Of Tomas Thompson and daughter, the Soquel ‘Psychos,’ Hadyn King and Eichhorn’s impressions



By John Murphy

Last week I profiled Jordan Thompson of The Harker School girls basketball. At last glance the junior was averaging 27 points per game.

It’s always kind of cool but sobering to realize I have covered both a current prep athlete and their parent. Back in the 1980s, as sports editor of the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, I covered Jordan’s father Tomas Thompson, the Harker coach, who starred at Soquel  back then.

Tomas Thompson was the son of Rolling Hills Middle School of Watsonville teacher/athletic director Tom Thompson whose gym now bears his name. Tomas was known for his high-arching, long-range shots in an era shortly after the 3-point shot was established. Soquel had a good team then and a large following of rowdy students who I dubbed the “Soquel Psychos” — this slightly upset Aptos coach Bill Warmerdam who thought I was waking a sleeping giant and its fans in the Knights, so to speak.

Warmer would unpredictably get upset by weird stuff like that on occasion, such as when I previewed the Jefferson-Daly City High team before it played Aptos at Skyline College in a big playoff game and he thought I built up Jeff too much. I believe the Indians (as they were called then) had Tyreese Knox in their lineup. Jeff won that game, by the way. Warmerdam was a truly great coach, though, and probably the most unique guy I ever covered. His battles with Santa Cruz coach Pete Newell Jr. were epic. Newell was just as great of a coach in his own way and he managed one feat Warmer did not, won a state title.

There have been numerous father/son or father/daughter combos I have covered over the years and I’m reminded by it after seeing Jim Seimas’ tweet that Archbishop Mitty’s Hadyn King has committed to USF for baseball. I covered King’s father and uncle (who are twins) when they played at Aptos under coach Paul Barrington. Matt and Marc King were those Mariner stars but I cannot recall which one is Hadyn’s father and which is his uncle; seems like I’ve spoken to both of them at Mitty games.

Other father/son or father/daughter combos I’ve covered:

Mark Eichhorn (Watsonville baseball)/David Eichhorn (Aptos baseball).

Glenallen Hill (Santa Cruz multi-sports)/Heleyna Hill (Mitty girls basketball)

Blair Calhoun (Serra basketball)/Siobahn Calhoun (Half Moon Bay girls basketball and track and field).

Stan Claunch (North Monterey County football)/Troy Claunch (Vacaville football and baseball).

I didn’t cover pitcher Mark Eichhorn in high school, but I wrote the story for the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian when he got drafted out of Cabrillo College. I also was there for his Bay Area major league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Oakland Athletics. Years later, after Eichhorn picked up a few World Series rings with the Jays, I covered his son David Eichhorn for the San Bernardino Sun in the Little League Western Regionals in San Bernardino (won by Aptos). Mark was an assistant coach on that team who used to keep the all-stars loose in the dugout by doing his vast array of comical impressions.

Ah, the memories. Good times.






Peixoto’s star continues to rise; earns Olympic Club’s top honor

Former Watsonville resident Emmett Peixoto has been named the Olympic Club's "Olympian of the Year."

Former Watsonville resident Emmett Peixoto has been named the Olympic Club’s “Olympian of the Year.”

By John Murphy 

Former long-time Watsonville resident Emmett Peixoto has been named the Olympic Club of San Francisco’s “Olympian of the Year.”

Peixoto, a world-class handball player and the prestigious club’s handball coach and instructor, was the first unanimous pick in club history. The club has 10,000 members. He is also featured on the cover of this month’s Olympic Club magazine.

Besides his handball ability, Peixoto (who once attended both Monte Vista Christian and Watsonville high schools) has a degree in philosophy from Cal and is a recording artist. He and wife Jessica live in San Francisco.

“I’m so proud of my husband,” Jessica said via social media.

Peixoto’s parents, Marjorie and Jimmy, still live in Watsonville. Jimmy, a farmer, taught Emmett to play handball at the Watsonville YMCA. A 2014 Prep2Prep account of Emmett Peixoto’s uplifting life story can be found HERE.

