On Reminiscing

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Sometime during the first half of my teaching career, I recall a conversation at the lunch table when another teacher asked about the best years of life. Some answered about having young children. I noticed a puzzled look of one lady (with 2 boys) who said, “You are crazy. The best years were in college.!” Then I (with no kids) turned for a high-five. Her answer didn’t surprise me because she was a huge college sports fan – a loyal follower of her Purdue Boilermakers.

My time at Bowling Green State University on the flatlands of northwest Ohio forged many of my best friendships. Those days began in September 1971, and I know if I need them today, my fellow Falcon friends would be there for me.

My first college roommate (Steve) and I now live 850 miles (1368 km) apart. We were friends throughout our college days, best man at the other’s wedding, and even collaborate on this blog (using his photos).

One day this past December, Steve sent me several texts with images. He said he was going through his files (deleting and filing) and wondered if I wanted them. It stirred memories that made me smile, which established the reason for a blog post.

 

First all, look at that hair!

This had to be fall of our sophomore year (1972, 19 years old). Steve was either still a journalism major at the time or was taking a photography class (an important hobby to him then and now). He asked me if I could be the subject of a collage he had to do for a class, so sure – that’s what friends are for – and the image above was the final product.

Bill, another friend throughout college, is my chess opponent. After graduation, he returned to his hometown near Buffalo, New York. We stayed in touch, then I discovered that he died in a car accident. He was very active and respected in his community – such a deep lose for them. Bill was also one heck of an athlete!

Yes, I was a member of the Falcon Marching Band for 5 years. (The sun always shines on the Falcon Marching Band.) I served as a squad leader for 2 years, plus I ended up meeting my future wife through band.

Two years before she came along, I had a crush on Diane – (who I think is) the curly haired lady, who was a twirler in band. We never dated, and her time at BG was very short – and I don’t think I ever saw her again. I loved my time in marching band, and wrote about one of my unexpected band moments on this past post (2011).

 

Sandy is another long-time friend and one of the best I’ve ever known. We met through Dwain, (her cousin) a fellow band member who happened to live beside Steve and I our first year. Sandy and I are sitting in a basement food area in my quad. She was in the group of us who hung around together all the time in college, and have stayed in touch ever since. Steve actually married a friend of hers who is from the same hometown. Sandy lives about an hour from me, while Dwain and I are about 300 miles (483 km) apart.

This post was about reminiscing back to a wonderful time – all stimulated from a collection of photographs from the distant past. For me, college was about being away from home with a degree of independence – life on my own while still having a home for the holidays, breaks, and the summer. Yes, a good transition toward the next step in life. Cheers to long-term friendships.

Special thanks to Steve for initiating this post by simply sending me the image. Now it’s time to enjoy a fitting song by Queen.

On a Special Cap

I was still on summer break after my first year in college and working at a power plant during the 1972 Olympics. My sophomore year would not start until well into September, but an event of 40 years ago is etched into my memory with pride.

Many recall the Summer Olympics in Munich regarding an act of terror on Israeli athletics, but for me, it also was a golf cap worn by an upper classman who shared chemistry lecture time with me. I can’t recall ever speaking to him, but he is on the cover of our recent alumni magazine – and the accompanying article shows the cap.

Some readers around my age may remember this Olympic 800-meter race involving two sprints around the track; meanwhile others may appreciate the thrill. As a result, during a halftime show at home and away, we formed the Olympic torch and played the Olympic theme in his honor. This less-than-two-minute race is simply a wonderful memory. Does anyone remember this?

On an Unexpected Day

October 2, 1971 was a beautiful fall day on the Bowling Green State University campus. It was my freshman year and classes were probably in their third week, plus I had arrived early to audition for the Falcon Marching Band (which I made).

The football team was off to a surprising 2-0 start and the first league home game was on this day as the Broncos of Western Michigan came to the flatlands of northwest Ohio. The home Falcons dominated the Broncos that day (23-7), so expectations we sky-high near the end of the game because arch-rival, the “school up north” (Toledo) and their well-over 20 game winning streak would be coming to town soon.

As the game was nearing its end, we band members are readying ourselves to take the field for the traditional post-game concert. As I was racing onto the field, a student photographer unexpectedly approached me and asked me to raise my hands and horn in victory. He took a few pictures and that was the end of it.

My roommate was an avid photographer, thus told me that the BG News (the campus newspaper) archives all the pictures taken, and then sells them for a reasonable fee. Eventually, I found the picture and purchased it, along with a few others.

Move ahead about 18 months to spring 1973 (my sophomore year). It was a pleasant spring evening, so I decided to attend an outdoor concert performed by the symphonic band. Once there, I learned that the marching band’s recorded album of this season (1972) arrived. A friend showed me a copy and there it was – an artist had transformed the picture taken of me on that day into a drawing serving as the album cover.

Of course, some said “no way” as my glasses were removed, but I had the original as evidence – And to this day, that photograph resides inside that album cover.

