2002-06-01 / Columnists

Boyle-ing Points by Kevin Boyle

Knute Rockne In Our Midst

You couldn’t get too depressed by the Nets’ collapse against the Celtics last Saturday because things were put in perspective immediately following the game as NBC-Channel 4 replayed a good chunk of the Police-Fireman football game held the week before at Giants Stadium. If you were lucky enough to turn on the TV you saw Pudgie Walsh, legendary legend of the Mariners and FDNY football team giving the team a pre-game pep talk.

In a voice that sounds like football cleats on gravel, Pudgie delivered one of his classic fiery speeches to the firemen about to play the game. "There were three towers in New York on September 11th. Two of them came down that day, but the third tower is standing right here in this locker room! If you showed half of what you showed that day we’ll bring it (the trophy) home, baby!"

My nose is still bleeding from trying to charge through the wall in my house. There’s been talk in Hollywood forever about making a movie about Pudgie---they better get him to play himself because nobody could do Pudgie justice.

In the cops’ locker room, things were just as stirring as a team member called out the names of the police officers killed on 9-11.

The effort on the field in the game that followed matched the inspiration. The NYPD ultimately prevailed, winning the hard-fought battle, 10-0. To be sure, it was an emotionally charged afternoon---though not without a smile or two. If you were paying attention you saw a firefighter in a prehistoric uniform (come to think of it, the firefighter looked prehistoric, too) running up and down the field waving a big flag. Anybody know where Flip Mullen was that day? Any reason his kids are now calling him Flag Boy?

(Somebody else said, keep an eye on my car, I think I just saw Courtney writing parking tickets in the parking lot).

The Wave will hit the newsstands just a day or so after what will surely be a sad day for many. On May 30 an empty flag-draped stretcher was carried out of the World Trade Center site to mark the official end of the cleanup phase of the recovery. Many of our local guys have spent 12-hour shifts there recently lending hands and hope that the remains of victims---all victims----could somehow be recovered. Condolences to those who lost family and friends, thanks to others for your efforts.

**Boyle-ing Over: If this weren’t a family newspaper I might have included a photo of Kenny Whelan at the annual Magnet softball reunion. Every nook and cranny of his more or less amorphous torso was revealed as he donned a golden Magnet softball shirt circa 1980. How he squeezed into this shirt we don’t want to know, but it did inspire more cracks than a room full of plumbers.

Some thought he was wearing a Magnet rash guard. Someone wondered if that were Britney Spears playing first base. After the game, the FDNY’s Rescue 4 was called in so they could use the "jaws of life" to get him out of the shirt.

Speaking of plumbers, someone asked where Turtle McManus was. "He was here, but got paged. So he decided to go make six grand instead."

In the five minutes of the game I saw, there were more laughs than hits and there were plenty of hits.

***Heard on the boardwalk: "The Graybeards? Aren’t you the guys who drink beer and play basketball?" "Well, not necessarily in that order, though it may look that way."

As their basketball skills quickly erode---as if they ever had any skills to begin with--- The Graybeards seem content to hone more altruistic skills. These community minded guys have recently donated (and installed) seven new windows and some fix-up skills and clean-up muscle to a family whose house was damaged in a Christmas fire; more recently, nearly sixty Graybeards (including some GrayKids and Lady Clairols) spent a whole day sprucing up another home (paint, plumbing, gardening, electrical, windows---you name it); and they’ve made donations to scholarships in memory of Chris Lawler, Charlie Heeran, and Richie Allen. And there have been plenty of other good deeds that go unmentioned. The only thanks they expect is an occasional mention in this column---or the promise to keep them out of this column.

Anyway, kudos to the Beards. And now that the Graybeard basketball season has started, may we repeat what the sergeant used to say in Hill Street Blues after roll-call: Be careful out there!

Speaking of Graybeard hoops---there is a great likelihood that a Graybeard-East division will soon get started at St. Camillus. So expect more propaganda about how talented, how damn good people used to be.

***Congrats and best wishes to Mike Moran and his new bride. They took the marital plunge last Friday at St. Francis. Bride and bridesmaids were beautiful and the men in kilts weren’t so bad either. Flip Mullen offered them his best, may you be as happy as my wife has been. (I think Rita put a rolling pin on the side of his head soon after that).

***Support your local supporter. Papa’s Pizza, the new place on Beach 129th street, has sponsored no less than four teams in the upcoming Summer Classic and has also sponsored teams in the Rockaway Little League---that’s a couple thousand bucks worth of support. Some soccer team went in the other day after some big victory and were surprised with free pizza by Papa Pizza himself, Teddy Prakope. When the Graybeards were working on a house in the neighborhood, Pappa’s sent seven free pies at lunchtime. Hey, I bet the ladies who run the annual card party at St. Francis will be able to get more than a single pie donated to their event. And best of all, the pizza is great! Diets be damned---get your thin crust today! You might feel guilty about your diet but you’ll feel good knowing you’re supporting a store that gives back! They’ve even got an easy phone number 474-4700. Dial ‘em up!

***Speaking of giving back, staying involved, and all those things that make the Beach what it is…it’s great to see young men like Scooby Knott, Tommy Greene, and Ray McGrisken umpiring games at Rockaway Little League---and it was a great idea to get these guys involved.

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