‘MY RESPECT SOARED FOR THAT MAN’ — entry #6 from “A history of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-ball season …

Posted on Dec 05, 2012

… AS CHRONICLED BY, AND WITH THE PERSONAL MEMOIRS + OCCASSIONAL PHILOSOPHIZING OF THE AUTHOR, ONE STEPHEN J. McKEE”

THIS CENTAUR SEASONS POST WAS ORIGINALLY SCRIBBLED ON DECEMBER 5, 1972 at 10 p.m.

Previous game: Centaurs 87, Northampton Area CCC 50

Next game: Eastern Baptist College, tomorrow, home opener

CENTAUR SEASON: 2-0

Tomorrow Eastern College will probably start three guys as tall as I am and two little guards, one of whom can stick it from five feet inside the halfcourt line. John Cooper told me that I better not be hackin’!

Chris Cashman, senior co-captain, is doing room checks tonight.

Dennis Ramella is really down about the way he played last night. I know what he feels like, but I worry his goal is to get to his 1,000 points. I don’t know. I hope not. But – I DO know how he feels. I want to play. I haven’t really had the chance yet. Or, rather, I haven’t made good on the chance I have had.

Bobby Stormes messed up his left side last night against Northampton. That means his entire body is going to be put together with tape! I can’t see how he’ll make it through the season w/out some sort of injury that will put him out for a couple of weeks. He seems to have such little control over his body when he’s out on the court. It’s a wonder everything doesn’t snap off at the joints!

Bobby Hoeffner’s leg is hurting him pretty bad, as are John Cooper’s.  Everyone seems to be a little down physically.

Tomorrow I’ll make my 9 a.m. class, then go back to bed until about 12:30, then get up and read. I got so much of that to do – don’t really see how I’ll get it all in.

I hope Coach doesn’t talk too much before the game tomorrow.. He has that tendency. Before the Lehigh CCC game he went over every option on every play.

But I’ll never forget how he talked when he told us in preseason  that he’d cut three more players three weeks after he said he’d made the final cut. He stood before us and asked us to look around and notice that three people were no longer with us, a senior and two freshmen. Coach said when he told them they’d been cut he’d almost puked. He also said he still felt like puking. Later, as were dressing he said to E.J. (or manager) that he hoped his wife would come get him soon. E.J. asked why.  Coach said he wanted to get out of the gym and go get drunk.

[THIS PREVIOUS CENTAUR SEASONS POST TELLS THE STORY OF WHAT TRYING OUT FOR THE BASKETBALL TEAM WAS LIKE AT BRAND NEW A.C.]

My respect soared for that man. Not that I wanted to see those guys cut. But rather that he was able to make the decision. It certainly wasn’t an easy one. The disappointment for those three guys.

But I think he had made the right decision. Fifteen was just too big a number. Before the cut Coop and I alternated all the time and neither of us was getting enough prctice  time. Furthermore, we had to play agaiosnt one of the guys cut, and John and I must play each other to improve. Actually, I think that played a big part in Coach’s decision. Coach even said — and you bet ! heard it!– that I was the most improved player back from the summer and I needed to be playing against Coop all the time.

[WHY FOR THE 6-FOOT-8 -INCH ME, WHO WAS HOPING TO PROVE BY PLAYING AT A.C. THAT I SHOULD HAVE PLAYED IN HIGH SCHOOL, SUCH PRAISE FROM COACH SABOTA WAS SO IMPORTANT.]

So Coach made the decision. He said that with 15 players we hadn’t progressed to the level he felt we should have. He was right. The next week we had a scrimmages with Ursinus College and the Lehigh [University] freshman. At the end of that week we were totally caught up.

Enough for now. Dave my roomie is already in bed + Cash just told me to hit the rack. Tomorrow – Eastern: a Big W. Till then …

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 87, Northampton Area CC 50

NEXT GAME: Eastern Baptist College, day after tomorrow, home opener

1972-73 CENTAUR SEASON Schedule and Results:

DATE  OPPONENT                 RESULT                 RECORD

12/1      at Lehigh CCC              W/81-71                  1-0

12-4      at Northampton CCC    W/87-50                  2-0

12-6      EASTERN BAPTIST

12-13    SPRING GARDEN

12-16    PHILA. BIBLE

1-18      at Baptist Bible

1-19      WILMINGTON

1-25      at Phila. Pharmacy

1-30      at Spring Garden

2-3        at Messiah College

2-6        at Wilmington

2-13      RUTGERS, So. Jrsy

2-16      LEHIGH CCC

2-20      MESSIAH

2-22      N’HAMPTON CCC

2-24      PHILA. PHARM.

2-27      BAPTIST BIBLE

 

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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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