Sports 09-01-2011

Help keep me in the loop

With the Fall high school sports season fast approaching, if a parent has any info/photo of their child participating in a sport (soccer, volleyball, football etc.) or recreational activity (elementary school, high school, college, or otherwise), please E-Mail me at [email protected] and I will be sure to include the info/photo 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.”

Whiffle ball tourney

Due to Hurricane Irene, the CHAD-sponsored whiffle ball tournament to be held at Doherty Playground (Bunker Hill Pool) has been re-scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18.  There will be a $30 entry fee per team, and there are no age restrictions.  Co-ed teams are encouraged and the goal is to field 32 teams for a double-elimination format.  Anyone interested in submitting a roster can contact John Collier at 617-401-6254.

Howie Long 

dedication ceremony

A dedication ceremony honoring former Oakland Raider and NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long will be held at the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday, Sept. 7.  A special plaque, which highlights Long’s outstanding football career, will be on permanent display and recognize him as one of our hometown heroes.  For further information, please contact Greg Jackson or John Killoran at 617-242-1775.

Community Center

drawing fundraiser

Former Charlestown High School cheerleader extraordinaire Judy Johnson reports that the Community Center will be holding a monthly drawing fundraiser.  Only 200 numbers will be sold, at a cost of $60 per number, and a drawing will be held (beginning in September) with each monthly winner receiving $500.  To purchase a number, you can mail a $60 check (payable to the Charlestown Community Center Council) to: Charlestown Community Center Council, C/O Judy Johnson, 50 Belmont Street, Charlestown MA 02129.

The “Oily”

What a fantastic job of renovations done by the City of Boston at Barry Playground (the “Oily”) on Medford Street.  I’m sure the men’s and women’s softball leagues will be “chomping at the bit” next year to get their programs underway.  I hope the “Joseph A. Barnes Field” placard is again posted on the batting cage fence.  Joe, who more often than not would be chewin’ on a “stogie,” was a tremendous role model and coach to countless “Townie” athletes.

Can halfball make 

a comeback?

If you ask a youngster “what is halfball?,” you’d probably get a blank stare.  Playing halfball was a rite of passage for my generation (and the generations before me), however, it appears to have gone the way of the dinosaur.  What a shame that today’s kids don’t know the fun they’re missing out on.

The “old” Charlestown High School is no longer a viable venue to play halfball, but, surely Terminal Street can be this generation’s “field of dreams.”  I recently saw a “Townie halfball” interest group on Facebook and was wondering if someone, possibly halfball legend Bob “Potts” O’Neil, was trying to revitalize the once-beloved sport.  I sure hope so.

Many years ago, Channel 2 (PBS) ran a highly entertaining program which chronicled the origins and history of halfball and featured footage of “Townies” competing in and enjoying the game.  One segment included a brief interview with my Uncle Jack Kelly.  When asked why he played halfball, Uncle Jack responded “cuz I can’t afford a whole ball!”  Indeed.

Favorite sports moments – Volume 6

My dad, Phil Kelly, was a firm believer in the axiom “hard work always gets rewarded” and I continuously preach the same message to my children.  Whether in academics or athletics, anyone who puts their nose to the grindstone usually gets rewarded for their efforts.  The following are some of my favorite athletes who I observed “going the extra mile” to improve their skills.

BOBBY SMITH – One of Charlestown’s greatest basketball players, Bobby enjoyed a spectacular high school and collegiate career.  He led his Boston College team in assists in 1972 and was the team captain in 1973.  In utilizing his ball-handling, passing and leadership skills, Bobby was remembered by former coaching great Chuck Daly as being a “beast” on the court.

As a youngster, Bobby could always be seen with a basketball in his hands and the Boys Club gym became his second home.  In later years, as a participant in the “Supper Club” pick-up games, I had the misfortune of taking several of Bobby’s patented laser-beam, no-look passes right between the eyes.

KEVIN O’HALLORAN – A self-made point guard who understands the value of an assist, Kevin is the consummate teammate; eschewing his own offense (although possessing a deadly accurate shot) to ensure the “pill” is fairly distributed.  I can still recall several of his high school games where Kevin, with his shoulder-length brown hair a la David Cassidy, employed his ball-handling talents to guide his team to victory.

Today, Kevin devotes much of his time officiating and coaching youth basketball and soccer.  No doubt he has revealed to his players the advantage of practicing against a wall, either by throwing a basketball or kicking a soccer ball.

KASEY CEDORCHUK – Looking back, foretelling Kasey’s success on the hockey rink was a no-brainer.  I can’t recall ever seeing her without roller blades on her feet or a hockey stick in her hand; barreling around Doherty Park or through the streets of Charlestown.  Kasey unleashed her considerable hockey talents at Mount Saint Joseph Academy, where despite being constantly double and triple teamed she compiled a storybook career (212 points).  At the collegiate level, Kasey transferred from Division III power St. Anslem’s to become a sensational defenseman for Division I Northeastern University.

I wonder if at the Cedorchuck family gatherings Kasey reminds her father Steve, a former Boston College hockey standout and long-time assistant coach, that she amassed more collegiate points.

“RO” WALSH – A Merrimac College Hall of Fame inductee and former Charlestown High School sensation, “Ro” is another one of our greatest-ever “hoop” players.  Like many others before and after him, “Ro” honed his remarkable basketball skills as a fixture at the Boys Club gymnasium.  In his prime, “Ro” also had the unique experience of competing internationally on the basketball court.

Playing against “Ro” in the Boys Club Alumni League was a Herculean challenge and brings to mind the image of a bully who holds a pipsqueak’s head (in this case, mine), who is futilely flailing away to land a punch (or score a basket) – it’s just not a fair fight.

DENNIS KELLY – With 40 years experience (over 30 years at the women’s collegiate level) my brother Denny is arguably the greatest “Townie” basketball referee ever.  Having learned the trade from our long-time ref dad, Denny has more than made his mark and is highly regarded in officiating circles as an impartial, technique-driven referee with a knack for maintaining protocol.  Also like our dad, Denny understands the importance of providing constructive feedback to up-and-coming basketball officials and doesn’t hesitate to offer advice and assistance.

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