Travelogue: HMB to Santa Cruz and back again

The "mean streets" of Half Moon Bay -- that's my Grand Am there, by the way.

The “mean streets” of Half Moon Bay — that’s my Grand Am there, by the way.

By John Murphy

As a bonus to the breathless reports I usually provide here of prep athletes committing to colleges and coaches resigning to (let’s hear it altogether, folks) “spend more time with my family” I will now present the first and possibly last PrepCat travelogue.

Sunday I took off from my perpetually fogged-in San Bruno digs for Santa Cruz by way of Half Moon Bay to interview a few subjects for an article. Along for the ride were Bruce Springsteen (via Sirius radio) and Eddie Stansberry’s basketball awards.

(By way of explanation, I left the Prep2Prep office a few weeks ago with the goal of delivering Eddie’s basketball awards to him. Since we both live in San Bruno, I thought it would be an easy task. Instead, it’s been akin to solving a Rubik’s Cube, but I’m confident it will happen soon).

As mentioned, my first stop was the beautiful Coastline hamlet of Half Moon Bay which is not so much a city but a post card waiting to happen. I’m there pretty often and actually see tourists from foreign countries wandering Main Street, taking snapshots and checking out the shops. I posted a photo on Facebook on this fine day of the peaceful main drag with a comment like “Do I dare travel the mean streets HMB without my firearm?” Not many got my irony, but oh well. .

My personal assistnt Jeevs took this photo of Iron Men contestants as I was busy enough driving and drinking coffee.

My personal assistant Jeevs  took this photo of Iron Men contestants as I was busy enough driving and drinking coffee.

Now properly caffeinated, we headed for Highway 1 and the hour-long trek to Surf City that is so picturesque that I really shouldn’t be paid for making it, except that I was.  Along the way we eschewed Pescadero and the chance to pick up the world’s greatest artichoke-filled french bread to keep tooling down Highway 1 as Bruce belted out “Adam Raised a Cain.”

Before long I found myself in the middle of some huge Iron Man bicycle fest with riders in brightly colored spandex to my right and cars whisking by just to my left. Unbelievable. Eager to maintain my spotless driving record and to avoid a headline in the Half Moon Bay Review blaring “Sportswriter Runs Over Six Iron Men Contestants” I played it safe and cruised right down the middle of the road.

After managing to not harm any of the Iron Men (or women), The Boss, Eddie’s awards and I pulled into  a Santa Cruz McDonald’s so I could get my bearings and an Egg McMuffin. My trusty global positioning device revealed I still had 15 minutes to go to arrive at the well-appointed home of Marge Peck, the subject of my interview.

The uber-gracious Marge Peck and a rendering of her late son Randy.  Worth the drive.

The uber-gracious and lovely Marge Peck and a rendering of her late son Randy. Worth the drive.

Well, I finally made it to  Marge’s and met her and and granddaughter Jennifer and we leafed through old scrapbooks and I examined mementos of her late son Randy’s magnificent athletic career and we had a nice chat. In all seriousness, I appreciate their graciousness and generosity in letting me into their home and sharing their story. .

Then it was off to Pizza My Heart in Capitola because, frankly, the fat content and calories of the Egg McMuffin  weren’t quite high enough for me. That mission accomplished, it was time to head home.

Well, it doesn’t get much better than traveling up Highway 1 to the Bay Area with an endless supply of New York Pizza at your disposal and Springsteen pouring out of the car stereo speakers, and so that’s what I did.

Ano Nuevo, Waddell Creek, Montara and San Gregorio — I left them all in my wake. But the one place I had to stop and photograph was the Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero.  Yes, it’s breathtaking there and as scenic as all get-out, so I stopped to take some nice  photos, which is really just the definition of picking low-hanging fruit. .

Twenty minutes later, I was off again. Headed back to the familiar fog of San Bruno where I am still shaking my head at the fun of this job and searching for the talented Riordan hoopster, Eddie Stansberry. If you see him, tell him I have his sports awards.

John Murphy is the Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. Reach him at jmurphy@prep2prep.com and follow him on Twitter at @PrepCat.      

