Sports 02-17-2011

February 17, 2011
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Honor Roll Call

Catherine Murphy, daughter of Frank and Kari Murphy, has been named to the Dean’s List at the Newman School in Boston…Sean O’Halloran made the Honor Roll at East Boston High School…Kathleen Spies received her Master of Education degree from Eastern Nazarene College.

Help keep me in the “loop”

If you know of a “Townie” who is participating in a sports or recreational activity (elementary school, high school, college, or otherwise), please E-Mail me at bunkerhillbillie@aol.com with the information and/or photographs and I will be sure to include them in a column.  I’d also love to hear about any honor roll students or scholar athletes, or just about any story which would recognize the accomplishments of past and present “Townies.”

67 days ‘til “Opening Day”

Beginning on March 1, the Charlestown Little League program will begin indoor pre-season practice sessions every Tuesday at the Charlestown Community Center gymnasium.  However, it is required that all players participating in the sessions be members of the Charlestown Community Center.  Membership is free for children and applications are available at the gym desk.  The practice times will be 6 to 7 p.m. for 6- to 9-year-olds, and 7 to 8 p.m. for 10-12 year olds.  When weather allows, the practices will held outdoors on the field adjacent to the tennis bubble.

It is also urged that Little Leaguers register for the 2011 baseball season at the clinics.  The cost is $50 per player ($25 for each additional player per family).

“Townie” sports update

Freshman Jesse O’Neil, a graduate of the Charlestown Lacrosse Program, has been named the starting goalie for the Wheaton College varsity lacrosse team…East Boston sophomore Sean O’Halloran, who has persevered through a rebuilding year, is fast approaching the single-season record for most saves by a goaltender in the Boston City League…Junior sensation Brendan Collier notched a hat trick in Malden Catholic’s 5-2 conquest of B.C. High…Harvard University freshman backliner John Caldwell added his name to the prestigious list of “Townies” who have participated in the Beanpot Tournament…Tufts standout Tom DeRosa had a goal and an assist during a 6-3 loss to Wesleyan…Brooks School whirling dervish Jill Doherty netted both goals in her team’s 2-2 tie with Thayer Academy…Fast-improving Boston Latin freshwoman Bridgette Collier continues to see increased playing time on the girls hockey team…Senior sniper John Humphrey posted a goal and an assist as New Hampton Prep defeated Stanstead College by a 5-3 score…Sensational winger Michael Doherty slammed home two goals and added three assists as Groton Prep pummeled the Rivers School 7-1…Sophomore Aileen Callahan is emerging as an impact swimmer for Matignon High School…Senior co-captain Alexa Hingston picked up an assist in her final home game for St. Anslem (18-5-0).

High School teams with “Townies”

BOYS BASKETBALL     W    L

Charlestown (ranked #4) 17   1

East Boston                          9   3

Boston Latin                   10   8

South Boston                  6       6

St. Clements                    6    9

Northeast Regional         4    9

GIRLS BASKETBALL    W    L

Mt. St. Joseph                  7    10

Charlestown                   4        6

BOYS HOCKEY W      L         T

Malden Catholic (ranked #1)   12     2         2

Arlington Catholic

(ranked #12)         8       3        6

Boston Latin        12     1         3

Latin Academy    10     4         0

Austin Prep           8       5         3

St. Clements         6       7         2

East Boston          2       15      0

Everett                   1       14      2

GIRLS HOCKEY                W      L       T

Arlington Catholic 6      6        3

Boston Latin          2     11       2

Latin Academy       0    15       1

CO-ED SWIMMING   W        L

Latin Academy             7         3

Matignon                       2         2

Prep Schools with “Townies”

BOYS HOCKEY W      L      T

New Hampton     20     8        1

Belmont Hill         15     6         2

Hebron Academy  15    9        1

Groton                   13    5        1

Brewster Academy 7     15      0

GIRLS HOCKEY                  W     L       T

Brooks                      7      9       3

My “pimple ball” summer of ‘68

When I completed the sixth grade at St. Mary’s Parochial School in 1968, my best friends were required to go to summer classes at the Harvard School in order to be promoted to the seventh grade.  Inasmuch as they were the kids I hung around and did things with, I decided I’d go to classes with them and pleaded with my parents to allow me to do so.  They enthusiastically agreed.  After the first day of school, I realized what a horrible mistake I made.

I didn’t want to go to classes anymore but was terrified at the prospect of telling my parents, so I did what any other kid my age would do.  I got up in the morning, put my school clothes on, ate breakfast, and went to the “old” Charlestown High for a day of stickball.  I did this for a month, never once letting on that I stopped going to classes, making sure to return home at the same time the kids were dismissed.  Eventually, my parents became suspicious and contacted the Harvard School regarding my attendance.  I was able to sit down, pain-free, about a week later.  Looking back, it was a lesson learned but I’d do it again for the chance to play stickball, corporal punishment notwithstanding.

The “old” Charlestown High was packed every day during the summer with kids of all ages actively engaged in stickball and halfball.  The building was also wide enough for three games to be played simultaneously.  The older teenagers and young adults usually played halfball, which included using a white pimple ball or a hollow pink rubber ball, cut in half, and an ordinary broom stick with the broom sawed off at the end.  The penny candy store around the corner on Bartlett Street always had a plentiful supply of both types of balls, for a nickel each, in case you ran out.

The large metal grates covering the windows, and pretty much any nook and cranny in front of the high school, were crammed with perfectly-placed, hard-struck halfballs.  I wouldn’t want to venture a guess as to how many thousands of balls still sit atop the roof of the building.

Most of the pre-teens would play stickball, which used the same balls except not cut in half, because it was easier and just about anyone could play.  Halfball required much more skill, especially from the pitchers.  A vertigo-inducing batted halfball cascading down from the third floor level of the high school would often result in a “Keystone Cop” defensive miscue and, of course, a badly scraped knee or elbow.

Local drivers were also considerate (read: smart) enough to avoid that section of Monument Square so as to not interrupt a game and incur the wrath of the hordes of participants.  Though parking was legal at that location, there always seemed to be enough room for the games to be played.  The hill adjacent to the school behind the wrought-iron fence surrounding the monument was the perfect place to watch games.  Stickballers waiting for their turn to play, “old-timers” sitting in lawn chairs soaking up the sun, teenage girls admiring their crushes, even passersby relaxing on the grass and eating lunch would watch the action and most everyone knew each other.

It was complicated trying to explain to the other players why I was always so nattily attired because I didn’t want word to get back to my parents as to my whereabouts.  However, coming home daily with a buttoned shirt soaked in sweat and an overall disheveled appearance from running around catching pimple balls all day probably led to my undoing.

Through the years there have been other venues, such as the Bond building at Hayes Square or the vacant brick properties on Terminal Street, where generations of “Townies” have displayed their stickball and halfball prowess but none, in my opinion, compare to the “old” Charlestown High.  It was a special era, indeed.