Togetherness reigns at Severna Park


May 22, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

Considering the current climate of uneasiness among teachers and coaches in Anne Arundel County because of negative incidents that need no elaboration here, I witnessed something very refreshing a couple nights ago.

Severna Park High conducted its spring awards banquet, and Falcons gymnastics coach Bonnie Habicht, who is also an assistant in volleyball and girls basketball, provided a few moments of hope for the many caring coaches we have in Anne Arundel County.

Over the last year, some coaches and teachers have been leery of displaying any form of admiration and family-like closeness with their players.

Coaches who have hugged their players in the past have been somewhat reluctant for fear of reprisal of a third party who might misconstrue the meaning of the hug.

Every Falcons gymnast, boys and girls, had a hug for Habicht as they were introduced, and she had one for each of them. It was great to see, because the mutual feelings of respect and closeness that team sports can breed was evident and genuine.

In my opinion, there is no other segment of education that generates unity among people quite like team sports. Athletics has a way of bringing people together and providing experiences of human relations that cannot be found in a classroom.

Kids learn to win together and lose together as a team and that word together is the key. In almost everything we do in life, it is important to work together and sports teaches that well.

There has been a fear in the coaching community and among parents that some of the virtues of team and coach togetherness, such as a harmless hug, would be lost under the current "be careful" conditions.

Bonnie Habicht and her gymnastics team restored my hope with their warm tribute to team sports and what it means.

Trophy department

Severna Park second baseman Jason Keefer received the Sportsmanship Award from coach Jim Pitt at the school's Spring Awards Night.

* Left-handed pitcher/first baseman Jason White of Chesapeake, who was 5-4 with an ERA of 1.69 while batting .451 with 20 RBIs, received the Cougars MVP Award from coach Jim Simms at the Cougars' spring awards.

White is mulling over scholarship offers from UMBC and UNC-Greensboro. He visited Greensboro last weekend and liked the school, but wants to be sure of his final decision.

UNC-Greensboro coach Mike Gaske has been elated with two county graduates he landed the last couple years in Tim Giles of Arundel and Pat Calabrese of Archbishop Spalding.

"Giles has had a great freshman season for us and Calabrese has batted over .370 as our leadoff hitter and second baseman," said assistant coach Neil Avent.

At last count, Giles, The Baltimore Sun's High School Baseball Player of the Year in 1993 when he led Arundel to the state 4A title, had hit eight homers and had over 40 RBIs.

"Every time his dad [Tom] comes down to see him, he hits a dinger," said Avent. "If we could get him to come down more, he might hit 20 to 25."

Calabrese, an All-County infielder in 1992 and winner of the Friends of Joe Cannon Committee Scholar Athlete Award, has been outstanding in his sophomore year.

"Pat has worked extremely hard to become a very good second baseman," said Avent of Calabrese, who was primarily a shortstop/pitcher at Spalding.

Broadneck right-hander Sean Ryan also visited UNC-Greensboro and William and Mary, and he's leaning toward the latter.

Well-deserved boxing honor

Severna Park's Dominic Baccala will be honored today at Martin's North Point in Baltimore County by the Ring 101 Veteran Boxers Association, Inc.

Baccala, who was inducted into the Ring 101 Hall of Fame in 1980 for his amateur boxing career, will receive the prestigious Harry Jeffra Award for his many years of service to the sport. He has been training boxers at the Harding Lowry Gym in Pasadena for the last decade.

Meade needs football coach

Meade football coach Jerry Hartman is looking for an assistant. Meade was 3-7 last fall in Hartman's first season. For information call Hartman at (410) 224-2027.

Quote of the week

From Charley Eckman after he received a check of $19,348 from the NBA for "past services rendered as an NBA referee" during the '50s and word he will receive identical checks each of the next four years.

Said Eckman, who has been battling cancer for two years: "I told Marty [Monsignor Marty Schwallenburg] to cancel the last rites, because I'm living another four years just to collect those checks. And I told him not to let me fall asleep and if I do, wake me up because this is like found money."

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