Winks

 

If you follow soccer there is a hero for Tottenham today named Harry Winks. He scored the winning goal to 2-1 over Fulham. Long cross in extra stoppage time like minute 92 or 93. I took five photos here:

Winks is a 22-year-old Aquarian of Spanish and English descent who scored the winning goal on a header and wears number eight lucky eight.

And well what I thought of for the headline is the American basketballer Steve Francis who is number 23 and 41 years old and coincidentally 23 was the defender for Fulham who failed to Mark properly.  Steve Francis’s nickname was “Wink”.  I used to think of that piece of trivia as real inside baseball but now it seems to be in the public domain and on Wikipedia. “Wink”  was said to be in that he could move very quickly and for example steal the ball in the time it took you to blink or wink but who knows.

I got this in 1998 or so during the heyday of Francis’  NBA career  he played for Houston rockets and also for Maryland terrapins    Kwame Coleman was a friend of mine who was from the same neighborhood as Francis and knew him I think from Montgomery Blair high school in Bethesda Maryland although they said that Francis attended eight schools and only played two high school games. Kwame was the baby dad for Lilly Steinbock. In fact their son Kenny Coleman sat on my lap. Kenny’s  grandma, Martha Bair Steinbock Said that Kenney responded to my voice because it was in the same register as his father that is to say somewhat deep. I remember Kenny and one of his partners Were in town in San Francisco visiting my girlfriend at the time, the aunt,  and I took them to the Fillmore to see Maceo Parker. I remember I had our rental car or courtesy car maybe my Toyota truck was being fixed it was a dark Lincoln. I asked them what they want to do and Keame he said “we’re rolling with you”. We actually didn’t think Maceo was on That night so we decamped to the boom boom room across the street where Brenda Boykin seem to be really killing it. Some people call it Jacks.  Both Kwame and Steve  I had lost their mothers so they had that in common according to Martha. I don’t know how I know this but I think I saw that young Kenney recently graduated from Georgetown prep the same high school as the supreme court judge Brett Kavanaugh also a notable basketball player. Parentheses although I am a supporter of the I-street boys that is to say Gonzaga. My Dartmouth remade Brian X  Gaul, Said that there was not actually a Gonzaga pep song but he had to make one up for fraternity rush and hit a line about “when the I Street boys Get off their knees and rise for the battle” or something the knees being praying I made that part up. I’ve read that Steve Francis post NBA is had hard times I wish him well. More to the point all the Steinback’s, Bears,

(TK photo of Francis, doing layup or dunk)

wink

Bethesda – Chevy Chase’s finest — ok, six prep teams can claim him: Steve “Wink” Francis, at his peak

(that one had what in music is called a Memphis fade out — ok, edit to add a week or so later: I reunited by email an old friend, for whom I recapped — maybe gratuitouly the story of our high school team — he had actually written about one of our players when he worked for Sports Illustrated as an intern in college and my former teammate played for a top 10 D-1 team, written about my the great Curry Kirkpatrick; I am reprinting my letter today here — minus a few details — because I am self-conscious about “memoir” because I am taking Lynn Stegner’s course on such at Stanford Extension.

In 2006,  we of the Gunn High of Palo Alto Titans had a 25-year reunion of “that championship season” which spanned two years actually,  1979-80 and 1980-81, so there were four different classes that had eligible players – and you realize I was the guy who scored exactly one field goal and four points in a total of probably 20 minutes all season, which was my junior year. But because I was also Mr. Organization –student government and student newspaper editor, future Dartmouth admit — I was the one who organized the reunion.* We got 10 of the 20 guys from those teams to return to town and wave to the crowd at halftime of a Gunn game to show the then-current players that there was no glass ceiling. (They were getting closer to perennial powerhouse, sports magnet de facto and crosstown rival Palo Alto High (“Paly”) every year, but had won no league championship since 1981. Lockhart did not come; he was still in Australia, and rarely or never flew. But I spoke with him long distance for more than two hours one night plus he sent me a long bio and some other stuff like a list of his favorite movies??!
Another one of are guys, Danny McCallister ‘80 was the best pure athlete of the era, played quarterback in football, and went on a football scholarship to Oregon as a defense of back. His daughter was all-conference and he coached her at Mitty, as an assistant. But he died tragically in a work accident a year after our reunion so we also organized a second event that enshrined him into the Gunn Hall of Fame which otherwise did not exist. (That event was halftime of Gunn-Paly; his cousin was Paly’s star; McCalilster was oldest of five boys who played for Gunn, including another brother Stanley who suited for CCS playoffs as a sophomore, but did not play –yeah, so I was more like 20th man off the bench when Gunn lost to to St. Ignatius by 2 at Maples Pavillion in the section championship — or would’ve/ could’ve been — in reality only 8 guys saw action – the seniors plus Brian DiBiaso, junior, son of the former Stanford coach, who went 0-1 from top of key, but later grew 4 more inches and was a walk-on for Don Munson at Oregon, for one season of D-1 — in all our program from those years, therefore, had four D-1 athletes including our center Danny Brown who signed to play tight end for Hawaii).
lockutepbyu1985

