“SIDE GAMES”

Veterans of the World Series of Poker will tell you that more big money games, or “side games”, are off camera.

Side games show up in various arenas. Several years ago we attended a recreation basketball game my oldest grandson was playing in. First time to see a game for me. However as my son opened the door to the gym we were met by Spider Man. Lingering a moment he, at 5 years old DEMANDED of my son and grandson. “Where’s Lennox?” Lennox was Spider Man’s right hand bower, Son Tee explained. Just watch him. Spider Man was our coaches son. The coach said he wore his Spider Man suit everyday. “Sleeps in it.”

At the next game we took #2 grandson, Lennox ( at 3 and 1/2) along. Watch these guys Son Tee advised. They ranged from 5 to 7 years old and no holds were barred. Whatever their self designed contest required Lennox and Spider Man hung tough. Time out for crying, peeing, and first aid. I couldn’t have been prouder.

Every high school football game has a side game for younger brothers and stout hearted . While all towns differed in 1946 the side games were very similar. Called “tackle the man with the ball” or the unquestioned “smear the queer.” No ball no rules. Maybe a wadded up paper cup and whoever had it was fair game.

As a second grader, I suffered my first permanent injury in Madison, N.C. The Wildcats, on a dirt field, with about ten sixty watt light bulbs, Foot Feynolds (quarerback) led Coach Raymond Cure’s team —featuring Leon Tucker and Lee Anglin. Our game with about twenty kids was on the west end, parallel to the goal post.

Ball ( cup) in my possession, goal not to be felled as long as possible, an unknown lowered his forehead and found my newly minted right front tooth. It almost fell out so I pushed up it with my thumb. Now on the disabled list, I sat in the stands hand to mouth thumb pushing upwards. It stayed in! Might have ushered in the new popular color, charcoal grey, as time went by. As an adult with a little money, I had Dr. Billy Boles cap it and close the natural gap to where it looked pretty good. And served me well for a long time.

As the tooth darkened I told my parents reluctantly what happened. But I begged out of the dental exam. There was hardly any one my Dad’s age that didn’t “come up poor”. His lack of upper teeth age 45 confirmed his back ground. That upper plate in a glass of water scared hell out of me but not as much as our dentist, Dr. McAnnally of nearby Walnut Cove. Nothing has ever generated a fear or pain next that Ballpean hammer of a drill. Nothing. Those who ducked this with the advent of flouride should genuflect daily for that discovery.

Alas the crowned and altered tooth fell to a crust of pizza. Looking like the “what me worry kid a.k.a Alfred E. Neuman, my local Swansboro dentist . Cratg Brown, skillfully drilled and posted me to a new front bumper. The nurse warned me not to bite apples and hard food choices. “This is not a biting tooth. It is a smiling tooth!”

I’m running out of teeth. My left “backuns” are only singular now. And it’s a little shaky.

And on the right my heavy duty, root canal gold cap gave up after thirty years. Dr. Dickie Hogan did the deed for $900. $3 a year i figure. All in all I guess I’m lucky with dentists. Br. Bill Crouch in Elon was good. He didn’t like me calling him Dr. “Ouch” Crouch. Wilson’s Dr.Dwight Johnson caused the least pain, but that was because assistant, Nancy Tyson, was so rough cleaning them you were glad to see Dr. Johnson.

Eating is tricky now. With only a sore side, a gold capped one too far gone to save, and smiley, I have to think hard to locate food with a chewable remainder. Quite a contest. A side game.

“…a man should shed his (‘testicles’) and keep his teeth. hell, he NEEDS his teeth!” (Country’s uncle, Roma Boykin)

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.

Speaking at Awards Banquets

1. While this is a special time for you, your time is limited.

2. Rehearse your speech and try to finish 2 minutes under your allotted time.   Brevity is the soul of wit.

3.  Respect your audience.

4.  If you speak for too long, you infringe upon the other speakers’ time, and create the potential for audience discomfort.

5.  Many speakers “get in and can’t get out” — it’s okay to just stop telling a story and move on.   Practice it.

6.  Some speakers are surprised by their emotions.    Talking about parents, family, team mates, coaches and schools can trigger deep and powerful and surprising emotions.

7.  The monitor runs the show.   It’s essential that the moderator make the ground rules for speakers clear in the rehearsal.   If you should exceed your time limit, the monitor will rise.   This is the signal to wrap it up quickly.

After many years and events, I believe the moderator has the right to protect his or her audience.   Too many times I have heard “he talked too long,” or “she ruined it for others,” or “I’ll never go back to another one of those.”  (NOTE:  ARTICLE 72 HAS SOME HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS ABOUT SPEAKING AT ATHLETIC BANQUETS)

