Jane DeWolf* wrote this description of the 1926 basketball season’s final game in a letter to a friend she had met at Horseneck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts. (Explanatory comments in parentheses have been added by Jack Flynn, Athletic Hall of Fame Chairman)
Aren’t you glad that Marjorie Hoar and I freed you from suspense by calling you up about the game? We just HAD to tell you about it.
To begin: Eddie (Steenstra) played better than we’ve ever seen him. Divine-SUPERMILIGOR-GEOUS!!! Mah soul! Barrington was so dead sure that they could beat us with Bob Hunt absent. Everybody (but us) bet on Barrington. I exhausted myself arguing about going to the game. None of my family wanted me to go because I was really sick and I didn’t have any voice but a husky whisper. BUT I went. Wild horses couldn’t have kept me from the deciding game with Barrington---the last game of the season and the last time I’d ever see Eddie or Terry (Martin) play.
We sat in the center, right opposite the scorer’s table and Mr. Sullivan (Jim Sullivan, Warren High coach). Mary Carson, the wow of a cheerleader, wasn’t there, so we got Ernest Hoar (Ernie later founded and managed the Warren Indian Band) who graduated last year and played jump center on the team, to lead us. It wasn’t any light, jolly matter as it generally is when Carson leads us. Ernie inspired us to air our lungs to their maximum capacity. Everybody just yelled. It can’t be described.
Our team looked rather sad as they trotted out in their little sweat shirts. We know that Terry had a big lump in his throat because his team was going down to defeat in their last game. Eddie put his arm around Terry’s neck and said, “It’s the last game, Terry, old boy,” and he squeezed his shoulders. Terry just nodded. That’s the way we all felt. You know how emotional we feel at basketball games. I was tired out before the game started.
When the whistle blew a cold shiver went up everybody’s back. Eddie was just bubbling with PEP. He could hardly wait to jump. His confidence spread over the team. Henry Fogg and Ed shook hands, and Eddie grinned so fraternally at him that Henry beamed back. Henry thought he could put it all over him, but if only you could have seen Eddie spring into the air and bat that ball; one of our team would catch it, chuck it to Eddie, and down the hall he would fight his way and slap the ball in. Why, the ball couldn’t help but go in when it had 400 fans and the team praying that it would. It was DETERMINATION on our team’s part that won the game for us. I felt like running out onto the court and hugging each and every one for his grit and perfect playing.
Ernie gave us a cheer that was voted as ideal: “Fight, Team, Fight, Fight, Fight!!” Really this cheer, when HOWLED out by us maniacs, did the team much good. Honest, when we yelled this cheer as the boys went back into play after time outs, they visibly looked more cheered up.
At the end of the first half Barrington was ahead. But were our boys sunk in the depths? No sirree. They seemed inspired with the power to beat Peck High. When the boys came out to begin the second half after a long rest, they looked determined, wistful, and rather happy. Incidentally Ed looked the handsomest we’d ever seen him---also, he had made all the baskets so far. Henry Fogg made believe that he was knocked out in the first couple of minutes of play. Can you imagine that big husky fellow being knocked out?
Then in the second half, as our team was playing desperately to score, Barrington got the ball down under their basket. No one noticed that Julio (Medeiros) had been left behind; everyone was watching the players naturally. Julio tried to drag himself up, but his ankle hurt too much. Jimma Hunt jumped up from his seat and ran onto the court and knelt down by Julio and rubbed his ankle. Gradually it dawned on us that Julio was really hurt, so George O’Brien (Referee?) called timeout. James E. (Sullivan) and Bob Ainsworth rushed from the scorer’s table to Julio. I wish you could have seen the concern on everyone’s face. We had no substitute forward as Eddie was playing center (in place of the absent Bob Hunt). If anything happened to Julio, all hope of winning the game would be lost. Coach Sullivan took his shoes and socks off – Julio’s, not his own – and expertly bandaged it up. Spasms of pain crossed Julio’s face, and we just hung on his decision. Sullivan said, “Ok, Julio?” He nodded and jumped up. We let out a mighty roar of joy. Ernie led us in a cheer for him and we almost split our threads.
