Bobby Blondi on An Almost Perfect Season

One of the top-rated basketball officials in Illinois, Bobby Blondi, weighs in on my book, An Almost Perfect Season. Bobby’s father, Bob Blondi, Sr., refereed many of the games I played in. Both men were top-notch officials. In the photo, taken in my sophomore year, the Trojans are going up against the Mills Prairie Panthers in the old Bluford gym. Cecil Wiley is in white, to the left. I am on the right, partially hidden. Gene Donoho is number 44, and Ed Donoho is jumping for the tip. Also playing for Bluford that game were Barry Forsythe, Larry Lane, and Bob Ed Osborn. Jim Gwaltney, Russell Felix, Larry McDowell, and Jim Belangee were the big scorers for Mills Prairie in a game the Panthers won 93-78.

Wow! What a fascinating story of high school basketball in Southern Illinois at a time when basketball was king. I was fortunate to have played against a lot of the players mentioned and then officiated in the region for many years afterward. I was even more fortunate that my father, Bob Blondi, Sr., officiated most of the games Mills talked about in the book.  Randy Mills does an excellent job in explaining how important 1960’s high school basketball was to entire communities in Southern Illinois. I have not read a book in many years that I was unable to put down, but this book definitely fits the bill!

Bobby Blondi
IHSA basketball official for 52 years and member of IBCA Hall of Fame