Author Bruce Fabricant highlights the importance of reading and education in retelling of Mt. Vernon’s greatest sports legends.
Mark Twain obviously went places as a writer, but he never forgot how his humble beginnings shaped him. “All the me in me is from that little town in Missouri," once said the sage. Bruce Fabricant knows the feeling. It just took longer for Fabricant to commit to paper, and now on his fourth Mt. Vernon based book, he hopes his hometown feels as good about reading Mt. Vernon, NY: Sports Champions, Heroes and Legends as he did writing it.
The self-published dissertation into Mt. Vernon's sports past contains 79 stories of athletes who succeeded on either the collegiate or professional level.
These include well-known standouts such as Ralph Branca, Ken Singleton and Gus Williams and more recent letterman like Keith Benjamin of the University of Pittsburgh, Garvin Alston, who briefly played with the Colorado Rockies and Christine Brennan of Mt.
Vernon's last undefeated girl’s basketball team.
But he took great joy, and hopes the connoisseur and those less familiar with the coursework, will really relish all those lost to history. "Whatever is latest isn't always greatest," says the retired PR professional.
Without getting his Irish up, Frank Carideo makes his point. Quarterbacking the last Notre Dame teams to go undefeated under Knute Rockne, all 157 pounds of his stature made the most of how the game was once played. "It was a field position game," Fabricant writes.
So you actually double take on the three first down punts Carideo executed inside the one yard line and overflow with nostalgia as Fabricant makes sense of the strategy. “Instead of lining up in punt formation on the fourth try, we went into the Notre Dame shift and ran a reverse play with Marchy Schwartz running for the winning touchdown” Fabricant conveyed.
However, Marchy didn’t even take the name game honors in light of one Vernon Hagenbuckle of the NFL’s Providence Steamrollers and his compelling story. But unearthing such anecdotes required 21st century tools. “I used FultonHistory.com to find Mt. Vernon Newspapers from the 1920s,” he said.
Nonetheless, old school journalism brought out an underlying theme in the 54 one on one’s conducted. “They all remembered what Mt. Vernon did for them, and the people that impacted their lives,” says Fabricant, which prominently featured the Boys and Girls Club
A strong foundation in their corners, failing to make the pros for most still had them standing firm. This can easily be summed up in Garee Bryant’s take as a Mt. Vernon star. “Make sure you use basketball, don’t let it use you,” he always instructed his players from his experience of playing Division II ball and then establishing a successful coaching career.
No matter, Fabricant seeks 50 years of Mt. Vernon graduates as his audience but aspires to the same calling as the educational thread he uncovered. “I read the Mt. Vernon Sports pages as a kid and reading became a passion,” concludes Fabricant. “I hope this book can create the same kind of springboard for youngsters because reading is the lifeblood of how you progress in life.”
A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Mt Vernon.
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