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From the Bullpen: Broken ground unearths old memories

January 12, 2011

It's finally happened. After years of talk, securing funds, and sometimes downright political bickering, shovels have finally been turned on the Memorial Field rebuilding project at Burroughs High School.

It was a who's who of Burbank schools, government and business in attendance at the ceremonies that featured the Burroughs Band, fresh off their performance in the recent Sugar Bowl.

When City Manager Mike Flad got up to give his comments, he recounted his senior year in 1983, remembering every detail of the game in which Burroughs quarterback Sean Spring hit Bret Mersola on a 61-yard touchdown pass to tie the score late in the fourth quarter. But Bulldog quarterback and legend Gary Lotka had enough time on the clock to march Burbank down for a field goal attempt.

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As Flad agonizingly went ahead with his story of suffering, he remembered that kicker Alfredo Velasco at first missed the winning field goal and as he and his friends celebrated, they saw a flag for defensive holding that gave Velasco one more shot. He nailed the 21-yard field goal with no time on the clock and snapped the Indians' six-game winning streak.

So there was our city manager, recounting a story that had happened 27 years earlier as though he had just come home from the game, and thus, one of the reasons that the rebuilding of Memorial Field is important, and personal, to so many residents.

I am sure anyone who grew up here in Burbank can always tell you which side of the stadium they sat on their senior year and who won the game. Many of them will also have a story or two from the week before the game when there were a couple of shenanigans perpetrated toward the opposing school.

There was very little different in 1975 when we had our senior year at Burroughs. We had won our first two games against Burbank during our high school time (Burroughs was a three-year school back then), but it was now the task of our seniors to keep the streak alive.

Now, I have no knowledge of any activity that took place that week, although one day when we came to school, there was a large amount of blue paint all around the campus. But my understanding was that the pool at Burbank had mysteriously had its water turned red. Imagine that.

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