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Archive for June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013 — A letter to a lost friend

Dear Jim:

It’s been nine years since you left us, and much has happened since the last time I wrote to you.

I first have to tell you: they’re playing field hockey in Trenton.

No, seriously. USA Field Hockey has been using grants and the presence of local collegiate teams to partner with organizations in under-served areas when it comes to the sport.

Major metropolitan areas like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore are part of the initiative as well. There are also mid-sized cities with significant minority populations such as Durham, N.C. and Hartford, Conn.

But Trenton, with a female teenage pregnancy rate which is somewhere around 60 percent, is going to be a tough market.

The partner for the Trenton YWCA is the Princeton University field hockey team, the current NCAA Division I champs. You’d really like Kristen Holmes-Winn, the team’s head coach. She is a genuinely caring and nice person who coaches up her players. They played so well last fall in winning the national championship.

The CVC went without a state championship in field hockey again this year, but there was more success in lacrosse. Allentown won a state sectional championship less than a decade after starting its varsity program. Mary Ellen McCarthy still does such a wonderful job with those kids. It also helps when your top scorer is one of the top five scorers in history, with 434 goals. You would have loved to have seen Alex Moore play.

And speaking of records, remember when Florence had the Carey sisters — starting with Gina in the late 80s? Her daughter managed to break the all-time record for goals. Lexi Smith is your kind of player: someone who doesn’t make the ball sing to be effective. She is a very hard worker; and she will have to be for Sharon Pfluger at The College of New Jersey this fall.

A lot of your friends are still around town, but Shannon Maruca is leaving WW-P North as of this fall. I hope her dad’s OK. I ran into him occasionally when I was expanding the site’s reach, but not as much anymore. He always has great field hockey stories: remember when he and I were in your hospital room when you were sick?

Me? My health is pretty good, but I want to be around for the next 25 years … celebrated our college reunion last week and I am motivated not only to be a better classmate, but to take care of myself so that I’ll get to the age of 72 for my 50th. I also renewed my promise to do as much good as possible while I am here.

The rest of my family is OK, though Mom died a couple of years ago. Dad is puttering along as well as a nonagenarian can.

Jim, hope you are having a nice chat with Perch up there. He’s very much missed on this side.

Yours in hockey,