‘TOMORROW IS OUR FIRST GAME’ — entry #1 from “A history of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-Ball season, as chronicled by, and with the personal memoirs + occassional philosophizing of the author, one Stephen J. McKee…”

Posted on Nov 30, 2012

WRITTEN THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1972

Tomorrow is our first game – Lehigh County Community College – first of 17. We’ve practiced for six weeks now, having started on October 16. We have never beaten this team. We will tomorrow.

Sounds like perfect jock talk, doesn’t it? Well, I think we will. We should. They’re a two-year school, we a four. I think we are too good a team to be playing them. We must beat them if for no other reason to prove to ourselves that we have improved since I was a freshman. I’m a junior now. Not yet a senior (as Chris Cashman keeps reminding me – he, of course, is a senior, and co-captain, as is Dennis Ramella, senior, too).

Last Monday Coach told us to dedicate this game & Monday’s game [Northampton Area Community College] to ourselves. I suppose we should. We deserve it. We have worked hard. We’ve scrimmaged Ursinus College and the Lehigh Freshman team, the Allentown Business School and Allentown-Penn State – 4-0 so far. We are ready.

I’m not yet really getting nervous. I was for awhile while coach was giving his pep talk – never beat them and so on. But I’m not nervous now. I should be able to sleep. Hope so.

Might as well get some preliminaries out of the way now. There’s 12 on our team: 2 seniors, 2 juniors, 5 sophomores and 2 freshman. (I hope that’s 12 – It isn’t! Son of a gun, I forgot Flem. He’s a senior.)

Tomorrow I should start, along with Bobby Stormes (soph) , Bobby Hoeffner (soph), Dave Glielmi (soph) and Dennis Ramella (senior).

Sitting down at the start of the game – which really doesn’t matter to Coach, he plays a lot of guys, all 12 if he can – are John Cooper (junior), Flem (senior), Gary Caccitorre (soph), Joe Thompson (soph), P.J. Brennan (frosh), Tom Shirley (frosh).

I forgot somebody. Oh, yeah: Cash (senior). Chris Cashman. The first practice, very first, Cash fell and sprained his ankle – bad, real bad. He just rejoined the team on Monday. You gotta respect somebody like him. I remember last year I sprained my ankle – before the season even started – and I was fit to be tied. Couldn’t control myself, my lack of activity. Cash did. Came to every practice, too. Kept it all inside him, too! Some kind of guy. I really respect him for that. He really is the leader.

Well, let’s see. Anything else worth mentioning? Probably not.

Tomorrow is the first game. #1. Will we win or lose …

Till tomorrow. Doo-dah.

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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.

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