On Inside a Trophy Case

I’ve been in Anderson Arena, on the Bowling Green State University campus, many times. Whether passing through its lobby to avoid cold, wind, and/or rain, attend a basketball game, concert, or hear a US President; it is a place dear to my past.

I was there the day President Ford made a campaign stop. Unfortunately, he had gone through several recent assassination attempts, yet those of us who can remember Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, may also recall the night when a popping of a camera flashbulb created temporary havoc. Yep, that was in Anderson Arena and I was there.

Anderson Arena is the place I attended concerts and saw acts as Yes (with Rick Wakeman), Jefferson Starship, Doobie Brothers (early in their career), and Bachmann-Turner Overdrive.

Who knows how many sporting events I attended at Anderson Arena, but as a sports venue, it’s far from luxurious … actually sparse … but a good place for fans. With fans near the court, The House that Roars was a tough place for opponents.

Earlier this month, Anderson Arena hosted its last Falcon basketball game as next season brings a new venue. Little did I know at the time, one of my lasting memories is seeing a partially deflated basketball in the lobby’s trophy case that is connected my life-after college in Cincinnati.

The date on the basketball was February 16, 1963, with the following score inscribed: Bowling Green 92, Loyola Chicago 75. Those Ramblers had come to town undefeated (21-0) and ranked #2 in the country – actually behind the two-time defending champion Cincinnati Bearcats, (where I earned my Masters and now attend sporting events).  At the end of the year, Loyola would have a late-game rally to defeat the Bearcats in the national championship game – which is also one of the earliest college basketball games from my childhood memory.

On that night in February of 1963 though, the night belonged to the Falcons, who were very good. They eventually won the MAC championship, and were part of the 26-team March Madness. They beat good teams, and lost to other good teams in close games. On that night, the Falcons never trailed, and were comfortable ahead most of the game … and the basketball from that night is in the trophy case.

Two Falcon legends gave this team an inside-outside threat. Howard Komives, the pure shooter, went on to a 10-year NBA career. Nate Thurmond, the inside rebounder and scorer, was not only an All-American, but had a long, outstanding NBA career, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Coach Harold Anderson is also in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Although Anderson Arena will now be quiet, yet the memories of the roars will live on. I will always remember that basketball in the trophy case, and know that I would have loved to be there on that night.

Outside picture courtesy of sharing through Flicker

Inside color picture courtesy of the Toledo Blade

Inside black and white picture used with permission from PepperGuy, Grant Cummings.

On the Glory of 25 and 50 Years Ago

I earned by undergrad degree at Bowling Green State University, thus a proud Falcon. The end of 2009 marks the end of celebrating two monumental sports moments from years gone by: the 1984 NCAA Hockey Championship and the 1959 NCAA Football Championship.

I imagine someone is scratching their head about the 1959 gridiron feat because references list Jim Brown-led Syracuse as national champions, but the Falcons were the NCAA College Division (Small College) champions. The team numbers are impressive: 9-0-0 and outscoring opponents 274-83 … and to think that rival Toledo scored 21 points while the defense held 6 opponents to single digits. Here are some notes about the personnel.

  • Coach Doyt Perry led the BG for 10 years with a .855 winning percentage (77-11-5) and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Bernie Casey (RB) was an All-American, the ninth pick of the NFL draft, and had a successful career with the 49ers and Rams
  • Jack Harbaugh (QB/DB), had a successful college coaching career and father to John and Jim
  • Ron Blackledge (TE/DE) had a successful coaching career and father of Todd
  • Larry Smith (WR), served as head coach at Tulane, Arizona, USC, and Missouri
  • Jim Young, assistant coach, served as head coach at Arizona, Purdue, and Army; member of College Football Hall of Fame
  • Dick Young, assistant coach, served as AD at BG, Oklahoma State, and Washington State
  • Dave McClain (QB) coached at Ball State

Here’s a short article about the team. By the way, the players above and below with hyperlinks are enshrined in the BGSU Hall of Fame.

Twenty-five years later (1984) the Falcon icers won the national championship. Although BG had a stellar record (31-7-2) and ranked #2 in the final poll, an OT loss to Michigan State in the league championship game sent BG to Boston to face the Terriers in two-game total-goal series. Having lost by 3 the first night, BG roared back to win by 4.

A rematch semi-final win over MSU then vaulted the Falcons into the finals. Trailing by 3 to Minnesota-Diluth in the final period, the Falcons roared back to tie with 1:47 left, and then eventually winning in the fourth overtime!

Here are some of the roster notables.

  • Garry Galley (D) – 18 years in the NHL
  • Dave Ellett (D) – 16 years in the NHL
  • Gino Cavallini (W) – 8 years in the NHL
  • Iain Duncan (W) – 4 years in the NHL
  • Todd Flichel (D) – 3 years in the NHL
  • John Samanski (C) – 11 years playing in Europe
  • George Roll (W) – Head coach at Clarkson
  • Jerry York (Head Coach) – Currently head coach at Boston College where he has also won a national championship

See the full roster
Read about the season