Pigeon Point Lighthouse ... next to artichoke-filled french bread, the highlight of Pescadero.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse … next to artichoke-filled french bread, the highlight of Pescadero.



Scotts Valley’s Spence, kin to Soquel High athletic royalty, seeks one more chance at glory

Tanner Spence at Levi's

SANTA CRUZ, CA — There was nothing Scotts Valley two-way star Tanner Spence wanted more in this world than to play Watsonville in the Friday Night Lights event this weekend at Levi’s Stadium.

“You have no idea,” said Jennifer Spence, the teen’s mother. “He’s devastated. He’s a huge 49er fan No. 1. He got to go up there for media day and he was so excited because the Super Bowl will be played there. His goal was that he wanted to catch a touchdown at Levi’s Stadium.”

Spence broke his foot in the Falcons’ season-opening loss to Los Banos. It was the third consecutive season the 6-foot-7 standout suffered an early season injury and missed significant playing time — though he returned in time to earn the SCCAL Junior of the Year last season.

Marge Peck with a painting of her late son Randy Peck, the former Soquel High and Utah football star.  --Photo by John Murphy

Marge Peck with a painting of her late son Randy Peck, the former Soquel High and Utah football star.
–Photos by John Murphy

This year Spence is hoping to recover in time to play the last few games of the league season and then compete in the playoffs.

Crestfallen over the star’s injury have been not only his immediate family, but great grandmother Marge Peck, a resident of the Santa Cruz Gardens area whose late son Randy Peck was one of the greatest athletes in Santa Cruz County history. In fact, the four-sport Knight star had the Soquel gym named after him in 2012.


Marge Peck has known sadness far greater than the impact of a sports injury. She recalls March 15, 1970 like it was yesterday as her beloved son Randy was killed in the early morning hours along with one other in a single-car accident in Provo, Utah. A friend of Peck’s lost control of his vehicle on a slick road and wrapped it around a power pole. Peck, 19, and friend Heidi Kratzer, 18, of San Marino lost their lives and four others were injured.

It was a devastating blow to the Peck family, the Soquel High community and the University of Utah football program. Peck had just finished starring at quarterback for the Utah freshman football team, leading it to its first unbeaten season in 14 years.

Jennifer Spence, mother of Tanner, said Randy Peck had been picked up on a snowy night by a friend and told he could get a lift back to his dorm. Some have speculated — though it was never proven — the driver was impaired. What is known is the star quarterback was thrown out one window and the young woman exited out the back window. Both were dead on impact.

“He was only 19 years old,” Jennifer said. “It was his first year of college. My grandma got a call in the middle of the night. It was horrible – to this day she hasn’t gotten over it.”

Seated on a couch in her well-appointed Santa Cruz Gardens home, Marge appeared still saddened by the tragedy but did not shed a tear as she leafed through old scrapbooks. The yellowed news clips of the Santa Cruz Sentinel tell the story of Randy Peck, the All-American kid who succeeded wildly in every sport he tried and then winged his way off to Utah for the next chapter of his promising life.

The San Francisco Examiner reported Utah coach Bill Meek was “extremely happy” Peck had chosen Utah and thought the Soquel High star was as talented a prospect as former Dallas Cowboys’ great Don Meredith, a player Meek had coached.

Peck was also selected to play in the North-South Shrine football game in Los Angeles on July 23. Marge still recalls that “a quarterback from the peninsula had a father affiliated with the 49ers” and they let that QB play while relegating her son to defense. She may be right — the father of Serra quarterback Jesse Freitas Jr. was on one of the early San Francisco 49ers’ teams. Freitas did start for the North in that game and threw two touchdown passes to his Serra High teammate, Tom Scott.

No matter, Peck excelled at Utah, leading the frosh team to its memorable season. Then tragedy struck.

It was huge,” Jennifer said of the accident. “It’s something all of us still talk about. We don’t let anybody get behind a wheel who’s had one sip of alcohol. It’s changed our family a lot and is always in the back of our minds.

“It happened 45 years ago, but I know my grandma thinks about it on a daily basis. Randy had a huge group of friends and they still come over to talk about my uncle.”


