Maurice Collins Studies New Sport; Now Manages Champs
By Maury Colllins
That was the headline for an article about my Father in the (Toledo) Blade 1934.
Maurice J. Collins April 12, 1909 ~ March 27, 197. On August 14, 1969 while in Ireland, my father recorded these thoughts. “I am in the old homestead now. It has been locked up since the new house was built. My thoughts go back to May 13, 1928 when I said good-bye, with a broken heart to my Mother and all the family. I leave today, perhaps for the last time, again with a broken heart. I hope and pray that I will be able to return again. I ask God to bless all my friends and family in Ireland. God bless them all.” Seven months later, Dad died)
I am humbled and in awe, when I think if my Father leaving home, knowing that he would probably never speak to or hear the voices of his family still in Ireland. No phones and certainly no Internet. Communication was by letter only. A telegram meant that someone had died.
March, with its “Green Season” and “March Madness,” brings back memories of my Father. He lived in America for forty-two years, but he never lost his love for Ireland, or his Irish accent. As a youngster in Ireland he played Irish Football and Hurling. He picked up a sport in his new home, a game called basketball.
A 1934 article in the Toledo Blade talks about my father and his new sport. The article mentions the two sports my father played in Ireland. He called them soccer (Irish Football) and Holley ball (Hurling). I’m sure he had a hard time understanding my father. The article reads:
Maurice Collins Studies New Sport, Now Manages Champs
When Maurice Collins came to Toledo from Ireland in 1928, he had yet to see his first game of basketball. Now he is manager and coach of the Irish Five, 1933-1934 champions of the Class AA division of the Toledo Amateur Basketball Federation.
His first contact with the new game intrigued him to the point that he obtained books from which he studied the “inside” of the game, until he had a thorough knowledge of the theory. Then he assembled the players.
The Irish Five is composed of members of St. Vincent de Paul’s parish. The players range in age from seventeen to twenty-one years. They are seeking games with Catholic teams of the city.
Entered again this year in the Toledo Amateur Basketball Federation, the Irish Five with another round of games yet to be played occupy second place. The record of the team since its organization two years ago is sixty-four wins against twelve defeats.
Maurice played the game for a while. He soon found his method of play resulted too frequently in the blowing of the referee’s whistle. He had been accustomed to playing two of his favorite games of Ireland in which bodily contact of that type did not subject a team to penalty. These games were soccer and holley ball, the latter a form of sport similar to American hockey, except that it is played on a green turf instead of a surface of ice.
However, Maurice now prefers the job of managing, which allows him to sit close to the line of action and keep a close watch on his players.
A side note to my Father’s athletic ability: he was persuaded to join a couple of friends to play golf. He went to a pawn shop and purchased a set of golf clubs. He showed up on Saturday morning for a round of gold. He discovered that the set of clubs he bought was for a left hander. No problem. He played left-handed. The putter was two faced, so he putted right-handed.
Rest in Peace Dad. You are remembered with a lot of love.
* Maury Collins is a charter member and past president of the Toledo AOH division. He may be reached at ma************@gm***.com.
Don’t Forget, Send Maury ma************@gm***.com) and John (jo*****@oh********.com) your Toledo Irish events news and pics so we can let everyone know. Deadline is 10th of the month, for the following month, so Jan 10 for February issue, etc ….