"With You and with each other, we win, no matter what the score." Those are the final words of the Bishop Carroll football team prayer, written by Rev. Charles Amershek and the 1978 Huskies. Kneeling hand-in-hand with heads bowed, the team has joined in the pre-game ritual for decades. In the center of the tight team circle leading that prayer is not a Bishop Carroll coach or a captain, but rather the team's "head manager," 47-year old Raymond Boley.
"I do the prayer," he says proudly, "and then 1-2-3 Huskies."
Born with Down syndrome, the New Germany man may be the biggest fan the Huskies have ever had. He started working with the Bishop Carroll football program as a teenager; in fact, it was the same season that prayer was written - 32 years ago.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Raymond Boley stands by on the sideline prior to Bishop Carroll’s game against Forest Hills this past week.
"He's the most vocal supporter of our team," said coach Craig Sponsky, who was just 8 years old and a Carroll water boy when he first met Ray. "He's very excited when we're doing well, and when we're not, he takes it harder than anyone else."
Craig's father, Chuck Sponsky was the head coach when Raymond's Bishop Carroll career began. Through three decades, two generations of coaching staffs and dozens of senior classes, Ray has been one shining constant of the Bishop Carroll football program. His voice can be heard up and down the sidelines as he cheers on the Huskies, paying particular attention to the defensive line.
"They need to stop the screen," he says.
Ray has supported the team as his three younger brothers all wore Huskies football uniforms; his sister was a cheerleader. It's been 18 years since his youngest sibling left B.C., but Raymond is still carrying water bottles and footballs, and razzing referees.
"Lucky for us, Raymond never graduates," said Sponsky.
The high school recognized Boley's contributions with an honorary diploma in 1983. Boley himself attended an occupational school, and works for the Association for the Blind and Handicapped.
And he's had his own athletic accomplishments. Raymond joined Joe Paterno as part of the Opening Ceremonies for the PA Special Olympics Summer Games in 1982. He then won three medals competing at the World Games in England. Ray also went to the Big 33 with Huskies' lineman, Steve Green, now a sophomore at Connecticut, as part of the all-star game's Buddy Program. But those experiences take a back seat to being part of the Bishop Carroll football team.
"Bishop Carroll is his life," said Ray's mom, Edie Boley. "I can't imagine Ray without the Huskies."
And they can't imagine life without Ray. Although he's never strapped on a helmet or made a tackle, he's the heart of the Huskies football program.
His speech, is not as clear as that of the football players' he loves so much, but Ray has no problem conveying his love for the Bishop Carroll team, coaches and fans.
"They are everything," he says. "Friday is my favorite day of the week, because that's football."
Another part of the Huskies' prayer says: "We thank You for the ability to play football and for the privilege of playing for Bishop Carroll Give us the strength to give 100 percent."
Perhaps no one lives those words better than the man who leads his team in them each and every week.
"From my seat," said Sponsky, "he's a really good living example of how lucky we are. Raymond helps us remember we should always give our best in everything we do."
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.