Tanner Spence, the great nephew of Randy Peck, has followed in his footsteps as a great athlete. Before Spence’s unfortunate injury against Los Banos, Scotts Valley coach Louie Walters touted the receiver/defensive end as a sure-fire, future major college player.

“Tanner brings a lot to the table as a player,” Walters said. “He was Junior of the Year last year in the SCCAL, comes from a very athletic family and being a 6-7 receiver that has great hands and can run is a huge advantage at the high school level.”

Spence played the entire game against Los Banos, not knowing he had broken his foot. He had a 30-yard scoring catch as well as a 53-yard scoring reception negated by a penalty. On defense he nabbed one interception and had another pick wiped out by a roughing-the-passer call.

Throughout the game he wore his trademark No. 15, the same number favored by Randy Peck. Tanner’s younger brother Carson also rocks the No. 15 on the football field, as does their basketball-playing kid sister, Taylor.

Regarding her son’s injury, Jennifer said: “He was in total shock. He said somebody stepped on his foot and he thought it was just bruised. Later he took his shoe off and all he saw was a bruise. He had no idea it was broken. There’s no way anyone could have that kind of luck three years in a row (he suffered a torn meniscus in each knee the previous two years).

Walters said Spence often looks like a “man-among-boys” and that certainly appears to be the case during last year’s game against Harbor.

The towering Spence is seen in Hudl.com highlights terrorizing the Pirates with three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion catch and an interception return for a score that was called back by one of those dreaded penalties. On film against the Pirates, Spence appears to be playing against Pop Warner kids, out-running them with ease or tossing them aside as if they were rag dolls.


But playing an SCCAL bottom feeder in a non-descript game is one thing, showcasing yourself in the San Francisco 49ers’ new $1.3 billion stadium where Super Bowl 50 will be played is another. Spence was amped to play against Watsonville up in Santa Clara until Dame Fate frowned upon him.

Said the Scotts Valley star before the season of playing at Levi’s: “I’m excited. Not too many kids get to play there. There are only six teams (that will be there), so it’s pretty cool to be selected as one of them.”

While the injury is a setback, Spence probably has some football ahead of him this season, unlike his great uncle so many years ago when he met his demise. He’s been to his great grandmother’s and heard all of the old stories and seen the scrapbooks and the painting of Randy Peck on the wall. He’s aware of the legacy.

Tall and handsome and sporting a 3.6 grade point average, Spence has much going for him, despite the injury bug that keeps biting him. He’s determined to learn from the past and rise above it all.

“I’ve heard the stories and it’s tough,” he said. “I guess (Randy) got into a car with someone who was drunk, but he didn’t know it. What happened to him shows how valuable life can be and how you need to take care of your opportunities.”

Mom Jennifer, watching her grandmother sift through the old photos and articles, remains hopeful her son can recover quickly and still have one last stab at the brass ring and maybe make a run at a college scholarship.

“He recovered quickly from his two knee surgeries before,” she said. “I think there will be a silver lining because he’s a great kid and he’s worked hard and there’s got to be a bigger plan.”

John Murphy is the Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. Contact him at jmurphy@prep2prep.com and follow on Twitter @PrepCat 


Ten to be inducted into Peninsula Sports HOF

Pinewood girls’ basketball coach Ernest “Doc” Scheppler is among the 10 who will be inducted into the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame on July 24 in San Mateo. More information on the induction: 650-348-7600.

Here are all of the inductees:

— Dave and Mark Schultz: The Palo Alto High brothers both took gold at the 1984 Olympics, Dave Schultz was murdered by John DuPont in 1996.

— Peter Ueberroth: Ueberroth was the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The Fremont High grad was also the commissioner of Major League Baseball.

— Ernest “Doc” Scheppler: Has coached Pinewood to six girls’ state basketball champiosnhips. Was a star player at Burlingame High.

—  Ryan Boschetti: Played at Carlmont and College of San Mateo and was a lineman in the NFL.

— Bill Daskarolis: Has coached track and field at Aragon for 50 years.

— Debbie Dyson: Starred in basketball at Hillsdale and Santa Clara University.

