Are you ready for Park and Rec basketball? Gladys Brennan at the Rec Department said Tuesday that she has not yet determined an opening date for the eternally popular Young Men’s League, which last year began play on Nov. 17.
Gladys and R.J. Poniatoski are in charge of this league. To reach Gladys, potential team representatives may call the Department at 860-489-2274 until 1. p.m. Poniatoski is listed in the Torrington phone book.
I enjoy watching this league’s games as much as the athletes, some of whom are in shape, enjoy taking part. Many decades ago, I worked part-time for the Rec Department, teaming with the formidable Andy Pitonak as scorekeeper and timekeeper for these games. I took great memories home those late evenings, of former high school and college stars like Jerry Alaimo, Clem Sidlosky, the late Eddie Barber, Al Kuzynski, Father John Montgomery, who was at that time stationed at St. Francis Church, Louie Ganem and scores of others. Many of the players had never played in school but all of them played to win.
Around this time of year, they got teams together, found sponsors and played because they still had in them that thirst for competition that is never truly quenched even after the music stops and the cheering crowds have long ago dispersed.
Even though he’s in overall charge of the league, Poniatoski is a board referee himself and can often be found on Sunday afternoons working a game or two. That is when they play, on Sundays, all games at the armory. “We usually schedule six games per Sunday starting at 10 a.m.,” he said. “We have A and B divisions. And we start up either the Sunday befoe or theSunday after Thanksgiving.”
The equally popular PAL League is already forming up and holding tryouts, according to Ms Brennan.
I’m sure Winsted has a similar league, but when I called that city’s Rec Department at 3.p.m. Tuesday, a recorded voice suggested I leave a message.
Speaking to Paige
I was so impresses by a Republican-American newspaper profile of Torrington’s Paige Middleton a couple of weeks ago that I had to call her. Paige is a junior honor student and athlete at THS. She is a starter in soccer and basketball for the Red Raiders and Wow, what a player!
I have known about her basketball skills because I had the opportunity to watch her play in the PAL League for a couple of years. She was a teammate of my granddaughter Hayley and the team leader.
But it was the answers to the interviewer’s questions in the aforementioned profile that moved me to call her. Yes, she repeated to me, her dream college is Tufts. She has visited the Medford, Mass. college and hopes to study – ‘ya ready? – biomedical engineering there after high school. What three people would she like to invite to dinner? J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln and Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton. Paige said she is a very distant relative of the Princess. No kidding.
More. Psychology is her favorite subject in school; she’d rather eat beef stew than anything and yes, even though she had a little help from her Grandma, she taught herself to play the piano. OK?
Oh, one more little thing. Her favorite quote is from Buddha: “Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
I think she is an extraordinary young woman and I told her so.
One of a Kind
The late Bum Phillips, speaking long ago in praise of a fellow coach he admired, said: “He could beat yourn with his’n or his’n with yourn.” Never met Bum but from everything I have learned about him through the years he was a good man, good coach and good ‘ol Texas fella. They say he was more fun to talk to than any big league sports coach or manager since Casey Stengel.