Written by Josh Minshull (Timber Tigers Junior Basketball Club President)
Dad (Kevin Minshull) was originally a footy coach at Coolbellup Football Club. He first started playing at Cockburn basketball when he got together with some of the other footy coaches in the off-season to play in a seniors team in the late 1980s.
Then one day after watching the juniors play, Dad spoke with a lady named Pauline Connolly who was involved with the Spearwood Reds Junior Club and asked if they needed any help with teams, from there Dad started coaching an under 16 boys team which included Pauline’s twin boys (PJ and Danny) and Glen Jakovich.
Then Dad started helping out with a team from CBC which had Martin Cattalini (former Boomer and Wildcat) and Michael Farrell (who went on to play and coach SBL).
Around 1992, Dad along with Mum (Dot) decided to start their own club called the Kooby Kats.
I remember back in those days, they didn’t have an under 10s comp, so being only six years old I played under 12s with my two older brothers, Jon and Paul.
A couple of years later, Mum and Dad changed the clubs name to “Timber Tigers” with Dad working for Cullity Timbers and them being the first official sponsor of the club.
With basketball booming in Australia at this time, the club grew significantly and Timber Tigers would have had 30 plus teams between juniors and seniors.
Mum and Dad coached probably half of these teams, with Dad often coaching five to six teams on one night. They would also take kids that weren’t theirs to and from basketball or pay for their game fees and always for altruistic reasons.
Having five boys (Paul, Jon, myself, Travis and Dillon) basketball turned out to be the perfect sport for Mum and Dad, being indoors and all year round it kept everyone busy and out of trouble.
In 1995 Dad was involved in running the under 14 boys national championships which was held at Cockburn. Dad was in the engine room for all of it, coordinating fixtures, results and ladders while also being one of the travelling teams liaison officer.
My brothers and I along with other teammates were involved as floor wipers. This was an amazing experience and really gave us the drive to want to be a part of the nationals as well.
We all went on to play WABL and ended up being a part of Cockburn teams that qualified to go through and play in the under 14s Nationals.
Dad coached 10 years at WABL level and was the President of Cockburn basketball for a couple of years as well.
Older brother Paul also coached multiple years of WABL, they both had great success with many WABL titles between them and Paul also being head coach of the under 17 boys that won a State champs Title in 2008 and again the under 19s in 2010.
Many years later, with children of my own wanting to play basketball (or me wanting to get them away from dancing) I decided to start up a basketball team for them and follow in Mum and Dad’s footsteps and call it Timber Tigers. This has led to a rebirth of the club (and also me doing what Dad used to do and coaching multiple teams on the one night).
Now an Incorporated Junior basketball club and with basketball booming again, we have over 25 teams playing at Cockburn with multiple families involved from the original Timber Tigers era, either coaching, sponsoring or just watching their child run around in the same jersey they wore as a child.
Mum and Dad could not be prouder seeing the rebirth of the club and four grandkids running around playing at Cockburn, with my daughter Louise also about to start her WABL journey just like my brothers and I did.
Cockburn basketball was my parents life for a very long time and now it is very much my life too.
Our family would often spend many nights a week there until 10pm, Fridays you could easily be there until midnight, then rock up again early Saturday morning for mini ball and another full day of juniors, followed by SBL that night and then WABL on Sunday.
Everybody there was family, there was and still is so many friendly faces which creates a fun and safe environment for all kids to grow up in.
The memories are endless and the friends are forever.
Celebrating 50 years of Cockburn is so important, to honour those past and present that have given so much to the club and the sport, but also to recognise that whether you were/are a player, parent, coach, employee or volunteer, it does not work without everyone.