Tuesday afternoon at the corner of Hull Street and Lowell Avenue in Newton, 67 year-old Joe Siciliano ran baseball practice — just as he has done every May weekday since 1987.Here's the interesting part, at least for me:
Putting his guys through base-running and relay drills, Siciliano looked as enthusiastic as Pete Carroll on the sideline with the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The old gray coach was laughing, grimacing, and gesturing nonstop. He was pumped and jacked as his teenage ballplayers went about their business with purpose and pleasure. A boring fundamental drill was somehow worthwhile and fun as the Tigers prepared for Game 1 of the inaugural Super 8 tournament. Top-seeded North (19-1) opens at home Wednesday afternoon against Catholic Memorial.
Joe Siciliano. Everyman. Teacher, coach, groundskeeper, grandfather, baseball lifer, sculptor of young souls. Every town should have one.
[Disclosure: My son played four seasons for Joe Siciliano from 2003-06.]I met with one of my clients in Newton a few months ago during tax season. I mentioned DSW to him, and he mentioned the fact that he used to coach kids in baseball some years ago. While he didn't mention if he was coaching at Newton North or whether it was Pony League, Babe Ruth or some other organized baseball, he did mention one of the kids by name - Sam Shaughnessy. Nearly every parent gave my client their condolences, thinking Shank was going to be a typically overbearing parent, demanding his kid play center field, or whatever. As it turns out, it was the complete opposite - Shank was cool as a cucumber, nice as pie, didn't yell or scream, etc. A pleasant surprise!