90-year-old played for Stoughton's 1939 state tournament team - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

90-year-old man played for Stoughton's 1939 state tournament team

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MT. HOREB (WKOW) -- This year marks the first time Stoughton has been to the boy's state basketball tournament in 74 years. Only three players from that 1939 Stoughton team are still with us.

"They're having a rough time right now," Sam Martin says while watching the game in his Mount Horeb living room.

For 90-year-old Sam Martin, watching Friday's game is like looking back in time, all the way back to his Sophomore year in 1939.

"The game was a lot slower than it is today, that's for sure," Martin says.

Playing on the JV squad most of the year, Sam's trip to the state tournament was based entirely on luck. Days before the tournament a fellow teammate suddenly got sick and opened up a roster spot in his position.

"I made four points. I thought that was pretty good," Martin chuckles.

Losing their first game, the team battled their way back to second place in consolation games and Sam still has the medal.

"Can you see it?" Sam laughs as he holds up his small tournament medal.

Apparently smaller medals weren't the only difference from basketball today. Transportation to the games consisted of four small cars driven by teachers and coaches. Jerseys read Stoughton spelled STOTON instead of the way it's spelled today.

"We didn't have big enough chests to get Stoughton across there," Martin laughs.

For Sam the most obvious difference is the shorts. Back in his day they were so short the only people that liked them were the girls he'd walk by in the hall ways at school.

"Oh yeah, they'd whistle at us," Martin says.

Even though a lot has changed, he says it's still the same old game. A game he still follows to this day as he sits in his recliner and watches the next generation of ball-players.

"Just start to practice. It just takes practice, practice, practice, practice and if you do that, boy, you will improve," Martin says.

When Sam first heard about Stoughton's return to the state tournament he immediately decided to call one of his former teammates who still lives in the area. He says they spent most of the day chatting about their old team 74 years ago.

 

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