All Sorts of Sports, a Rye Memoir

Waiting for the library to open on a recent Tuesday, I ventured into the Square House. In the 80 years I have lived in Rye, I don’t think I’ve been inside more than a handful of times. My loss.

Published May 23, 2012 5:00 AM
2 min read

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Waiting for the library to open on a recent Tuesday, I ventured into the Square House. In the 80 years I have lived in Rye, I don’t think I’ve been inside more than a handful of times. My loss.

 

By John Blumenthal

 

Waiting for the library to open on a recent Tuesday, I ventured into the Square House. In the 80 years I have lived in Rye, I don’t think I’ve been inside more than a handful of times. My loss.

 

But I’m glad I did. One of their current exhibits, “Sports in Rye”, is fascinating and very well done. It reminded me of what a great town Rye is, with so many opportunities to participate in one sport or another. I started to make a list of all the different athletic activities I participated in. I came up with 23, and I’m sure there are ones I forgot.

 

I can’t think of any reason why anyone other than myself would be interested in this except, perhaps, to make a list of one’s own.

 

At Rye High School, I played on the football, basketball, and tennis teams. I learned baseball and boxing at The Hobby Club, a day camp located behind where Martin Road is today.

 

I’ve always enjoyed racquet sports, playing badminton with the Rye Rec group at Rye High, tennis at Manursing Island Club, and paradise tennis in my own backyard.

 

This last game was invented by Huntington Hartford, the A&P scion, and never caught on. It was played on a table four times as large as a ping-pong table. Ping-pong

 

I played at the Rye YMCA, along with pool. I first bowled at the Y and also set pins there — for 5 cents a line. This was before the automatic pinspotters and probably not very safe.

 

My father built a rifle range in our attic on Pine Lane, which is where I learned how to shoot.

 

In wintertime when I was a child, I played hockey on the duck pond at Rye Town Park and ice-skated at Playland. I learned to ski on the small hill at Rye Town Park and later tried cross-country skiing there.

 

In the warmer months, I swam at Rye Beach and tried diving at the old Oakland Pool, which is where the Water’s Edge condos are now. My father had a small sailboat, a Wee Scot, which we moored at The Point. That’s also where I took dates for the submarine races, but I don’t consider that a sport.

 

I had a single scull, which I rowed in the Sound, slowly.

 

I played golf on many of the great courses in the area and happily still do. In my seniority, walking and biking are my main diversions.

 

None of these were dabbles. I was pretty good at a lot of them and only bad at a few. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “To play’s the thing.”



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