Ahh, the memories

By on March 1, 2012

As my wife will verify, I don’t always have the best memory when it comes to getting things done on a honey-do list.

But for whatever reason, I still remember a conversation that I had years ago with Mike Hess, the father of former Warwick field hockey players Heather and Shannon Hess. The topic was the Hershey Bears and watching games in the Giant Center as opposed to what people affectionately call, ‘The Old Barn’ — Hersheypark Arena.

Mike’s comment to me was, "I wish they still played in the Arena," and I still recall thinking, ‘Wow, I’m glad that I’m not the only one."

Now, there are probably a few people who will read this and shake their heads in disbelief, my friends/colleagues Todd Ruth and Andy Fasnacht among them. And while I agree with them that the hard wooden seats and lack of leg room aren’t designed for comfort, there’s a certain charm about the Arena that is hard to replace. Regardless of how many times I walk into that place, it always brings back a lot of fond memories.

Last Saturday, I gained a few more … like watching Warwick junior heavyweight Tom Devenney do a fist pump after clinching a berth in the State Wrestling Championships and hug his parents Jim and Ruth near the hockey rink’s side boards, and receive a lot of well wishes from friends. You definitely had to feel good for him and what he accomplished.

Then, after talking to Warwick coach Ned Bushong, I got that same sense from him.

"He works hard, he’s dedicated … the whole works," Bushong remarked. "Everything that you want."

Last year, he missed getting to Districts by a matter of seconds after dropping a heartbreaker in the Sectional third-place bout. Last weekend, he did more than just get his feet wet at Districts. He got on a roll at the right time, and if you don’t know the value of that (as much as it pains me to say it), just ask the St. Louis Cardinals or the New York football Giants.

Inevitably, fair or not, we face the same question every time Warwick gets a State wrestling qualifier. Is this the one that finally brings home a State gold for the Warriors?

The big boards that hang in the Warwick wrestling room are filled with the names of former stars who have won Sectional and District championships. The Warriors also have a long history of L-L League champs and 100-win wrestlers.

The one thing they don’t have yet … is a State champion.

While talking with Tom in a Hersheypark Arena tunnel on Saturday afternoon, he admitted to me that he will probably be a bit nervous over these next two weeks leading up to the State Championships.

But one of the other things that I took from our conversation is that he won’t be intimidated when he faces the best of the best next Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Giant Center. Tom talked about the reputation that District Three has on the wrestling mats and about Susquehanna Township’s Averee Robinson and Chambersburg’s Dawson Peck winning the State gold and silver medals in the heavyweight brackets last year. He noted that his confidence-level has increased knowing he can compete with the same guys that Robinson and Peck have wrestled and that he wouldn’t be surprised if District Three comes away with the State Triple-A 285-pound championship again.

I hope he’s right.

And if it’s Devenney who takes the honors, how great would those memories be? Bruce Morgan

Record Express

Sports Editor More MEMORIES, page B-4

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