Kathy Folk

I’m imagining myself back at 3rd and Spruce – or Kaley’s Korner (Is it still there?) – ten years from now. That’s Reading, PA, for all who should know but don’t. I bump into all my old friends, basketball players from back in the day. And we, of course, immediately talk hoops.

The subject of point guards comes up, and I find myself with so many of Berks/Reading’s dynamite players. Roz is there, Neil Christel, Stu Jackson, Perry Wentzel, Pete Mullenberg, Bobby Wolfe (Kutztown), Mike Reedy, Dennis Westley. Bobby Hollinger, too, of course. We’re re-living the old days. The Deke’s, Tony Cassamassa (did I spell it right?), Wendell Scott and the Kautter brothers at Governor Mifflin.

We talk Keith Bricker and Kevin Becker at Conrad Weiser. We talk Crider and Wertz at Wyomissing. We’ll never omit Tony Bonanno, Tony Jankans, Alan Tyson, Sam Marella, Bobby Ford (was he a point or two-guard?) … and even Exeter’s Matt Acker!

I say confidently … “Kathy Folk was as good as any point guard who ever played around here.”

Folk guided one of the best teams I ever watched. It was late-ish 1970s and Muhlenberg’s team had action. Big action. Chris Smith, Kevin Smith and I went to almost all the games. They were “our team.” We were captivated by a squad I can still remember to this day: Kathy Folk, Gretchen Bybel, Jill Messner, Michelle Smith and Anita Unger.

Folk made it all happen. Her mission every game was to get her teammates involved … and she did that frequently. But there are times in a basketball game when a point guard must, in essence, forsake teammates in an effort to keep a team in a game or to win a game. It’s a fine line every point guard must walk at some point.

No point guard understood that fine line like Folk. She could score when she needed to, she could spoon-feed teammates when that’s what was called for, and she could wreak havoc on defense if “we needed a stop.”

Her decision-making was impeccable, though there’s an easy one-liner to be made about her choice of Terry Bickhart! Just kidding, Terry. Love you, buddy!

By the way, don’t you ever foul Folk late in a game. She was automatic, and never met a clutch free throw she didn’t get over on. When I think of all the point guards who influenced me … you’re damn right Kathy Folk was one of them.

Here’s to Kathy Folk. She could freakin’ play!

About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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