‘Brian was the catalyst with blood on his knees and salt stains on his jersey'
Brian Ross scrambled to find words to describe his feelings earlier this month.
The Truro resident, along with three other former athletes, was inducted into the Saint Mary's University Sport Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Halifax on Oct. 5.
"It came out of the blue," said Ross, 75. "I was really shocked and amazed, memories came flooding back. I think some of my family members were just as excited as I was.
"Up until my nomination I had thought very little about my sports career at Saint Mary's."
Here, then, is a refresher.
Arriving at Saint Mary's (SMU) in 1955, Ross was the varsity basketball team's leading scorer for the next four years. The six-foot-one, 170-pound power forward recorded 655 points, a record during the 1950s.
"I recall the camaraderie," Ross said. "Some of the people I met became friends for life. It was unfortunate but we ran into strong St. F.X. basketball teams during that era. They won several championships. There were no nationals in those days. Your goal was to win the Nova Scotia championship."
Bill Mullane, a former teammate, spoke at the induction ceremony on Ross's behalf.
"Brian and the basketball team filled the Saint Mary's gym for every game for four years," Mullane said. "The band played ‘When The Saints Come Marching In' and we targeted the American ex-Marines on the St. F.X. team with local players. Brian was the catalyst with blood on his knees and salt stains on his jersey.
"Brian was a top scorer and a top defender. We loved to play and especially defeat the Queen Elizabeth High group who ended up at Dalhousie. I should tell you Brian invented the jump shot and he could really pot them."
Ross and his wife, Doreen, moved from Halifax to Truro in 1973 where he owned and operated a Truro car dealership for 13 years and was later general manager of a New Glasgow Ford dealership for 20 years, retiring in 2006.
These days, he enjoys being involved with Kane's Kitchen, a ministry which operates from the kitchen of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Truro.
"Meals are provided for the less fortunate," Ross explained. "We usually serve 150 to 175 people one day each week. We receive wonderful support from the Truro area. There's just a wonderful spirit. I enjoy serving and being involved. I really love it."
Brian and Doreen raised four children while residing in Truro and the sports torch has carried on.
Chris, who now teaches at South Colchester Academy in Brookfield, was an outstanding athlete at Cobequid Educational Centre, setting a number of scoring records in basketball and breaking provincial records in track and field. He went on to star for St. F.X. and was named AUS all-star.
B.J. followed an outstanding high school career by going on to play basketball for SMU. Ann and Barry also participated in sports.
Chris's son, Tristen, is preparing for his third basketball season with St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont. The junior guard also starred for the Nova Scotia Canada Games Team this past August in Quebec.
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.