Remembering stars from the past; Thurman, Walraven
There have been many moments and achievements in athletics viewed with a boast from me that I would remember that scene as long as I lived. Some were from the professional leagues that excited this old heart greatly. One that will remain stamped in my mind is the last play of the 1957 World Series. The bases were loaded in that seventh game of the World Series with the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees each with three victories. Now it was the ninth inning, the Braves were leading 4-0. There were two outs and “Moose” Skowron, the big slugging first baseman of the Yankees, was coming to bat. The big boy hit a hard grounder that Eddie Mathews fielded behind third base and raced to tag third base for the final out and seal the victory and the series for the Braves. It is a scene I won’t forget and one I watch every so often on Youtube.com.
The comments today do not deal with those Yankee and Braves stars of the 50’s and 60’s. The two mentioned in the previous paragraph, along with many others, were definitely stars during their days in the Major Leagues and occupied hero status to thousands of adoring fans.
I use a statement about those and any other team that climbed to the status of being powerful or dynasty games in the 50’s and 60’s. The players from those teams of that era are dwindling. As we read of any old player passing we are reminded that we too are getting older. As one article noted, “Our heroes die and our childhood memories are all that remain.”
I now add the observation that often we are not even familiar with the names of players of past days. That is a shame; the remembrance of the players and their accomplishments in past years are those things that enrich the universalathletic or sports’ stories.
A young and bright star in the local track world appeared on the scene in the middle 1980s. Recently, I had occasion to meet a young lady and two of her children. It was at that meeting I realized I had never met her and only knew her by her performance on the track and by reading about her in the sports section of the newspaper. The beautiful young lady was none other than the great track star from her earlier years at Gordon Central High School.
The reports in the paper left no room to doubt the outstanding talent of the young lady. Words on the printed page described in glowing terms of the young Gordon Central’s talent and her accomplishments on the track. In spite of all I had read I wasn’t ready for what I was to witness at either the county or region track meet at Gordon Central one Saturday morning on that spring day long ago.
Shea’s performances in the sprints that day were beauty in motion. The view of her racing around the curve entering the home stretch of the 220-yard dash (it might have been the 200 meter by then) displayed one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed on the track. I hear the announcers speak of the performances of horses in the big races on TV. Their words of description are those I need now to describe Shea Thurman and her performances. It was smoothness and seemingly effortless one could not imagine as she glided passed her opponents and left the field behind.
In keeping with the sentiments expressed in the section above concerning our heroes from past teams, I allowed the same thing happened to me about Shea Thurman. I had not forgotten her and neither had I allowed her performances to leave my mind.
It was great meeting Shea. I hope I sufficiently conveyed to her my admiration for her performances that I witnessed that day.
I need to say here that there are other talented young ladies from the past I intended to mention here. I am about out of space but they will be noticed later.
It goes without saying that Shea Thurman was an outstanding athlete. It can now be established that the athletic story did not end with Shea. Wil Walraven is Shea’s son. His story has been proclaimed in a wonderful way on the pages of our local and regional papers during his senior year at Sonoraville High School.
The all-around athlete excelled in so many areas. Most recently, he played on Team GA in the GA-Tenn. All-Star Basketball Game last week in Chattanooga.
The Wil Walraven story will occupy great space in the history and records of Sonoraville High School athletics.