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By Alistar Sullivan

In 1996, 11 kids from St Kilda Park Primary School formed a basketball team to compete in local competitions around St Kilda.

The parents first encouraged this idea because it was a safer option than forming a local football team. After a few months of training at lunchtime, they decided to split the primary school into 2 teams, the Scorpions and the Stingrays. They enrolled in the local completion in south Melbourne a few months later.

After a year of training and embarrassing losses for both teams, St Kilda Park Primary decided to put these two teams together into one single unit.

The new combined team consisted of 7 eight year olds and two 7 year olds. It was perfect timing as the first Saturday night league at the brand new Melbourne sports and aquatic centre had just opened.

Deciding to be called the Skipps, short for St Kilda Park Primary School , they were the first team to start the Saturday night competition at MSAC, a competition that is still running to this day with up to 34 schools playing per year.

Amazingly 15 years later, this original Skipps basketball team is still together and playing every week, representing their primary school and St Kilda in their mid 20’s.

The core consists of 5 players: Justin Daigle, Marcus Rimondini, Liam Quirke, Paul Angel and Minh Nguyen. They are still continuing this amazing tradition playing every week and in good form, winning 9 championships over the last 15 years.

I asked Minh if he ever thought he would still be playing for his primary school after all this time and what it means to him.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to continue to play for Skipps throughout the rest of my life. Not many people keep in touch with their primary school friends these days but playing basketball for the school has kept us together despite everyone going on their separate ways after primary school.”

“I’m proud to still wear the red, black and white uniform and play under the Skipps name, the school supported us by providing us a great education but also a fantastic sport curriculum program, which created this foundation of the winning culture we have in our team and lives today.”

Currently in 2012, St Kilda Park Primary School has 5 Skipps teams that play over the weekend, that still train every Saturday morning, just like they did when it all started back in 1996.

With all the guys in the team being brought up in St Kilda its great to see them stick together to represent a great primary school and suburb that they have grown up from.

Hopefully this team can continue to play for years to come, developing this tradition that is sure to be carried on.

Skipps currently play at MSAC on Monday nights and are currently 2nd this season, whether you’re an ex-student, teacher or parent of the primary school, come down one night and show your support!

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