Penin­sula In­ter-Town School Sports

1940s-1960s

The Southern Gazette - - HISTORY - Al­lan Stood­ley

The Burin Penin­sula In­ter- Town School Sports Day was a much-an­tic­i­pated an­nual event from the mid-1940s up to the early 1960s. School ath­letes from Burin, For­tune, Grand Bank and St. Lawrence reg­u­larly com­peted, with par­tic­i­pants from Gar­nish, Marys­town and Lawn also vy­ing to make their mark.

Ini­tially un­der the aus­pices of the Burin Penin­sula Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, the well-or­ga­nized, one-day af­fair would be hosted on a ro­tat­ing ba­sis by the larger towns. Fea­tur­ing sev­eral foot­ball games as well as var­i­ous track and field events, the day would usu­ally con­clude with a ban­quet and dance for the ath­letes and their sup­port­ers in the evening.

I have in my pos­ses­sion two of the eight-page printed pro­grammes for the years 1947 and 1949. The print­ing cost of these pro­grams was ob­vi­ously taken care of by lo­cal busi­nesses; for ex­am­ple, the 1947 book­let car­ries 15 in­di­vid­ual ads pro­mot­ing the ser­vices and wares of For­tune and Grand Bank en­trepreneurs.

In ad­di­tion to reg­u­lar larger re­tail out­lets, we see an ad by Eric Stood­ley with the head­line “Win­ter Is Com­ing – sharpen your skates,” and by J. Wilson Os­borne, “Black­smith.”

In 1949, the Town of For­tune hosted the an­nual sports meet with ads in their pro­gram book­let in­clud­ing “South West Coast Bak­ery – Bread, Cakes, Pas­tries and Cin­na­mon Rolls” and “Wal­ter Ben­nett – For­tune Barber.”

The 1947 Penin­sula Schools Sports Day took place at Grand Bank and fea­tured 12 events, in­clud­ing three foot­ball (soc­cer) games, 100- and 220- yard dash races for both girls and boys, plus the high jump, mile run, and tug-of-war. The foot­ball matches fea­tured teams of six play­ers each, no doubt due to the smaller play­ing sur­faces avail­able in that era.

At the Grand Bank event in 1947, other at­trac­tions for spec­ta­tors in­cluded soft drinks, guess­ing con­tests, and bowl­ing (no doubt it was lawn-bowl­ing).

By 1949 the num­ber of events had in­creased to 15 with a ju­nior cat­e­gory added for all races.

I re­mem­ber vividly back in the early to mid-1950s when I was a stu­dent that the ri­valry be­tween Burin and Grand Bank was in­tense. The ath­letes would natur- ally give a 100 per cent plus ef­fort rep­re­sent­ing their com­mu­ni­ties, but it was the prin­ci­pals of the schools in the two towns who took cen­tre stage.

Frank Pearce of Burin and John Davis of Grand Bank would go at it ver­bally, tooth and nail, try­ing to bend ev­ery rule to give their re­spec­tive team an ad­van­tage. It was en­ter­tain­ment to us stu­dents to say the least.

In 1958 I be­gan re­port­ing for The Evening Tele­gram, and this in­cluded the an­nual Penin­sula School Sports Day. That year it was held at Grand Bank, with the home team cap­tur­ing the sil­ver­ware. In 1959 Burin, with the high­est point to­tal, took top hon­ours, while in 1960 St. Lawrence, led by Leonard Slaney, gar­nered the most points and also took home the foot­ball tro­phy.

In 1959, Hazel Marsh and Ge­orge Crocker, both of For­tune, were the top point-get­ters of the day.

In the 1940s the Penin­sula Sports Day was held in the fall, whereas by the mid1950s it was changed and usu­ally took place in June.

Al­lan Stood­ley re­sides at Grand Bank. He can be reached at am­stood­ley@hot­mail.com and he wel­comes com­ments on this or any other ar­ti­cle he has writ­ten. AL­LAN STOOD­LEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Ce­cil Lake of For­tune clears the bar at 5ft. 2 inches on Burin Penin­sula School Sports Day held at Burin on June 5, 1959. Burin went on to win with the most points over the day’s ac­tiv­i­ties. AL­LAN STOOD­LEY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Andy Crewe of Grand Bank won the high­jump event at the Burin Penin­sula School Sports Day com­pe­ti­tion held in Burin on June 5, 1959.

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