Throughout the 60s the Eastern High School hockey tournament was held at the old Boston Arena. Games between bitter rivals packed the stands over the legal capacity of 4600.
In the 1968 ECAC semi-finals BC High was pitted Somerville High. Fans from the public high school filled the rinkside seats, while BC High's following crammed into the steep upper deck. My older brother attended BC High as a junior. I was a sophomore at Xaverian, but his friends accepted my support for this game, since we had smuggled in beer as had many of the Eagles' supporters.
By the end of the 1st period our section was a roiling maelstrom of drunken teenage boys and several seniors amused the under-classmen by dropping M-80 firecrackers on Somerville fans. We laughed at their scurrying away from our bombing tactics and their cheerleading squad climbed the stairs to beseech us to stop the bombardment. Our rebuke of this offer was ungentlemanly and the Somerville football team attempted to quell our boisterous behavior, however we held the upper ground and beat the squad down the stairs with our fists.
BC High scored an upset victory and at the end of the game hordes of cops separated the two groups of supporters, letting Somerville leave first. Their fans were furious at their loss and our behavior. We shouted out parting epithets. Most of them began with the letter F. Once the lower section of the arena was clear, the police allowed BC High fans to file onto the street.
Hundreds of Somerville fans lined the sidewalks. They were big boys and it seemed like all the entire town was waiting in the alley. We had beaten them in the arena and on the ice. They were hundreds of us. Our friends gave the Somerville fans the finger. I shouted out obscenities. My brother nudged my ribs and pointed over his shoulder. The police were shutting the doors to prevent a general melee.
Our retreat to safety was cut off.
I rapidly counted our numbers.
We were about forty.
We stood in a gauntlet of teenage thugs.
We were on our own.
The Somerville fans were slow to react to this advantage.
A clear path ran up the middle of the alley to Mass Ave. and one of my brother's friends shouted out, "Run, motherfuckers, run."
We didn't need to be told twice.
I ran the 440 for my high school.
My older brother the 880.
Our best times for a dash were that night, as we outraced our enemies to the safety of Mass. Avenue and Kelly's Bar at the bridge.
Like the wind we ran with fear on our heels. I reached Kelly's first. The 6-8 bouncer with Winter Hill connections saw us ahead of the approaching horde. My grand-uncle was the head detective with the BPD. He drank at this bar sometimes.
Jimmy pulled open the door and said, "Get inside quick."
Twenty of piled into the bar. Jimmy slammed the door shut and threw the bolts.
Curses and kicks rained on the steel barrier.
And the fight?"
"And the race,."
It was a matter of life or a beating."
The pounding at the door had died down.
Jimmy looked out the spyhole.
I bought him two beers as thanks.
"Go Eagles." Jimmy was class of 62.
I ordered to 'Gansetts." He clinked my glass. I had been drinking there since I was twelve.
"And run, motherfuckers, run."
We all toasted those word and the phrase served as a joke for years to come, however to this day whenever someone says that they are from Somerville I never mention the word 'hockey' or run motherfuckers run.
It was better than way.