When Cub basketball was king, Don Firth made the hoops ring

To the editor,

A Cub star has winged his way to heaven. Don Firth is the one, taking with him tales of Hoosier Hysteria that would stun anyone. He was that quiet giant, always getting the job done. Game after game, the scorebook would show the 10-plus rebounds, 15 to 20 points or so, he’d done. His classmate and teammate was Buster Briley, a name you should know. For night after night he was the scoring show, 30 to 40 or more points he would make, and so it was Buster who captured to glow.

Don was a force on the floor, that was sure. He always held his own and did the job he was to do. The gyms were jam packed, the screams of support bounced all around, the air was hot, the windows steamed from the excitement of the town.

Ritter’s cast of merry men were not through as graduation came and went. These men would play on at the Crystal Beach nets. Basketball was what they loved to do, this love they passed on. The game never grew stale to the young or the old. And the younger coming along wanted to go up against the best in the State where there was no one to direct or yell, it was plain outright fun to be put to the test.

This went on all summer, pick-up games on the court, with young players waiting on the hill for their chance at the sport. So it happened to Don, as it had to many others, a young talented Cub went against one like no other. The game went on, Don scoring at will, rebounds he commanded as if standing still. The younger worked harder and harder to best this unknown, until at the end of the game, he asked as he wondered, “Who the hell are you?” for I must know.

“Don Firth,” he simply replied, for that was his style. His talking was done on the court on the ground, he spoke loud, he spoke clear, done by the example he showed, of how the game was played and how the game was won.

I am of that era when Cub basketball was king, I had to pay tribute to Don who made the hoops ring.

Deanna Shelley