Buddy’s Best is back in the on-deck circle.
After months of research, inspiration, frustration and fascination, the latest installment is set to unfold sometime this spring. And, this series belongs to the girls.
We’ve highlighted the boys with our 20 For 50 Buddy’s Best series highlighting our selections of the top 20 area high school players over the last 50 years (1966-2016) in the sports of football, basketball and baseball, and we’ve saluted our favorite coaches and athletes in our Legends Series in recent years. Now, it’s time to give the ladies some printable love with our latest Buddy’s Best series we’re calling: The Unforgettable 100.
In this series, we’ve dusted off the memory covers, opened the files and scanned the microfilm in an effort to relive the past of some of the more unforgettable female athletes we’ve covered and/or read about since the summer of 1966 since I started my full-time writing career. Yes, I covered my share of girls high school sports through the early years and when I wasn’t writing about them, I was reading about their exploits through the bulk of my 40-year, full-time career and the 10 years that have followed.
Like the 20 For 50 series, the players you will read about in the upcoming series may or may not be the best athletes from their respective school. How you (the reader) rate them is up to you. The 100 names in this series belong to the athletes who have made an impression on me as a writer and fan.
You may or may not agree with the names or rankings of the athletes in this series, and that’s OK, too. As I have said about every Buddy’s Best series appearing on these pages, the names and rankings are just one person’s opinion … and we’re all entitled to one.
Unlike the 20 For 50 series that focused on 10-to-12 individual schools (depending on the sport) and featured several athletes who played in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, this one focuses on the 10 current area schools (Apponequet, Bishop Stang, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, GNB Voc-Tech, New Bedford High, Old Colony, Old Rochester, Wareham and Westport) and mainly on athletes who played through the 1980s, 1990s and the early-to-mid 2000s.
Why? For a handful of reasons.
Unlike high school boys coverage, which has been pretty thorough since the early 1900s, coverage of girls sports was non-existent or, at best, “hit or miss” until Title IX was introduced in 1979 and eventually helped give girls sports their share of space in the newspaper’s sports section.
But that didn’t necessarily insure or preserve the local history of girls high school sports.
Under The Standard-Times archive filing format, virtually every high school athlete who earned a headline was assured of having that headlining event put into his or her personal folder that was placed in the newspaper’s vast files. The filing ended sometime in the early 1990s when the title of librarian disappeared from the office directory, but the files remained pretty much intact … unless you were a former female athlete who married.
In many of those cases, the athlete’s files were transferred to her husband’s folder (to save space, I guess) which means, if we don’t know the athlete’s married named, we have no way of looking up her high school achievements should any exist. Hence our frustration during the research portion of the upcoming series.
But, like every other obstacle that temporarily blocks the completion of a project, we’ve managed to hurdle it and we’re just about ready to go.
Like the Legends Series, Unforgettable 100 will begin with an introductory feature that will be followed by a daily countdown of stories (space permitting) beginning the following day with No. 100 and working down toward No. 1.
We hope you are looking forward to it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
Buddy Thomas’ column appears on Thursdays in The Standard-Times.