Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricanes playing on my old stomping grounds

A handsomely renovated Cashell Elementary School

When the Manatee Hurricanes play Our Lady of Good Counsel Friday night, they'll do so in a part of the country that has a special place in my heart.

Olney, Md.

I spent 2.5 years in that neck of the woods, working for the Montgomery County Recreation Department from January 1975 to June 1977.

It was during my hiatus from journalism and what a wonderful time it was, indeed.

I was a rec coordinator, refereeing kids basketball and umpiring youth baseball around the Rockville area, but my base of operations was running programs for the students at Cashell Elementary School in Olney.

Flag football, T-ball, softball, baseball, summer day camp.

It was a great time in my life in a setting that still had its rural charm despite the inevitable onset of growth.

I became fast friends with many of those families, especially in the Norbeck Meadows subdivision across the street from the school.

It was so hard to leave them when I decided to return to Florida --- I'd spent 1971-74 in Homestead --- and get back into sports writing.

I'd had it with those winters!

From time to time I wonder where all those children from Cashell went, realizing they're all adults now with families of their own.

Perhaps some of their kids will be playing against Manatee Friday night.

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