Everett mourns a football icon
Arnold and Claire Boardman were happily married for 59 years. They did not have any children.
But the couple had hundreds of “adopted” grandchildren, players who suited up for the Everett High football program during the past 50 years. Or at least that is the joke that head coach John DiBiaso like to tell his dear friend, better known as “Arn.”
The 85-year-old Boardman, who dealt with numerous health issues the past few years, died Jan. 3 at Lakes Region General Hospital near his home in Laconia, N.H.
Players have come and gone throughout the years of Everett’s dominance on the gridiron. But Boardman (Everett High, class of 1946) was the official authority of all things Crimson Tide football.
Even after he retired in 1993, moving to New Hampshire with Claire that same year, he diligently researched and noted more than 100 years of the program’s history in his 1,380-page tome, “A City of Champions” (inset), which chronicled the team from 1892-2007.
“He would always send me notes, different articles, and research he had done over the years in the Boston Public Library,” said DiBiaso, who has been at the helm of his alma mater since 1992, as well as serving as athletic director. He did so much extensive research and time-consuming research, as far as the history of Everett football. He always gave me different facts about players, where they went after high school, college, the pros — I was constantly getting updates.”
Boardman’s book chronicles the rich tradition of the program’s success. The 1914 team, for example, piled up 600 points without surrendering a point. But it also provides perspective, and insight, into the good times, and the struggles, of the city.
“His book was like a history lesson if you read the articles from the turn of the century, the great teams like the 1914 team, the 1915 team, and that’s pre-World War I,” DiBiaso said. “Then you go through the 1920s and it’s the Depression. It really helped you reflect on your place and where you are in the whole big scheme of things.”
There was Boardman, the Everett historian, but there was also the Army veteran who served his country, both post-World War II as part of occupation forces in Japan and Germany, as well as in combat during the Korean War, including the battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Upon receiving his discharge in September 1951, with three Bronze Service Stars, he was embraced in Everett Square by football coach Dennis Gildea .
And that moment stuck with Boardman, according to Frederick Foresteire , superintendent of schools.
Most importantly, before and after the war, Boardman built strong relationships with the people of Everett and became a staple of the community.
“He was a war hero,” Foresteire said. “Before he went away and when he came home, Everett High football was his hobby. He was a well-liked guy, he knew everybody, and had a great memory of the people that played. Football is big in Everett, and if you threw out a year on the team, he’d tell you what they did. He just knew a lot of people.”
He was a fixture at games until health issues prevented him from attending a few in October 2010. And he had his share of Super Bowl rings as well.
“We were very welcomed down there and always invited to the breakup dinner,” said Claire Boardman. “We always went, and they always appreciated everything he did.”
Since 2007, the last season chronicled in the “City of Champions,” Everett has won three Super Bowl titles. The Crimson Tide ran off a 28-game unbeaten streak. And DiBiaso’s son, Jonathan, now a freshman at Dartmouth, set the state record for career touchdown passes (103), which was broken last fall by Natick’s Troy Flutie .
One hundred years from now, undoubtedly, there will be plenty more material to be chronicled in another volume.
But there will never be another person to capture it all that was as dedicated and as beloved as Arn Boardman.
Le sets her sights on Northeast-10 title
The first half of her senior season on the women’s swim team at Bentley University was a bit hectic for Amanda Le .
While Le, a 2010 Chelmsford High graduate, was finishing her undergraduate degree in accounting, she also was starting to take graduate courses, making it hard to focus her efforts on swimming.
“I had a little bit of a rough first semester, and a lot of academic demands to take care of,” Le said. “But I feel like my old self again, getting back to the times I was posting at this time last year.”
Last Sunday, in the final home meet of her career in Waltham, she won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.25), the 200 breast (2:28:06), and the 200 individual medley (2:15.03) in a 167-132 victory over the College of Saint Rose.
“It was really exciting because it was our senior meet and Saint Rose was our biggest competition to date,” Le said. “I’ve been watching the seniors graduate, and it’s a little daunting, and very bittersweet.”
A week earlier, Le was also recognized as the Northeast-10 Conference Swimmer of the Week after helping the Falcons to a 164-109 win at Plymouth State.
Bentley has two regular season meets (at Babson, at Bridgewater State) before the NE-10 Championship meet Feb. 6-9 at Southern Connecticut State, time for her to prep for a run at the conference title in the 200 breaststroke.
The Falcons have three regular-season matchups remaining, and Le’s focus is on improving for the Northeast-10 Championship, as she hopes to win her first title in the 200 breaststroke. She was second a year ago with a time of 2:21.76, breaking her own school record. That followed a third-place finish as a sophomore.
Winning “would be awesome,” Le said. “I’ve been close, so hopefully I have a good shot at getting in the top three. I just have to stay focused on my own race, and not put too much pressure on myself.”
Here and there
Winthrop’s Quinton Dale (Taft School), a freshman forward on the men’s basketball team at Wheaton, was named the NEWMAC Player of the Week after powering the Lyons to back-to-back wins averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds. . . . Merrimack College senior quarterback Joe Clancy (Newburyport) was 4 for 10 passing for 88 yards in the Medal of Honor Bowl, setting up two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to help his team to a 20-3 victory on Monday.