Easton — What Would Our “Games” Look Like?


Yes, London can put on an Olympics. Wow!! That was just great. Absolutely great.

And how about the performances of the sons and daughters of America in these games?

Standout. Inspiring. Awesome.

Now, of course, every Olympic Games has an individual stamp on it of the city hosting the event.

The opening and closing ceremonies, the competition venues, the signage, the medals themselves, all contain something of the history, culture, and identity of the host location.

Okay, so I’m thinking here — let’s say that Easton hosted some sort of international athletic competition. I mean, really, we could do it. We could scare up the dough. Get the volunteers in place.

Put the Easton Lions Club on this project.

What would our Easton Sports Celebration medals look like? Ya' gotta figure there would be a shovel on them, and perhaps some sort of insignia depicting the Rockery and Oakes Ames Hall — which is, of course, the nexus of the creations of Frederick Law Olmsted and H.H. Richardson, two of the greatest architects and in U.S. history.

Think we could find and mine — for the top prize — some bits of remaining gold in the deposit discovered along Monte’s Pond off of Elm Street all those years ago?

Opening ceremonies, which would be held, of course, at would include a tribute to Oliver Ames, former governor of Massachusetts and the man for whom is named.

You see, back in the mid 1890s, as the U.S. was putting together a squad to compete in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, it was Oliver Ames who led the effort to raise the money to send the team overseas. OA was largely responsible for getting the cash together to get the squad to Greece.
We would just have to have, for these opening ceremonies, a contingent of four Olympians from Easton marching in — led by our two Olympic gold medalists: Jim Craig (ice hockey, Lake Placid 1980) and Erik Vendt (swimming, Beijing 2008, to go along with his silver medals, one at the the 2000 Sydney games and one four years later in Athens).

(Erik Vendt attended Easton schools through junior high, but went  to Boston College High School largely because at the time, with his elite swimming status established, OA did not have a swimming program and BC High had an excellent one.)

Accompanying Jim (OA ‘75) and Erik would be two more Olympians who grew up in Easton — John Everett (OA ‘72) and Scott Gordon, who was in the OA Class of ’81, but who left OA following his junior year to go to prep school.

John Everett, among the most distinguished rowers in U.S. history, was on the U.S. Olympic rowing team that competed in the Montreal games in 1976; the team finished ninth. He made the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, but the U.S. boycotted the Moscow games that year and John missed a solid chance at a medal. I say this because In a 1980 pre-Olympic competition, the U.S. team of which Everett was a part, beat the team from Great Britain that would win the silver medal in Moscow, and chased to the wire the East German team that would win gold at those Olympics.

Scott Gordon, a star ice hockey goalie at Boston College, and who went on to be a member of the Quebec Nordiques of the NHL, played for the U.S. in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Following his playing days, Scott had big time success coaching in the pro ranks, and was assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic team that won the silver medal in 2010 in the Vancouver Olympics.

Actually, for a more complete rundown on Easton’s ties the Olympic Games, you can click to be taken to a column, titled, “Easton’s Olympic History is Impressive,” which ran in this space on November 5, 2010.

Our version of the Olympic cauldron? It would have to be some sort of nod and symbolic and representative of the forges in Furnace Village where some of the first steel (and plenty armaments) in America was made and the foundries in North Easton Village where were fashioned the shovels that helped build a young America.

Our mascot for the games?  A tiger?  Then again it might be cool to commission an artist to develop a mascot called the "Hockomock Swamp Monster," which refers to the reports for hundreds of years now of strange looking creatures and ghostly apparitions in the swamp. 

There would be no hammer throw at our competition. It would be replaced with the shovel throw.

The origins of the shot put are in the Middle Ages when soldiers heaved cannon balls (“shots”). I’m thinking for our shot put — for nostalgia sake — we would pull up from the muck near New Pond in Furnace Village some of the cannon balls that can still be found there, and which were manufactured during Revolutionary War and Civil War periods — and then polish them up and let the shot putters “put” them.

Any winter competition would need to have some sort of toboggan run at Suicide Hill, which is located next to Langwater Pond.

Tromper Ball. Yes, definitely. Invented by and named for Stephen “Tromper” Trombley (OA ’63), a member of the OAHS Athletic Hall of Fame, and a longtime phys ed teacher and athletic coach at OA, Tromper Ball was a brutal, primal outdoor field game conducted in OA gym class in which the object was to advance a inflated ball using almost all means and in which there were almost no rules that governed play.

In celebration of two of the most accomplished bicycle “wheelie” riders in history — Tom Simonson (OA ‘81) and Brian Chapman (OA ‘85), both of whom exercised and demonstrated their remarkable talents within Frothingham Park and along the nearby streets, we have to have a wheelie competition — at Frothingham.

Click to go to column in which the wheelie riding of Tom and Brian is described.

Oh, you just know for our athletic competition we would bring back the Gym Jam.

During the 1960s, every two years — under the direction of OA phys ed teacher, Eero Helin — OA students would prepare a festival and display of physical culture called the Gym Jam. It included gymnastics, bamboo dancing, folk dancing, rope climbing, calisthenics — and the forming of “tableaus” in which the students, their bodies painted in gold, would replicate famous images in U.S. history.

The Gym Jam was a public event held in the OA gym on successive nights, Friday and Saturday — and which routinely sold out.

I can go on and on about this athletic event and party.

Next up … let me think now … for entertainment … any ideas?


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