For 61 years, he’s been on the clock

MIDDLEBURG – A lot of points, goals and runs have been scored at high school sporting events featuring athletes from western Snyder County in the past 61 years.

One man has likely seen more of them than any other.

Tuesday night in front of a nice-sized crowd at Midd-West Middle School, that man was honored at halftime of the Mustangs’ boys basketball contest against Warrior Run.

Barry Goss has been a scorekeeper and clock operator for six decades. Even as the high schools he aided changed from McClure to West Snyder and now Midd-West, he has always been the one constant in the athletic department.

Many former coaches and players turned out to honor Goss Tuesday night. It was their chance to show appreciation for someone who supported them in both victory and defeat. Surrounded by the alumni at midcourt, the McClure resident addressed the crowd.

“Growing up I realized I would never be able to physically participate,” said Goss, who has spent his life in a wheelchair. “But I still wanted to be involved in sports.”

While attending McClure High School, he started keeping score for the Trojans in 1952. Goss continued his involvement in scholastic athletics while he was a member of the first graduating class from West Snyder in 1956. He remained with the Mounties for nearly 50 years.

When West Snyder combined with Middleburg in 2004, the new school decided to keep its longest-tenured athletics employee.

“When you arrive at a sporting event, you can count on always seeing his smiling face at the table,” Midd-West athletic director Bree Solomon said. “It was always one item on my checklist for a game preparation I never had to worry about. He is always prompt, prepared and reliable.”

The crowd got to experience the 75-year-old’s appreciation for the athletes he followed over the years as he recalled some of his favorite memories. Those included three West Snyder state championships. Goss reflected upon the 1973 title in boys soccer and a pair of wrestling gold medals by Ken Hess and Alan Goss.

He also reminded fans that he had seen many changes in sports, including the early days of girls basketball when the players – six of them – were not allowed to cross half court.

“It has been a great ride,” Goss said.

He is hoping to extend his remarkable run for another school year.

“Maybe they will let me back next year,” he joked.

“I believe this celebration gave the community a chance to show appreciation for Barry,” Solomon added. “He is a legend when it comes to the athletic programs. The amount of time he has invested in the athletic program is remarkable.”

As much as the fans expressed appreciation for Goss, it was obvious that man receiving the honor was the one who truly touched.

“It was a really nice thing to do,” he said with a big smile.