Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Warrior" The Story...!

Hi Marty,I am a former "Warrior" and since I have been accused of going "Indian" on occasion, in my youth I will, I guess , fit the bill to come off the reserve as requested by one of your favourite correspondents M. Simard.

Normand's comments re the demolition of the reservoir and subsequent mention of sitting there and watching "The Warriors" play way back when was very coincidental because I was thinking of sending in an article on that subject .

We(The Warriors) will be celebrating ,this year, the 50th anniversary of our founding. Another patch on the sport quilt of Greenfield Park. Back in the late Winter of 1958 a bunch of us younger fellows were sitting around Robinson's Restaurant and the subject of what we were going to do that Summer came up. The GPAA(Greenfield Park Athletic Association), was responsible for organizing sports in the community but only for those 16 years or younger. As most of us had gone through the system but were now over the maximum age limit we began to wonder what we could do to maintain the level of participation that we had enjoyed until then. With few exceptions we had all played hockey ,softball, soccer and football and were not ready to retire.

Sometime during the discussion someone suggested that we form our own team and so The Warriors Athletic Club was born. We had excellent examples to draw from notably The Monarchs and The Maroons which both sponsored hockey and fastball teams. By the time the South Shore Fastball League season opened that summer we were registered paid up members and ready to play. At the time we didn't see any problems but in hindsight there were details such as a name, some organizational structure, bats and balls,uniforms(sweaters and caps) to purchase, league entry fees to pay and a coach, that could have proved daunting but back then we just went ahead and did what had to be done.

When we started play that summer of 1958 we were the youngest team in the league wjth an average age of 18. To the best of my knowledge for the six years that we were in existence we were always in the upper half of whatever league we were playing in and in 1960 lost the league championship to the Maroons 3 games to one.

In the Winter of 1958-59 and for a couple of years after that we also sponsored a broomball team. For a variety of reasons 1964 was the final year of operation and we followed the lead of our predecessors, both The Monarchs and The Maroons into the pages of Greenfield Park sport history. What has endured however is the kinship and cameradie that was developed over those six years and we have, since 2003 ,had a reunion every two years.

For the record the original members of the first team were Donnie Bremner, Len Davis(CF),Claude Desormeaux(dec)(P) Red Drummond(1B),Bobby Evans(dec)(P),George Graham(SS), George Hollingdrake(3B),John McConachie(RF),Bob Morley,John Normandeau(dec)(2B) Doug Paquette, Wally Robinson(C) and Bruce Thompson(LF). At other times over the six years of our existence , Fred Parrish Melvin Stone and Richard Tombs also played on the team.

Ken Crawley was also a member of "The Warriors" but he never played fastball ,only broomball. Our first coach was Mr. J. Graham( George's father) and he was succeeded by Cec Mitchell ,father of both Marilyn and Karen. The team statistician was Barbara Ridewood.

Normand wondered about photos etc. Yes our Jerseys were green trimmed with white, with an indian head as the team logo. Unfortunately I have, after much searching, been unable to come up with a coloured photo of the team and only have a grainy B&W. We also had our own team jackets which were Loden Green and while I still have the crest from my jacket the jacket itself is no longer in existence.I have included a photo of the crest along with some other photos that I have.

A funny thing about our jerseys and Jackets was that they were purchased from a company called Janna. The one thing I remember about the Janna Company was that the initial at the beginning of the name kept changing . One year it was M Janna and a year later it was R. Janna and it was only some years later that I found our that the name change was due to the fact that the enterprise was always just one step ahead of the bailiff,filing for bankruptcy one day and opening under another name the next. Their prices were always good though.

No Normand, we never did throw a game to the Legion . First as the young guys we always wanted to beat the older fellows,especially Jeff Willett,Herbie Holmes ,Bob Baverstock and in particular Bruce Pollin( in my estimation the dirtiest guy on the Legion team) but secondly because we had no need to get into The Legion as the Lapiniere Hotel was our unofficial clubhouse.

That ,I think ,pretty much covers all the bases,as it were, but for one final anecdote. It was either 1958 or '59 when one of the team members suggested that it would be great publicity if one of us would get a mohawk haircut to match our team logo. I finally offered to do so if it were worth my while. Five members of the team dared me and offered to pay me one dollar each if I did it. Shortly thereafter 5 or 6 of us were recruited by the people who ran the rides at the annual Dominion Day Tombola to help them dismantle the rides overnight for a dollar an hour. Six hours later with six bucks apiece in our jeans we decided to spend the day in Plattsburgh NY. While driving through downtown Plattsburgh I noticed a barbershop advertising mohawk cuts and so I went in and got clipped.

We returned to "The Park" later that day as we had a game that night. As was our routine the team rendezvoused at Robinson's and when everybody had arrived I took off my ball cap ,to model my new look and proceeded to collect my winnings. The net result of the whole issue was that after three weeks I was able to get the mohawk cut back to my usual brushcut, and after deducting the 90 cents it cost me for the haircut, I had a net gain of $4. 10. Not bad in 1958-59. JMcC

Thanks John

Marty, just a quick PS to my letter re Normand's question re the history of the reservoir. If memory serves "The Warriors" started to play in 1958 and we played on the ball diamond at the northeast corner of the main field where the football field is now for two maybe three years and then moved to the field by the reservoir. JMcC

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