On Monday, cable viewers were introduced to local programming originating from Phoenixville Area High School. Part of the Comcast system, Phantom or Phoenix Productions will produce shows that will air on channels 4, 11, and 54. Dr. Lou Beccaria hosted the taping on Friday to introduce some of the new programming that will be part of the total package.
The well-written story by Bill Rettew was carried in Saturday's edition of The Phoenix. However a single news article could not possibly cover the exciting possibilities of the new station. It should be an economic, political and personal gift to the entire region as we share the richness of our heritage, its present accomplishments by so many wonderful individuals and the excitement of a bright future. The television station's blending with our favorite Phoenixville Newspapers should bring prosperity to both ventures as each increases its own sphere of influence by working together.
My own segment of the new programming is called "Coach's Corner" and will highlight the unbelievable richness of our sports community. It will not be like the usual TV talk show. We will have guests who will share their memories and dreams. However, the positive values of athletics will be emphasized at a time when national fear and trembling has too often replaced setting goals, facing challenges, using self-discipline and receiving rewards for personal effort.
"Coach's Corner" will be flexible. It should be about all of you who have been part of the Phoenixville area sports scene: Some for decades, others as newcomers either by age or interest. Our guests will be your neighbors, friends, children and hopefully you also. Each will tell his or her story, often with humor, nostalgia, but always with sincerity about their experiences on dozens of different teams, or individual endeavors. Some will be well known incidents while many will bring new insight into the thrill of victory or agony of defeat.
Let me share some examples. Winter track is a lonely activity whose athletes get little publicity as they work hard to achieve in weekly indoor track meets. Coach Jack Kraynak will be asked to bring several of his athletes to share their "personal best" exertions and goals. Coach John Tornetta's wrestlers are moving into sectional and regional competition and will note their goals for the future. Coach Bob Heck endured a challenging girls' basketball season with his young squad who lost the only experienced player when Whitney Sharp was sidelined. The Heck and Sharp show should be fun. This is but a sample and I haven't contacted these folks but merely share my program dreams.
Middle School coaches and kids will be part of the package. Of course, community youth programs will have their turn in front of the cameras.
Leaders and kids from PYBRL, PMYC, KYAL, PASA, PAL, Babe Ruth baseball, etc. will be included.
Individuals who have stories worth telling should illustrate our great sports diversity.
Judy Smiley Wolstenholm and Marge Watson are local legends who have been honored nationally for their contributions to women's sports will make interesting guests. Tennis players such as former state champion Tim McAvoy might share his love of the game together with his son who now is a member of the PAHS tennis squad. Joe Grejdus traveled the world as a champion archer as he took on the best from his wheelchair. In the realm of challenging guests, I include Eugene Bearden who once pitched a no-hitter against Pottstown while in high school but was sidelined by serious heart problems. He and daughter Mara, a champion track star at Temple University, will be invited, Those who found success on the college level in a variety of sports will be guests. I think of the Thornton sisters, Shoemaker clan, Chrissy Miller, Stacey Robinson and a host of other young men and women who have stories to share. Many overcame adversity while each decided to become the best that they could be.
Some of you know that my wife and I have been having some health problems and wonder why I have decided to accept another challenge of this magnitude. Having been involved in sports for more than 65 years, I have met many wonderful people such as the few mentioned above. They are the true role models not the often million dollar crybabies featured on national television.
I learned much from sports. A favorite maxim states: "When life throws you a curve, wait on it, then hit it out of the park."
Hope to have you tune as in when the programming for the "Coach's Corner" is announced.