Don's Work

Don Seeley was one of the most gifted writers to come through the Pottstown Mercury. One said his stories highlighted individuals in a way few have the talent to do.

  Here's a sampling of his work.

SUNDAY BEST: Spring-Ford grad Kodish a man of the world

Steve Kodish has always been quite proficient at balancing athletics and academics.
At Spring-Ford High School, he was either the captain or co-captain of the football, wrestling and baseball teams, and an honor student before graduating in the top five percent of his senior class in 1999. At James Madison University in Va., he wrestled his way to the NCAA Championships, earned Academic All-American honors, and was selected the college’s Outstanding Kinesiology Student of the Year before graduating with a 3.7 grade-point average and earning his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2003.
And even though he had exhausted his athletic eligibility, he was still balancing sports and the books for two years at Arizona State University. He was a volunteer wrestling coach for a high school that won the state title, taught undergraduate classes at the university, and was named ASU’s Teaching Assistant of the Year before graduating with a 3.79 grade-point average and earning his master’s degree in kinesiology in 2005.
“That’s when I decided to take a one-year hiatus from academia to travel the world and try to expand my world view,” Kodish recalled earlier this week. “The one year turned into four years…”
Forget the GPS, too.

Read the full story here.

Elmer ‘Chump’ Pollock: Keeper of Pottstown sports legends

POTTSTOWN — The exact year doesn’t quite jog the memory bank, and it really doesn’t matter. But that very first visit to the Grigg Memorial Field press box and meeting Elmer “Chump” Pollock seems like it was just last month, not thirty some years ago.
He was short, a bit stocky, and noticeably older than me. He struggled to pick up a football program that had slipped out of his hand and underneath the seating area that stretched from one end to the other in the press box. But as soon as he stood up, turned and saw me just inside the door, he offered a handshake and spoke with a friendly but raspy voice.
“I’m Chump, are you the new guy from The Mercury?” he asked. “Glad to have you here. Take this seat here next to me. The window is open, so you’ll be able to see the game better. Do you need a program?”
All he wanted to do that night was help. He constantly asked if I had all the players’ names spelled correctly, if I had the right name for the player who carried, passed or caught the football.
After the game, and after returning to the office, I learned Chump was Elmer Pollock. Sports writer Tom McNichol told me to never call him Elmer, and don’t even try Mr. Pollock. McNichol said everyone knew him as Chump, and I’d love the guy once I got to know him.
McNichol wasn’t kidding.
Through the years, I learned how Pottstown’s oldest living athletes, their sons and daughters, and now even their grandsons and granddaughters — all three generations — loved Chump. And last week, I saw how so many were heartbroken after hearing of his passing.
Chump was 92.
But to most of us, because of his energy and his compassion for those around him, because he was such a gentleman, Chump never seemed a day older than 22.
 Read the full story here.

SEELEY ON WRESTLING: Golden memories for Pottstown program

 POTTSTOWN — Roger Bechtel had no idea who Lee Bohner was, no concept whatsoever of what wrestling was all about, when he started his sophomore year at Pottstown High School in 1963. But he sure got to know the Trojans’ first coach in a hurry, and a lot about wrestling shortly thereafter.
“It was (Bohner’s) first year here, and he was going around the hallways and classes recruiting kids he felt could physically handle (wrestling),” Bechtel recalled.
Bechtel, 120 pounds or so soaking wet at the time, thought he’d give it a try.
“The prerequisite for getting a practice uniform was climbing the rope, all the way to the top, with your hands only,” he said. “That wasn’t so easy for some guys.
“The toughest part was trying to get kids out to wrestle. We may have had 18 kids that first day, and not every one of them hung around long. So we had to get others involved.”
Others did get involved, of course, and when Pottstown celebrated the 50th anniversary of its wrestling program last week prior to the Trojans’ match with visiting Pope John Paul II, more than 150 of those “kids” — most a little older and wee bit heavier now — were on hand to share in the festivities.

Read the full story here.

BOYS LACROSSE: Senior Bowl another big moment in growth of PAC-10 lacrosse

LOWER POTTSGROVE — Pioneer Athletic Conference sports have certainly taken their share of small and sometimes humbling steps since the league’s inaugural run 27 years ago.
Boys lacrosse has been no exception, either.
But a very knowledgeable as well energetic group of coaches are determined to change the course, or pick up the pace … much like others have done in baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, track and wrestling — seven particular Pioneer Athletic Conference sports that have shared the district and state spotlight.
And their intentions were quite clear Tuesday night when they staged the first PAC-10 Boys Lacrosse Senior Bowl at Pottsgrove High School. 
Read the full story here. 

Navy Seal Commander Job Price remembered as Pottstown hero

Job Price wasn’t one to mull over a challenge, never one to dare deny any. In fact, he would ask for them and embrace them.
An honor student as well as an outstanding football player and wrestler at Pottstown High School, Price always wanted to do more than was expected of him, both academically and athletically. That determination became even more evident throughout his four years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in human behavior and leadership.
But Price was never as resolute, never as strong-minded in confronting all challenges — and overcoming each and every one of them — as he was during his 19 years of service as a Navy SEAL.
It was a highly decorated career that ended, tragically, with his death while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan three days before Christmas. 


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