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Senior Lifestyles

Springfield resident partv of winning hoops team

9/5/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Members of the Cleveland Bruins are, from left, Jack Warning, John Felton, Rich Scherler, Bernie Stull and Tim Klodnick.
Photo courtesy of Bernie Stull
SPRINGFIELD — Bernie Stull has enjoyed a lifetime of playing basketball and now has a silver medal to prove it.

Stull, 72, a South Akron native and resident of Springfield, is the captain of the Cleveland Bruins, a team that captured a silver medal in the recent National Senior Games in Cleveland.

The team played 10 games over four days in July, Stull said.

“It was really enjoyable,” he said. “It was my first experience in the nationals. They had an Olympic village set up and everything. It was just a lot of fun. You meet people from all over the country.”

Stull said he’s been playing basketball since he was a youth. He didn’t play on high school or college teams but participated on YMCA and church league teams over the years.

He retired seven years ago after a long career in tile and flooring installation.

“I worked on my hands and knees for 50 years,” he said. “Working kept me in shape for basketball, and basketball kept me in shape for working.”

About three years ago, the Bruins were officially formed and named. The name came after one of Stull’s fellow players found a set of uniforms at a garage sale that already had that name on them.

“We probably have the best uniforms of any team,” he said.

The team, which also includes Rich Scherler, of Richfield, and John Felton, Jack Warning and Tim Klodnick, all of the Cleveland area, has had a good run, winning in the 70- to 74-year-olds age division in the Silver League.

“I was the oldest player to make the all star team,” Stull said. “We won the all star game, went to Buffalo and played in a masters tournament and won our division, won the Akron Senior Olympics, then the Canton Senior Olympics.”

That qualified them to participate in the National Senior Games, a 19-sport, biennial national championship for men and women 50 and older. It is the largest multi-sport event in the world for senior athletes, according to the event website.

At the nationals, the Bruins played with 24 teams in their division and won the silver, missing out on the gold by just three points, Stull said.

He added some of the teams they played against had members that had played college basketball for schools such as Duke and Wake Forest universities.

The Bruins continue to play together twice a week in Middleburg Heights and next the members are planning to compete in a masters tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., in January. After that, they and their wives will take a cruise, Stull said.

He added that continuing to play his favorite sport is something that’s important for him.

“When I see people that aren’t that active and how immobile they are, and having daughters that are nurses and urging me to keep active, it’s an incentive,” he said. “As they say, use it or lose it.”

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