Throughout the 60s the Eastern High School hockey tournament was held at old Boston Arena. Games between bitter rivals packed the stands over the legal capacity of 4600. In 1968 BC High was playing a North Shore powerhouse. Ticket sales separated fans and the public high school filled the rinkside seats. The BC High’s following was crammed into the steep upper deck. My older brother attended BC High as a junior. I was a sophomore at Xaverian, but his friends accepted my support for this game. We had smuggled in beer as had many of the Eagles’ supporters.
By the end of the 1st period our section was a roiling maelstrum of drunken teenage boys and several seniors amused the under-classmen by dropping M-80 firecrackers on Somerville fan. We laughed at their scurrying away from our bombing tactics and their cheerleading squad climbed the stairs to beseech us to stop with the fireworks. Our rebuke of this offer was ungentlemanly and the Somerville football team attempted to quell our boisterous behavior. We had the upper ground and beat them down the stairs with our fists. were underneath the elevated seats. BC High students dropped M-80s on the opposing fans.
We thought that we had won a fair fight and the right to torment the Somerville fans beneath us.
BC High scored an upset victory and at the end of the game hordes of cops separated the two groups of supporters, letting Somerville leave first. Their fans were furious at their loss and our behavior. We shouted out parting epithets. Most of them began with the letter F. Once the lower section of the arena was clear, the police allowed BC High fans to file onto the street.
Hundreds of Somerville fans lined the sidewalks. They were big boys and it seemed like all the entire town was waiting in the alley. We had beaten them in the arena and on the ice. They were hundreds of us. Our friends gave the Somerville fans the finger. I shouted out obscenities. My brother nudged my ribs and pointed over his shoulder. The police were shutting the doors to prevent a general melee.
Our retreat to safety was cut off. I rapidly counted our numbers.
We were about forty.
We stood in a gauntlet of teenage thugs.
We were on our own. The Somerville fans were slow to react to this advantage. A clear path ran up the middle of the alley to Mass Ave.
One of my brother’s friends shouted out, “Run, motherfuckers, run.”
We didn’t need to be told twice.
I ran the 440 for my high school. My older brother the 880.
Our best times for a dash were that night, as we outraced our enemies to the safety of Mass. Avenue and Kelly’s Bar at the bridge. I knew the bartender there. He came from Jamaica Plains.
Like the wind we ran with fear on our heels. I reached Kelly’s first. The bouncer saw the approaching horde and said, “Let inside quick.”
Jimmy was 6-8 and connected to the Winter Hill Gang.
I bought him two beers as thanks.
“JP.” He clinked my glass. I had been drinking there since I was twelve.
Run motherfuckers run was a good joke for years to follow, this day whenever someone says that they are from Somerville I never mention the word ‘hockey’ or run motherfuckers run.
It was better than way.