PATRIOTISM

CONVERSATIONS WITH THE COACH

David Odom coached 40 plus years.  And still has a major hand in basketball, as the Director of the Maui Holiday Tournament.   All levels, from junior high, high school. small colleges  to the top of division one.  Head coach or assistant.

We share a love for all sports.  I have a much lesser basketball coaching experience.  His love for tennis and my first love there provides fodder for conversations.

Coach Odom and I share the similarities of background and geography.  Played in the same league, know the same schools and people.

We both love Emerald Isle and our beach.  David is a “dit dotter” (  comes down and goes back) according to local high toiders.  They cast my wife and I  as “dingbatters” (comes and stays).

We both have Wake Forest University ties.  Coach Odom was one of the premier coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake during the “golden years”.  Quite differently my knowledge of the Demon Deacons of Wake forest came earlier.  My Father, a Wake ministerial  graduate,  had me indoctrinated by age 7.  From then through high school I bled black and old gold.

Coach Odom understands this and tolerates my questions.

The stats on Coach are available.  Recently he was honored in a special way.   His likeness was hung in the ceiling of Joel Coliseum.  Several comments from him got  my attention:

  1. Question by tp—how did you feel about this event?

Answer by Coach—Most of my former players came.  That was big but I think my best moment was seeing Joel Coliseum happy again.

2,  Question—So most of your players came?

Answer—Yes almost all.

3 Tim Duncan came?

  Yes.  Several players called him.  Has busy schedule but he showed. 

Tom:  How was Tm?  Did you get to talk to him?

  When it was over I  told him what impressed me about him this time was I watched sign autographs, hug old ladies, talk with every one who approached  him.  Tim  does a lot of impressive things.

Tom:  How about Randolph Childress?  You have expressed a lot of admiration for him.

David:  Sure.  Randolph was there.  Pause.  Randolph was the best clutch shooter I knew.  Early on, and down 1 point with few seconds left , Randolph told me “Coach, tell them to give me the ball and get the heck out of my way”.  Worked then and almost every other similar situation.  Clutch.  Confident.

Tom:  What player showed up that surprised you?

Coach:  Rodney Rodgers.

Tp: Wow.  Rodney was there?  (Most tragically Rodney was rendered quadriplegic  in an earlier accident.) 

Coach—Yes and several people were most helpful.  Great player and person.   

I got a little worried when they called me to the floor for the National Anthem.  I looked  everywhere and didn’t see the wheelchair.  Then I looked down the well at the gym’s opening.  There they were. Several friends and his personal aide.  He wore a cap.  As National Anthem was about to begin you could see Rodney speak to his aide.  The aide took his hat off.

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