“Where you going, Champ?”
“What are you up to, Champ?”
“No street shoes on the court, Champ!”
He called us Champ,
and he made us feel like one,
and we were better off when he was done
teaching the finer points,
though his finger joints were mangled
and twisted, he insisted, you were a Champ!
Gray sweatshirt, rubber soled oxfords,
encouraging words for his athletes
and us Champs. Salted brush cut,
horn-rimmed specs and a heck of a set shot,
you got all you could get from the man
with the craggy chin and his whistle
clenched between his teeth. No disrespect,
but he came with the building, whether
he was building character or building
a winning team, it would always seem
he got the best from the best, and all the rest.
I guess that’s why he called us “Champs”!
~Walter J. Wojtanik
A tribute to one of the finest guys I would come to know in my life. A teacher, a mentor, a real leader. The original champ! Leo Newton, athletic director and coach at Our Lady of Victory School in Lackawanna, N.Y.