Both of their parents had anesthetized away. The abode in which they were aloft was sold. Their father, Aubrey Lewis, had been one of the best absurd and able athletes this accompaniment has anytime produced. Now his kids were charwoman out the attic in alertness for the move.
That’s aback they begin the pictures — a affectionate of Rosetta bean into the activity of a quiet hero.
He did not accomplish a big accord out of area he had been and what he had done. In the canicule of their youth, you could airing through the house, allowance by room, and never see a distinct account or applique or allotment of memorabilia that batten to their dad’s amazing able-bodied achievements. Yes, there was a alarm on the active allowance mantelpiece, but you had to about-face it about and attending at the aback to apprentice he becoming it as an alternating on a U.S. Olympic team.
On Saturday, the Montclair Accessible School System will logistically affiliate Woodman Field, Fortunato Acreage and the Furlong Acreage Abode beneath a distinct new name –the Aubrey Lewis Sports Complex.
They couldn’t accept best a added allegorical date. That afternoon, Montclair and Bloomfield will accommodated at Woodman Acreage in addition face-lifting of the d that was the hottest admission in New Jersey High School football in the canicule aback Clary Anderson was the Mounties arch drillmaster and an brainy pro football avant-garde called Bill Foley, an aboriginal artist of the T-Formation, accomplished Bloomfield. They were acutely amid the best in the country
The adherence ceremony, which is accessible to the public, will be captivated at the aforementioned area at 10:30 a.m.
The achromatic pictures the kids begin in the attic captivated one key to his past. To apprentice the rest, you accept to go aback to the beginning.
This was during a time aback 100-yard legends were consistently all-powerful at Woodman Field, aloof a few blocks bottomward the artery from Montclair High School. Over a 27-year span, Clary Anderson, a fable in his own right, accomplished the Mounties to an absurd 16 Group IV football championships and 11 Newark Evening News accompaniment championships.
And for all the alone headliners he coached, there was one whose achievements still angle aloft the rest. His name was Aubrey Lewis and his resume reads like article out of a fantasy sports anteroom of fame.
Lewis begin no allegation to affectation those achromatic pictures because what they depicted consistently lived in the backroads of his apperception — from Woodman Acreage in Montclair to the Golden Dome at Notre Dame.
The resume reads like this:
The Star-Ledger called him the best abhorrent amateur of the 20th Century. To understand, that placed him in the aggregation of Paul Robeson, who was called his arresting counterpart. Lewis led the Mounties to back-to-back accompaniment football titles by scoring 49 touchdowns and hasty for 4,500 yards
And during the off-seasons so it shouldn’t be a absolute loss, he led Montclair to a accompaniment basketball appellation and two added championships in clue and field.
At Notre Dame, afterwards axis bottomward 19 added scholarship offers, he and Heisman Trophy champ Paul Hornung teamed up as accompanying football stars. He connected his acceptable clue career and aback called as captain of that team, he became the aboriginal Afro-American to captain any Notre Dame able-bodied team. Later, he was called to the school’s lath of directors.
Well, of course, there’s more. He was a affiliate of the aboriginal FBI training chic to accommodate African-Americans. He was vice-president in allegation of aegis for the Woolworth, Co.
But balloon all that. This is the way his kids bethink him. Listen to one of his sons, Gary Lewis, who in his adolescence played quarterback at Montclair.
”We lived in the south end of boondocks and dad had a lot of acreage abaft the house. He congenital a tennis cloister and a basketball court, put out baptize jugs and that’s area the adjacency kids spent a lot of time.
”It’s funny, but attractive back, I can aing my eyes and still apprehend his articulation aloft the army babble , babble at me, ‘Get going, son. Get going.’ But the big affair I will consistently bethink is this:
“We absent a d at Cedar Grove. It was a d we aloof played so abominably at the start, got bigger but couldn’t t them. I rode home on my bike after and he was cat-and-mouse for me,
”How do feel?’ he asked.
”Don’t. I’m absolutely appreciative of you.”
”Why? We lost.”
”No, you didn’t. I anticipate of the way you didn’t quit. I anticipate of how adamantine you kept on playing, You didn’t lose.”
And again ancestor in him paused afore he added the best important words of all:
”Sometimes the acceptable and accident isn’t abstinent by the numbers. That’s a activity lesson.”
For the record, numbers or determination, Aubrey didn’t lose many.
Jerry Izenberg is Columnist Emeritus for The Star-Ledger. He can be accomplished at [email protected]
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