St Catherine's School in New Haven, Ky

St Catherine’s School in New Haven, Ky

The unpainted building behind our house had three sections; a coal house, an outhouse before we got indoor plumbing, and a storage shed. Later, the outhouse was sort of re-modeled and became the radio shack when Hugh Louis and I got involved in ham radio and electronics. On the coal house we mounted a basketball board. That became the center of our sports activity as we played basketball in all types of weather. When it was damp from rain, we played with a ball black as the coal dust that covered the ground. Of course, there was no net on the hoop but that didn’t crimp our style in the least. Many times, a shot would go over the roof of the coal shed and that meant a trip around the shed and down the hill to retrieve the ball.

When the new high school was completed partly with the labor of kids like myself for 15 cents an hour, the school formed basketball teams for grade school and high school. I played on the grade school team and later, on the high school varsity team. We had cheer leaders and uniforms and even lettered jackets. It was exciting to go to play out of town teams as far as 30 miles away. Our win-loss record was not very good and my own play was allowed not for any talent but only because there was no competition to be on the team.

Hugh Louis had been attending St. Joseph High School over in Bardstown but when the new gym was built, he transferred to St. Catherines and played on the high school basket ball team. He played forward. Joe Boone, Johnny Hagen, Freddy and Donnie Beam and guys like that made up a great team. Bobbie also played on the team in the following years.

My glasses were a constant problem in basketball as they seemed to be always taped together
from a previous accident on the court. There was no such thing as contact lenses back then.

Our team was coached by Father Hardesty, who served as assistant pastor in his day job. His
coaching style mainly was yelling at us from the sidelines when we made mistakes. At the time, I
thought that was a little over the top. But seeing basketball coaches on TV today, I think maybe
Father Hardesty was a pacesetter in that regard.