THIS + THAT

Regular readers know that this space has warned you more than once that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Today you can’t even trust that this is actually a This & That, although it partially is. If you are following me so far, you are much less confused than I am.

An acquaintance from the past contacted me a number of weeks ago about writing a guest piece. I called him and we decided his column could be used when I take my annual four days off in July at the baseball All-Star break. I customarily take off from all my jobs – except this one – each July, and his contribution would guarantee me four full days to myself. Nice!

Little did I know I would be missing from action due to health reasons throughout the entire month of June. Thus since his old-time writings have arrived, I pass them along to you under the masthead of This & That.

My first memory of Dave Barry was in a Polish American uniform in the Bellows Falls Little League around 1960. That was before Little League Headquarters said Bellows Falls couldn’t refer to the league as Little League unless the BF league paid a good sum of money to join their national organization. From then on from the date that notification came, the popular youth baseball training grounds became known as the Bellows Falls Junior League.

Anyway, Barry, who grew up in North Walpole, grew into a teenager who would become the Terriers starting quarterback, point guard, and center fielder. He spent his professional career as a teacher/coach at Sunapee High School in New Hampshire where he had loads of success as a baseball and volleyball coach.

My lasting memories of Barry are in that Little League uniform with his upper cut swing, depositing baseballs in the pine trees behind the right field fence. He was ahead of his times with his launch angle blasts. I just wonder what his exit velocity was.

Barry retired a few years back and rode off into the sunset to Florida where he literally rides his bike and thinks of his days gone by. He related to me that it was while riding his bike that the vision came to him about putting to script, a little something about the athletes from Bellows Falls High School who made a lasting impression on him. His story goes:

“I followed the teams before, during, and somewhat after my years there. I graduated with the wonderful class of 1967. I just thought that these names should not be forgotten.

  • My childhood athletic idol – Dickie Whitcomb
  • Best boy athletes – Harold Bushway and Kevin Keefe
  • Best girl athlete – Kathleen Gallagher (maiden name for all girls mentioned)
  • Best football player – Grump Haskell
  • Top running back – Gil Bennett
  • Toughest football players – Dubber Kiniry, George Lucia, and Paul Waryas
  • Best football hands – Paul Savoie and Babe McAuliffe
  • Best boys basketball players – Vince Dibernardo, Hooker Aumand, and the “B” boys.
  • Best girls basketball players – The Rayner girls *
  • Fastest track man – Ed Cray
  • Top long distance runner – Bobby Barnett
  • Smaller athlete who played big – Jim Ross
  • Top competitors – Rick Kane, Mike Griffin
  • Most graceful runners – Tim Nelson, Joe Waryas
  • Top majorette – Mabella Mendez
  • Favorite coach – Tom Lovett
  • Biggest fan – Doug MacPhee
  • Summer top swimmers – Bill Hadley, David Vosburgh
  • Best summer softball player – David Allbee
  • Best little league pitcher – Nicky Anderson
  • Most school spirit – Paul Obuchowski
  • Captain of the cheerleaders – Ann Lucia
  • Excellent unsung coach -Harold Angers
  • Excellent athletic representative – Barry Chamberlain *
  • Top organization – Legion Post 37
  • In appreciation – Paul Aumand Sr. and Lover Dexter”

In general these were athletes from Barry’s formative years in BF. There were a couple of categories in which he came in contact with athletes years later and judged they were better suited to be named for their category. The most important message Barry sends is: these were athletes who should not be forgotten.

Bill Murphy note: Barry’s list is interesting and thought-provoking. I agree with many of his selections from that era. If I am able to return regularly to this job, I plan on setting up a committee in each of our towns to brainstorm a similar all-time list in each community in our reading area. Be thinking and let me know what you think.

If you would like to comment on the sports in this paper or send an idea for a story, feel free to email bmurphy@vermontjournal.com.

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