Just weeks into my first job as professional sports writer 27 years ago, an arrogant high school football coach hurt my feelings as I interviewed him for a season preview. He told me his team would be running the Delaware Wing T offense and I asked him to elaborate.
“Oh, honey,” he said “Anyone who knows anything about football knows the Delaware Wing T.”
Flustered, I cut the interview short and, ever the consummate professional, I went home and called my dad. I may have cried.
A few days later an envelope arrived from the Yale football program. Inside, former All-Ivy League and Yale football standout Bobby Skoronski had hand drawn the Delaware Wing T offense. The gesture made my day and the note he wrote allowed me to hold my head high.
I grew up across the Valley from the Skoronski family. Bob Skoronski, an All-Pro offensive tackle, played for the Packers in 1956, and from 1959 through 68. He was my Dad’s teammate and friend and, because they shared similar Polish last names, people in Northeast Wisconsin sometimes mixed them up.
In addition to the eight years they played together for Coach Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, Mr. Skoronski and my dad shared a deep love of family, poker and big game hunting. The Skoronskis hosted a wedding shower for my husband Vince and me, during which they raised a glass, broke bread and toasted us, formally and sweetly.
Three years later, Bob Skoronski presented my Dad for induction in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, and four years after that Ruth Ann Skoronski, Bob’s wife, was one of the first people to find us in a small hospital in Kentucky after my dad suffered a fatal heart attack there.
I have forgotten the name of the high school football coach that embarrassed me all those years ago and, though I kept it for many years, I have been unable to locate the piece of paper upon which Bobby Skoronski drew the Delaware Wing T offense. But I will never forget the consistent kindness shown to me by the Skoronski family and the way we all raised our glasses and toasted to friendship more than 25 years ago.