HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY

Ron Smarr is a life-time coach and a life-friend. I asked him to “coach” me on this chapter on coaching. Coach Smarr has coached many players and fellow coaches. Me included. Recently he was a major help in providing “THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK of TENNIS for every high school coach and player in North Carolina.

Currently we are picking the best of the past instruction, and new and additional worthwhile suggestions since the earlier book. Below are shortened comments Ron offered having read this chapter.

  1. Never serve at your opponent’s strength on big points.
  2. Drop shots and topspin lobs are old shots that modern players are revisiting.
  3. Other than football, basketball and perhaps baseball-other college sports may become “club sports”!
  4. Serves and groundstrokes up the middle can take angle away from your opponent. And you run less.
  5. High school coaches and players and teams often are aided greatly by college coaches and local pros and players.
  6. Coaching is not just about winning.
  7. Many players are returning serve from way back. Enter the drop shot?
  8. The closer you are to the net the more you keep the racket head out in front.
  9. Over- night camps make directors much more exposed to liability.
  10. One Jerk will and can make things bad for the whole program.
  11. Movement can make2/3 of the court available to a powerful shot. And avoid weak shots !

******Comment to Coach Smarr: Guess we are now the “old timers”. We should accept improved good changes.

You and I began when the Australians and Californians were the classic models. Borg and other Europeans’ and South Americans added extreme western grips and open footwork. As good or better. Another thing I hear from young pros is the term “swinging volleys”. Maybe they are talking about very high level players. and while these shot are much more powerful, I would suggest that a volley fundamental is placement, or “spot specificity”. And that doubles at any level call for classic styled shortened shots. Watch the pros. Club doubles players, high school kids, and even talented youngsters need fundamental volley technique.

ONIONS

NEW YORK TIMES (March 23, 2021)


“In the last decade or so, UConn and other top programs have increasingly sought players from Europe, Canada, Australia and Africa, as a growing parity in college basketball has made recruiting increasingly competitive. There were four different women’s champions in the four seasons before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 N.C.A.A. tournament.

All four No. 1 seeds in the 2021 women’s tournament — Stanford, UConn, North Carolina State and South Carolina — listed at least one international player on their rosters. South Florida, another tournament team, listed 11, along with a player from Puerto Rico.

UConn (25-1) is seeking its 12th national title with a roster that includes two Eastern Europeans — Muhl, who injured her ankle in the Huskies’ first-round win on Sunday night, and Anna Makurat, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Poland — and Aaliyah Edwards, a 6-3 freshman forward from Canada. They are three of only 12 players from outside the United States signed by Auriemma in his 36 seasons coaching at UConn.

“If you don’t have international players, you’re almost behind the ones that do,” said Blair Hardiek, global technical director for the N.B.A. Academy Women’s Program, a development project for international athletes.”

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Onions have many layers. Lots of things do. Earlier I cited a letter addressing international men tennis players in small colleges in 1970. Kudzu-like, this layer of college athletic issues has added women.. All divisions of organizations (NCAA,NAIA, JUNIOR COLLEGES,etc.), tennis, track, soccer, race, money sports and non revenue, Nearly all of our arenas.

Again my concern is for “our kids”. Women’s basketball at the top allows 15 scholarships annually. African – American women will lose a lot more scholarship money as this trend expands. An American is eliminated for every international granted a scholarship.

CRY FOR ME–Soloman Burke

SIPPING

My wife is one of six kids. The funniest is Raymond. He is also the best and most consistent beer drinker. We zoomed the remaining siblings today. During the session someone asked a question of Ray, noting there was no beer in hand.

“Haven’t had a beer since November” Ray informed us. Silence. “I do have a periodic sip of wine” he continued. Like what ? was asked.

“Well, we drink a bottle of wine each night. I pour Bev a small glass and I sip the rest.”

PANDEMIC WARDROBE

My wife’s friend was describing a beachfront property that had a walk-in clothes closet with a dry cleaner’s style revolving clothes rack. When we got home I suggested we could easily this with the clothes I have worn this year (two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shorts, three tee shirts, two flannel shirts and a sweatshirt). This rack would take about one foot of closet space.

MAKE UP YOUR MIND

Single in 1965 I never cooked. Married in 2021 –still can’t. When my roommates Joe Robinson and Phil Nordan and I got off work someone would eventually say “lets go eat”! Next would be “where do you want to go?” Then ” I don’t care Anywhere is fine with me.” Then, “me either”. Next–“…nah–I don’t want to go to Parkers.” Followed by 6 or so suggestions and rejections. Then we’d go to THE GOLDEN WEED.

