“… AN AMAZING MAN” — entry #18 from “A History of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-ball season …
Posted on Jan 30, 2013
.. AS CHRONICLED BY, AND WITH THE PERSONAL MEMOIRS + OCCASSIONAL PHILOSOPHIZING OF THE AUTHOR, ONE STEPHEN J. McKEE”
This CENTAUR SEASONS post was written 40 years ago today.
NEXT GAME: at Spring Garden College, tonight
CENTAUR SEASON: 2-6
Pregame, on the bus to Spring Garden College in Philadelphia.
We just received our traditional going-away pep talk from Coach Compardo. John Compardo. He’s the athletic director. The subject of his talk was on the will to win:
“It’s 90 percent of the game, that will to win. Anything is possible if you want it.”
It’s a shame – the written word leaves out so much. It can’t capture the raspy, individualistic way that coach talks.
Coach Compardo is an amazing man. He’s fifty years old. He’s just received his doctorate in Phys. Ed. from Lehigh. He runs three miles a day (and because of it he’s probably in better shape than some of the guys on the team!). He is always getting abused by everybody. He wears a toupee. He’s hard of hearing. He has a tendency to be long-winded, and he sometimes gets overly wrapped up in the sport he is teaching in his classes.
Allentown College owes what sports program it has to him. He worked to uplift the athletic program at the school. Thanks to him we play a good schedule. All of the teams are unknown, or at least little-well-known, but the competition is just as fun as it is on the major college level.
Looking back on what I just wrote, I realize that I didn’t paint a very good picture of him. That, however, is not all that important anyway.
He will never be forgotten.
We owe Coach Compardo a great deal of thanx.
“Yo, Coach. I broke my ankle and leg in three places.”
“Now watch … Take a whirlpool … Feel that blood bringing back the energy. Then go run two-and-a-half miles. You got to do violence to your body to get results!”
JANUARY 30, 2013: COACH IS IN HIS NINETIES NOW AND STILL WITH US — ALL THOSE YEARS OF RUNNING AND IRRASCIBILITY CLEARLY HAVING HELD HIM IN FINE STEAD! ALAS, JUST YESTERDAY ON THE CENTAUR GRAPEVINE CAME WORD THAT MRS. COMPARDO — MARY JANE — DIED ON SUNDAY. COACH AND “MRS. C” WERE MARRIED FOR 60+ YEARS. TOMORROW’S CENTAUR SEASONS POST WILL BE DEDICATED TO THE BOTH OF THEM.
Spring Garden College, away: Coach Sabota has said that this is one of the five remaining nine games we have to play that he expects us to win. We better. We gotta. P.J. Brennan is very optimistic. He said that he thinks we are on the verge of putting it all together. As he said: “It is unfortunate that Spring Garden has scheduled us for January 30, 1973.”
Bob Heoffner didn’t come with us tonight. He was sick two nights ago + didn’t practice. But he did practice last night. Obviously he shouldn’t have. He didn’t get out of bed. All day.
Dave Glielmi has a pulled muscle in his back. It’s his own d—n fault. He was wrestling with T.B. last night and banged his back into the wall. Way to go, Dave. Last year, three days before the second York College game, Dave, because he was pledging a fraternity, had to do 120 sit-ups. He pulled all the muscles in his stomach. Way to go, Dave.
I feel like s—t, too. Went to bed at 11 last night, didn’t get to sleep until 3 a.m. Went to the nurse today, got a whole mess of pills and some cough medicine. Slept all afternoon. Still feel terrible, really weak, a worn-out feeling. But I intend to play tonight, nonetheless. Have to see how it goes when I get in. Just my luck. I really believe that I am just on the verge of getting my blue shirt back!
Enough. We’re almost there.
I hope that P.J.’s premonition is true.
NEXT GAME: Spring Garden College, tonight
1972-73 CENTAUR SEASON Schedule and Results:
12/1 — at Lehigh CCC — W/81-71 — 1-0
12-4 — at Northampton CCC — W/87-50 — 2-0
12-6 — EASTERN BAPTIST — L/73-75 — 2-1
12-12 — SPRING GARDEN — L/54-66 — 2-2
12-16 — PHILLY BIBLE — L/72-79 — 2-3
1-18 — at Baptist Bible — L/82-84 — 2-4
1-19 — WILMINGTON — L/56-71 — 2-5
1-25 — at Philly Pharmacy — L/56-71 — 2-6
1-30 — at Spring Garden
2-3 — at Messiah College
2-6 — at Wilmington
2-13 — RUTGERS, S. JERSEY
2-16 — LEHIGH CCC
2-20 — MESSIAH
2-22 — NORTHAMPTON CCC
2-24 — PHILLY PHARMACY
2-27 — BAPTIST BIBLE
Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS: A ‘memory blog’ of the basketball beginnings of a half-good, half-bad, all-new college team.
Once, I was a Centaur.
I played basketball for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pa. I was on four of the school’s first seven teams, was MVP senior year and in 1974 graduated in the fifth class.
My junior year I kept a diary: A History of the Events of the 1972-1973 Allentown College B-Ball Season, as Chronicled by, and With the Personal Memoirs + Occassional [sic] Philosophizing of the Author, One Stephen J. McKee. One-hundred-forty-five hand-writ pages. (Yes, I was an English major.)
But it occurs to me now: Were I today a “Bulldog” playing for “DeSales University” (both mascot and name changed in 2000), my private “History” would be not a diary but a blog.
So starting November 30 “…Personal Memoirs…” will be re-imagined as CENTAUR SEASONS
A blog before its time, posted 40 years after in real time.
Meanwhile, beginning on September 24, here at CENTAUR SEASONS the preseason has already tipped off, with stories, interviews and reminiscences of the people, the place and the purpose of those early years of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales.
Check back often. Sign up for CentaurSeasonAlerts. Email CENTAUR SEASONS to friends.
We were not a bad team, we Centaurs. We just weren’t very good. Winning was always the goal, if never exactly the point. How could it be, with victories so few?
Back then Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales was a couple of buildings in some cornfields. Our commitment to the school’s basketball program was far greater than was the school’s commitment us. So what? We got to play college ball – and paid for the privilege! In return, we got to be part of a team, wear the red and blue, be Centaurs. And we got to create a place that was, right then, as much concept as it was college, making itself up as we went along.
What we got was a once-in-a-life-time chance.
All we had to do was keep showing up -- next practice, next game, next season. And so we did.
Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS.×