Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"An Unsportsmanlike Basketball Game" (1915)

The gymnasium in the
Y. M. C. A. Building on North Main Street was the scene of one of the most tumultuous basketball games in Middleborough history when on November 20, 1915, over-zealous fans of the visiting Wamsutta team of New Bedford disrupted the game and threatened to harm the local players. The following week, the Middleboro Gazette chastised the visiting fans in the following article.

Altogether disgraceful scenes were enacted at the Y. M. C. A. gymnasium, Saturday night, when the Wamsuttas of New Bedford appeared as per schedule to play the Middlebor Varsity five. Spectators agree that it was the roughest, most unsportsmanlike game of basketball ever played here, and the whole trouble seems to be due to the antagonistic, looking-for-a-scrap attitude that the visiting five brought with them in the form of a truck-load of some 50 rooters. The visiting rooters no sooner arrived than they began to "show off", as a bystander fittingly expressed it. The climax came in the second half of the game when, with but five minutes to play, and the score 28 to 23 in favor of the local team, a wild fight was started by the New Bedford rooters. In the first part of the game the Wamsutta rooters began to hiss and jeer the referee, Gay, and made insulting remarks to the Middleboro players. One of the largest crowds that ever witnessed a game at the gym was present and took these proceedings at first as a joke. Then the real trouble appeared in the second half, as soon as it was seen that the Wamsuttas could not hope to over take the varsity team in the matter of scoring. Gammons, the local right guard, got into an argument with Fowler, the visiting left guard. When the referee called out a double foul, it was the signal for the New Bedford aggregation to start something, which they did in earnest. Waite, right forward for the Varsity team, was cornered by the crowd and struck. He finally fought his way out of the crowd. none of the players were badly hurt. Spectators who ran to the aid of the locals had their clothes torn. Joseph Hyman, who endeavored to quiet the scrappers, was badly cut about the face. Special officer I. B. Thomas, who was taking tickets at the door, was called in, but could do nothing with the mob and night patrolman Hastay was called in. The fighters were rushed from the building. The game with the Wamsuttas was the first of the season here and it was so unsportsmanlike. No blame for the disturbance is attached to the Middleboro team or its rooters, the whole trouble lying with the rooters accompanying the Wamsuttas.

"Y. M. C. A. Middleboro, Mass.", picture postcard, Taunton, MA: H. A. Dickerman & Son, publisher, c. 1915

Middleboro Gazette
, "An Unsportsmanlike Basket Ball Game", November 26, 1915, page 1.


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