The gym hums with a quiet echo as the last ball is bounced for the day. It’s a different place suddenly as the cheering and the shouting funnel out with the crowd.
The guy who put the balls out for the kids to play, turned on the scoreboard so the fans could hang on every point, is now the guy putting the balls back in the closet, sweeping up a bit before shutting the lights.
This kind of shift in sound and scene takes place on the ballfield, too. Moments after the last out is recorded the fields empty out. The noise moves to the parking lot where motors turn as the crowds and players head home. A few remain back at the fields. They want to leave, too. Call it a day. But there’s tidying up to do. They know if they don’t do it, it won’t get done.
These are the Parish Athletic Reps (PARs) or league presidents or the handful of coaches who do so much more than coach.
Same at the hockey rink and football field.
Fans, parents, and players relive the game on the way home paying no thought to the selfless efforts of those who made the game possible. During the clamor about the good plays and the bad, the lucky bounces, and---of course---the poor officiating, there’s no thought given to those who organized and arranged things; there’s no thought of those who made the excitement possible.
Not every time, but once in a while, the last shout of the day will come from a kid, "Thanks." And it’s the sound of that simple word which drowns out every complaint and is more indelible than any crowd noise. It’s the word that somehow makes it all worthwhile.
Two easy things come to mind. It’s easy to complain and it’s easy to forget to say thanks.
**There’ll be another American invasion in Europe this summer as the amazing Clare Droesch and a team of U.S. all-stars take their talents overseas. Clare, who is as nice as she is awesome, is expected to play in the Summer Classic on Beach 120 street.
**Okay, okay so I admit I watched the Knicks. I was happy that Riley lost as much as the Knicks won. I loved how the papers paid tribute to the embattled Patrick Ewing. They recited the usual "he’s such a warrior" stuff and neglected to tell you his whereabouts as Allan Houston put up the game winning shot. For those who missed it, Ewing stood near the top of the key watching the ball bounce around the rim. He had a clear lane to run in for a possible tap but he remained frozen. Reminds me of the time Charles Smith got all that grief when he couldn’t convert that last basket against the Bulls. Where was Ewing? He was watching Smith rebound his (Ewing’s) missed fadeaway.
**Basketball fans who watched the Jazz-Kings series were treated to games that reminded you how good the game used to be. John Stockton, old enough to play in the Graybeard division of the Summer Classic, schooled, absolutely schooled, NBA phenom Jason Williams in game five.
**Jimmy Puskuldjian (50 points in Scrabble) was last seen in Boyle-ing Points discovering abandoned stolen cars while kayaking in Jamaica bay. Not surprisingly, he just won "Most Honest Golfer" at the recent tourney held by the RPBDA. He had no competition.
**Good day New York and a local radio station reported the following: This guy Patrick McSomething-or-other rents a car and gets in an accident in which his girlfriend gets killed. The girl’s family is suing the rental company because the rental company should’ve known that Patrick was Irish and therefore likely to drink and drive.
I think somebody should sue the lawyer’s parents. They, no doubt, pushed him to become a lawyer therefore they knew he’d probably file frivolous lawsuits.
**I wasn’t going to mention Lew Simon but since he’s been getting so hammered in Howie’s column I thought I’d offer some advice. Come clean, say you messed up with that phony teacher certificate stuff and all (at least in this column) will be forgiven. Do a Clinton, Lew, Put it in your column. In won’t hurt so bad, Norman Silvertongue writes it for you anyway. Do it. Then you’ll be a legit candidate for the City Council. (Frankly, The Wave would love to have a true Rockaway advocate run).
When Dorothy Dunne filled in for Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, she asked Wave editor to be her guest. It was a lifelong dream of Boyle who’s often said Dorothy Dunne is his favorite columnist.