AUBURN – Sometimes greatness happens by accident.
Paul Gastonguay, Dick Giroux, Harry Angelides and Bob Boucher never set out to find excellence in athletics. They just happened to be products of their environment.
Giroux was enticed to basketball by recreation director Nat Crowley. Boucher learned hockey from his neighbor Larry Charest, the former St. Dom’s coach. Gastonguay developed a love for tennis while his father was the local recreation director.
“I just went every day with my brother and we’d play,” said Gastonguay. “It’s one of those things where I knew I always loved it.”
All four were inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame Sunday evening capping off lasting legacies that began only by happenstance and now serve as a models for all.
“I don’t know how to express it,” said Giroux. I just think I’m an average Joe. I bounced the basketball, and I set a few records, and I moved on. To be recognized for doing that is a great honor.”
Angelides grew up in Ellsworth but was a Lewiston native. He admits he feels like a bit of an outsider but is thrilled to be honored like a local.
“I remember growing up in Ellsworth and reading about the area and its athletes” said Angelides. “There are some fine athletes. To be chosen among them is really a distinct honor.
“I’m lucky. Very few people could say that they saw me play baseball unless it was in Orono.”
All four made their mark in the respective sports. In addition to being a standout player, Boucher went on to great success as a coach at St. Dom’s.
“I was just hoping that I could be successful,” said Boucher. “That’s it – just go out there and try to succeed. If it worked out – stay with it as long as you can. If it doesn’t, walk away from it.”
Angelides had a stellar career in baseball at the University of Maine and in the minor leagues. Giroux was one of Lewiston’s basketball greats, leading the Blue Devils to regional titles in 1965 and 1966. Gastonguay turned his recreation as a tennis player into a vocation, becoming a tennis coach after outstanding careers at Lewiston and Bates.
“You don’t think about all the hard work you put in over the years,” said Gastonguay. “You don’t think it will evolve into something like this. You don’t do it for this. It’s kind of a neat recognition.”
Of course, it all didn’t happen completely by chance. The community that honored them Sunday was the same community that helped nurture these budding athletes and coaches.
Boucher acknowledged that his father was the biggest fan of St. Dom’s hockey but put that aside while he played for Lewiston. Angelides thanked his parents at the end of his speech, saying “Had it not been for them, I would have never had my first at-bat.”
Gastonguay appreciated a community that helped give him a place to play while Giroux acknowledge the impact of his teammates and coaches.
“I am very humbled and proud to accept this special award on behalf of my coaches and my teammates,” said Giroux. “Because, without them, I wouldn’t be standing before you tonight.”
It was the 23rd Annual Awards and Induction Banquet. The four members now bring the total to 98 inductees.
“I really appreciate what they’ve done,” said Boucher. “I’m thankful to the Hall of Fame for recognizing the effort that I put in.”
Chamber President’s Awards were also presented. Lewiston’s Ron Chicoine, Edward Little’s Tara Eretzian, Lisbon’s Dick Mynahan, St. Dom’s Allan Turgeon and Bob Blackman and Lewiston’s Justin Wing were all recognized for coaching achievements last year.
Collegiate athletes honored were former Edward Little standouts Amy Asselin, Sarah Brooker and Megan Myles; St. Dom’s Joe Dumais and Bates College’s William Boe-Wiegaard and Keelin Godsey.
High school athletes recognized included EL’s Colby Brooks and Nate Chantrill, St. Dom’s Brady Blackman and Lewiston’s Laura Martel.
The Hall also presented “Flashback to Fame” awards to the 1956 state championship hockey team from St. Dom’s and the 1956 Class A football champions from Edward Little.