Uphill pool | Great Futures Start Here

By Brian Sullivan | Jul 09, 2014

It’s hard to believe that I first joined the Mukilteo Boys and Girls Club in 1968. Wanting to fit in and looking for someplace to go, this seemed natural for me because I did not fit in at school.

Let’s face it – those who knew me back then made a lot of fun of me, possibly the first nerd in America. I played chess, talked about geopolitical politics and, yes, I carried a briefcase.

So you might say I really did not fit in all that well in a small town of 600 people. Everything was about the Seattle Pilots, the Sonics, Little League and the paper mills.

I found that the Boys and Girls Club accepted all of us for how unique we were. All of the kids looked up to our director, Ron Edlin (now a successful business owner in Everett), who taught all of us how to overcome our differences, act like a team.

Lose like you win, and win like you lose – lessons I never forgot and I keep dear to my heart. Of course, we got in trouble as a group of kids always can, much like the movie “Stand By Me.”

As a member of the Keystone Club, the designated service club within the Boys and Girls Club, I and my cohorts decided our room needed a bay view window.

We thought cutting a 4x6 opening was a great idea. I had no idea how much wrath would come down on us, but it did! In my most recent visit to that room last week, that opening is still patched with a large piece of plywood.

To keep us out of trouble, staff came up with all kinds of stories, such as, “You can't go up to the rafters above the ceiling because a huge rat named Herman lives up there,” they told us. “We sent in a German shepherd, but he never came back!”

There were times on dull summer nights with nothing to do when we would break into the club to play midnight basketball. Mukilteo had three cops in those days.

Archie Donovan, with the weekend beat, would crawl in the window after us, and believe me that was hard for him.

He would take off his gun belt and play ball with us. When he couldn’t walk anymore, he would kick us out.

We also had pool tables, but they were never, ever level. I was pretty good at the game until I played on a level table as an adult. “What, no uphill bank shots?” just didn’t seem right to me.

Interestingly enough, all the kids from the club went on to be lousy pool players. I would never give up that experience.

As we grew up, we were taught to be mentors, take care of those less fortunate, help those in need. Nobody was unequal, and when we were out of line we had to deal with the evil shoulder pinch from Ron Edlin or Dave Surface (not sure they would get away with that today).

This was an organization of friendship and family that stays with all of Mukilteo's former and present members.

Today we have a new opportunity. I knew the old building was imploding in Mukilteo, out of date and now in the wrong location.

In 2006, when I served in the state Legislature, I was able to acquire a surplus piece of state land on 47th Avenue in the south end of town. Located on the bus line near a high school, two grade schools and two middle schools, it seemed to make sense.

The new facility is planned to have two gymnasiums, arts and crafts, music room and a cutting edge room with satellite hookups to see and communicate with Dr. Robert Ballard’s (Titanic fame) four fleets around the world performing underwater archeology.

The ball fields will include baseball, soccer and, possibly, lacrosse.

Finally, it is clear this is a facility for all of Mukilteo and the surrounding areas.

I want to thank the city and our neighbors for stepping up for kids of single parents, kids of latch key parents, kids who need mentors, and kids who are mentors. Let’s continue this 50-year tradition!

A Mukilteo Boys and Girls Club alum, Brian Sullivan is an advocate of the Great Futures Start Here campaign to build a new club at 11600 47th Ave. W. This column is the first of an ongoing series highlighting the programs and services offered by the club since it opened in 1961.













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