| Published: February 2011
By Phil Leibovich, Volume 24
June 5, 1985
In any sport, winning a championship is not an easy task, but repeating as champions is even more difficult. The 1985 edition of the Newton South boys’ lacrosse team is faced with the challenge of duplicating their championship season of a year ago. So far everything has gone as the 1984 Division II Coach of the Year Paul Murphy has planned.
Despite the squad’s rocky ...
| Published: February 2011
Sue Fisher was an exemplary history teacher; in fact she was an exemplary teacher of many other things, large and small, significant and (seemingly) trivial, obvious and obscure, conventional and outrageous. She had considerable and palpable intelligence, coupled with seemingly unbounded curiosity.
Educated in the Phoenix, Arizona, public schools and at the University of Chicago, Ms. Fisher earned her doctorate in education at Harvard University, exploring the European influences on 19th century education under the direction and with the praise of one of America’s most respected education critics, Joseph Featherstone.
Ms. Fisher had taught in Beverly and Arlington before being called the Newton Public Schools, beginning at Bigelow Junior High and in the early 1980s joining Newton South’s History Department.
Ms Fisher taught successfully-and memorably-at every level until her retirement in but, like all of us, she had a secret life—in her case, lives. A seasonal cottage at Gun Point, Great Island, Maine, and baseball were two—especially Red Sox baseball.
Denebola and Newton South were fortunate beneficiaries of the latter. For nearly two decades Ms. Fisher wrote more than a dozen thousand-word “baseball” review/essays for our Book section, usually appearing after Opening Day but not later than May.
In her memory—and because the writing is so worth having—Denebola presents excerpts that demonstrate her deep and wide-ranging knowledge, deft wit, engaging style and the skillful balancing of context with apt detail and telling quotation. From Ty Cobb to Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax to the Cuban leagues, “literary” baseball and down-and-dirty stats, Sue Fisher was always on her game.
Reserved and somewhat formal at first approach Ms. Fisher was wonderfully open and informal with students and friends. Similarly, after dispensing (or dispersing) with this annoyance or that false move, her baseball reviews were often punctuated by colorful and engaging personal asides.
She was funny, she could also be deadly serious, even lethal, particularly when issues of race and class were concerned, inevitably the case with “America’s national pastime.” Sports was a game, rarely only a game.
The Newton schools have lost an invaluable public treasure, Denebola a valuable—and responsible—columnist, Sue Fisher never missed a deadline, including this last.
* * * *
Ms. Fisher had her opening moves—
Another spring: pollen, hayfever, mosquitoes, black flies, college rejections, the inevitable slide of the Red Sox, and killer tornados. (Pride of Havana, May 1999)