1967 – Rick Burns
“Bernie’s Bombers” Part 2
In March 1967, playing at the Clinton arena, the Clinton “B” Team got by Cazenovia in a squeaker. The highlight of that game was in the third period, when two “Caz” brothers, real goons, jumped my 5’ 3” frame and pulled my jersey over my head (yeah…just like the pros do), attempting to pummel me. It was their way of extracting revenge for the two goals I had just scored. What a joke. I curled up into a little ball and they never laid a hand on me, but it looked BAD! Fellow players repeatedly approached me asking if I was okay, but I was literally giggling. After all, I was unscathed, and we puny freshmen and sophomores slayed the Caz giants! We were headed to the championship game against New Hartford!
The championship game was also played at the Clinton Arena, and it was a thriller before a big crowd. However, in the game warm-up, I experienced a déjà-vu harkening back to the 1963 Buffalo pee-wee championship game. These were much bigger players, with many juniors and seniors, and the Spartans donned beautiful red jerseys with their big, fancy logo on the front, in contrast to our faded, hand-me-down, circa-1950s maroon jerseys, which had been washed so many times there was a pinkish cast. Again, like during our ’63 pee-wee championship bout, that droopy, “bad news bears” feeling hung over me.
Surprisingly, the game actually turned out to be very close. Our Clinton “B” Team played toe-to-toe with them. As the game progressed, there was palpable danger in the air that the Spartans could lose, and I distinctly recall their sense of panic. Again—how humiliating would that have been for them to lose to the Clinton “B” team, and how potentially joyous for us! But alas, the Spartans prevailed.
– Rick Burns