In December 2016 in front of friends and staff Gordon and Barbara Sincock were awarded Life Membership, something that was very long overdue, however the best is always left until last.
In his younger days, Gordon was a competitive cyclist. Based in Melbourne, he raced at the North Essendon Board Track and the Olympic Park Velodrome in the summer, and competed in road racing during the winter.
After his marriage to Barbara in 1958, he obtained a position in the engineering drawing office working for the Commonwealth Department of Civil Aviation at Port Moresby PNG.
There was no scope to continue his cycling in Port Moresby. With few sealed roads and no organized cycling competitions, he took up 3 main sports, Rugby League, Australian Rules and Basketball.
There were seven basketball teams in Port Moresby playing on two outdoor asphalt courts. In an effort to improve the local comps he took a position on the organizing committee. Wishing to gain knowledge about the game he contacted Lindsay Gaze to see where he could get information on coaching and administration. This interaction resulted in the delivery of Lindsay’s Book, and a copy of “Tip Off” posted from Melbourne every week.
Being in a remote location his interest was advanced by listening to the American Armed Forces short wave radio. This station reported on all the American Basketball competitions for the benefit of their troops serving in the Pacific.
One day while working on “Approach Lighting” at one end of the Jackson’s Airport runway he discovered a concrete slab covered in grass, debris and bracken. This was the floor of a demolished hanger constructed for World War II. He immediately arranged for some fellow DCA Airport workers to clear the slab and later had the airport fire brigade hose it down till it was spotless. Steel tubing, found in the jungles when the troops returned home after the war, was brought in to provide lighting poles and backboard stands, and a nearby power line connecting a Saw Mill provided power supply for lighting. These two courts, built at no cost, became the headquarters of the Papua Amateur Basketball Association.
Gordon was recruited by the local news media – “South Pacific Post” and 9PA (the ABC Station located in Port Moresby). He became the voice of Basketball throughout the territory. He wrote about Basketball & Rugby League in the newspaper under the pseudonym of “Drop Kick” but used his own name on radio.
In 1964 Gordon brought a representative men’s team from PNG to the Australian Club Championships. Prior to that event he asked Lindsay Gaze about the manufacture of uniforms for the PNG team, “No worry” was the reply, “send down your design and sizes, my mum will make them”.
Gordon stayed in Port Moresby for 8 years organizing Inter Territory competitions, including visits from Thursday Island teams and weekends in Townsville and Cairns, which of course meant chartering an aircraft!
Travelling with his employment allowed Gordon to run development camps in many of the remote villages which facilitated the introduction of Inter Territory Championships.
On his return to Australia in 1978, Gordon was still working for the Department of Civil Aviation. The Department’s social club was interested in many sports so it was a given that a Basketball Club was formed. The “Aviat Basketball Club” soon grew to have some 10 teams playing in the Tuesday Night competition at Albert Park. Six teams are still playing today.
Gordon was a pioneer in the late 1980’s with the then Sassy (Prowess) Sports Administration System, now better known as “Procomp”. A player in the comp said to Gordon one night, “My name is Gundars Mantinieks; I have just graduated from Melbourne Uni in Computer science. I will write you a program to calculate your Ladders”. Gordon replied “I want a program to accomplish every task for the management of the Association”. Gordon then wrote a specification and helped Gundars to develop the product. Later he went around to all the Victorian Associations and trained each competition manager on the operation of its competition and membership programs.
In the 1980’s Gordon became a board member with the Victorian Amateur Basketball Association Community Co-operative Advancement Society Ltd – trading as Basketball Stadiums Victoria and nowadays as Sports Stadiums Victoria. This is the facility management and construction arm of Basketball Victoria and instrumental in the construction and management of many basketball stadiums throughout the state. Primarily; Albert Park and now MSAC, Coburg, Hampton Park, Traralgon, Bellarine and Mill Park. In 1997 Gordon became the interim Chairperson of the Committee of Management of the Keilor Basketball Stadium which saved the Association from debts of $300K and allowed it to grow and prosper to the major Association it is today in the Basketball Association affiliation.
The current Metro and Southern Districts Association evolved from four Associations:
Metropolitan Amateur Basketball Association was established in 1951, Arch Mcgrechan was the original President. Metro conducted men’s competition only. In 1957 they purchased shares in Basketball Stadiums Victoria for the purpose of building the old Albert Park Stadium. From 1958 to 1982 Metro conducted competition on courts 1, 2, 3 & 4. Arthur Thompson from the Footscray YMCA introduced his junior’s players to the senior association as soon as they turned 18. His assistant from the YMCA Cliff Lange became the Treasurer for many years. The Jackson family Ray and Shirley were Secretary and Women’s Secretary for many years. Ray’s grandparents has been involved with the commencement of Basketball in Victoria being the door keepers of the early 1940 competitions at the Fitzroy Church of Christ.
Olympic Amateur Basketball Association was established in 1956 by Ken Watson; they purchased shares in BSV and in 1958 transferred competitions into the Albert Park Stadium. There was a period of chequered administration but the Secretary Ron Burgess operated the competitions on his own until 1972, at that time the administration was taken over by Southern Districts Spartans.
Southern Districts Basketball Club had Junior teams playing in the Victorian Junior Championships and a Senior team representing Olympic in the Victorian Men’s Championship under the name of “Spartans”. Because this group possessed a strong functioning committee, Ron Burgess suggested that they take over the administration of the Olympic Association. The President Ernie Williams agreed to the take-over provided that they could change the name. Thus Southern Districts Basketball Association was born.
The Victorian Women’s Commission was the state body administering the Victorian Champions for Basketball Victoria, this group also conducted 2 grades of Women’s Comp, playing at 6 pm at Albert Park Stadium (in those days women needed to get home before dark). A policy decision prompted them to sell the competition to a domestic Association, Southern Districts took over in 1976.
Metropolitan & Southern Districts Basketball Association – “Spartans” – came into being in 1982. BSV observed that there were 2 Associations leasing half the stadium each for competition. Metro courts 1, 2, 3 & 4 and Southern Districts 5, 6, 7 8 & 9. The suggestion was made to form a combined Association to administer the whole competition which would produce many efficiencies and a better grading of teams. Both Metro & Spartans, according to the constitution, transferred the associations into the administration of the Trustees.
Gordon Sincock was elected President of the combined Association and has held the position ever since – 33 years!
In 1997 all the competitions were transferred to 10 courts at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. MSAC (as it is now known) gave the Association a great venue for basketball competitions but took away much of the ability for the Association to expand as all available space in the venue is allocated.
Currently M&SDBA conduct 10 courts of competition on Tuesday night, grades A to F for men and women, also 6 courts of competition on Wednesday night, grades A to F for men and A & B for women. On Tuesday night MSD have opted to provide a quality domestic competition for men and women, supplying trained score table officials, with over 230 teams participating in its competitions. This night alone allows over 1,600 Melbournians to enjoy the game of basketball (as players) every week.
The whole Sincock family developed with the Association. Wife Barbara is the Treasurer, Daughter Wendy Sharpe is Assistant Treasurer and Grand Daughter Zoe Sharpe is the Assistant Secretary. No family activities are ever planned for Tuesday night which is the main night of the M&SDBA competitions.