2012-02-17 / Letters

Remembers Bodenlos Fondly

Dear Editor,

There are not many men that you meet in life who leave a lasting impression and memories that stay with you for a lifetime. A man who was kind, tough and cared about his community. A man beloved by everyone he came in contact with. This man was Mal Bodenlos.

Mal treated all the children and teenagers with respect and expected the same from all of us. He was a father figure who not only told us he cared, he showed us too. By always being present at the baseball field on 17th Street and Seagirt Boulevard teaching us how to play the game the right way. He taught me to love and respect the game and myself especially while my parents weren’t around.

Whenever he would recommend a player to coach he would always tell the player, “don’t make me a liar.” He always had high expectations for any player he put on a team. Whenever it was time for batting practice you would hear Mal urging the hitter to “keep a level swing.” To this day and I’m 52 years old, I still swing a bat level. In the winter, Mal also ran the PAL center that was in the old RKO Theater on Beach 20th Street and Cornaga Avenue. There was a long staircase next to the theater that took you up to the gym where we played basketball and other games. Mal was always there for us. Whenever there was a problem, Mal settled it his way.

JAMES DIVINE SMITH

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