Gunn High and UTEP legend Kent Lockhart, now of Melbourne, Australia in rare footage on social media, circa 1985 v BYU — the game that he infamously got tossed for fighting. He’s on D.

Our coach Hans Delannoy, a Cubberley 1969 who played against future NBAers Rich Kelley and Charles Johnson in preps, gave a rousing speech at our event – -his hallmark – and amazingly his San Ramon (of Danville — 30 miles east) girls beat Berkeley High powerhouse gals to win North Coast Section and he won California Divison State Coach of Year — I like to think he woke up the echoes of “Titensity” –our team coinage for “Titan”s plus “intensity” by coming back to Gunn for that ceremony.
A bunch of got bit by the bug of the story, the pursuit, and kept watching the ensuing couple of seasons (and one of us had a kid going thru the program, which was now coached by an excellent math teacher and former Princeton JV named Chris Redfield). Sure enough,
in 2009 Gunn finally beat Paly and won league after 28-year drought. Would’ve happened in 2008 but for a buzzer beater by… Joseph Lin, little brother (in 2 senses of the word) of Jeremy Lin, who went on to play for Hamilton College^
And yeah Gunn might’ve won state if Jeremy had stayed south Palo Alto. (you recall we spoke briefly a few years back and I had ambivalence about Linsanity). Actually, Jeremy Lin went to a Christian school for sixth grade, so little Kings Academy might’ve won CCS his senior year if he had stayed that route.  And here’s a tip: he interned recently at district office of our local state assembly member Joe Simitian, Joe told me—I am touting that Lin will retire and run for Congress Anna Eshoo seat here (she’s 76).
Seven of us met with coach Hans ast week for pizza– which is what spurred me to rehash all this for you — and we tried to ring Lockhart down under but he was out working on a farm he had bought.  But we did pass the phone around to talk to Marlinda Fitsgerald, who had sold her Palo Alto home / rental income property about 10 years ago and moved in with her sonny boy. No mentions of topless versus tassles Saturday in that call,[…] Lockhart teaches art, did some coaching after he finally stopped playing local leagues — he says Bogut he knew from a regional clinic, he coached Bogut — and still makes art — he promised to send me his trademark wire-and-paper-mache lizards. (He hasn’t, but he did send his uniforms and a 1952 Topps Willie Mays when we were planning a charity auction to raise a fund in Danny McCallisters name)

 

Sent from my iPhone
Shabbat shalom mark
*actually this is a funny detail: it occured to me in December 2005 that this milestone was coming up, and when I typed the terms into the search engine sure enough there was something on the Gunn website about a reunion later that season versus Los Gatos at home. I called the number of the administrator hoping to be included — I presumed I would be the last guy they’d think to call, if they remembered me or knew of me at all — but to my surprise and relief it turned out I was the first guy to respond, so took over the reins in terms of finding people. 
^ ok, this is already too much detail but: Joseph Lin, who was like 5’8″ but great court sense and fearless, especially on D, went to Hamilton and had an AAU teammate named Ryan Tana (from Serra of San Mateo — the Tom Brady — Barry Bonds –Lynn Swann Serra), who played for NYU and whose father Akira Tana was a Palo Alto legend as Gunn quarterback, from Han’s era — he was leader of one of the only two Gunn football teams, 1969 and 1971 to win league. I met and befriended Akira a few years back because he went to Harvard and New England Conservatory and is a professional jazz drummer who was based in New York for years but moved back hereabouts when his kids were high school age. (I think you recall that I produce concerts and manage musicians, including jazz). Anyways, I recall talking to Akira after one of his tours to New York and he told me while there he cooked for his son, who was hosting on his couch and working out with Jeremy Lin. So I got the heads up about what became Linsanity about two weeks or so before it hit.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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