I hope he’s resting easier tonight. I know I will sleep well.
George Pasterchick is finally in the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame. It took way too long. But George Pasterchick is in the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
The arc of history does indeed bend toward justice.
I’d like to think I love football. But he loved it even more. And I loved and respected him for that.
Coach P. was the head coach at St. Gerard High School for about 437 years. He never failed his school, his team and his players, and he never dishonored The Great Game. What coach would not be at peace with that?
Over his tenure at St. Gerard, George saw it from every angle. He had teams that were just jaw-droppingly good. And he had teams that couldn’t tie their shoes. He would not take issue with my saying that. The point is he loved all of them. Everything else was a variable, but his love for his Royals was a constant.
Coach Pasterchick and I knew each other starting in 1986 through my media work. But in 1994, thanks to my beloved friend Frank Vavala, I joined the coaching staff at St. Anthony High School. Things changed. But they didn’t.
Both his Royals and our Jackets were no kidding good that year. It was clear in late September that our November meeting was going to be epic.
We went in 8-0. They were 7-1. I will tell you candidly that we had scouted at least four of their games and I had seen miles of video of them that scared the hell out of me. I was not confident we could control or even slow down their skill players.
The Friday night we met each other was unforgettable. Clear. Crisp. It screamed “Big Game.”
Huge crowd. Fans on fire with anticipation. Lotsa media coverage. Electrons crackled.
During pregame warmups I was about to throw up.
George makes a big production out of this. The stands are already full. He walks up to me and appears to hug me around my neck, in front of everybody. In reality he was trying to choke me. “Welcome to real football, rookie.”
Offended? Oh, just hell no! I loved it. And I loved him for it.
My respect for George was and remains unlimited. But he wouldn’t love me back if I weren’t a competitor, and if I didn’t love our team.
We won. 14-13. It came down to the final seconds. But in my mind, it was settled early in the second quarter when our 140-pound free safety, Brian Lopez, laid out their 190 pound D-1 prospect receiver, the guy I feared more than anyone else on their team. Stretched him.
George and I of course met after the game. And his congratulations were sincere.
But he hated us for winning and he hated me for being even a small part of that.
And I was totally cool with that. Had the situation been reversed, I would have felt exactly the same way. And he knew that and respected that.
We coached against each other almost every season over the ensuing 14 years.
We won some. They won some.
My first year as O.C. at St. A was 2002. He schooled me in the season opener. Schooled me. I didn’t sleep for two weeks.
I will tell you that George and I really got into it a couple of times. He was not kidding and I assure you I was not, either.
But it was always cool five minutes later.
And my love and respect for him never wavered. He loved The Great Game even more than I do.
And all love and respect to Mrs. Pasterchick, perhaps the most gracious lady I’ve ever known. Coach P. WAY outkicked his coverage on that one.
Coach P. left us nine years ago.
It’s December 13, 2021. And Coach George Pasterchick is finally in the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
The world is a better place.
As he always said, cryptically (what the hell does that mean?), “There’s blood on the moon tonight.”