Da Boys of the '56/'57 Fabius-Pompey basketball team
“Da Boys of '56/'57”
A rationale…a raison d’être
It is the will of Nature that every so often a precise living chemistry comes together, if only for a moment, and creates energy that will bond for all eternity.
Just as though it were written into some larger universal plan - if ever the chemistry within a Walt Norris, Bob Mawson, Fred Sipfle, Larry Carr, Ray Wehner, Wes Clymer, Dave Clancy, Jerry Antil, Tom Wheeler, Marty Bays and Wes Carr ever all came into the same space at the same time - - the result would be an energy field so great it would cast a new star in the heavens forever.
This happened in 1956, when many of them were 15 years old.
For it was then when – a unique group of individuals – a perfect blend of chemistry – modestly stepped for the first time, as one, onto the hardwood basketball court of a humble village school in upstate central New York. This group played together as a team this one single-season but never before or not since.
This energy field was so natural it grew within a very few months to embrace and encompass the upstate New York schools of Canastota, Onondaga Central, Jordan, LaFayette, Minoa, St. Mary’s Truxton, Elbridge, Tully, North Syracuse, Belleville, Cherry Valley into it.
Those of us fortunate enough to accept we are a part of an energy field like this understand how fortunate we were – that is, to have been a part of a lifelong memory of one incredible record breaking year we all spent together.
Moving forward. . .
. . .it had been nearly 50 years since one of our own (one of the teammates) from 1956/57 – whose family circumstance required him (at age 16) to move several states away the summer before his senior year - had returned to his Cortland, NY birthplace when his dear sister Dorothy (like a second Mom to him) passed and was taken to Cortland, New York to rest in a family plot. This team of boys, who had not been together in nearly 50 years had a resurgence of an energy that had never left. As their friend and teammate left his lonely hotel room and headed for St. Mary’s Church in Cortland, NY to say a final good bye to his sister and to give one of the Eulogies – something magical happened. When he stood up at the church to give his Eulogy – he looked out into the audience and there they were – his teammates - the boys of 1956/57 - - they were there for him. Few of them knew his sister all that well - - but they stopped what they were doing and stepped out from 50 years as though the bond of 1956 had called them back on court. They were there with him all day through everything.
“It was my sister’s death that woke our awareness of this energy field again – and we all knew it. It went without saying,” he said.
If there is ever any question about “Who are you guys?” – understand this bond and you will understand and appreciate why any single member of this '56/'57 energy can and will all speak as one - - and why each and every one of us trusts the other to be there for us all.
We are…Da Boys of '56/'57!
It’s as simple as that.
Captain Larry Carr, Wes Carr and this teammate, Jerry Antil, met with some Fabius-Pompey School people about possible recognition of our team – and if we could help the cause in any way. The school was most gracious and said they would see what they could do.
Gathering the bakery history was a wonderful experience - - to learn after all these years how important the baking venture was to the lives of so many people throughout the area – and how innovative it was. All of a sudden a brief history of a company of the 20th century with some photographic support became a major exhibit - - with potentially very costly statues and interactive displays showing how the bakery truly impacted agriculture, the consumers and so many communities.
It was at this time when two important things happened.
The first important thing was enlightenment when city officials and the press of central New York State suggested in good faith, as a matter of course, that the effort should look to government grants to pay for the museum exhibits.
This concept was completely foreign to all of us. Jerry shared the concept with his teammates – “I thought about it and neither my Dad (father of 8) or his partner Albert Durkee (father of 9) would have even considered accepting a public dole for their own gain - - they would go out and earn it. Da Boys would have suited up.
This was easy…
Thus was born the concept of “Da Boys BREAD (for schools) RUN” (It’s a Cakewalk), an annual memorial classic Half Marathon-5K tribute to Michael C. Antil Sr. and Albert Durkee that would raise all the money needed to build Durkee’s Bakery exhibits for any museum.
But, we thought - - wouldn’t Albert J. Durkee and Michael C. Antil Sr. rather give back to the community than have some cold bronze statues immortalizing them in lifeless quiet? These were not quiet men - - and they certainly weren’t lifeless.
We are now dedicated to a loftier plane.
A plane we liken to the one achieved when our team,
from a high school of 90 students, held the lead over the 2000-student North Syracuse High for 4 quarters in 1957. Da Boys have decided that, instead of some cold bronze statues, Mr. Durkee and Mr. Antil would much better enjoy a legacy like this in their names that would benefit schools.
Today - All across the land.
This was more their style - making it happen - now.
Accordingly, Da Boys of '56/'57 took on forever the responsibility of organizing the Half Marathon as a vehicle whereby we could financially help not only our school but also schools all over the country. Now is when schools needed our help – and we would be there for it – nothing else mattered. And what an honor to do it in the name of Mr. Durkee and Mr. Antil – an annual Memorial Classic.
As time and discussions went on, the Da Boys' concept has evolved to where it is today : all schools everywhere will be able to benefit from this annual Half Marathon-5K . . . and, as we put the concept into motion, we can feel the old team-chemistry beginning to fill the air (and our hearts) once again.
Sponsor money? That is what will run most of the race expenses. Fabius-Pompey schools and schools that Angels (non-runners) register in the name-of will share in the registration fees. This gift, to all these schools, alone will be legacy enough for Michael C. Antil Sr and Albert J. Durkee. This gift will be more their style than being memorialized through statues, on lifeless display.
If you have any question about who Da Boys are and how they are all connected to this undertaking, which is designed to benefit Fabius-Pompey and other schools – now you know.
Da Boys own Da Boys BREAD (for schools) RUN (Half Marathon & 5K) – and are manning it and gifting it to our school on perpetual loan; and, we are acting as Board of Governors to be certain that schools everywhere can benefit from the "Angel Runner" registration fees. Not one of Da Boys of '56/'57 receives any thing from the venture – only satisfaction. Satisfaction like what we shared on the court more than half century ago. We just have more fans today.
Da Boys (family album)
Mr. Inside, Jerry Antil & Mr. Outside, Wesley Carr
(above and below, 50 years later)