Mi gosh, Terry almost had a fight with Elmer Fogg (Henry’s brother?). Elmer was wild because Terry guarded him carefully, and they got to yelling at each other and Elmer slapped at him. It may sound funny to you, but everybody’s nerves were on edge and they almost went into a clinch. When Eddie gallantly pushed himself between them and gently but firmly separated them by putting one fist under Elmer’s chin and the other under Terry’s. We could have stood up and saluted Eddie – the diplomat. At the (Baptist) Fellowship Sunday, I told Eddie about this noble deed and he just had to laugh, but he confidentially admitted to me that he was scared to death when he separated them.
Our team fought, fought!, fought!! Terry Martin and Joe Muccino guarded the best ever, thus holding back Barrington. At the end of the third quarter everyone was howling so that no one heard the bell ending the quarter. The teams kept on playing. Mr. Sullivan leaped to his feet, and with his arms going like windmills, yelled, “Stop, STOP!!” He looked so excited that I almost laughed; instead I cried. We were ahead at the end of the third quarter.
Terry’s face and arms were all dirty, especially his face. As they laid down tired out waiting for the fourth quarter, some amusing kids kept yelling, “Oh, Terry’s got a dirty face!” Eddie nudged Terry and said, “Dirty, dirty.” Terry laughed and said, “Just look at your own face, boy!” The whole team laughed, glad to relieve the tension.
In the fourth quarter we almost split our larynx tubes yelling, “FIGHT, FIGHT!” James E. sat just as tense with one clenched fist pounding his knee, and howling, “Fight, fight, fight, oh fight Boys, FIGHT!” It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him throw conservatism to the winds. Coaches are never supposed to get excited at all, but dear Mr. Sullivan, he’s human like the rest of us when our team was beating the much praised Barrington team.
When the bell danged – the end – we just fell onto the floor. WE HAD BEATEN PECK HIGH – score, 15 to 11. Eddie had played the finest game in his life. Sullivan was so happy that he almost hugged everybody. In fact, he looked so dazedly happy and proud! We all hugged and screeched at each other. Walter Steenstra and I fell into each other going out, and I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight. Walter had gotten out of a sick bed to come and neither of us had any voice at all. Actions speak louder than words, anyway.
Then we came home and talked and talked all at once for two hours. Sunday at the Fellowship Eddie told me that we never was happier than when, as Eddie put it, “Sullivan came into the dressing room, put his arms around me, and hugged me. Honest, Jane, I felt repaid for everything when he did that.”
I’m enclosing the perfect write-up of the game (not included here). We all had a copy of it in school today. Look at the headlines! Even Mr. Sullivan read it in Latin class and manifested evident satisfaction. I went into the Gazette office and thanked the Editor from the bottom of my heart. Gee whiz, I must stop.
Bob Hunt came back to school today. Everybody is out of school real sick or has an awful cough. First we all get to coughing. Then we laugh and then cough, even our friend Mr. Sullivan adds his bad cough to the chorus.
Keep your eye on the barll (an attempt at imitating an Irish accent for humorous effect?)
Warren High School Boys Basketball 1925-1926. Standing: Pete Vitecha, Richmond Maxwell, Bob Hunt, Manager Charles Healey, Joe Muccino, Joe McCann, Al Mercier. Seated: Julio Medeiros, Terry Martin, Art (Red) Kilroy, Eddie Steenstra.
*A member of the Warren High School Class of 1927, Jane later trained sled dogs that took Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s party to the South Pole in 1931-1933. Her father was Howard K. DeWolf of DeWolf’s Drugstore; one of his employees, Nick Delekta, eventually purchased the business and renamed it Delekta’s Pharmacy.
The game, which was captured by Warren 15-11, was played at Scenic Hall, later the headquarters of Circle Jacques Cartier and now the home of 2nd Story Theatre.
Jim Sullivan later became the principal of Bristol’s Guiteras Junior High, Bob Ainsworth taught and coached at Barrington High School, Eddie Steenstra moved on to the University of Maine, and Ernie Hoar, Red Kilroy and Terry Martin did more than enough to earn membership in the Warren Athletic Hall of Fame.
Picture from Hall of Fame Archives