PG NewsPG delivery
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Home Page
PG News: Nation and World, Region and State, Neighborhoods, Business, Sports, Health and Science, Magazine, Forum
Sports: Headlines, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Collegiate, Scholastic
Lifestyle: Columnists, Food, Homes, Restaurants, Gardening, Travel, SEEN, Consumer, Pets
Arts and Entertainment: Movies, TV, Music, Books, Crossword, Lottery
Photo Journal: Post-Gazette photos
AP Wire: News and sports from the Associated Press
Business: Business: Business and Technology News, Personal Business, Consumer, Interact, Stock Quotes, PG Benchmarks, PG on Wheels
Classifieds: Jobs, Real Estate, Automotive, Celebrations and other Post-Gazette Classifieds
Web Extras: Marketplace, Bridal, Headlines by Email, Postcards
Weather: AccuWeather Forecast, Conditions, National Weather, Almanac
Health & Science: Health, Science and Environment
Search: Search by keyword or date
PG Store: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette merchandise
PG Delivery: Home Delivery, Back Copies, Mail Subscriptions


Headlines by E-mail

Headlines Region & State Neighborhoods Business
Sports Health & Science Magazine Forum

In Garfield, a Thanksgiving tradition returns with a win -- and a prayer

Friday, November 23, 2001

By Milan Simonich, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The Turkey Bowl ended yesterday with a Hail Mary pass -- just one more prayer for Garfield after a two-year ordeal.

The neighborhood's annual tackle football game, marred by the murder in 1999 of star player Sidney Barlow, returned yesterday to its old, joyous form.

Players of the annual Turkey Bowl join for a moment of prayer after yesterday's football game at Fort Pitt Elementary School. This year's Turkey Bowl was dedicated to former star player Sidney Barlow, who was shot and killed in an argument following the 1999 game. Darryl Reid, center, lives in Garfield and was a neighbor and teammate of Barlow's. (Gabor Degre, Post-Gazette)

Two teams of neighborhood men played a rib-cracking game at Fort Pitt Elementary School. About 200 spectators soaked in the fun on a late-November day that turned downright pleasant.

Adding to the mood was a knowledge that the criminal case is finished.

The man who shot and killed Barlow, Michael Darnell Richards, was convicted last month of first-degree murder. Richards, 27, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Two years ago, Richards showed up at the Turkey Bowl looking for a bystander who purportedly had stolen $50 from him. A loud, profane argument followed, and Barlow intervened to try to keep the peace.

He told the men to take their mean words away from the field, which was ringed by children. Seconds later, Richards pulled a gun and shot Barlow dead.

Barlow was 35. He left a wife and five children, who ranged from 3 months to 7 years old.

His widow, Angela Barlow, said her life has become a little easier since Richards' conviction.

"At least you know there are no more court dates," she said. "The case has been proven. Now he just has to do the time."

Barlow, 30, said prayer has helped her make it through each day since the murder.

Going to the field where her husband was shot no longer bothers her. Her sons spend most fall days there, playing for the Garfield Gators in a youth football league. One daughter is a team cheerleader.

"I don't mind coming here because this is where Sid would be," she said.

It seemed that the Turkey Bowl -- a match between teams called the Young Bucks and the Old Heads -- was the place for everybody in Garfield to be yesterday.

The event lives on as one of the neighborhood's proudest traditions.

"This game goes back 40 or 50 years. My grandfather and father played in it," said Michael Gay, 31.

He performed in his first Turkey Bowl as a teen-ager in 1985. Gay said he's getting too old for the collisions, and pledged that yesterday's game would be his last.

If it was, he went out a winner. The Old Heads took the game 6-0 in overtime on a dramatic Hail Mary play.

Louis Callaway fired a 30-yard pass into a pack of bodies in the end zone. Wide receiver Walter Boyd tipped the ball, which ricocheted into the arms of his sprinting teammate, Kenny Walls.

After Walls celebrated his touchdown, players from both teams knelt on the field for a new tradition -- a prayer and a tribute to Barlow.

"Let's not forget Sid, who died playing this game," said Anthony Brown, 42, a member of the Old Heads. "Everybody in this neighborhood lost in that tragedy."

Then Gay had the last word.

"Let us," he said, "keep this good and kindred spirit in this community."

bottom navigation bar Terms of Use  Privacy Policy