Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bill Murray went to Loyola Academy...

...back in the 1960s. (I think he graduated in 1968.) Murray's father died when he was only a freshman, so according to the policy back then (is it still in effect?) the Wilmette native finished there tuition-free. (And it explains why his younger brothers went to New Trier.)

A few months ago I was visiting an old Jesuit priest who was in a rehab facility in Skokie after falling and breaking his pelvis. He happened to be a teacher at Loyola when Murray, shown above in the movie Caddyshack, was a student at the Academy.

He had a few good stories to tell about Murray, but first...

Undefeated Loyola plays once-beaten Homewood-Flossmoor this Saturday in my Game of the Week.

Heck, it's everyone's Game of the Week. (Who am I kidding? It's everyone's Game of the Year.)

The contest will be the first meeting between the two marquee programs in at least ten years, if ever.

Now, what could I possibly say about this matchup that no one else has said? I could post their 2015 schedules (with home team in CAPS), but you could just get that information from the IHSA website.

First the visiting Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings (10-1):

Homewood-Flossmoor 56, DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH 15
Homewood-Flossmoor 43, STEVENSON 29
Homewood-Flossmoor 67, STAGG 6
HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 60, Joliet Central 0
Homewood-Flossmoor 48, LOCKPORT 0
Homewood-Flossmoor 44, JOLIET WEST 6
HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 28, Lincoln-Way East 3
Homewood-Flossmoor 55, SANDBURG 21
Bolingbrook 22, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 21

Then Loyola (11-0):

LOYOLA 35, Marquette (WI) 0
Loyola 49, MAINE SOUTH 8
LOYOLA 28, Brother Rice 0
Loyola 54, FENWICK 16
LOYOLA 35, St. Ignatius 7
Loyola 31, PROVIDENCE 7
LOYOLA 42, DePaul 0
Loyola 56, ST. RITA 14
LOYOLA 49, Mount Carmel 21
LOYOLA 31, West Aurora 0
LOYOLA 49, Stevenson 0

See any common opponents? (There's a big difference, of course, between Weeks Two and Eleven.)

The only thing I can say about the 2015 season's most anticipated showdown is what I've already said many times: this year's Loyola squad is quite possibly the best high school football team I've ever seen.

But H-F has tremendous speed and athleticism. When not handing off to the Harley-Hampton twins, Deante and Devonte, two of the quickest and most explosive running backs I've ever seen, quarterback Bryce Gray can hurt you with his strong and accurate arm. I can assure you the Ramblers haven't faced a team like the Vikings all year, if ever. While I still give the edge to Loyola, they will definitely have their hands full.

Since I can't add any more value to the discussion on the actual game, how about a few more stories from the Bill Murray era, Loyola fans?

First of all, as any self-respecting fan knows, Caddyshack was based on Murray's experiences at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka. But what you may not know is that like many other country clubs of the time, Indian Hill was "restricted." That might sound almost quaint today, but it means the club didn't admit blacks or Jews as members. In fact, until at least the 1950s, or even as late as the 1960s, Indian Hill had only one Catholic member, Monsignor Thomas Burke of Faith, Hope and Charity Parish.

By the time Murray showed up, however, the club had broken down and admitted two other families from Faith, Hope (which I won't name here). On almost their first day as members, while the fathers were playing golf, the two moms showed up at the pool with their many children in tow. Immediately, all ten or twelve (or however many) of their kids jumped into the water at practically the same time, splashing some of the older members sitting poolside reading that good Republican newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. As the priest told me, one grizzled old member leaned over to another and said, "I knew we shouldn't have let Catholics into this club!"

As for Murray himself, when he was a senior he tried out for the lead in the school play. Everyone agreed he was the most talented and qualified, but Murray was passed over for the role. The reason? Instead of learning his lines, the future improv comedian insisted on ad-libbing to the point of everyone's exasperation. (I didn't find out if Murray ended up in a supporting role.)

But my favorite Bill Murray story was about a time -- one of many, I assume -- when he had JUG with this priest. (JUG, for you heathen non-Catholics, is what they called detention at Loyola. It stands for Justice Under God.) Murray complained to him that Father Beall had given him "indefinite JUG plus one."

"What the heck does that mean, Father?" Murray asked him.

"It means, Mr. Murray, that at the end of the world, you still owe us one!"

Enjoy the game. I'll be live-tweeting it @BoringOldWhtGuy.

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