As a young boy growing up on ninth avenue, I loved all sports. Basketball was my favorite.
When I was in the third grade I played on the Bantam ‘B’ basketball team at Holy Name of Jesus. It was the first time I was officially part of a team. When we got our uniforms I slept in mine that night.
Despite our awful overall record that season, I had a lot of fun.
We didn’t win a game. We sucked.
But I was playing ball with my friends so losing didn’t matter.
Eight years-old and I was learning a valuable lesson.
Georgie Rauthier was our coach. He made things fun. I recall those games we lost but whats stands out much more from those days is the joy Georgie brought to practice.
As I progressed as a player I fell in love with the game.
It was an incredible feeling for a young boy trying to find himself.
My father left our family when I was six so I turned to my basketball coach for guidance.
In the fourth grade I had the chance to play for Danny Piselli.
Danny instilled the discipline to this “undisciplined” young boy. Danny was a great teacher of the game. I learned so much from him. I was able to play for him two years later on a travel team, Ty Cobbs. Danny taught me how to play the right way.
The late Joe Farrell, better known around our neighborhood as “Fonz” was the third coach who helped me big time!
Fonz helped me with my confidence in the sixth grade. I was able to shoot the ball often. I once had 32 points against O.L.P.H. – I fouled out of the game and was assessed two tech’s. The ref tossed me from the gym. I gave the crowd the middle finger on my way to the locker room. They were yelling at me. Imagine that?
All three guys, Georgie, Danny and Fonz proved that you can have different approaches when coaching young athletes. They taught me many lessons over a short period of time. A very important time for a young boy.
The wonderful writer, J.R. Moehringer once said, “For a boy to become a man, he first must see a man.” I saw Georgie and Danny coach and teach, they made a huge impact on me.