Sunday, June 1, 2014

MARK REARICK AND THE END OF AN ERA



Mark Rearick is a New Canaan institution, as much a part of the bucolic Connecticut town
as Gates, God's Acre, and the great little station that trains Wall Street sharks, blue chip
CEO's, and corporate lawyers to and from New York City every day.

But in late June, Rearick, who is known to everybody in town as  "2-5-0",  a name given to
him when he tipped the scales at that number as a senior in high school, will head to North
Carolina with his wonderful wife, Diane, and put New Canaan in his rearview mirror. He
is retiring to the Tar Heel state for the next chapter of his wonderful life.

While the footprints he makes on the beaches of Wilmington will be swept away by the
waves of the Atlantic almost as soon as he makes them, the impact 2-5-0 made on
the people and the entire town of New Canaan will never be rinsed out. Ever.

2-5-0 is 'old school' New Canaan through and through and if  he had a food label pasted on
him it would read, "100 percent all-natural, no artificial ingredients added." He's as genuine
of a person as they come and a refreshingly unselfish character in a world often filled with
selfie-obsessed, self-absorbed people whose first question  seems to be, "what's in it
for me?"

2-5-0 not only graduated from the high school in town, but worked and coached there for
42 years. He was hired by the late, great athletic director Joe Sikorski in 1972 to operate the scoreboard during the basketball season and never left, helping countless students and athletes
through the often trying years of high school.

During his career at New Canaan High School,  2-5-0 coached a lot of different sports and
ruled the cafeteria. He wasn't the in-your-face, spray Red Man tobacco juice on your shirt-
type of guy Bo Hickey, another character and coach is, but 2-5-0 always told it like it was
and few people dared to cross his line.



I transferred into New Canaan High School as a sophomore and like so many students and
athletes, I gravitated toward the mountain of a man who put the "barrel" in barrel chest. He
reminded me of Merlin Olsen, the former NFL Hall of Fame lineman and broadcaster, in size,
intelligence, and towering presence. And yes, he even sported the heavy beard like good
ole Merlin that became one of his trademarks.

2-5-0 seemed to coach everything and New Canaan High School, but baseball was his
true passion and sport. He lived it, breathed it, and knew as much about the game as
anybody not named LaRussa, Torre, or Bobby Cox.

He started  the Babe Ruth program and probably coached, in some way, every kid who picked
up a a baseball in town. 2-5-0 is, was, and always will be New Canaan baseball. His impact
on the sport was that big.

And yes, there was "Chicken Street", a softball team in town he founded that was the New
York Yankees of the softball leagues in the area. It was a dynasty. Heck, I don't know how
many championships we won, but I'm certain we had more fun than 99 percent of the beer
leagues in the enitre country. If 2-5-0 asked you to play for "Chicken Street", it was considered
a pretty special honor.



Several years ago, 2-5-0 was honored for all he did for New Canaan baseball. People came
from all over the state to pay tribute to 2-5-0. I don't remember how many games and
championships they said 2-5-0 won and it didn't matter.  The love, admiration, and respect all
his former players, opposing coaches, administrators, and umpires showed 2-5-0 with was
enough to give you chills. The man is truly, truly loved by so many people.

And that's what it's all about. Nobody remembers the wins, trophies, or final records. It's the
impact you make on others and few people in the history of New Canaan High School have
touched as many lives as 2-5-0.

There will never be another 2-5-0, that's for sure.

New Canaan today is far different than the one many of us grew up in. It has become
extraordinarily wealthy and  now home to celebrities like Harry Connick, Jr. Paul Simon,
 NBC's Brian Williams, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, and high-powered CEO's like General
Electric's Jeff Immelt and ESPN's George Bodenheimer.

2-5-0 is "our" celebrity, a New Canaan original who has, in a small way, connected so
many people to the town's past. He is a walking history book who knows just about
everybody who has passed through the tony town of 19, 000 and all the events and things
that helped make it a very special place.

I recently took a picture of 2-5-0 at the New Canaan High School and posted it on Facebook.
The response I received was swift and plentiful, many people chipping in with their thoughts
on 2-5
    • Stacey Smith Great man!

    • Vikki Stone Corliss Congrats to him!

    • Tina Swallow Gaines Wow! A true nchs legend!

    • Holly Nichols LOVE HIM

    • Perry Seelert Wow, the Fiver was a legend, who I vividly remember playing for in Freshman baseball and basketball......the belt was the "indicator" for any baseball signal!