Several of the high school football coaches would often be there and football was often the topic. Lesley Farris was the owner and would join us. One of the Coaches told Lesley not to tell them how to coach the team and they wouldn’t tell him how to cook the beans.

This isolation period reminds me of those days. What to eat tonight? Bless my bride, Margaret . She has been a trouper. My five year old grandson on his checklist admitted “… I didn’t do too well on vegetables!” Me either James.

So after this morning’s “what are we going to eat tonight?”followed by several personal staples (bean salad, rice, mac and cheese, burgers, spaghetti) were culled) I offered “… anything, but don’t ever put a goddamned brussell sprout in front of me again.”

That’s when the pan hit me.

Hang on –the vaccinations are working.

JUKE BOX—A NEW CHAPTER

The passage below is from an earlier book i wrote. About the jukebox and me. And Coach Bill Morningstar. ‘Star called recently asking if i wanted the jukebox back? He had it for ten years plus. enjoyed it, but needed the space. “Should I just junk it?” he asked.

It had some problems and Bill didn’t want to mess with it too much. Give me some time I said, And let me see if it is worth fixing.

The internet led me to Thorpe Music Company in Rocky Mount, NC. Jimmy Thorpe said “… I can fix any of them”!

Net result is that I now have the box in our garage. Coach Star had painted it black and it shines. Mr. Thorpe tuned up things up I didn’t know existed, put a new needle in her and drove her to Emerald Isle.

Quite the Dollbaby, Margaret and I are still laughing about this old friend. Bill had more country on it than me. But still a lot of originals. My stuff is rock and roll, starting in 50’s and taking off circa Motown (Supremes, Temptations. Ray Charles plus some olders. Folk, Dylan , Beatles piling in. Later here comes fFleetwood Mac, Bob Segar, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, and tons of great 60’s plus classics. Music is quite a hobby and shifting the records around again has been delightful.

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THIS FROM EARLIER BOOK:

The Juke Box

My first job paid $4600 a year in 1964. The only affordable housing I could find was a back room at Mae Hollowell’s Beauty Shop. A plumber named Luther Gott occupied the other rented room. Luther like philosophy aided by ancient age;
        “Sex won’t kill you, but running after it will wear you down.”

Joe Robinson, Carolina tight-end in the 1963 Gator Bowl, was rooming with a Tar Heel family. They charged him $5 a week. Joe and I decided to look for an affordable bachelor’s pad.

I found one. In a new concept for Wilson, North Carolina, Briarcliff Apartments were new and quite nice. My good friend, Jean Peake, suggested I move in with a guy named Phil Nordan. Phil was a liquor salesman.

        We were having a great time, car, Briarcliff, twenty-six years old and coaching. I was  paid            little. Sometimes that bothered me, but mostly I was doing okay.

        Then a bump. Joe got drafted. Phil got married. I was back on the street.

        I moved into all I could afford. Varita Court, downtown Wilson. I slept on a chaise  lounge until Jean heard about me. She sold me two single beds for $12.50 each from  hospital storage. The beds and the jukebox were my only furniture.

        The juke box featured a green light bulb. I located it so I could sit on the fire escape an  throw beer cans at the Shell Station chimney located below me. “Like a Rolling Stone”  was #1, “ A Whiter Shade of Pale”, “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and  other great 60’s music were my roomies. I was lonely. The total utility bill was $3.48 one month.

        I was the only male in the three story building, in apartment “R”. There was an elevator with a stroke-ridden black man named Jesse sitting in it all day. Most of the tenants were widows. They peered out their doors as I put the jukebox on Jesse’s elevator. Jesse giggled.

        Everyone ought to live alone for some period in their lives. It’s not all bad, but I didn’t  like it in Varita Court.

                                                                                        excerpt from “Play is Where Life Is”

The jukebox mentioned in this passage was a “god-send” of sorts.

One of the basketball stars was a young man named Larry Jones. Jones was called “Chief” because he was a handsome, “Indian-looking,” 6 foot 5 inch, 210 pound stud from Mt. Olive. I casually mentioned that I would like to find a jukebox. Maybe that would help with my loneliness in Varita Court. Jones said, “I’ll find you a jukebox.”

A week later he said he’d found one. “How much do they want for it?” I asked.

Surprised he asked, “You want to pay for it?!”

