Thirty-nine years ago, Tom Connelly played at the Boston Garden for Bishop Fenwick as the Crusaders sought the 1975 state championship. Tomorrow, Connelly and his son, Ryan, Amesbury residents, will both take to the legendary parquet floor in what will truly be a unique family affair.
Ryan is in the midst of his senior year playing basketball for Bishop Fenwick, while his father is now a basketball referee. Ryan will take on Triton at 10:30 a.m. in the first game of The Good Sports TD Garden Invitational Tournament, just some three hours before Connelly takes to the same floor as an official.
“The Garden is the Garden,” Connelly said.
“I think the fact that Ryan is playing in the first game and I’m reffing the third game makes it special.”
For Connelly, it is the fourth time that he will take to the Garden.
While playing in high school, he also has officiated two previous games at the famous arena: the Eastern-Massachusetts Finals and the North Sectional Finals.
Still, the excitement hasn’t wavered.
“The butterflies are just as they were when I was playing,” Connelly said. “That’s the attraction of it all; it’s fun.”
For Ryan, it will be the first time that he has played at the Garden.
“It’s going to mean a lot,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty cool having a father who played there. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
While Ryan is quick to credit his love of basketball to his dad, Connelly credits his son’s dedication and hard work for his success over his high school basketball career.
“My dad introduced me to the game when I was a kid and he has taught me my whole life,” Ryan said. “He knows all the rules so he taught me what to do and what not to do. He gets on my case sometimes if I don’t make a right play.”