Mother of the Huddle’ perseveres

first_img“Mother of the Huddle” Helen Hiatt has watched over the LaFortune grocery store’s grounds since 1967, working her way from the old cigarette counter to the cash register over the past 44 years. “I came in on Monday morning and that afternoon I was working,” she said. “I sold cigarettes for 11-and-a-half years. And then when they quit selling cigarettes on campus I lost my job there, so I went back to that register [in the Huddle Mart] and I worked there for 25 years.” Hiatt said she became acquainted with many varsity football players as they frequented the Huddle after practice. “They’d come in and talk to me about their problems and different things, and they started calling me their second mother,” Hiatt said. “It continued on and I got to be ‘The Mother of the Huddle’ after so many years. And [former quarterbacks] Joe Theismann and Joe Montana and … the football players would come in.” University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh and Executive Vice President Emeritus Father Edmund Joyce used to joke with Hiatt about how long she had worked at the Huddle, she said. “So I worked 35 hours a week then and … in my 80s, I went down to 15 hours a week,” she said. “When I had my 85th birthday, the manager … got me a cake as big as three of those tables out there.” Hiatt said Notre Dame’s current students seem different than those in years past, but it is difficult to identify how. “But they’re still nice, they’re still wonderful to me,” she said. “The kids get by with more than they did when I was a kid. The parents are more lenient with them, I think.” Working at the Huddle has had its challenges, Hiatt said. She said that while most people she encounters have been kind, some managers, students and parents have given her a rough time. “My motto was, ‘Just keep your mouth shut. You’ll be here longer than they are,’” she said. “And that’s what it’s been like.” Despite some difficult moments, Hiatt said most people treated her well. “The people are nice to me,” she said. “I like to be around people and I like my work. If I don’t want to work, I can sit down and rest a little bit.” Retail associate Beverly Fillmore said she has worked with Hiatt on the Huddle staff for 27 years. “She will do just about everything she can possibly do for you,” Fillmore said. “She’s a wonderful woman and we call her ‘The Mother of the Huddle’ because she takes care of all of us here.” Hiatt, who is legally blind, said she hoped to continue working at the Huddle for as long as possible. She works most weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. stocking condiments and keeping the facilities clean. Hiatt said she will be 90 years old in June, but still loves to work. “This October, I’ll be here 45 years, if I make it that long, and I started on my 45th birthday,” Hiatt said. “I like the people and I enjoy my work and the bosses have been really nice to me. I don’t think I could have found anything any nicer and I enjoy coming in even now.”last_img read more

CWG performance brilliant launch pad to expand TT in India: ITTF CEO

first_imgBy Aparajita Upadhyay New Delhi, Jul 24 (PTI) Indian paddlers’ historic performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games has provided a brilliant platform to further grow the sport in the country, feels International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) CEO Steve Dainton.India delivered its best performance in TT at the CWG, bagging a record haul of eight medals, including an unprecedented gold in the women’s team and singles event. The star of the stellar campaign was Manika Batra, who ended with four medals including two gold.”India has the 2nd largest population in the World, and TT is a relatively popular sport here. If the market is to grow in India, then we need more top-class players playing at the highest level,” Steve told PTI in an interview.”Winning three gold medals at the CWG is a good start, it has really taken the imagination of the sport to the people and now we have to take the next step.”Paired with the the CWG performance, the advent of a professional league, Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), provides the players with the “much needed exposure” and Steve feels Indians have emerged as the dark horses.”With Ultimate Table Tennis providing the exposure to the players, clubbed with high-performance programs with international coaches, the Indians have been on a roll.””I really hope that UTT grows. However, UTT is still two years old, a baby, and to be able to execute an event of such a magnitude is a truly commendable feat. The level of players who are coming in is pretty good.”advertisementSteve also lavished praise on India chief national coach Massimo Costantini and expressed his desire to work with the Italian.”I really like the head coach from Italy, I hope we can work with him also in the future. He could maybe also help us with our future projects because there aren’t a lot of people that have been able to go outside their country and bring different styles and that’s really a successful story,” he said.Although India’s confidence has also been boosted by the new ranking, under which as many as six paddlers had recently featured in the top 100, the ITTF has received a lot of flak from traditional powerhouses like China. Defending the decision, Steve says it was a commercial move.”The broadcasters want the best players, the sponsors want the best players and the new world ranking encourages the best to play at top events. It’s quite simple, you need ranking that supports your products, which are our major events.”Our past philosophy provided a ranking at a technical level but that didn’t necessarily support our product because the former ranking meant that one didn’t need to play all the events, as soon as one got a high ranking they could miss events. And that doesn’t help grow the commercial products,” he explained.Taking inspiration from the Badminton World Federation which has been successful in popularising the sport, Steve feels this is the right time to broaden TT’s horizon by tapping in on the social media age.”In the 1960s when television became a key part of how sports was presented around the world, we (ITTF) didn’t take the necessary steps that time to move on the new trend. However, we are catching up now in this new age of Social media. I believe Table Tennis is an extremely viewer-friendly sport and will gradually pick up like tennis and badminton.” he said. PTI APA BS BSBSlast_img read more