Beaver honors 1930s skater and alumnus
Polly Blodgett Watson usually looked forward to recess and lunch period at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill.
“That’s when my mother would come by and pick me up. I’d lace up my skates and eat lunch in the car so I could practice at Boston Arena, then return to school in time for my classes,’’ recalled the 94-year-old Watson, Class of 1938, who was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame on May 11.
Watson, who grew up in Brookline and resided for many years in Belmont, was the US Novice Ladies champion in figure skating in 1933, Junior Pairs gold medalist in 1934, and Junior Ladies winner in 1935.
At the latter event in New Haven, the Associated Press reported that “Turning in a unique and impressive performance, Miss Blodgett executed her repertoire of spins, jumps and dance steps with the grace and dexterity of one many years her senior.’’
A contemporary of national champions Maribel Vinson of Winchester and Joanne Tozzer of Boston — a lifelong friend — Watson took silver in 1937 and bronze in 1938 at the US national senior championships.
She was also a Junior Pairs national champion in 1934.
“Miss Blodgett’s natural sports ability is not confined to this most artistic of sports,’’ the Globe reported in 1935. “She also excels in school in tennis, horsemanship, swimming and diving and field hockey and is quite an expert on skis.’’
Watson, whose late husband, Robert Watson, was dean of students and athletic director at Harvard University, was introduced at the ceremonies by senior class president Lauren Lapuck, who competes for the Haydenettes synchronized skating team based in her hometown of Lexington.
Watson, who owned a dress shop for 30 years on Heath Street in Brookline, not far from the Beaver campus, designed her own skating costumes with help from her mother, Dorothy.
Some costumes were stored in a trunk as treasured mementos and were recently discovered by family members. Her figure skates are also packed away in their original box.
A member of the Skating Club of Boston during her competitive years and now an honorary member, Watson said being able to express herself to music was her greatest joy on ice.
“It was a lot of work and I had to give up a lot of other things to be competitive, but the memories — the cities you visited, the people you met — stay with you all your life.’’
She was married Jan. 31, 1942, at the Portland (Maine) Country Club. The best man was Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., her husband’s classmate at Harvard and shipmate in the Navy.
“They were in port very briefly, so I had to make a lot of phone calls and then travel to Maine,’’ she said, “but at least with President Roosevelt’s son in town, we had no problem keeping city hall open on Saturday to get our marriage license.’’
Several years later, Watson was shocked and saddened when Maribel Vinson (Owen) and Owen’s two daughters perished in a plane crash in 1961 in Belgium. All 18 members of the US figure skating team en route to the world championships in Prague, and 16 of their relatives, friends, and coaches were among the victims.
“Who knows?’’ said Watson, who now resides in Cambridge. “If I had gone any higher in the skating world I might have been on that plane.’’
Tozzer, who died last year, skated as Minnie Mouse and Watson as Mickey Mouse — to rave reviews.
“I was Mickey because I was bigger than her at that age,’’ said Watson, who named one of her five children Joanne after her dear friend.
“I hope you all find something you love in life as much as I loved skating,’’ Watson told the gathering at Beaver last weekend. “Be sure to pursue your passion as it will serve you well in the future.’’
Local trio help SNHU
to record victories
Junior first baseman CaraDaly of Plainville (King Philip), freshman third baseman KatieCaruso (Newton North), and senior outfielder Cristy Jenkins (Hudson High) helped the Southern New Hampshire University softball team set a school record for wins en route to the Northeast-10 Conference tournament semifinals.
Daly hit .305 with 5 homers and a .482 slugging percentage; Caruso batted .250 with a homer, and Jenkins hit .259 and was third on the team with 26 runs scored.
“Cara has an exceptional IQ for the game and is a very good situational hitter,’’ said head coach Deb Robitaille, whose squad finished 29-15 and 19-8 in the conference. “Katie took over at third after our starter was injured and didn’t skip a beat and Cristy was one of our better outfielders and an all-around consistent player.’’
Notables■ Maddy Acton (Lincoln-Sudbury) was named WomensLax.com Rookie of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime for Duke on May 10 in the first round of the NCAA Division 1 women’s lacrosse tournament. Acton, who tallied twice in the 10-9 victory against Princeton, also scored two days later in the Blue Devils’ 10-5 win vs. Navy. Duke played at top-seeded Maryland Saturday in the quarterfinals.
■ Swarthmore College sophomore Scoop Ruxin (Lexington High) was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District Baseball First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. A first baseman and outfielder, he batted .362 with seven doubles and 18 runs batted in.
■ Newbury College of Brookline announced that its March 30 baseball double header against Southern Vermont College raised $1,178 in support of Marine Corporal Kevin Dubois and the Taunton-based Homes For Our Troops. Dubois, from Coventry, R.I., lost both legs serving in Afghanistan in 2011. The organization is raising funds for an adapted house for Dubois.
Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org