The semi-finals of the 1969 Eastern Schoolboy hockey tournament at old Boston Arena featured a tough match between BC High and Somerville. My older brother attended BC High and I went to Xaverian. Boys from BC High hated my school. We were arch-rivals, but they accepted my support along with that of my classmate Chuckie Manzi. We arrived a good half-hour before the opening face-off.

The Boston Arena was packed with opposing supporters. The Somerville fans sat underneath the elevated loge crowded with BC High students. This lofty position was perfect for tormenting this evening’s enemy and BC High students dropped M-80s onto the Somerville fans. It was a good laugh for us.

They were good Catholic schoolboys to the core.
The Somerville football team tried to charge up the stairs, but the Eagle fans beat them back with fists.

The game was tightly played between , but BC High scored an upset victory and our section sang the school’s fight song at the top of our lungs, as we marched down the stairs in triumph.

Cordons of Boston police prevented the two groups from mixing it up in the arena. Somerville left first, furious at their loss and our behavior. The cops opened a door at the back and about thirty of us exited into the alley.

Hundreds of Somerville fans lined the sidewalks. The gauntlet of teenage thugs stretched the distance to Mass. Avenue. My older brother, his friends, and I turned to retreat back into the arena, but the Police shut the doors to curtail a general melee on St. Botolph Street.

After the clang a silence dropped on the narrow street. A murderous mutter rose from the Somerville fans. The crowd filled in behind us. Their hands clapped a slow tribal cadence.

“We can’t stay here.” My brother leaned over to tell me.


“If we make it to Mass. Ave. we’ll be okay.” My brother led us down the middle of the street. Our ears were filled with vengeful threats. Twenty yards from Mass. Avenue a BC High supporter thought that we were safe and gave the Somerville fans the finger. Another shouted out obscenities. My older brother nudged my ribs and pointed the police barriers at Mass. Ave. The cowards had deserted their posts and left us to be beaten like dogmeat.

My best friend, Chuckie Manzi, and I ran the 440 for our high school. My older brother excelled in the 880. The mob stepped off the sidewalk. Chuckie knew what to do and shouted, “Run, motherfuckers, run.”

And the three of us ran like the wind. The mob chased us for blocks. Somehow we outdistanced our pursuit in the Back Bay. On the ride home to the South Shore we laughed at each recounting the tale, although to this day whenever someone says that they are from Somerville I never mention the word ‘hockey’.

Discretion was always a better plan of action than ‘run motherfucker run.”

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *