History was made in early March as Pat Walsh, lower school math teacher, was finally defeated after 30 years of playing spoons with students. Walsh has been hosting the card games at his home since the early 1980s and had never lost a game until this month. His wife, Terry, Harker’s archivist, was on hand for the momentous game.
“He lost this one fair and square – I witnessed the historical moment,” she said. Matt Walsh ’97 was on hand as well and noted his father usually plays against fifth graders, while this game was against eighth graders. “He couldn’t compete with these eighth graders – the girls had him right from the start of the game,” Matt Walsh said.
Pat Walsh said the game started as an icebreaker when he’d bring his homeroom students over four at a time on Friday nights. Now the game is a Harker Family and Alumni Picnic auction package.
Losing the game has always had consequences. “I used to have the kids play a prank on a neighbor of mine I am friends with,” said Walsh, “and usually at least one kid wants to lose because they are so excited about pulling off a prank.
“Now, the night usually ends with us going over to Kate Shanahan’s (Harker’s lower school English department chair) house,” he added. “We usually TP her yard, ring the doorbell and run off (known in the prank business as ding-dong ditch it or ring and run).
“This year, Kate was sick, so we TP’d her classroom instead,” Walsh added. “I set the kids up: I left the room and Sarah Leonard (primary division head) ‘caught’ them in the act. Lots of laughs!”
In addition, the students made prank phone calls to some of the Walsh’s other Harker pals, Rebecca Williams and Mike Bassoni, who were prepared for the prank calls and did their best to turn them around on the students.
Walsh publicly owned up to his loss to the four girls, Emma Malysz, Delaney Martin, Zoe Woehrman and Alyssa Amick, all grade 8, in assembly a couple weeks after the event, paying homage to the victors and presenting them with long stemmed roses.