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Jack White is the history buff of Garden City

Garden City statistician Jack White at home taking

Garden City statistician Jack White at home taking down stats for Garden City's football team. Photo Credit: Photo By Patrick E. McCarthy

Jack White worries about what will happen to it all, if something were to happen to him - the volumes upon volumes of cramped, neatly written graph paper documenting every score, every play, of Garden City football as far back as 1963.

The binders are about six inches thick and filled with plastic-protected pages that document the history of yes, Garden City football, but to only a slightly lesser degree, the history of all Long Island high school football since 1913.

To say that White, 64, Garden City High School's statistician since 1966, has taken his work home with him is about as laughable an understatement as there is.

"In Long Island, there's this innocence to the game," White said. "The pure, amateur [aspect of it]. There's a community involvement and we all have our emotional ties."

For White, a Hicksville resident who graduated from Garden City and taught social studies there for 32 years, the tie is clear. Since 1963, he has missed only two football games, both in 1980; one because he had to time a soccer match and the other because he was ill.

Though the compilation of Garden City football is all but complete, White, who has a master's in history, has an even more ambitious goal. He hopes to get the score of every high school game ever played in Nassau.

He's well on his way, missing only a handful of scores from the beginning of the 20th century. The holy grail would be tracking down the first high school game ever played in Nassau, which he has reason to believe occurred in 1884. The score has survived, but he has yet to track down any sort of newspaper article on it. Also of interest, Olympian Ray Barbuti's eight-touchdown performance for Lawrence against Southampton in 1924. "I'm trying desperately to find a newspaper account of that game," said White.

For all the value the academic pursuit has, White has meant more to Garden City and Nassau County football in a practical sense, Section VIII coordinator Pat Pizzarelli said. White also keeps track of all the playoff games for the section.

"He's always there. When you have a question about anything, you call Jack," Pizzarelli said. "I don't know what I'd do if he tells me he can't anymore."



Drives of the week

St. Anthony's at Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.): 73.5 miles.

Southampton at Babylon: 52 miles

Shoreham-Wading River at Amityville: 42.6 miles

Long Island Lutheran vs Bishop Ford at Aviator Field, Brooklyn: 34.4 miles


Fast fact

New turf fields this season: Seaford, Bethpage, Farmingdale, West Islip, Sachem North, Sachem East, Smithtown East, Smithtown West.


Munchies of the week

Not only your standard hot dogs and hamburgers, Syosset and Riverhead boast some of the best concession stand fare on the Island. Syosset's stand, called the Barn, is known for its chicken fillets and pretzels. The polish food at Riverhead makes it worth the trek, particularly the kielbasa.

Andy Slawson contributed to this report

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