Monday, September 17, 2012

Hall of Fame (part 1)

     Five years ago, the South St Paul High School Athletic Department started a Hall of Fame for past graduates who went on and made a name for themselves either in athletics/coaching or other endeavors and how participation in activities contributed to their career.  For such a small school district (3500 students total), but large in years of existence, (since 1853 when it was a mission school for the Kaposia Indian village), we have had a good number of students go forth and become famed athletes.  Such football notables like Jim Carter with the Green Bay Packers, Jim LeClair with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Stan Kostka with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Or take the hockey standouts such as Warren Miller who played for Canada and the NY Rangers. Or Phil Housley, leading all-time scorer until recently, who played for the Buffalo Sabres as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs.  We've had our share of good coaches too, Doug Woog, who went on to coach for the U of MN and was the assistant coach for the US Olympics in 1984 to "Lefty" Smith, who went on to coach for Notre Dame.

     Not all high school stars continued on with their athletic careers though.  One case in point is my dad, Rollin Glewwe.  He was considered a high school stand out.  His position on the team was center and also captain.  The football team won the MN State Football Championship in 1949 and Rol was up for the All-Suburban Center for that year.  They had a strong team and 1950 was looking to be another banner year. 

    The first big loss was handed to the team at the Friday night game on September 22, 1950.  Anoka Tornadoes won the game 20-0, handing the South St Paul Packers their first defeat in twelve games, something that had not happened since 1948.  The following week, the Packers crushed White Bear Lake by the same score, 20-0.  Facing the Hastings gridders the next week, the Packers blasted through, winning 19-6. 

     But it was during the next week that things began to change.  Practice had began as usual for the Packers.  Rol took his place as center and the scrimmage began.  When I questioned him about this practice and did he remember getting hit, he responded that he had been hit and thought he had pulled a muscle in his back.  He also mentioned that during practice, the players did not always wear helmets.  By Thursday, Coach John Kulbitski, in an article in the local paper, reported that "Rollin Glewwe, starting center and outstanding linebacker, had strained his back and may not start tomorrow night.  In case the star performer is benched, he will be replaced by Keith Wells." (South St Paul Daily Reporter, vol. 58, no. 92, Oct 12, 1950, p4).

     It was October, Friday the 13th, 1950, when the South St Paul Packers trampled the Stillwater Ponies 35-0 and gained the first place lead in the suburban conference.  The following week they would play St Thomas Academy.  Homecoming was slated for Friday, October 27, and one of the girls up for Homecoming Queen was my mother, Joan Brossoit.

     Rol, wanting to play and still benched by a nagging back problem, went to the doctor.  While there, it was determined that Rol had suffered a concussion as by now his arms were tingling and were becoming numb.    Rol started in the Stillwater game but did not see it through to its finish.........

    Wednesday, October 16th, the headline on page 4 of the local paper read "Rollin Glewwe Out For Season.  A pall of gloom hung over SSP High school today when it was announced that Rollin Glewwe, first string football center and All-Suburban candidate for 1949 at that berth, was not expected to play for the rest of the season.  Coach John Kulbitski said this morning that a temporary  injury was forcing the benching of the top-notch athlete and that he would be badly missed."

      Homecoming night pitted the SSP Packers against Columbia Heights Heighters, with the ending score South St Paul winning 25-6.  It was the last game for the team's fullback Harold "Pinky" Pawlik, as he would be ineligible to play any remaining games due to his age.  But he made it a great game, with SSP rushing for 396 yards to Heights, 75. 

    Four members of the SSP football team were named to the All-Suburban Football team that last week in October, tackle Allan Stelmasik, backs Eddie Helseth and Harold Pawlik and center, Rollin Glewwe.  In the news article it said that "Rollin Glewwe, now hospitalized and seeing only limited action in the Stillwater game and none in the Columbia Heights encounter, impressed all with his prowess in both offensive and defensive  capacities during three earlier league contests to gain a berth on the All-Suburban team."

The SSP "Packers Crush Robbinsdale 33-0 in Season's Finale" was the headline for the last game of the season.  In three years, the football team had only lost one game, and for one player his last game.


No comments:

Post a Comment