NINETEEN-SEVENTY

While doing a bit of research I came across the events from the year 1970; boy oh boy!

I was 6 years old at the time.

It was the first time I walked into the boys schoolyard at Holy Name. (Christmas morning)

1-Kent State shootings

2-Vietnam – Nixon sends home thousands of tropps

3-Vince Lombardi died

4-Jimi Hendrick died

5-Janis Joplin died

6-Knicks win championship over Lakers (“Win it for Willis”)

7-Apollo 13 launched but they brought it back.

8-First NYC marathon

9-Monday Night Football – first game

10-Tom Dempsey kicks a 63-yard field goal with half a foot

11-Two college football teams (Wichita State and Marshall) have their planes crash.

12-AFL-NFL merge

13-Maurice Stokes dies

14-Paul left the Beatles

WOW!

What a year…

Number one song was “Bridge over Troubled Water.”

Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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RIP COLLEEN BREEN

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Colleen Breen who passed away on Wednesday.

Colleen was the sister of Mickey and Dennis Breen.

Back in the day The Breen family lived at 1612 – 8th Avenue.

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Visitation is set for Monday, February 1 from 2-5 PM and 7-9 PM.

Leone Funeral Home Inc.

696 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232, United States

Here’s the link for the Leone website for more information

http://www.leonefh.com/obituaries/obituary-listings?obId=755003#/obituaryInfo

 

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RIP JAMES “JOCKO” NOFTELL

Received a bit of sad news this morning.

Jocko passed away after an illness that he was being treated for for many months.

He was 68 years old.

Inside HN church

Jocko’s family had a service the last couple of days.

Then the family bought a nice home and property in upstate New York; they were living well.

Condolences to the entire family.

RIP Jocko. May God rest your soul…

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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SCHOOLYARD JUNKIES

ME, Brian and Edgar

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SLUSH PUPPY

Tuesday morning, not going to school today.

Heading over to the city. Trains are up and running after the blizzard. They cancelled school yesterday. Great move.

Grab a coffee, light and sweet from Pynn’s deli and a buttered roll.  There’s a couple of older guys standing on the corner. I look at them, they look at me.

“Yo Red, who’s gonna coach the Nets?”

“No idea,” I respond as I walk towards the 16th street entrance to the train. I hop on the crowded F-train and get a spot against the door.

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“WATCH THE CLOSING DOORS PLEASE. NEXT STOP IS SEVENTH AVENUE.”

Standing up the whole trip I decide to get off at West 4th street. It’s always random with me when I take the train to the city. Sometimes if I feel like getting an egg cream I get off at Second Avenue. At Jay Street the packed A-train is across the platform. Some kid is looking at me.

“WHAT THE FUCK YOU LOOKIN’ AT?” I shout.

He doesn’t say anything.

An old lady standing next to me looks at me.

If I wanna walk past the Garden or drop in at Cosby’s I get off at thirty-fourth.

Wanna check out a peep show, it’s forty-doo-wop. Yeah, you got it. I found the peep shows last year when I cut out of school and me and some kids from the city were amazed.

But I got no time to talk about that shit right now. Tell ya later.

Sometimes I take the ‘F’ to Rockefeller Center, check out the people ice skating. That shit bores me though but I like checking out the chicks.

At the West 4th street station I climb the three flights of stairs and notice there’s snow all over the court. They call this place ‘The Cage.”  They tell me the Doctor played here.

Hawk, Kareem and Tiny all balled here.

The summer league is real good here. Maybe one day I show them I got game?

We shovel our court in the schoolyard but what’s up with these kids in Manhattan? Can’t they shovel? Doesn’t take very long to grab a shovel and clear space to work on your handle or to get some shots up. Lazy I guess.

Walking up sixth avenue ton of people are on their way to work. The street is packed with cars. Traffic jam and it’s only nine in the morning.

Homeless guy on the corner asks me for change.

