Remembering an enthusiastic all-around amateur athlete from Bensonhurst
Elliot Lauterstein. The name probably doesn’t ring a bell – didn’t think it would.
To me he was a major part of growing up in Brooklyn.
So why now?
The year 2020 was a disaster – a total loss both socially as well as economically for many. And for me, it was a loss of a childhood friend — Elliot Lauterstein.
Please permit me to not only grieve – but to relive my childhood, growing up at 2040-80th Street in Bensonhurst.
It was Elliot, and my good buddies Donny Cohen and Larry Itzkowitz, who provided our athletic thrills.
My backyard served as a miniature Yankee Stadium. We played punchball, stickball and when the basketball backboard was perched upon the apple tree in the backyard – it was Madison Square Garden, South.
Lauterstein passed on Nov. 11 – I got the call from Cohen – who like me was in a state of shock.
At 71, he was still playing pick-up basketball and served as housing manager for the New York City Housing Authority.
The scouting report was that he wasn’t a bad jumper from around 11-15-feet, but never wanted to mix it up under the boards.
As for punchball, it was all tongue. When it was swirling around rest assured it was a grounder – when tucked in his cheek he was going deep.
Try as he might, he never developed into a top-notch pitcher in the sport, although he longed for the ball most of the time.
Fall and winter, 80th Street became a football field – with yard markers in the street, imagine that. My last visit shocked me, as a traffic light was on the corner of 21st Avenue and 80th. Imagine that. We’d never get a series of downs in today.
Lauterstein was a better than decent receiver – deceptive even with his moves.
Bad weather forced us downstairs in my basement – and yes, we even had a weekly hockey league – no ice – but a true game of skill.
Elliott Lauterstein reminds me life is too short.
But he also brought back some great memories of the times we spent together.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected].
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