Chess player, Strat player, street football player, and badminton player — and former Navy pilot — Phil Ghyzel, BHS ’81, is back in town for the Holidays.
Upon his arrival the day before Christmas , Phil discovered — out of the blue — that his name appears three times in TalkeroftheTown.com.
Placing “Ghyzel” and/or “Phil” into the site search bar brought back that Proustian wave of memory. As Phil says, “Opportunities seized upon, or squandered. What was, and what might have been.”
In Wildcats strike out our undermanned Barons, Phil read:
This year  was to be Brighton’s. The 35th anniversary of that championship season when we Barons wore the Monroe County Chess League crown. The Fab Five: Andre, Alan, Phil, Dean and myself.
Yes, Phil mused. Before Michigan’s Howard, Jackson, King, Rose and Webber were Ghyzel, Kramer, Marquis, Sun and Tucker.
Reflecting on that life peak, that 1981 championship season, Phil recalled the day the engine quit in the trainer he was flying, quietly gliding to an eventual safe landing, while considering other possibilities, may be the only experience eclipsing the emotional high of that championship season. At fourth board, Phil won his Varsity Letter with distinction.In Badminton shines in Brazil. And “The Game Sublime” has a following in Rochester, including Rajesh Barnabas and New York State Assemblyman Mark Johns, Phil read:
Recalling his racquet career since then, Phil remarked “tennis and racquetball are ok, but the game sublime thrills. My knees have cost me some range and agility, but the wrist is still good, and I’m wilier.” He remembered that Eugene was spry and also wily, playing Phil evenly despite the age disadvantage.
In high school, Phil Ghyzel and I pruned back tree branches and used twine to mark off a noticeably non-regulation court. Along with my father and sometimes Dean, we wore down the lawn and vaguely learned the fundamentals of the game sublime.
In Cold and snowy Turkey Bowls at Reifsteck Field, Phil read:
Phil played freshman and jv football. His glory came on special teams where he had a knack for shooting gaps and blocking kicks as seen in this recreation. When Phil read Iconic America at the Brighton Little League Parade the story of the International Wiffle Ball League, he winced.
In the 1980s, we played a precursor to the Turkey Bowl. At the Holidays, we gathered for street football.
A late comer to the League, Phil failed to appear in any of the two editions of The Weekly Wiffle News. Ghyzel said “with good bat speed and being an excellent contact hitter, this should have been my sport.” He wanted to make amends, snow or no snow.In Opening Day, 1971, at Boldo’s Armory, Phil read:
In high school, I assassinated countless evening and weekend hours playing the game, mostly with friend Phil Ghyzel. The game was a useful sublimation activity for nerdy guys who had not yet mastered the dynamics of female companionship.
Chuckling, Phil remarked:
As an avid Strat-o-matic player I feel like a pioneer in the genre that lead to fantasy football. As far as sublimating teenage male inadequacy and insecurity into our games, maybe. To any girl who might remember me from BHS, I want to apologize. With a wife, two daughters, a daughter in law, and four female animals, I wish I knew then what I know now. I could have been somebody.
SEE ALSO “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later Phil often joined Dean and me in hitting fungoes. SEE ALSO