On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 26, 2015 #525 A Tribute to…”Stork”
After further review…”Stork” was the nickname we labeled him in our early days on the playground. Those early days of friendship eventually numbered 76 years until recently, when he was called to the Lord. He is there now – I’m sure – with his wife and one of his sons. His given name was William Robert Boyd, and he generally answered to Bob, except for those who knew him as Stork. That nickname was appropriate; as a kid he was taller, skinny and ganglier than the rest of us.
Bob and I grew up together on the Washington Grammar School playground in San Gabriel, California. I lived just nine houses from that school. Bob lived a half mile away. He was eight and I nine when we first met up. While there were several of us who played on those school grounds (our “sandlot”) after school, weekends and holidays, Bob and I connected for a lifetime.
We always had the right-shaped ball, and whatever equipment we needed, since my dad was the playground director for the City of Alhambra. We played everything: two-hand touch football on a dirt playground; netless basketball on asphalt, and over-the-line softball on a roughly-constructed diamond.
We attended Alhambra High School, playing basketball and baseball there – he the starting center on our basketball T*E*A*M, and me the starting bench warmer. Bob was six-foot- five inches in the ninth grade (he was nearly that tall when he was eight). He couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds then – thus the Stork moniker. Bob’s junior (my senior) year our basketball team tied for the league championship, but lost in the CIF playoffs.
Bob was an All-American selection playing at the University of Southern California, and then becoming a high school and college basketball coach. 13 of his coaching years were spent at his alma mater, where he sent several players to the N.B.A. Indeed, hundreds of players under his tutelage have gone on to success in many different life pursuits.
This is being written as a tribute to him in respect for what he did for so many young men – not just with their athletic training, but for what he taught them about living a good life and helping others. They miss him and so do I.
Will you help others be better people the way my friend Stork did?
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