Bringing Back Memories

Saturday I made my way to Hiram, Ohio. A small community approximately the size of New Riegel, it just happens to have a college there. Hiram College is my alma mater. Homecoming was on tap for this day, an event that normally would not have signaled me to take the three hour drive.

I had not returned to campus in many years, but I wanted to go this time. The college is in the process of making improvements to the baseball field. They were going to rename the grounds for my former baseball coach. Fishel Field at Proverbs Park will now have a warning track, foul poles and a permanent outfield fence.

As I approached the town I decided to head to the bookstore to see if I could find some apparel. I did find a shirt that read Hiram Baseball and quickly put it on over top of my other one. It seemed appropriate for the day. I then made a circle around the campus – it had to take nearly a minute! – before heading to the athletic fields. There were some new buildings and a new roadway to the athletic complex. Another street that I remembered had been removed.

As I walked over to the football field I spotted a former teammate. He was one of two I would talk to on the day. I soon ran into Bill Proverbs and his wife Pat. I had lunch with them in Henderson, Nev. (where they have retired to) a year and a half ago. It was great to see both of them again.

The dedication of Proverbs Park would take place at halftime of the football game, so I turned my attention to the gridiron. Hiram was taking on Wooster and something became apparent as I watched these young athletes compete. These guys are playing for one reason and one reason only – the love of the game! The campus may have changed in the 45 years since I was there, but the reasons athletes play has not. These guys know there is little glory in what they are doing and certainly no future prospects, but that’s OK. It’s fun and they are enjoying the competition.

Hiram would lose to Wooster on this day 58-25. Similar scores could be found if you looked up the efforts of the sports teams at Hiram from the late 60’s and early 70’s when I was there. I did not play football, but did play basketball as well as baseball. We had more success on the diamond than the hard court, but it was fun. Playing for Coach Proverbs was indeed a pleasure.

The view from my seat suggests that the education I received from Hiram College was excellent. Playing athletics there was also very rewarding. Congratulations Coach for the honor bestowed upon you this weekend. It was richly deserved.