    • Heather Bowler Now there is a name I haven't thought of in decades ! Best of luck to 2-5-0. !

    • Whitney LeGard Williams I see him regularly at the HS. He's still so cheerful, loves to chat about the good old days, and loves the kids. It's incredible to me that he could still be there, and yet, I won't be able to imagine it without him…I hope he retires somewhere that has a great baseball team!

    • Jason E. Green My freshman basketball coach, thank you for everything. We only lost one game that year, a great man!!!

    • Paul Karl Fiver - all the best to a true original and more importantly to a caring and compassionate coach and educator that "made a difference".

    • Samantha Loomis He is the best! Hope you can somehow share these great comments with him, he deserves to see them!

    • Laura Celaya Wilson A truly wonderful man! I am sad that my freshman son won't get to see him all 4 years at NCHS!

    • Billy Jalbert Wow...what a run. Congratulations 2-5-0...and enjoy your retirement.             

      Many of us will never achieve great wealth, but those with New Canaan ties
      are far richer for having met and known a person like 2-5-0.

      2-5-0, you are the best! You will be missed.

13 comments:

  1. Terrific story, Paul! He is the best! NCHS won't be the same with him leaving! He really is a legend!! We all will miss his cheery smile & stories from the good old days at NCHS! I know I will! All the best to Mr. 2-5-0 & Dianne!

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  2. Thanks for a beautiful story Paul. I'm so proud to say he's my brother and truly a New Canaan treasure!

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  3. You forgot to mention he also ran the computer lab back in the 70's. I would not be in software industry today if it wasn't for 2-5-0.

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  4. We have never forgotten you 2-5-0 and never will.
    From one NC to another.

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  5. I got to know Mark when he was already a first-rate pitcher/ballplayer for the "Seals" Little League team - probably around 1960. He was always a cool customer. I never saw him mad or upset with anyone or anything. He just went about his business, and you'd need a calculator to try and add up the number of friends he had and people that liked him. He didn't reach out for friends - you just gravitated to him because he was - and is - such a nice guy. I'm proud to consider him an everlasting friend - even though our paths have not crossed much over the past many years. Best of luck, health, and happiness to a guy who really deserves it! -Norm

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  6. 2-5 was all these things in spades, and also served as the unofficial NCHS alumni relations officer. If you wanted to know what a past Ram was doing currently, he'd know, or find out. Will miss that source of knowledge, and the man himself, greatly.

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  7. Does anyone have a contact email for 2-5? I played for him seemingly forever and will be in NC in mid-June. Would love to say hi before he heads out. It can be emailed to me at mike@spiveyconsulting.com if that is more appropriate. Many thanks!

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  8. 2-5! Wow...now that's a name I haven't heard in - oh forget it...a LONG time! Happy retirement wishes! North Carolina's gain - NC's loss :)

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  9. 2-5 positively impacted so many of us, athletes and non-athletes alike. I've had the good fortune of connecting with him a few times recently, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to express my gratitude and admiration to him in person. For those who haven't seen him recently, with the exception of some gray hair and a balky knee, he hasn't changed a bit. His bigger than life personality, his quick wit, his steel trap memory, and his kindness still define him. Thank you 2-5!!

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  10. “Mark Rearick and I started our careers in New Canaan High School about the same time, and we have been friends since. I have never met a man as dedicated, humble, compassionate and loyal as he. More than anything, he is authentic, the ‘real deal.’ His example, his counsel, his advice and his wisdom have echoed throughout the halls of the high school for decades. We are all better people for knowing him. Thank you, Mark, for giving it all to New Canaan. Yours is a worthy life indeed. You remind me of another NCHS legend, Gary Field, whose mantra was to "never look down upon others except to lift them up." That's something to live by for all of us. Although a giant departs, his large footprint and his lasting legacy will endure. Take good care, my friend. Alan Haas”

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  12. Certainly one of the "all-time greats!", a term introduced to me by 2-5-0 lo those many years ago. So glad to see him mentioned in the same company as Joe Sikorski - two truly wonderful human beings. Late 70's dominance by the Red Sox under his leadership is legendary in Baby Ruth circles. The worst part of having known the man was how just how poorly subsequent coaches compared to 2-5-0; they never really had a chance. Enjoy the beach Mark!

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