We did find one, to buy, for $100 from a black guy named Kay Wooten in Fremont, North Carolina. It was a 1954 AMI Wooden. Not the Wurlitzer Double (?) Circler (?) but it would play. Loud. It was too big to mount in a Corvette, but I do believe that I could have competed with the Wilson “Boom Boxes of 1968”.

I painted it red and kept it throughout my kids’ stay with us. When they left, I sold it to my good friend Bill Morningstar, the golf coach at Elon.  “Star” is a pinhook, he’ll buy anything. Mostly old cars. He painted it black. Macho. And he still has it.

You could rotate 40 records. The list below are some of the AMI Selections of 1968-1988.

1. Like a Rolling Stone-Bob Dylan
2. Cleo’s Mood-Jr. Walker and the All-Stars
3. Whiter Shade of Pale-Procol Harem
4. SInce I Lost My Baby-The Temptations
5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down-Joan Baez
6. Yesterday-Ray Charles
7. The Weight-Jackie DeShannon
8. Light My Fire-Jose Feliciano
9. Any Day Now-Chuck Jackson
10. Ain’t That Loving You Baby-Jimmy Reed
11. Silver Threads and Golden Needles-
12. Walk On By-Dionne Warwick
13. I’ll Be Doggone-Marvin Gaye
14. Hey Joe-Jimi Hendrix
15. Sweet Baby James-James Taylor
16. Rescue Me-Fontella Bass
17. Baby Love-The Supremes
18. Good Golly Miss Molly-Little Richard
19. Don’t Be Cruel-Elvis Presley
20. Fire Lake-Bob Seger
21. What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am-The Tams
22. Born to Run-Emmylou Harris
23. Get Rhythm-Johnny Cash
24. Get Back-The Beatles
25. Honky Tonk Women-The Rolling Stones
26. I Still Miss Someone-Emmylou Harris
27. He Stopped Loving Her Today-George Jones
28. Knock On Wood-Eddie Floyd
29. Take Out Some Insurance-Jimmy Reed
30. Little Help From My Friends-Joe Cocker
31. Lay, Lady, Lay-Bob Dylan
32. Roll Me Away-Bob Seger
33. Still the Same-Bob Seger
34. Stand By Me-Ben King
35. America-Ray Charles
36. Georgia-Ray Charles
37. Busted-Ray Charles
38. Maybeline-Chuck Berry
39. Somewhere Over the Rainbow-Jerry Lee Lewis
40. I’m Walking-Fats Domino
41. Jim Dandy-Lavern Baker
42. Rave On-Buddy Holly

                                        “Music can save your very soul.”
                                                        -Don McLean, “American Pie”

“IF YOU EVER CHANGE YO MIND ABOUT LEAVING, LEAVING ME BEHIND,

THEN BRING YO SWEET LOVING, BRING IT ON HOME TO ME” eddie floyd

PEOPLE GET READY

I was in Mrs. McCollom’s 3rd grade class room in Madison, NCin 1948. Some how it dawned on me that the others were reading better than I. Not only that — I figured out I’d assumed up to that point that reading didn’t matter that much to a pro quarterback.

Yuval Harari’s formula had not been introduced in 1948:

“Biological knowledge multiplied by computing power multiplied by  data = ( rapid change).” Think current Hackers.

Isn’t the current “divide” in America basically fact versus fake. Fox vs Mainstream. Choose.

Religion vs science? I noticed Ron Reagan is pumping Atheism. Dylan said Mrs. Lucy jumped in the lake, but”…I’m not that eager to make a mistake!”*

Harari (again) says data eventually becomes God because data is truth (fact) and truth is the goal.

If science is fact and religion (faith) is belief, should not religion defer to science, Someone recently said— I believe a good shot of kerosene might knock out the virus.

Dylan again: Things are getting tough out there ( HIGH WATER).

Things are going to only get more competitive (“Then you better start swimmin’ or you will sink like a stone….” )

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*From THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

People get ready
There’s a train a comin’ (Curtis Mayfield)

THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL

One of my grandsons, Lennox, is undefeated. Told me so. He is five and lives in Boulder and we Facetime frequently. We were talking earlier this week and I remembered to ask him if he had received the letter I had recently mailed him.

He looked quizzically at his Dad who said it had not arrived. Lennox, wide eyed and excited, said he was going to the mailbox. Dad said he had already got the mail and the letter wasn’t there. Quiet followed.

Lennox then asked me, “… did you get my letter to you?” I told him I had not.

His Dad then asked Lennox when he had mailed me a letter?

Slyly Lennox revealed “… I really haven’t written it yet.”

One- ups- man-ship is a thing of beauty.