Los Angeles, CA – The neighborhood may have changed since the good ol’ days when you would, in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and the 90s, go to a Manual Arts High basketball game.
Games were often on a Wednesday and a Friday at 2:30 (JV) and at 4 p.m.(varsity) during the regular season, in league play and into the playoffs.
Sometimes, for a special event, the varsity games would tipoff at 7 p.m., similar to the Southern Section games, which would normally begin at 7 or 7:30 p.m.
Last Friday was one of those special nights. Very special.
There were about 500-plus Manual Arts alumni, former coaches, players, cheerleaders, supporters, family, you name it, in attendance at Senior Night.
There was head coach Randolph Simpson, flanked by longtime Toiler coach/admin Greg Bewernick, Darwin Carter, Deric Daniels and John Jackson at the team bench.
It was a night when Toiler greats Dave Shepard, Jacque Hill and Henry Johnson were being honored by being placed on the Manual Arts Wall of Fame.
There was Manual Arts basketball coach emeritus Reggie Morris chatting it up with Manual Arts football coach emeritus Rodney Spencer and members of the powerful 1966-67 and 1967-68 ‘Arts basketball teams (The ’68 team won the L.A. City title) about the good old days, including the great Raymond Lewis, Freeman Mc Neil, Dwayne Polee, etc.
There was ‘Arts alumnus Myra Porter-Robertson holding center stage during the halftime ceremony, with style and grace.
Even though Executive Prep – coached by ‘Arts alumnus Cedric Jones – pulled out to win an exciting game, there were no losers.
Time passes, life changes, but Manual Arts is here to stay…and still a winner.