By Lethbridge Herald on May 6, 2015.
From my quick research Marge Clarke, Jim Whitelaw, Leroy Walker, Glen Magneson, Marg Derbyshire, Jim Steacy, the Ralph Family and Dean Rook, along with Alberta Schools Athletic Association founders Grant Jensen, Jim Day, Lyman Jacobs, Jim Blumell — and yes, again Jim Whitelaw — comprise a veritable Murderer’s Row of area folk who have been enshrined in the Alberta School Sports Hall of Fame since it was established in 2006.
Next up to the plate Thursday evening in Edmonton: Morgan Munroe.
Quite an honour indeed!
It would seem to me the 1958 (a very good vintage) born Munroe (excuse me for going with Morgan from this juncture) is being granted this form of immortality largely for his 26 seasons of officiating ASAA basketball games and baker’s dozen campaigns as the Alberta Basketball Officials Association Interpreter. Sprinkled in are a myriad of additional Southern Alberta Basketball Officials Association organizational tenures.
His service in this regard is exemplary. To merely scratch the surface, Morgan officiated approximately 1,500 ASAA games out of about 2,000 total in his literal whistle-blowing tenure. Many tilts were at the zone and provincial championship level.
I know officiating is a matter of personal opinion but, in my personal opinion, I have never seen a better high school game adjudicator in any sport. Period.
But that is not the end of this story.
Concurrently, Morgan also officiated and helped organize officials all the way up to community college, Canada Basketball domestic age-group and university national championship events.
I truly believe had Morgan set his sights on earning international hoop officiating status in his early 20s he absolutely would have toured the world in that capacity.
Alas, Morgan pursued other athletic goals from an early age. How early you ask? Well, when we first met in Grade 9 travelling home following a night of football playing for separate teams on what is now largely the Spitz Stadium outfield (with a painful dash of the infield tossed in) Morgan was already a city-known star on the gridiron and basepaths. I was about as far away from that status as possible. And yet, through of our mutual love of sports, we immediately began a string of interactions that continues to this day.
Morgan went on to play football and basketball at Catholic Central, hoops for Lethbridge College and excelled locally in lacrosse. He was a major junior football achiever and suited up in the university ranks, too.
Morgan was a long-time football mentor at Catholic Central. I know he deeply cherishes winning the Southern Alberta High School Football League T. Eaton Trophy “Gold Football” in that capacity as head coach. I have absolutely no doubt he could have been a successful varsity roundball head coach, too. In 1982-83 I was Morgan’s assistant with the Catholic Central JV boys team. Of all the squads I’ve ever been fortunate enough to be a small part of on staff, including Commonwealth champions and World University Games silver medallists, that is my favourite outfit in many ways. I habitually smile thinking back to how we dramatically overachieved, having fun all the while.
Make no mistake about it, Morgan truly loved attending, playing for, coaching and teaching at Catholic Central, where he retired last June. As a nod to this remarkable connection, Morgan seemingly did everything possible not to officiate CCH games. While laudable, I am beyond certain Morgan would never have favoured his alma mater in any way.
Congratulations Morgan. Perhaps unlikely, but hopefully four decades-plus down the road we will still be exchanging athletic viewpoints and contributing to area sports overall.
• • •
Thanks to Toby Boulet I can inform you Winston Churchill High School is hosting the 12th annual Pronghorn JV Rugby Festival in girls and boys divisions on multiple Sherring Rugby Park pitches at Lethbridge Sports Park on Saturday. Makes perfect sense since Boulet is a long-time contributor to Winston Churchill and University of Lethbridge rugby. It appears to me teams from Churchill, Raymond, LCI, Cardston, Sherwood Park Bev Facey, Fort Macleod F.P. Walshe, Chinook, Taber W.R. Myers and Strathmore, plus Wilcox, Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame, are in the chase. Tilts are are to kick off from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WELLSIE’S WORLD — It’s still four-plus weeks down the trail, but I’m already looking forward to the massive Duane Konynebelt chaired 2015 Alberta Schools Athletic Association Provincial Track & Field Meet at the extended University of Lethbridge Community Sports Stadium venue June 5-6. And that is not an overstatement or hyperbole.
I am so proud our area finally has suitable facilities to showcase to the rest of the province. Having chaired the event about three decades ago I winced at what we had to offer previously.
As I now understand it, perhaps as many as 1,500 athletes will be in the chase this time around. I certainly hope local schools have large dedicated teams this year, especially with the ultimate goal event in the neighbourhood. And yes, that’s a hint.
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