— Chi Johnson: Won a state high jump title at Menlo-Atherton before competing at Cal.

— Craig Schoof: Achieved fame as a baseball coach and athletic director at Menlo School, then headed south to take over a program in Southern California.

— Sara Fulp Allen: Starred in wrestling at Half Moon Bay and Menlo College.




Playground daze

John Xerogeanes survived my playground to become a surgeon in Atlanta and the Georgia Tech team doctor.

John Xerogeanes survived my playground to become a surgeon in Atlanta and the Georgia Tech team doctor.

By John Murphy 

The other day the tune “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones floated through my car stereo speakers and I was immediately transported to 1978 or so, back when I was a playground leader for the San Bruno Recreation Department.

My boss was one Bill Frisbie, an appropriate name for a rec supervisor, I think.

Yeah, “Under My Thumb” is what 4-5 of my playground kids were rocking out to returning from a Raiders vs. Steelers exhibition game at Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium. The kids couldn’t have been more delighted as they rather humorously made the “thumbs-up” sign to bemused drivers while singing along with Mick and the lads.

I was a rec leader for four years in San Bruno and it’s a push who the bigger kid was, me or the children in my charge. Frisbie had the unenviable task of keeping me under wraps, including making sure I didn’t drive the kids anywhere.  Now that the statute of limitations has passed I can reveal that I broke that rule on more than a few occasions, including attending that NFL game in Berkeley. Those were back in the days when 10-year-old kids and rec leaders could afford pro football tickets. Now, they probably couldn’t even buy a soda at Levi’s Stadium.

One fund-raiser on my playground was movie day. I’d trek to Candlestick or Oakland Raiders’ headquarters with a car-load of kids and collect highlight films. This was before the days of DVDs or even VCRs. Then I’d show the films to the kids at 25 cents a head and sell them day-old donuts donated by Rolling Pin and sell Kool Aid by the cup. It was great fun.

On one trip to Candlestick to pick up some highlights, my kids stormed the field and tore around the bases. Then they invaded the Giants’ dugout where, as I later learned, they found some chewing tobacco. Hopefully it didn’t make them too sick.

I had some good kids on playground. Adam Battani is now a lawyer in Texas, John Xerogeanes is a surgeon in Atlanta and Tim Bowler is a teacher at Menlo-Atherton – none of these success stories due to me. Back then I was busy leading crazy events like the humongous, three-playground “Capture the Flag” game that attracted 100 kids to John Muir School.

On that infamous day a kid from nearby Crestmoor Elementary broke his arm during the game and got on his bike and rode home without telling anybody! There was no complaint from a parent, no reprimand for me and no lawsuit. That wouldn’t happen today, nor would half the stuff we used to do back in the day. That’s both good and a little sad – as my old playground kids would probably agree.


Covering the state meet, 1978 style


By John Murphy 

The state track meet has been going on for the past two days in Clovis and I’ve been following the results on Twitter.

One of the early state meets I covered was in 1978 at Bakersfield’s Memorial Stadium. Back then, of course, nobody was tweeting race-by-race results.

I was sent to B-Town by the late San Mateo Times prep editor Chris Stave, who was a top-notch reporter but not a track and field honk. That’s how I wound up in the Memorial Stadium press box with guys like San Jose Mercury prep editor Rick Vacek and probably the late Merv Harris of the SF Examiner. .

I don’t recall much of the meet, except that Vacek, as the event was concluding, spent the better part of an hour laboriously typing the agate results.  Then shortly after he sent the information back to the home office, he was told the Associated Press had just moved it all! This prompted some off-color language and banging on the table from Vacek. As a smart-aleck college kid, I found this all quite entertaining.

After repairing to some watering hole with the other scribes after the event, I trudged back to my motel room to bang out my story on a portable typewriter (remember, it was 1978). Since The Times was an afternoon paper, I had to write the story that night and then dictate it  to some poor soul (probably Dick Draper) up in San Mateo early the next morning. I’m sure I probably relayed to Draper the unfortunate timing of Mr. Vacek the night before, prompting much laughter.

