Chris Simonelli is back. But please do not call it a comeback. He says, “don’t call it a comeback! I've been here for years! Rocking my peers and putting suckers in fear!" Shoot, that wasn't Chris, that was LL Cool J. Sorry. When Neal Anderson sent shockwaves across Malden with word of his retirement Chris saw an opportunity to get back in the game and try to better the city he loves. A short tutorial on Chris begins with the Simonelli's living in Ward 7 for over five decades. A 1988 Malden High School graduate Chris went on to work for the Sheriff’s Department and Department of Corrections spending 20 years there. He also found time to serve as Ward 7 councilor in Malden for 10 years, Council President twice. Chris is excited to do public service again, wanting once again to make a difference in peoples lives with an ambitious agenda to unveil called "The Chris Plan." Stay tuned for details.
So, without further ado, in case you forgot who exactly he is, I have the Cliff Notes version on Chris Simonelli. Chris, "This is your life..."
1. My full name is...Christopher Peter Simonelli
2. I am currently...working as a public relations director for a substance abuse and treatment center.
3. I am saving up... to buy a piece of property.
4. My home is in... Ward 7, in my hometown of Malden!
5. I love people who...help others.
6. Something I say a lot is...do you know what I mean!
7. I consider myself to be...a doer.
8. I need to have...lasting relationships.
9. My favorite movie of all time is..."Band of Brothers."
10. My all-time role model is...JFK.
11. I respect people who...tell the truth.
12. The best thing anyone has ever said to me is..."I can count on you."
13. I am happy when...I am helping others.
14. I find (people) to be funny/hilarious.
15. I am named after...my great uncle.
16. I have (two) children...Joseph and Olivia.
17. The furthest I’ve ever been from home is... the Caribbean.
18. My special talents are...speaking in public, building relationships, and martial arts.
19. I have (no) pets.
20. I played sports as a youngster at (Harvard, Kierstead, Roosevelt, and Daniels) park.
It is said in Malden Musings...
Malden Musings shout out to the young man who schleps shopping carts at Stop & Shop on Route 60 through rain, through sleet, and through the oppressive summer months seemingly without missing a beat. Malden salutes you.
The Mary (Moreno) Marinelli granite bench nestled snugly in the delta at Oakland, Sheridan, and West is a fitting tribute to a wonderful human being. Inscribed on the bench:"A life that touches others goes on forever." So true. Rest peacefully Mary.
Breaking news! Tickets are now on sale for Malden's very own teen idol Gary Cherone's side project, the Who Tribute act, 'Slipkid.' The faux British invasion happens on Sept.24at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, MA. I do not know what is on the set list for the night, but I am hoping 'The Seeker,' 'Love Ain't For Keeping', and 'A Quick One, While He's Away.' If so, I go home a 'Happy Jack.' Yes, I know, a bad Who pun.
Speaking of Chris Simonelli; Chris reached rock star status during a meet and greet with Suffolk Manor residents recently. Seems Chris went all old school, showed up with red roses for each and every resident. Badda bing, badda boom! Chris Simonelli hysteria followed.
Boy's Life were hot as a pistol in 1981. They were the next big thing out of Boston and were eager to leave the garage on Presley Street and the Frye boot crowd at M.H.S. July of 1981 was an exciting month in their short careers. On July 10three teenagers from Malden and one from Newton were the supporting act for this legendary band out of Belfast, Stiff Little Fingers. According to another teenager who made the trip (roadie John Bionelli) "a great time was had by all." Boy's Life, July 1981:
July 1: The Rat the Rumble
July 10: The Peppermint Lounge (NYC) w/Stiff Little Fingers
July 15: The Rat w/the Deacons
July 20: Underground w/Clothespins
July 22: On the Rocks Yarmouth, MA
July 23: Cantone w/Loners
July 24: Cantone w/Loners
One more thing
As Peter Falk's iconic TV character "Columbo" would say "Just one more thing sir" — The following game was seared into my brain forever as the final shot clanked off the back of the rim. It was a heartbreaker. Both teams were star studded with all kindsa basketball talent. Actually, the whole league was stacked that year with some of the best talent the Greater Boston area had to offer. Guys from Somerville, Lynnfield, Medford, Melrose, and Chelsea dotted each lineup making the league the envy of the North Shore.
We (Government Center Grocery) came into the series as the underdog and played like it the first game as we lost handily. But game 2 was different. Our spiritual leader, on and off the court, Steve Johnson, read us the riot act before the game. We responded with maybe the best effort of the year coming up short by inches. The league played out for another 10 or so years led by Larry "Lezard" Gilbert with John "Furgie" Furlong eventually taking over the reins. What fun we had. Best days of our lives.
Here is the Malden Evening News account of game two of the 2-out-of-3 game series, with Government Center Grocery getting swept in two. Enjoy:
Malden Evening News Tuesday April 20, 1982
Chisholm's rallies, wins Rec Hoop title
Dennis Cakert provided the offense and Billy Greeley was there with the clutch free throw shooting at the end as Chisholm's Sports held off a late Government Center Grocery rally to take the Men's Recreation Basketball League title with a 75-74 victory at the Forestdale School last Thursday night.
Chisholm took the best-of-three championship final in two straight games. The regular season co-champs, who finished tied with the Malden News for the regular season title, had one the first game of the series, 81-68.
Cakert led all scorers with 30 points as the 6-foot-2 forward kept Chisholm within striking distance during the first three-quarters of the game.
Government Center Grocery trailed by two at the half before playing its best basketball during the early stages of the second half. Steve Johnson and Rick Raymond heated up inside as Government Center took a double figure lead.
Chisholm's began to chip away at the lead, sparked by the swarming defensive pressure of guards Greeley and Billy Hanifan. Greeley scored all six of his points in the game's final three minutes. The former U. Mass teammate of Julius Erving nailed four straight free throws with the final pair giving Chisholm's seemingly safe 75-71 lead.
However, with seven seconds left and Chisholm's in possession of the ball, Steve Johnson stole an inbounds pass and scored to cut the lead to 75-73. After a Government Center timeout, Rick Raymond stole the subsequent inbounds pass and was fouled as he was launching a desperation bomb from half court as the final buzzer sounded.
Standing alone at the foul line with no time left, Raymond calmly swished the first attempt, but his second try bounced off the back of the rim and the game along with the championship belonged to Chisholm's.
Chisholm's Rod "Puggy" Forbes worked for his 16 points, bullying his way to the hoop for a couple of clutch hoops during Chisholm's game-clinching rally.
John Furlong was the third member of the champs to post double figures as he scored 13.
Steve Johnson led G.C.G. with 20 points and he also climbed the boards at both ends. Raymond finished with 12, Mike McCauley (11 points), and Peter Levine (10) also reached double figures for the runners up.
The final event on the Rec Hoop schedule that year was a league All-Star squad facing off against league champs, Chisholm's. The All Stars included Mark Simmons, Shawn Brickman, and Dave Malloy from the Malden News, Steve and Dave Johnson as well as Mike McCauley from G.C.G., Gerry Martin and Mike McCormack from Wilson Sports, John Stanasek from Russo Brothers, and Danny Myers from the Salemwood.
Who remembers where G.C.G. was located? Who remembers their famous crabmeat subs? If you remembered that I worked there for a short period of time in 1983 then your Malden old time bona fides are for real.
Peter Levine is a longtime Malden resident and contributor to The Free Press Observer. He can be reached at PeteL39@aol.com for comments, compliments, complaints or criticisms.