MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

I think we’re all in agreement that Greenway Avenue Stadium looks and feels great with the completion of the new seating on both sides of the field, not to mention the new track and the relatively new turf, as well as the cosmetic work that was done inside and outside of the stadium.

Now, I have heard some folks complain (I know, shocking) about the lights and the sound system not being up to much of a standard and, in fact, there was even a letter to the editor in the newspaper about the sound system.

Neither issue has been lost on the Greenway Avenue Stadium Committee, which has dedicated itself to this project and to the needed fundraising since 2010, as it has been focused on the renovation of the facility that houses the press box, the restrooms and concessions atop the visitors’ side, as well new lights and a new sound system.

If you feel new lights and sound are needed, by all means, feel free to donate, as I know the committee would be very grateful since the renovation is not yet complete.

That said, Greenway is just beautiful right now. The place looks brand new; squeaky clean. Has that new car smell, you know? Now, if we can just come up with a better name for the place than bland old Greenway Avenue Stadium. As our friend Doug Wilson suggested several years ago, even Greenway Stadium, or Greenway Park, would sound a lot better than Greenway Avenue Stadium. In the big picture, I guess it doesn’t matter. At least everybody knows where it is, right?

Well, not everybody … Several years ago, Allegany was hosting a team from either the Baltimore or Washington area, and as the crowd filed into Greenway for the game and the Campers went through their pregame warm-ups, there was no sign of the visiting team as game time grew closer and closer.

Finally, somebody from Allegany called the contact for the visiting team and the person said they were at Allegany High School and were unable to find the stadium. That would be old Allegany High School on Sedgwick Street in the heart of the West Side, not Greenway Avenue Stadium, a ramp exit, two right turns and a left off Interstate 68.

Thus, somebody from the Alco team drove over to Allegany to lead the bus carrying the night’s visitors back across town to Greenway and the game started about 45 minutes to an hour late. Of course, it didn’t take long for the Campers to reach the 35-point differential that activated the running clock throughout the second half, so it was hardly noticeable to anybody but me, as I was on deadline that night.

Yes, it’s always the sportswriter who suffers in silence …

Anyway, to this day, it amazes me that that bus driver, who likely had never been to Cumberland before, would be able to not only find, but be able to take that team directly to the old Allegany High School.

I don’t know about you, but even though I’ve lived here most of my life I have always found it extremely difficult – near impossible – to verbally give directions to the old Allegany High School.

In fact, several years ago, we had just hired a new sportswriter at the Cumberland Times-News; I believe you all know him today as Kyle Bennett, who is still cranking out the great copy for the Times-News sports staff.

We figured we’d let Kyle get his feet wet early and send him to an Allegany home basketball game on a Saturday afternoon. That way, neither Kyle, nor his desk editor that evening, would have to deal with the stress of meeting Kyle’s very first deadline. As it turns out, it was unneeded preventive maintenance, as Kyle dusted off his first deadline story in no time flat, which became just one of the many reasons he remains one of the best hires, if not the best hire, I ever made.

Prior to that, though, on late Saturday morning, Kyle came bee-bopping into the office to pick up a scorebook, and as I was the only other person in the office at the time, Kyle, having never lived in Cumberland, asked me how to get to Allegany and where he should park.

So, I began to explain to him what direction to go out of our parking lot and first sent him up Greene Street, then changed my mind and went with Washington Street, then reverted to Fayette Street (this was well before the bridges in West Side had been closed), but kept getting hung up on telling him which turns to make or find a way to explain that turn off of Fayette and onto Sedgwick.

So I just said, “(Forget) it, follow me.”

So, we left the building and got into our separate cars and Kyle followed me from the Times-News to what is now the former Allegany High School, leading him directly to a parking spot in the lot that was below the old auditorium.

“When you leave,” I said, “just do everything in reverse.”

Kyle seemed puzzled: “In reverse?”

“The other way around,” I said.

There was a reason I started calling him Young Kyle …

That said, I remain very impressed with that bus driver. In a reverse sort of way, of course .

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT