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Sweet(s) Talk: Gold Medal Classic leftovers

Sweet(s) Talk. …

A few leftovers from my own memory, or other peoples’ memory in regards to the Gold Medal Classic in Hermansville. Here’s a few notable things that I remember from my many hours and days of time down there helping out Ray Bray as a scorekeeper or as the tournament ‘Collection Agency’ for entry fees: The most recent 40-and-over championship game. Myself and Patrick Bray Sr. were keeping score and I was running the clock; let’s just say to make a long story short, the scoring was at such a pace that Carney legend Paul Polfus said, “Sweets, that can’t be the score? Four baskets were made on each side and the score advanced two points on each side! Can’t you keep up?” I actually thought quick enough to answer him and said, “I’ll catch up Paul, Patrick is keeping up in the book.” Final score was 99-96; or was it?? …

Another memorable game for me on the scorers table, was Albert Galeazzi’s Thirsty Whale team in a Saturday morning Class E game. Ryan “Buckwheat” Bray was on his roster that year and was on a scoring roll and they were feeding him the ball that particular morning. Before anyone including me keeping the scorebook realized it, Bray had nearly 50 points in about the middle of the second half, and then he sprained his ankle pretty badly. The Whalers managed to win the game, but ‘Wheat’ was done for the game and probably the rest of the tournament. After limping to the locker room and taking a shower, Wheat came out and sat by me until the rest of the team showered and were ready to take him home. Galeazzi came over to help him out of the community club to their cars and said, “You’re not going home Buckwheat! I’ll carry you into the Whale and Paula will give you a bag of ice.” Way to be a team leader Boo. …

One last Gold Medals memory was provided by Wildwood Restaurant owner John Bellefieul. He remembers a Class A or B game back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, where his Wildwood team recruited a fresh out of high school Johnny Whitens of Hermansville to play with them. Whitens got hot and scored 63 points, without a three-point line. The game happened to be against the fabled Crystal Falls McNeil Oilers, managed and sponsored by U.P. Sports Hall of Famer Malcom McNeil. Bellefieul said after the tournament that year, someone gave him a copy of the Menominee County Journal and McNeil was quoted as saying, “That Whitens kid, he’s the Pistol Pete Maravich of Hermansville.”

May 30 would have been a busy day for this writer, with my first experience of covering U.P. Track Finals at Kingsford. But wait…. Kingsford Athletic Director Chris Hartman informed me that on top of the (as Burt Angeli called it), the “Longest day in Sports” at Flivver Field, Kingsford was set to host both a baseball and softball district on the same day. Three events in one day, where I can only be in one place at a time obviously. Hartman’s response when I asked him what on earth I was supposed to do to cover all of that in one day: “Clone yourself Sweets! I don’t know what else to tell you.” Well ladies and gentlemen, despite my weight gain over the winter and through the quarantine, even though there’s enough of me to go around, I am not an ameba. Thanks a lot Hartman! …

(Frank Rodman Photo) Former Gold Medal Classic Tournament Director, the late Raymond Bray poses with current Stephenson Strollers player and team manager Roger Grinsteiner.

Congratulations go out to my dear friend and fellow Brewers fan, Niagara resident Bruce St. Arnauld. The Big 10 Sports Bar and Wildhorse Saloon owner and his longtime girlfriend Betsy Shampo got married on May 24. When I gave him a jab about it being about time, Bruce responded as only he could in regards to my comment, “Well, I turn 64 pretty soon, it was getting to sound bad when at my age, I introduce Betsy as my girlfriend!” Well mission accomplished Bruce. He turned 64 on June 2. Happy Birthday as well my friend. …

Stay safe and healthy everyone! I have a feeling we’re not out of the woods yet with the coronavirus pandemic. …

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