CARL KOLOGIE: Stories get better at reunion
Why is it that the older you get, you think you are a lot smarter and the stories you tell are much more embellished than the way it really happened?
Well, that’s the way it was on Thursday when the Indiana ACs held their annual reunion.
As far as anyone can recollect, this gathering of athletes under the tutelage of the legendary Dick Fulton was first organized as a Super Bowl party in 1967 and held at a private camp near Yellow Creek State Park.
In fact, it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl. At that time it was the AFL-NFL Championship game.
Venison was the main dish on the menu and prior to the party one of ACs was named to go out and bag a deer.
The shooter of choice was given one bullet and a pat on the back and best wishes from the rest of the gang, and headed out into the woods. At least that was the story.
The late John “Merle” Hess, who was the AC historian and chef, would prepare the meal.
And ever since that time the ACs have met on an annual basis and the reunion has shifted from the cold Super Bowl temps to midsummer, where golf is first on the agenda followed by a steak fry at the Indiana Moose lodge.
It was also held for many years at the American Legion home in Indiana.
Although Fulton succumbed to cancer in 1999 at the age of 75, his legacy lives on and the stories were testimony of the respect and admiration his players had for him.
He managed, coached and organized a softball team in the summer and a basketball team in the fall and winter months.
A great recruiter, his basketball teams were made up mostly of former IUP players, but he also had former stars from St. Francis, Clarion, Slippery Rock, Pitt and Duquesne, to name a few, and took pride in the fact that it never cost him a dime, except, he would say, for traveling expenses to tournaments outside of the county area.
Many of the members on the ACs basketball team would also play on the softball team.
It has been more years that anyone can remember since the ACs last fielded a softball team or entered a squad in the Indiana Recreation Basketball League.
George Wise, former IUP basketball standout and former high school coach in the area, has stepped up to organize the reunion each year.
And even though the numbers have dwindled, there are still upward of 30 former players that turn out for the annual event.
It all started in the morning at Meadow Lane Golf Course with Tim Sullivan, IUP ’66, easily taking the top prize with an under-par score.
Chef John Mitchell and his assistants prepared the steak and corn at the Moose Lodge and “Moose” Anderson handed out the prizes and served as the emcee.
Ed Anderson annually takes the prize for traveling the furthest as he currently resides in Arizona.
It was more than 47 years ago that the ACs first had this gathering and understandably so, the numbers have dwindled, but the memories live on.
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My compliments to the members of the SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Homer City who prepare the pieroghis each year at the Hoodlebug Festival.
That stand remains one of my favorite stops and, of course, a take-home order is also a must.