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Celebration marks 60th Junior year

December 10, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Hagerstown Junior Basketball League players and coaches packed the sidelines of the South Hagerstown High School gym Sunday afternoon.

At the center of the rectangle was league president George Stottlemyer, whose nearly 50 years with the league made him the perfect candidate to receive a trio of achievements during ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of the league's junior division.

His peers and colleagues would certainly agree.

"I didn't get involved with the league from this point of view until last year," said league vice president Noel Spence, who received an invitation for the position from Stottlemyer last year. "It's the people that have been involved over the years that are important. People like George are the ones who keep this league going."

Spence, a retired Washington County judge, played on the first league championship team during the 1947-48 season and joined Stottlemyer at center floor. On behalf of the league, Stottlemyer accepted resolutions from the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, as well as a proclamation from the governor's office.

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Stottlemyer never took the credit as he addressed the teams and families before league began play Sunday.

"If it wouldn't be for the school system, the school board, we wouldn't be here," Stottlemyer said. "Without the use of their facilities and their support, we couldn't have done it."

Members of the Washington County Board of Education were on hand, as well as those from the Hagerstown City Council and Washington County Commissioners. Maryland Delegate Bob McKee, an officer with the league during the early 1980s, presented Stottlemyer the resolution from the House.

"Sixty years is a heck of a long time," McKee said. "It's always been about being able to attract good volunteers, like Stottlemyer. It's important to have an organization like this that provides a safe environment for young boys and girls."

The league has survived over the long haul, despite numerous other youth sports and competing leagues.

"There weren't nearly as many activities when I was playing as there are today," Spence said. "This league is one of many. It's amazing that it has been able to continue to be viable with all the other competition and still be successful."

There were three games played on this day at South as PTL defeated Senior Notes 45-24, Funstown topped Hagerstown Lions 60-22 and Western Enterprise held off Knights of Columbus 48-30 to exhibit some of that success.

That's a tribute to Stottlemyer and the rest of the volunteers that have shaped the league over the years. And it's all been done while keeping one main objective in mind.

"It's not just about teaching basketball," Stottlemyer said. "It's about learning to be good citizens."

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