Just what sort of contraption Vacek used to transmit his story, I don’t recall … it wasn’t a Radio Shack TRS-80 because those hadn’t been invented yet.  I think my device of choice was a Royal typewriter. Not too sexy, but it got the job done.


MURPH’S PLACE: Confessions of an SF Warriors’ fan



By John Murphy

The Golden State Warriors begin play in the NBA finals Thursday night against the invading Cleveland Cavaliers and I’m excited. Sort of.

Since the Warriors moved across the bay to Oakland I’ve been ambivalent about the “Dubs” as people like to call them now. I’ve never disliked them, but didn’t root for them in later years like when I was a kid and they were in San Francisco.

As a pre-teen I was heavily into the team. Once they lost a playoff game to the Lakers by like 69 points and I actually cried. Real tears!

But the current Warriors paced by Steph Curry are difficult for anyone outside Cleveland not to like. They’re talented, deep and well-coached and seem to be on a fast track to the NBA title, like the 1975 Warriors. That was a team that included Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, Clifford Ray, Phil Smith, Derrek Dickey and the rest.

I was attending Skyline College then and after the Warriors swept the Washington Bullets 4-0 in the finals, I went with a couple of friends to San Francisco International to see the team return from D.C. There were thousands of fans on the tarmac at SFO and the large throng was cordoned off from the landing strip by a rope. Everyone waited eagerly for the conquering heroes to return and, when they did, they ascended some steps to a wooden platform where everyone cheered them.

In an inspired moment, I decided to duck under the rope and hop up on the platform with the team ! This really happened. I stayed up there, too, waving to my friends like a loon and soaking up the applause. My old pal Keith Larsen (now the Menlo High basketball coach) was there and can verify it.

Finally, after about 15 minutes, some Warriors type — trainer Dick D’Oliva or someone — snapped “Hey, who the hell are you anyway?” and he jettisoned me from the stage. It was my 15 minutes of fame.

The Warriors in my youth practiced at the San Bruno War Memorial Building which was like my second home. There we watched Barry practice his under-hand free throws, coach Al Attles bark orders in his gravelly voice and where center Nate Thurmond parked his maroon luxury car. Thurmond’s flashy rig was always a tip-off the Warriors were in town.

For two years former Ohio State star Jerry Lucas wore the blue and gold and practiced in San Bruno. One day the lights went out at The Rec and Lucas plopped down right next to me and we yukked it up for a while. For a grade schooler like me, that was a gas. I also learned a cool ballhandling drill from former Warrior Fritz Williams that I later taught to my playground teams.

So finally after 40 years the Warriors are back in the NBA finals and it’s a big deal for long-suffering fans and even for me. I must admit I’ll be pulling for them, but I promise not to cry again if they lose.

John Murphy is the Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. Reach him at prep2prep.com. Follow him on Twitter @PrepCat


November 22

My mom earlier this year, approaching her 100th birthday.

My mom earlier this year, approaching her 100th birthday.

By John Murphy 

Back in 1963 John F. Kennedy was president and with our family being Irish and Catholic, he was our guy.

That was, until Nov. 22 when that little creep Lee Harvey Oswald hid in his rat’s lair in the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas and shot JFK dead. The world changed, and not for the better.

A kid at my Catholic grammar school in San Bruno took a pocket knife and carved in a pew in the church “Nov. 22, 1963.”  Whenever you sat in that pew you saw the date and remembered.

Last Friday night I covered the Bellarmine at Milpitas high school football game and got home late. Then I arose at 4 a.m. to relieve my brother Jim in my mom’s room at the Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She turned 100 years old a week earlier but was in a serious decline.

I sat in a dark room and wrote my story on Bellarmine’s great victory. Then I wandered out to the activities room and picked up the morning paper. I noticed the date — Nov. 22 and I remembered.

As my mom’s life was slipping away Saturday, I also thought back to a hot summer day long ago. I was 4 or 5 years old and our family was on vacation in Yosemite. We went to some lodge for breakfast and my mom fainted on the steps.  I ran toward her like any kid would and thankfully she got up. I was relieved.

Catherine (Faulkner} Murphy, as a Lowell High student.

