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Ben Balme

School: Grant

Sports Played: Football, Track and Field

High School Honors: 3-year Football Letterman; PIL 1st Team, Senior; Team Captain; Co-Captain 1957 Shrine All-Star Team. 2-year Basketball Letterman. 2-year Track & Field Letterman, PIL Javelin Champion, Senior.

Post High School Career: Football, Yale University Guard and Linebacker, 1st Team All-Ivy, All-East, and Associated Press All-American. Graduate, Yale Medical School (practicing orthopedic surgeon). Member Grant High Athletic Hall of Fame; Member, 1st Team silver-anniversary All-Ivy League. Winner, George H. W. Bush Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011.


When I think of my football days at Grant and inspirational people, three immediately come to mind: my big brother Jim, my coach for JV football and varsity basketball Paul McCall and finally my high school principle Colton Meek all inductees into the PIL Hall of Fame.

After playing fifth team quarterback as a 125-pound freshman I advised my brother Jim that I was giving up football. As a tackle, his advice was to move to the line. He took me into our back yard and taught me a proper balanced stance and how to block and tackle. Until my stint with the Phiadelphia Eagles, where I was released as the 37th man on a 36 man roster, I never failed to start. My brother taught me that desire makes a difference.

Coach McCall hammered home the lesson of playing by the rules while, of course, playing all out to win. Cheap shots would get you benched. I believe I've lived my life "playing by the rules" as Paul McCall taught.

Principal Colton Meek simply commanded respect. As football team captain my senior year I remember when we played Jeff urging in the huddle"lets get this one for Colton Meek." We did win the game in spite of Jeff having Mel and Raye Renfro as well as Terry Baker in the backfield. Fortunately, they were underclassmen.

Another great influencer was Denny Sullivan. I would only hope that our youngsters today are as fortunate as I to have inspirational role models influencing them.

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