Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

WINTER IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

February 15, 2015

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

sledding hill

February is usually the month that can be the cruelest as far as snow and cold weather goes.  But although I’m growing old and worry about slippery steps and icy parking lots, I still love winter.  I try not to tell too many people about this since they think I’m a bit crazy.

Why would I love cold, slush and below zero temperatures?  I believe it’s the wonderful memories I have of winter when I was growing up in Chicago.  We had the opportunity to go sledding every day after school and ice skating on weekends. Crack the whip was the kids and my favorite game to play on the ice.  We didn’t have warming houses at all the ponds that I skated on.  Some parks always had a nice warm field house to warm yourself in when your feet felt like, well like nothing, because you couldn’t feel them at all.  Walking to the ice skating pond was ok but walking back home was when you’d try to ask mom for a dime to take the bus home.  Most times she would ask me to walk home or just not go skating if it was that cold.

Whenever it snowed, and it did a lot when I was a girl, I loved how it looked and how quiet it was outside in a snowstorm. Fresh snow would always sparkle at night under the street lights.  I don’t ever remember having snow days back then so that wasn’t one of the reasons that I loved winter.  Snow ball fights, snow forts and snowmen are some of the other reasons I loved it.

When I had my own children, I loved to go out and pull them on the sled.  Of course I was the reindeer and I had sleigh bells that I hung from my neck.  It was fun and my neighbors thought I was crazy.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy this winter.  The Hoffman Estates Park District has outdoor ice skating at South Ridge Park, Highpoint Park and Evergreen Park.  When the flag is green, it’s a go for skating.  The red flag means the ice is not thick enough to walk or skate on. You can go sledding at Pine Park and don’t forget the Cook County Forest Preserve tails that offer more winter recreation opportunities.  Winter in Hoffman Estates can be a lot of fun.  Over the years the Park District has added so many beautiful parks to our village. Go to HEParks.org to locate them on their map.  Get outdoors and enjoy the winter season.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

SEARCHING FOR THE HOFFMAN ESTATES RAIDERS

February 17, 2013

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The year is 1961.  Hoffman Estates is a young village.  It’s only been 10 years since the first residents moved in.  One of those early residents was Bill Pichler, he moved here with his family in 1961, residing in the Highlands on Pierce Rd.  He began coaching Little League Baseball for the Hoffman Estates Athletic Assoc.  At the end of the season, while the boys were playing a little football in his backyard, he began to dream of starting a youth football program.  After doing some research, he discovered Pop Warner Football and the Chicago Jr. Suburban Football League.  He approached the H.E.A.A. with a request to sponsor a youth football program.  With their approval in hand, details were worked out for fields and budgets and applications were completed.  The new team would be for boys 11 – 13, under 115 pounds and it would be called the “Hoffman Raiders”.Hoffmancommandoes1965

In the fall of 1962 more than 100 boys tried out for the team.  33 were selected for that first Raiders team.  They went on to become league champions that first year.  They finished second in 1963. In 1964 the Hoffman Commandos, for boys 9 – 11 under 100 pounds, was formed.

The year is 1965.  It would be a year to remember. The Raiders and Commandos finished their seasons undefeated.  According to Coach Pichler, “no other teams had ever won both divisions in the same year.  Pop Warner Football International named Brian McGlory of the Commandos to the All American team selected from all over the country. A few years later Bob Dolan, a Raider, was also selected as an All American”.

In October, the teams were invited to play in the Milk Bowl in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Excitement spread across the community after Mayor Roy Jenkins declared November Hoffman Football Month, the biggest challenge was raising the $4000 to send the teams to Florida over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Moms sold fudge & brownies, the kids sold booster stickers and the Dads were selling tickets to the invitational dance (more than 100 attended)Hoffman Estates Raiders

All the hard work paid off, the teams would be off to Daytona Beach.  Coached by Bill Pichler and assistant coaches Bob Jones and Louis Dalitto, both teams beat the Daytona Bulldogs.  The fans at home were able to hear the play by play calls at Fairview School where a special direct line was set up along with amplifiers for the radio broadcast from Daytona Beach.  The final scores were the Hoffman Raiders 21 – Daytona Bulldogs 0, the Hoffman Commandos 13- Daytona Bulldogs 7.  Hundreds of fans greeted the returning champs at O’Hara Airport; a police escort took the triumphant teams through the village and past village hall.pop warner football 2

The young men, now much older, have never forgotten that very special year of 1965. Coach Pichler never forgot it either.  Although he moved away to California in 1971 to pursue a very successful business career, he always remembered that year and those boys.  Early this year he contacted Doug Schultz, Community Relations Coordinator, asking for help in returning several letters and pictures he’d saved from three of the Raiders, Mike Osterman, John Clausen and Tom Whitney. Doug asked if I could help and I located Mike but haven’t found the other two. Coach Pichler said “I look back upon my football days in Hoffman as some of the happiest in my life.  I would so appreciate your help in returning these mementos back to the boys who gave me such a gift.”  Family or friends in the area may still be able to locate them for me.  Let me know. I’d be so happy to find them, so would Coach Pichler.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net