Catherine (Faulkner) Murphy, as a Lowell High student.

Aside from that my mom was a strong woman. Catherine (Faulkner) Murphy attended Lowell High in the early 1930s and was president of the Girls’ Athletic Association. Among its  activities was horseback riding on the beach. Her brother, Charles Faulkner, played football and baseball at St. Ignatius. They were from hardy stock.

My mom was a public school teacher and coach in her younger days and she realized the importance of athletics. It was my mom — not my dad — who signed us up for teams at an early age.

My brother Jim went on to play football at Serra High, blocking for Jesse Freitas and Lynn Swann in the glory years. After my mom’s passing Saturday, I asked him for one of his better “mom” stories.

“I got kicked out of the Burlingame game my senior year,” he said. “The guy over me had been head slapping me the whole game and once we had the game in hand I drilled him a few times in the mid-section. A big fight ensued and they announced over the P.A. that Jim Murphy had been ejected. Mom didn’t care but she said it embarrassed dad.”

Classic, like many memories to be recalled in the coming days.

The four of us — including my older sister Cathy — were actually tame compared to our cousins in San Francisco, the four Faulkner brothers.

When the Faulkner boys were little they once caused such a ruckus at home that my aunt Sue — who was very close to my mom — packed all the boys into the family car and drove them to the police station. Ten minutes later she returned to the bawling brood, pointed to the police station and said:  “Even THEY don’t want you!”

There’s a lot I could say about my mom, most of it already covered by my sister Anne in a beautiful essay she’s written following another dark Nov. 22. Mainly what I recall is my mom’s wise old adages like “too much of anything is bad” and “tomorrow’s another day.”

The latter may sound trite, but to me it’s a message of hope and persistence.  You lost the game, you failed the test, you got laid off at work, but tomorrow is another day … and probably a better one.

John Murphy is Web Content Manager of Prep2Prep. Contact him at jmurphy@prep2prep.com and follow on Twitter @PrepCat  







Greg Lathrop and how ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’

"Nature's first green is gold,  Her hardest hue to hold.  Her early leafs a flower;  But only so an hour.  Then leaf subsides to leaf.  So Eden sank to grief,  So dawn goes down to day.  Nothing gold can stay." -- Robert Frost

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.” — Robert Frost

By John Murphy 

I’ve been thinking about my old friend Greg Lathrop of Aptos lately.

Last week I tweeted he was giving his massive Sports Illustrated collection (which dates to 1964) away. The collection was like a part of Greg, taking up 5-6 six huge bookcases and giving whatever room it occupied a musty, old-paper scent.

But you can’t keep things forever, so the collection has to go. Sadly, you can’t keep people forever either, and Greg on Sunday announced via Facebook his dad died of a massive stroke.

Wrote Greg: “Yes, he could be an ornery cuss, but he had a heart of gold.”

Greg is well-known in the Santa Cruz sports community. He was a sportswriter with me during the early 1980s at the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, later worked at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and most recently has been an assigner of prep sports officials in the Santa Cruz area.

The Register-Pajaronian circa 1980 was well respected, having won a Pulitzer Prize in 1956. The men responsible for that award — editor Frank Orr, photographer Sam Vestal and Ward Bushee — were still around. Orr wrote his editorials on an ancient Underwood typewriter, if you can believe it.

For me “supervising” Greg Lathrop was like trying to tackle Barry Sanders. Every week one of the bosses would send a reminder with “TIMECARDS” repeated 50 times. One day Greg got the brilliant idea to append that memo to itself another 50 times — thereby tying up the computer system for three hours! That didn’t go over so well with management and is just one example.

But Greg was also well-connected and could sniff out a story. Like the one about the San Lorenzo Valley High football coach who told his team an assistant coach died in a hunting accident as a way of inspiring his squad. Only problem was, it wasn’t true! The coach got fired and we had the story first, thanks to Greg.

Well enough reminiscing … my thoughts go out to Greg Lathrop and his wife Amy in this difficult time. One day you’re lamenting the loss of a magazine collection and another day you lose a parent. Not quite the same, but time marches on.