Now this was a team…
Shoveling the Court:
There they were, two of the best point guards our neighborhood ever produced. Edgar Dela-Rosa and Gammie. On a cold, snowy December night, must have been close to 7:00 PM.
Holy Name boys schoolyard had three full courts. Edgar and Gammie were hard at work removing the snow from the middle court.
It had snowed a lot earlier in the day, matter of fact it snowed all day and just stopped at six. After school I didn’t bother to go to the schoolyard like we normally did to play ball. Cold weather didn’t stop us, nor did the snow. Just didn’t feel up to it. Instead I hung out with my friends on ninth avenue throwing snowballs at people. We were also skitching on the back if the 75 and 69 buses.
After dinner I was hanging out with my friends on Howard Place and Prospect Avenue. We did this often, never really picked a particular corner. It was random, every day.
I looked in the boys schoolyard and saw two people shoveling. I walked in and Edgar and Gammie were hard at work. In our neighborhood we didn’t have a gym. The boys schoolyard was where we played ball. No rec center. You weren’t getting in Bishop Ford High School to play.
At the time Edgar played for St. Francis College and Gammie was a senior at John Jay High School. These two fantastic point guards shoveled a narrow path from one baseline to the other; fence to the church wall.
After they cleared a path, all they did was work on their dribbling. Up and down the court. Cross-over, behind the back, covering a lot of ground. Spinning and hesitation too…
“Yo Red, grab a shovel and help us!” Gammie shouted.
I did what I was told and began to help them. There was a shovel leaning against the fence. When I was done, I joined them. My friends stood outside the chain-linked fence and watched us. When Gammie and Edgar left, I shoveled some more. I needed more space to get a few shots up. After that night I would shovel the courts often.
Those were the days my friend…
A good pick-up ball run in Holy Name schoolyard…
I’ll even take a 5-on-5
Matter of fact, I could even go for showing up on a Saturday morning and being the first one in the yard getting a few shots up.
Those were the days my friend…
On this date three years ago my childhood friend John Cain passed away of a heart attack.
He was 52.
John was a great friend. As teenagers we spent a lot of time together.
In the 8th grade we played on the same intramural football team. I was the QB. John was the best player in the league. Wherever I threw the ball, John was there to make me look good. He was super fast.
John was a south-paw who lived on Seeley Street.
Awesome baseball player too. Good defensive player in hoops.
Back in the day I would jump on the F-train at 15th Street-Prospect Park West and head down to St. Francis College in downtown Brooklyn to watch the Terriers play basketball.
Get off at Jay Street, walk a few blocks to the gym.
Main reason was to see my idol, Gerard Trapp play.
This morning I received word that Gerard’s teammate at S.F.C., Duncan Blair, died recently.
The Adelphi High School alum and Bay Ridge native played for S.F.C. from 1974-1977.
Condolences to Duncan’s family.
Wanted to pass along birthday wishes to my main man, Matt Long.
Matt attended Bishop Ford back in the day. Pretty good ball player – went on to play at Iona College.
One of the most inspiring dudes I know. Keep kickin’ ass!
BTW, I highly recommend his memoir, “The Long Run.”
One thing I miss about the old neighborhood is the summer league in the boys schoolyard.
While talking, wait check that, while texting with Glenn T. and Danny P. we often reminisece about the good old days.
Today Glenn mentioned some dream one-on-one match-ups that we would have loved to seen. I threw in a few myself.
We deemed it, “Basketball Digest: Who’s Better?”
Buddy Thompson or Mickey Deere?
Willie Lanizera or Patty Byrnes?
Danny Mahoney or Marty Lakeowski?
Jay Smallman or Tommy Barrett?
Louie Webber or Ray Collura?
Mario Barrucco or Mr. Pitt?
Joe Farrell or John Corrar?
Michael Larkin or Kenny Crowley?
Joe Hurley or John Powers?
Richie Deere or Alan Lang?
Jimmy Rauthier or Michael Bundrick?
Artie Lee or Tito Martinez?
Gerry Cole or Charlie Kawas?
Jimmy Cullen or Michael Campbell?
Jimmy Vackner or Ray Goffio?
Frankie Cullen or Joe Santos?
Timmy Kemp or Billy Gallagher?
Albert Esposito or Curtis Walker?
Who ya got?
No NBA playoffs tonight, I’m bummed. The conference finals begin tomorrow night.
For some reason I was thinking of the first time I picked up a basketball. Christmas morning, the year was 1970. I was 6. Holy Name boys schoolyard.
My mother gave me a Voit basketball for Christmas. I think it was the only present I received that year. The schoolyard was around the corner from our apartment. I grabbed my ball, got dressed and walked to the yard…alone.
Back in the day you went places at a young age, no one really cared. I will never forget that morning. I was getting shots up in the empty schoolyard. After a bunch of attempts, most of them misses, a priest came out of the rectory and screamed at me to go home. I was scared. I stood there frozen looking at him. He shouted again. This time I sprinted out of the yard and went straight home.
It wouldn’t be the first time I would get kicked out of the schoolyard. That morning was the start of something special though. My love for the game…