As we watch the last few days of summer come to an end, I thought I’d pull out one of the older blog entries I composed dedicated to the Summer League in the Boys schoolyard.
When I’m composing and thinking of some of the memories from growing up in Windsor Terrace a wonderful feeling comes upon me. The friends both young and old, the stores on 9th avenue, basketball and baseball games, hanging out at night, getting into trouble, discovering the opposite sex, listening to music, coming home for dinner and then going back out again. Attending church on Sunday and of course being a student at Holy Name.
In 1969, when I was five years old I moved to Windsor Place and 9th avenue. Across the street in the boys schoolyard was the Holy Name Summer league. It was a basketball league made up of people from the neighborhood. (There was also a high school league with schools from all over Brooklyn).
I realize that over the years people who read the Blog will recall my stories and some will not; But I encourage everyone to comment on what I recall and what they recall from anything that happened during the greatest summers from the greatest summer league basketball fans have ever witnessed.
It wasn’t the talent that made the Holy Name summer league special. It was the players personalities, the loyal fans and competent officials. It was the closeness, the relationships, the laughs, smiles and hanging out afterwards and discussing that night’s games. It was the afternoons of shooting around the day of your game in the schoolyard and talking strategy. (I recall Steve Yetman of Nazareth High School shooting in the schoolyard in the afternoon working on his jump-shot because he had a big game that night)
The anticipation of the upcoming battles between the two best teams. It was the chance to see the best talent high school basketball had to offer. Watching Bishop Loughlin play against Christ the King. It was all about watching your idols battle against each other.
There have been numerous legendary stories of players and teams going against each other over the years. Many times where the games went down to the final whistle (no buzzers here). Farrell’s against Parkside – Ballard Pharmacy upsetting Brooklyn; 17th Street with their red nylon tops – McBears joining the league and trying to prove they belong. Mickey McNally having total control as the official of most games.
Good jump-shooters, quick as lightning point guards, tough defenders, trash-talkers, 6th men off the bench, not so talented players off the bench, coaches on the sidelines shouting out instructions, local stores who would sponsor a team, and last but not least, players walking up to the yard for their scheduled game with a white t-shirt hanging out of their back pocket of their shorts.