Revere the Blakely Bears football team!

  • Born in the borough of Blakely in late 1929, it was inevitable not to grow up and not understand the game of football and to revere the Blakely Bears football team. Every chance, as kids after school, we would play the game in empty lots, back alleys, and unpaved streets. Many of those same kids through the years would become stars on Coach John Henzes’ football teams.

    In the 30s and 40s money wasn’t readily available to buy a ticket to a game on Saturday afternoon at the old Wilson Stadium. During the week, we would go to the back of the stadium and dig a hole under the old wooden fence, then come Saturday afternoon, we would try to get in free. These memories carried over into adulthood.

    I purchased a pharmacy in Peckville in 1958 and decided to try to help the Blakely Bears and later the Valley View Cougars football teams in the best way I could find. I donated vitamins and protein supplements to all the players and gave as much personal support in advertising and decorating the store windows every week during football season.

    Every pharmacy must have a licensed pharmacist at all times when the store is open for business. It was a difficult task to find a relief pharmacist on game nights.

    I remember one Friday night the most important game of the year was at Old Forge. I could not find a relief and decided to close the store for the evening; something I did with trepidation. Sure enough the next morning my first telephone call came from a very good customer with the comment “Where were you last night? I needed my prescriptions filled!” I pleaded my case with a little white lie, “I had to go to a funeral in Old Forge.” The customer understood immediately. Nothing more was said and I survived to see many more football games.

    Because I always got a thrill when the Blue and Gold come onto the field, I still enjoy the game of football today. Blakely High School football and Coach John Henzes will always be a legend and remembered in the hearts of all football fans that lived thru the decades of the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

    Leslie Martin, Class of 1947


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