On Tuesday, Arlen Bloodworth was a little busy. He took a video of Proctor’s home girls soccer game at Taranovich Field and then rushed over to Brandon to film the field hockey game between Otter Valley and Fair Haven played under temporary lights.
How is your retirement going?
Bloodworth retired in 2012 after teaching science for 31 years at Proctor High School.
He began taking video of the school’s basketball games at the request of middle school basketball coach Steve Allenby.
Allenby had sons in the Phantoms basketball program and Bloodworth said he wanted the film “to study from.”
That was in 1998 when Bloodworth began this “hobby” and he has never stopped.
Bloodworth did not gravitate to teaching right away. The 1967 Mount St. Joseph Academy graduate did a stint in the Navy and then turned his tassel at then Castleton State College.
But it would not be a career in education for some time. He co-owned and operated the Rollerville Rollerskating Rink in downtown Rutland from 1977 through 1987 with Irving Coburn, a competitive roller skater dance athlete.
Coburn had something in common with Bloodworth by being a competitive athlete. Bloodworth is a championship caliber table tennis player.
“We were doing very well at the rink for a few years,” Bloodworth said.
But he was also teaching by then. He had received a call asking him to apply for the science position at Proctor and what followed were 31 years of a rewarding classroom experience for Bloodworth and the students. He was also athletic director for eight of those years.
He called it retirement when he stopped teaching in 2102, but in many ways he never left.
He still takes video of soccer, basketball, baseball and softball games for the Phantoms. He has shot video of weddings for many of his former students. He has even retained a slice of his athletic director duties — he still makes the game programs for varsity basketball, a colorful pamphlet complete with photos of the players including action shots from previous games.
Many athletes have used his footage as recruiting videos to be sent to college coaches.
Joe McKearin, father of former Proctor athlete and the state’s all-time leading goal scorer in soccer Abby McKearin, sent Bloodworth’s videos of his daughter to campuses far and wide.
“He was awesome about it. He never asks for anything,” Joe said.
“He has made some baseball recruiting videos for me as well as dozens of other videos for my sisters and other athletes from Proctor,” senior Joe Valerio said. “Everyone is so thankful for all the work he does. It is amazing that he retired seven years ago and still has a big impact on so many people here in Proctor.”
Bloodworth said the highlight of shooting video was probably the incredible comeback by the Phantoms against Sharon Academy in the 2015 state championship boys basketball game.
The game looked to be over with the Phoenix leading the Phantoms by seven points with 40 seconds remaining. A reporter at Barre Auditorium, in an attempt to get an early jump on the story with another game to follow, already had a few paragraphs written about Sharon earning its first state title.
Then there was a dramatic confluence of events punctuated by a 3-point shot by Nick Ojala from well beyond the arc. The Phantoms won 70-66.
“That was obviously a high point,” Bloodworth said.
Another memorable moment, Bloodworth said, was the Phantoms’ win over West Rutland in the 2006 boys basketball title game.
Bloodworth figured that team was too young to win it that season.
“I really thought we were going to have to wait a year,” he said.
He was there for Kyle McQuarrie’s 90-foot buzzer-beating miracle heave into the basket against West Rutland at Barre Auditorium.
Everyone talks about the shot, but Allenby was even more impressed by the player in-bounding the ball to McQuarrie, one of the few players on the floor who felt the quarter was not yet over and never gave up on getting the ball in play.
Allenby used that clip from the video as an instructional tool to impress on his middle school players the importance of never giving up on a play.
When Dick Wilcox was the boys varsity basketball coach, he also recalls coaching off the videos with the team in Bloodworth’s classroom.
Bloodworth still loves the games and the athletes. He still loves being on the sideline close to the action.
But now that he has gotten older, there is one facet that has become laborious.
“Editing is not fun now. It’s a lot of work,” Bloodworth said.
But he does it. He was taking footage of the Long Trail game for the purpose of setting it to music for a homecoming video.
Scott Allenby, Steve’s son, graduated from Proctor in 2001 after scoring 1,386 points in basketball. Bloodworth took the video of Scott’s wedding. He also captured Proctor Athletic Director Jake Eaton’s wedding and the weddings of numerous other Proctor graduates.
A big part of his productions have naturally centered on the Proctor-West Rutland rivalry, arguably the top small-school sports rivalry in the state.
Showing he does not discriminate, one of his wedding videos was for Katie Lincoln, the outstanding multi-sport West Rutland athlete who scored 1,454 points for the Golden Horde in basketball.
Bloodworth will be behind the camera again Saturday at Taranovich Field when the Phantoms and Golden Horde clash before a large homecoming crowd.
He has taken video of every PHS graduation since he began zeroing in on school events in 1998. One year he was the graduation speaker.
Some of his videos have found a home at the Proctor Historical Society.
The 2012 Proctor High yearbook was dedicated to four teachers called “The Dinosaurs” who had an average of a little more than 27 years of service.
Part of the copy written next to Bloodworth’s name read: “We’ve heard rumors of you retiring, but we know you won’t be able to stay away. We’re hoping you’ll be our camera man for years to come.”
The kids nailed that one.
Ron Wood, a parent of three-sport Proctor varsity athlete Sydney Wood, is appreciative of all that Bloodworth has done over the years.
“He has taken so many photos and has had them given out to the athletes and parents at the banquets. We are so lucky to have him,” Wood said.