Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clairton Bears - Russian Bear


The Labor Day weekend: As always, this is special in Clairton as it is the time when alumni from many graduating classes come together for a picnic in Clairton Park. This year will be even more special. Thursday, September 1 the Steelers play their last pre-game against Carolina. It is an away game and me spies tell me that a large group of CHS alums will watch the game at a sports bar on 51. Friday is the season opener for the Bears against the Washington Prexies. It will be alumni night and Red Bull will be there to film the game for a five part series about the Red Bull championship featuring the Bears as one of the finalists. A major network is supposed to air it on national TV this fall. The Bears, of course, came home with the silver – placing second out of 163 teams. If you live driving distance from the stadium, try to get to the gams. What a statement it would make for the alumni to fill the stands. Saturday is the annual multi-year (1935-1972) alumni picnic in Clairton Park.

Recent Bear accomplishments: Our school and community have shrunk in size since the steel industry evaporated, but the spirit is as strong as ever. The football team won two consecutive state championships and came in second out of 163 teams at the Red Bull 7 on 7 tournament in Dallas. When the team flew to Dallas for the competition it was the first plane ride for EVERY ONE of the players. Oh, did I mention that 1/3 of the championship team had grade point averages of A- or higher and another 1/3 had grade averages of B or better. This group of young men is special. They exude what a scholar athlete should be – great players, great students, great citizens!

Economic crisis: Nearly every state, including PA cut their budgets. That included the amount of money that goes to fund education. The Clairton School District took a huge hit and lost several employees. Budgets have been slashed to the bone, yet our Bears continue to perform at the highest level on and off the field. Now it is your turn to help. The team would not have been able to make the trip to Dallas without financial support. Key alumni dug deep into their pockets to help fund the trip but those bills now need to be paid. Any amount will help; $ 5 or $ 500 or anything between. Monies will be disbursed by the school and will be used to cover expenses that can no longer be covered by the budget.

Several players and coaches will be on hand to sign autographs at the reunion and tables will be set up where donations can be made. CHS and Notre Dame All American Jim Kelly will address the team. If you are unable to make it to the reunion you may still help by sending your tax-deductible donation to: Clairton Bears Athletic Academics Association, c/o Fran Geletko, 667 Sixth Street, Clairton, PA. 15025

You can follow the Bears on Facebook at “Clairton Bears Football” http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clairton-Bears-Football/203907057891 or by following super fan Beverly Bailey Alcorn on Facebook.

More CHS reflecting: Toni Dobos, after a fun but exhausting day in Kennywood with three generations of her family ponders, “What ever happened to that lunchtime treat Cho-cho?” I’m not sure but personally my favorite was the sticky buns that were baked right in the school cafeteria. My parents would give me a quarter to buy lunch but instead I’d buy a sticky bun and a bottle of chocolate milk for a dime and pocket the other 15 cents.

Phyllis Tansky remembers the rec room above the fire station where kids could go to play checkers, and other board games including caroms. Caroms, for you youngsters, were similar to billiards except instead of billiard balls small wooden rings were used and instead of a large felt table the surface was smooth and wooden. Caroms were played during the summer in most playgrounds available around from the football stadium to Woodland Terrace to Clairton Park and many other locations.

You’ve gotta watch those Ruskies: Bill King, CHS ’56, became a full university professor at Pitt. Dr. King professed, as professors do, eloquently both verbally in the classroom and on paper. He published an amazing 300+ academic papers, received lifetime achievement awards as well as being elected to serve as president of a professional society. All that would be more than enough for Dr. King to be recognized as expert in his field, but his most noted achievement came almost by default. He authored 17 books. How good was his material? Good enough to be stolen!

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second president of the Russian Federation and is currently the prime minister of Russia as well as commissioner of numerous other areas. He is a highly educated man with a master’s degree in economics. His dissertation focused on planning in the natural resources sector. It was brilliantly written during the 1990s with cutting edge data…. So cutting edge that it had been written 20 years earlier by none other than Clairton’s own Dr. Bill King! Seems that Putin lifted part of his dissertation from Dr. King and his co-author, another Pitt professor. One more example of a life of intrigue by a hometown resident. Dr. Bill King, Clairton boy whose work was plagiarized by Vladimir Putin. Since Vlad was in charge of the Parliament, called Duma in Russian, you might consider his Masters a Dubious Duma Degree.

Finally, Jim Gilchrist sent me the following quote. ""The past is never dead. It's not even past." -- William Faulkner (1897-1962). That says it all.

A little blogging music Maestro… how about “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams.

Dr. Forgot
email: drforgot@cox.net

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