Mailbag: Yesteryears bring back fond memories of Altoona ‘show’

If you enjoy Altoona sports, as I do, you enjoy reading the Altoona Mirror sports yesteryear by Tim Doyle each day from years gone by.

Lately, each day from 50 years ago, you have seen a name regularly — Billy Moore.

Man, was he something.

I was lucky. I was a skinny 10th grader in 1971, and Tom Bickel, Mark Boston and I had the best seats in the Jaffa Mosque — at the end of the Altoona bench.

We saw our coaches, John Swogger and Art Taneyhill, barking orders to show time.

Moore, Galen Bickel, Larry Betar, Terry Acker and Reese Piper were the starters. Backup center Dave Bistline and hard-nosed guard Robbie Carles rounded out the regulars.

What fun it was. The Jaffa Mosque was packed. The rest of the town was listening to Dick Richards on the radio.

Moore was the man. Galen Bickel was the perfect complement. Betar was the general. Piper and Acker filled the fast-break lanes.

It was show time.

Fifty years have passed by.

Sadly, Swogger, Piper, Betar and Carles are no longer with us.

But the memories are still vivid.

No masks, no internet, no ESPN, no cell phones.

Just basketball.

Larry McAleer


Allegiance split

between Tide, PSU

I enjoyed Ira Kaufman’s column last week on Alabama.

I have been a fan since the 1973 loss to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

I grew up and married a Penn State girl. Her family has had season tickets for years. I went to see Alabama in 2011 at Beaver Stadium, and I’ve been to Happy Valley many times.

Here is hoping next year Beaver Stadium will be filled again.

Todd Eirich

Cumberland, Maryland


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