“Sorry bro, I’m broke,” I explain to him. If I got extra dough on me I usually flip a guy a quarter.

Starbucks is crowded but I see a table open. Shocker!

Drop my backpack down and put my coat on the back of a seat.  The table by the window, my favorite spot. I can watch all the people walk by.

Gotta keep an eye on my shit because you never know. There’s thieves everywhere.

The line is long but it moves rather quick. There’s a line for the bathroom too.

I love coffee. Been drinking it since I was eleven. Mom got me hooked.  Coffee is my favorite drink. Oh no, wait, Wild Irish Rose is my favorite.

I order a house coffee, venti size. Grab a newspaper from the bin and sit down.

Think I’ll spend the next few hours chillin’ out here. They leave you alone.

Refills are fifty-three cents.

Plus it’s warm.

Where else can I go?

All my friends are in school.

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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31 INCHES

That’s what I hear.

Holy Toledo!

New York City, with their skyscrapers and everything.

Stay safe.

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Wish I was in Prospect Park right now.

Three Devils.

Cherry Hill.

Suicide Hill.

I’d even go for throwing a few snowballs around.

-Red

hoops135@hotmail.com

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LET IT SNOW

I get up early.

Nothing new for me on Saturday morning.

Looking outside my window I see we got a lot of snow.

My father is not coming by today to get me.

It’s a crap shoot with that actually. I like when he comes by, he takes me down to Timboo’s and I spend all day there. Him and mom divorced when I was five.

But if he doesn’t come by, it’s all good.

Thinking of grabbing a shovel and going to see if anyone needs their sidewalk shoveled. Could make a few dollars. The people on Fuller Place are always looking to have their sidewalks cleared. The store owners on the avenue too.  But I don’t have a shovel.

I get dressed and walk to the schoolyard.

Cross ninth avenue, down Windsor Place, hang a right on Howard.

Reaching down I grab some snow and make a snowball. Good packing.

I fire a fastball across Howard Place and bang it against the wall.

Few people are shoveling their sidewalks.

One kid is trying to make a snowman. He’s alone. Probably about nine years old. He’s struggling actually. I pick up some more snow, make another snowball and throw it at him. Just missed his head.

Entering the yard I see Gammie and Edgar shoveling the middle court.

These guys are nuts.

“Yo Red, grab a shovel,” Gammie shouts.

I look around and think, I don’t have one.

Gammie points over towards the fence on Howard Place.

Against the fence, just a few yards away is a small shovel so I grab it, walk through the snow and help them push the rest of the snow off the court.

Looks like they have been here for a while. I need to tell you, it’s a few minutes after nine.

It’s what we do. Shovel the court so we can play.

No excuses!

When I played basketball for Holy Name, this is where we practiced.

Right here in the boys schoolyard.

No gym.

Just the yard.

Our coaches made us shovel the court.

And yes, we practiced in the rain.

Nothing was ever cancelled.

Parents never complained.

After about 10 minutes we have a clear path to work on our dribbling.

From one baseline to another.

Looks like the yellow brick road from Wizard of Oz.

Gammie grabs a ball which was sitting in the snow and starts to go up the court towards the church wall.

He’s not wearing gloves. But he has a really cool hat on.

Edgar watches closely and soon as Gammie gets to half court he starts real low and dribbles forward. No gloves either. No hat.

The dribble is always out in front.

I’m left standing there on the baseline without a ball. Watching these two great point guards do their thing. Working on their handle.

Gammie plays for John Jay, Edgar at Bishop Ford.

Soon as Gammie gets to the other end of the court he flings his ball in the air down to me. Full court pass, perfect. I didn’t have to move.

“Go ahead Red!” he shouts.

Follow the leader.

I start to dribble towards them.

“Get low Red,” Edgar shouts.

Dribbling fundamental.

Always stay low and keep your head up.

It starts to snow.

Fuck it, let it snow.

-Red

hoops135@hotmail.com

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