Memories adorn the walls of Chips Giovanine’s office, each holding its own place in the longtime coach’s heart.
He has had time looking back at the memories as he puts a fullcourt press on his cancer.
There’s the unprecedented back-to-back Buda Western Rams basketball teams that took undefeated (29-0, 31-0) records to the IHSA Class A State Basketball Tournament at the Assembly Hall in the mid-’70s.
There’s a third Sweet 16 team from L-P in 1993 and another undefeated regular-season team from Bureau Township, going 28-0 in 1960.
At L-P, he averaged 21 wins per year the last 20 years, going 25-4 over the last four. He had 304 wins with nine regionals, five consecutive from 1989-93, plus four successive NCIC titles from 1990-93.
He says his best L-P team may have been his 1989-90 squad that lost to Moline in the sectional finals.
In all he coached in five decades, starting out just a couple of years older than his players when he came to Bureau Township in the late 1950s, and ending in 1993 at L-P. He posted a 674-266 record, ranked No. 21 for all-time wins. He’s had both Western teams and four Bureau Township teams inducted into the Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame.
They’ve all provided a lifetime of memories. Many of his former players have come to visit their coach since he was diagnosed with cancer, talking about the good ol’ days, some spending hours at a time.
A lesson here is to take time to visit an old coach, or a teacher that was influential to you growing up. Each and every one of us has had an individual like that in our lives. Mine was Stormin’ Norman Mueller of Atlanta (Ill.) Grade School.
You won’t know how much that will mean to them until you do.
Wild Wild World Series: As you may have heard, I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan. It’s always exciting times to have your team reach the World Series. You never get spoiled to see your team play in the Fall Classic.
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a World Series with so much stunning finishes. First there was the play in Game 1 in Boston in which the umpires overturned their call. Ultimately, they got the call right, but that’s never been done before in the World Series. Wish they could have done that with the infamous Denkinger Call in 1985 (YouTube that one).
Then there was “Obstruction” play ending Game 3 at St. Louis, which was the correct call by rule. The next night came the pick-off, walk-off pulled off by the Red Sox.
I’m 2-0 in the postseason, taking in Cards wins in the first game of the NLCS and Game 3 of the Series. Maybe I should have stayed around for the next two. You can read my Live from the World Series blog in today’s Journal. I just hope that as you’re reading this Thursday morning or online tonight the Cardinals have lived for another day.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org