While Donald “Sparky” Meyer and
Richard Wethington have teamed up to be one of the most loyal
pair of Centralia Orphan fans, they also played on and managed softball teams in Centralia for many
years. Since their high school days in the early 1940’s, these two have traveled many miles together
to take in all but a few Orphan football and basketball games.
Their high school days included the
fabulous Wonder Five team in 1941 and the
State Championship team of
Sparky says he sneaked into Huff Gym to watch Centralia win the
title. Richard recalled seeing one game in the old gym at
CHS (C building) as a grade schooler.
In the summer months, softball became their way of life.
Sparky played fast pitch until 1954 when he switched to
the slow pitch version and played until just
a few years ago. For many years he was involved with the Grand Roller
Rink which was the sponsor of the team.
While friend Richard helped out some at the roller rink, he also worked
at Murray Center and managed their slow pitch team. Before that he managed the Moose Lodge team. Both teams
played against the Grand Roller team on occasion.
As told by Bill Niepoetter, Sparky was the best
one-on-one basketball player in Centralia. At the roller rink,
basketball goals were set up and the game was played on skates. The otherwise speedy Meyer, was even quicker
on skates and no one could match his roller skating basketball skills.