BY JEFF FALK
There’s not a lot of difference between the larger schools and the smaller schools, so the level of competitive balance is fairly high.
There exists a number of backyard rivalries between neighbors.
It’s good, wholesome athletics which promotes positive interaction, personal growth and life lessons.
But the best thing about the Lancaster-Lebanon is that it’s ours.
Dell Jackson, the owner and long-time driving force behind the website llhoops.com, and veteran LNP sportswriter Mike Gross, recently released a book they and others collaborated on, 50 Years of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The book focuses on boys’ basketball in the 25-member Lancaster-Lebanon League, which celebrated its golden anniversary last year.
“To be quite honest, we have some coaches who are no longer with us,” said Jackson. “I thought it was important to get some of these guys in print. The other reason is that we have this information. It’s a good reference thing for people in our league. Something in me just thought it was important.”
50 Years of the Lancaster-Lebanon League is chocked full of standings, statistics and records. But it also tells the stories of the league’s great coaches, great players and most successful teams – many in their own words – that have made the local basketball league special for so many years.
“That sense of history in the Lancaster-Lebanon League, that’s why we did the book,” said Jackson. “There are so many things mentioned in certain parts of the book. The stories were fantastic. The coaches were so, so good, and so were the players. Their life stories are good because they ended up figuring out where they belonged.”
The 300-page coffee table book, which also includes contributions from llhoops.com correspondent Andy Herr, former Lancaster newspaper sportswriter Gordie Jones, current LNP sportswriter John Walk and local photographer Mark Palczewski about 18 months to complete. 50 Years of the Lancaster-Lebanon League represents Jackson’s initial foray into the world of book publishing.
“Just to have a history and to celebrate the players and coaches of the past, I thought that was important,” said Jackson. “In our league, some of the smaller schools are competitive with some of the bigger schools. I think it’s a level playing field. That in itself makes things good.”
Jackson has been publishing llhoops.com, which provides in-depth coverage of boys’ basketball in the Lancaster-Lebanon League and beyond, for the last 23 winters.
“It was all a labor of love,” said Jackson. “I know the coaches. I know the players. I just feel like I’ve touched the league in so many ways.”
50 Years of the Lancaster-Lebanon League is available through Amazon.
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