

In addition to indoor leagues, Naperville Park District offers baseball, softball and other outdoor sports for adults

Fort Hill Activity Center Open Gym. You don’t have to join a league to enjoy playing a variety of sports and getting a good workout. Fort Hill Activity Center offers open gyms for basketball, volleyball and pickleball. You can pay by the visit or for a better value, purchase a 5-visit pass or an annual open gym membership. Fort Hill Fitness memberships include free open gyms, use of the indoor track, access to the fitness center and free group exercise classes. The January fitness membership special runs through January 31, allowing new members to join with no enrollment fee.

Pickleball open gym at Fort Hill Activity Center

We hope that you will discover a fun activity at the Park District that will help you stay fit and also enjoy time with friends.


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