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Time Out

Paul Yarbrough: Oh, the Days Spent at the Goleta Boys’ Club ...

Favorite childhood memories include Little League baseball and playing basketball with now-UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland

» When I was a kid growing up in Goleta, we didn’t have Little League baseball. What we did have was the Goleta Boys’ Club, which organized a great summer baseball program. We played Monday-Wednesday-Friday one week, Tuesday-Thursday the next, from mid-June to mid-August. We pulled umpires from the crowd (if your parents didn’t want to get pegged to umpire, they knew to drop you off early and arrive back at the field at game time). Games were at elementary schools in the area: La Patera, Hollister and Fairview, among others ...

Paul Yarbrough
Paul Yarbrough

» We weren’t playing to form an all-star team, but one year we did put a team together and went to Lompoc to take on some Little League all-stars. I remember we were all so excited to play on a “real” field with outfield fences and a pitching mound. We thought we were pretty good until we drove up and had our heads handed to us. We collected two hits in the game, if I recall correctly, and I had one of them, an infield single. I was never, ever fast afoot (my late father once said, “You stretched a lot of home runs into doubles”) and our coach noted that on the drive back to Goleta. “Even the Galloping Ghost got a hit,” he said ...

» I spent a lot of time at the Goleta Boys’ Club. That’s where I met Ben Howland, now the UCLA basketball coach, who remains a good friend to this day. I remember during the summer months pedaling my Schwinn Sting-Ray (with the banana seat) down Hollister Avenue from El Encanto Heights, with the obligatory stop at Fosters Freeze for a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. I miss those days ...

» My oldest brother, Steve Yarbrough, worked at the boys’ club while attending UCSB. The club’s librarian at the time was Bobbin Clink. I introduced them. This past March, they celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary. One of my greatest accomplishments in life, if I do say so myself. I think they both would agree, along with my niece, Sara, who now has two children of her own, and my nephew, Matt ...

» The boys’ club is where I coached for the first time, leading a group of 5- and 6-year-old basketball players on the club’s old linoleum court. I remember having all sorts of grand plans at the outset of the season. Then reality hit, and just getting five players on the floor at the same time was a major accomplishment ...

» Where are they now: Ralph Barkey ...

» From the inbox, Noozhawk reader “Karen” remembers Gaucho basketball player Mike McGory very well. “I remember Mike McGory from watching the Gauchos as a kid,” Karen writes. “But the best part of those games was the poster of the night by the ‘Bleacher Bums,’ a group of teenagers including my brother. ‘For Gaucho glory, it’s Mike McGory,’ ‘Clear decks, here’s Rex, bye-bye Aztecs,’ ‘Onward, upward, forward, Radford,’ ‘Burn the Owls, make Rice crispy’ and ‘The winning factor — Bobby Schachter’ are a few of the banners this creative group painted in our garage and took to the game ... good times.” ...

» Watching the Lakers’ championship celebration parade from the Staples Center to the Coliseum reminded me of the January day in 1984 when, as an Associated Press sports writer based in Los Angeles, I covered a similar civic celebration for the Raiders on the steps of L.A. City Hall after they won Super Bowl XVIII ...

» Noozhawk reader “JAX” wants to nominate Santa Barbara High’s 1960 CIF Southern Section football title as the area’s top sports moment. Another good choice. That team was led by coach Sam Cathcart and quarterback Rod Dowhower, who would later go on to coach at Stanford and as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Those were magical times at Peabody Stadium. Games were sold out, and the Golden Tornado ran its famed single-wing offense, and opened every game with either a reverse, a fake reverse, a double reverse or a fake double reverse on the first kickoff it received ...

» For a few seasons, Dos Pueblos High used Peabody Stadium as its home field, and there was just something special about that walk down the hill from the main campus. I was in the Dos Pueblos marching band when we performed a halftime show about pollution. We formed an outline of the United States and had folks running around the perimeter with smoke bombs and fire extinguishers, to simulate air pollution. Apparently, from the hills above the high school, it looked as if the school was on fire. I remember band director Irwin Maguire hiding under the bleachers when the fire department arrived, sirens wailing ..

» “JAX” also points out that when you drive along Las Positas Road, just before Cliff Drive, you’ll see a grove of unkempt palm trees. He says that was part of another pitch ‘n’ putt golf course that was constructed without a proper permit and never opened. He, too, remembers the old San Marcos Golf Course, calling it a “virtual cow pasture with sidehill lies that would make Montecito Country Club look flat.” He remembers one round at the course, played with his father. “When I got to the ninth green there were about 10 golfers sitting in chairs overlooking the green. My approach shot landed on the (uphill side) of that large green, easily 60-plus feet from the cup, with two tiers in front of me. My father pulled the pin and I rolled the putt in, to the amazement of me, my dad and the crowd of onlookers. It eased the pain of an otherwise truly forgettable round of golf.” ...

» Reader “Mark D” says he, too, was lucky enough to play Junior League baseball at the now-demolished Laguna Park as a kid. He also backs my comments about Mike Moropoulos being a class act and adds in three other SBHS coaching legends: Jack Trigueiro, Sam Cathcart and Fred Warrecker. He suggests the Dons’ Eddie Mathews Field should also contain the title of Fred Warrecker Diamond ...

» Also heard from David Martinez, who analyzed boxing matches for the Santa Barbara News-Press under sports editor Dave Kohl. Now, you can go straight to the source for your boxing fix at www.dmboxing.com.

Noozhawk columnist Paul Yarbrough can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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