ATHLETIC BANQUETS: PART 2

Earlier I wrote SPEAKING AT ATHLETIC BANQUETS (see article  14) .    I  do believe some took this to heart.    The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame  (2013)  was well run.    I was pleased that our state inducted Mrs. Mildred Southern this year.    And Mildred stole the show (more to follow).    Her brief talk stimulated my thinking about the good talks, comments, and speeches I’ve heard at past athletic banquets.   I’ve selected a few,  some original,  some “stolen”,  and some used too often.    Mrs. Southern acknowledged Woody Durham’s glowing introduction by saying  “…yes, Woody, I’ve won a lot of tennis matches,  volunteered  a lot of time and effort and leadership , given money to support tennis and North Carolina  specifically.”   But then she revisited a simple beginning tennis lesson to a young boy :  “I tossed him a ball, and he missed it.   I tossed him another ball.  And he misses it.  Another and another,  and he missed”   An unspoken question  stirred through the audience :  How long is this going to go on?”   Mrs. Southern concluded,  “…then I tossed him a ball and he HIT IT”!    She paused,  then added, “…the look of joy on his face was why I  did it all”   She sat down.    WOW!     Last year (2012) my friend and certainly a coaching mentor,  Henry Trevathan gave a similarly remarkable and short talk…Remember  “1.  Practice is mine, 2. The game is yours, 3.  We rule the hall.”?   Kelvin Bryant got a good laugh this year when,  after the usual thank you’s,  he realized “…I guess I need to add my ATTORNEY to this list!”  Coach Russ Frazier told his wife they were moving to the beach!   She said she’d have to have a new bathing suit…”Why?”  Coach Frazier asked.   His wife replied, ” …cause the old one has a hole in the knee!”   At an Elon Hall of Fame banquet a recipient,  unable to attend,  simply sent a letter.  The next inductee,  Coach Sid Varney,  began by quizzically saying “…I  didn’t know you could send a letter!”  One tale on Coach Varney was that he took his football team to a game in Florida,  where their opponent vastly over matched  his team.   Six Elon players were injured to the point of hospitalization….Picking them up at the hospital the manager asked good Coach Varney  “…Coach,  should  I go in and get them?”   Varney’s reply:   “Nah!   Just blow the horn!”   Every school used to have some “hard” coaches..here are some standard comments.   Reporter:  “Coach,  what do you think of your team’s execution?”   Coaches response;  “I think it’a  good idea!”   Again—Stunned fan states “…that guy looks like he doesn’t know the meaning of fear.”   Coach: “THAT guy doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”   Another coach summarized,  “…we started slow and tapered off”.   M.L. Carr did an interesting thing by honoring a friend.   While entering the NC Sports HALL of Fame “with your spouse”, M.L. was accompanied by a male.  Turned some heads.   M.L., when introduced said rather than spotlight himself he had elected to spotlight this friend,  a man who had befriended and mentored him as a  youngster in need of help.    He chose this special time to recognize his depth of appreciation for an unattached  person who saw  fit to help a  struggling youngster.   Bill Weathers was an inductee into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame some years back.   A fine golfer as well as a stellar tennis player,  Bill snuck up on us in this way:   He would cite a time he went off to play golf or in a tennis tournament and tell some detail about his “play”.   He would then add what his Wife did while he was away.   Bill described his use of that time, generally some kind of play.   He would then compare his wife’s use of that same time,  which included “minor” issues such as childbirth,  a job, child rearing, helping a friend in need, dealing with serious health problems, and the like.    She had done some truly tough and good things.   And while Bill used his time to thank and recognize her,  she rose to say “BILL WEATHERS—when we get home  I’m gonna kill you.”   What a fine woman and tribute.   Coach Jerry Moore asked his wife,  “…honey,  did you in your wildest dreams,  ever think this could happen to us?”   Wife’ answer?   “You weren’t in my wildest dreams.”   OUCH!    Actually this one has been passed around quite a bit.   We are getting more creative.   For years the old one about “Peahead’ Walker,  the Wake Forest football coach,  taking a Wake  recruit to Duke’s campus and later calling it our “western campus”, was told at every banquet.    Guilty myself ,  I used a line from a European tennis player,  who when asked about the inconvenience of coming from Europe for his induction into the  Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame,  asserted “…I would have walked.”  Me too!   Here is a good opening line:   Inductee;   “What should I talk about?”  Monitor:  “Talk about 5 minutes.”  Remember  that one if nothing else.   An old timer,  “Lefty” Briggs  of Elon rose to accept his award:  “I’ve practiced my speech so much, I’m  too hoarse to give it.  Thank you.”   And sat down.   Bobby Bowden of Florida State University’s football  team spoke for F.S.U.  when they tied The University of Tennessee’s  women’s basketball team for ESPN Team of the Year.    Coach Pat Summit of U.T. was unable to attend and was represented by a U.T. athletics administrator who spoke of the tremendous strides of women American sports.   Coach Bowden struck a blow for male chauvinism when he followed her speech with this jewel:  “My  wife really wanted to be here.  She’s been planning for weeks.  Been packed for days.  But what the heck,  you can’t remember everything!”   Surely one can get over the line with smut, length, politics, religion, cliches, etc.   And not all great people are great speakers, or interviews.   I think its best to memorize you speech.   Have  a glass of water nearby.   And watch your emotions.       Humor is certainly helpful.   One source I’ve used lately is, oddly,  obituaries!   Here are a few examples.  1.  A  professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, bothered by all the recent criticism of athletics penned several obits that featured the deceased’s loyalties to college sports programs, i.e.,  “…he was a lifelong Tar Heel fan!”   Or,  “…ever loyal to the Wolfpack” etc.   One he cited was a man from Wisconsin.  He was said to “…love the  Badgers,  the Green Bay Packers, and MOST of his grandchildren.”   Another fanatic, no longer able to attend games in person,  watched his favorite school every time they were on TV,  “…often  from a three point stance.”   Most recently a Cleveland  resident and Cleveland Browns football diehard requested six players from the Browns to be his pallbearers.  He said he wanted the Cleveland Browns to “,,,let him down one last time”.    A man named Tom Taylor of Chapel Hill, and a cancer victim had called and asked if he  could renegotiate with the crematory.     His reasoning:  ” I’ve lost down from 180lbs. to about 120lbs and think I deserve a discount.”

LENOX RAWLINGS, INDUCTION ACCEPTANCE INTO NC SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Below is the text of the induction comments by Lenox Rawlings, upon his entrance as a member of THE NORTH CAROLINA SPORTS HALL OF FAME.
Lenox is a retired writer. This becomes obvious. What was equally impressive was the way he presented his insights.
Lenox is a “homey” from Wilson,NC. A lot people were proud of Lenox, myself certainly included. But none more than BROTHER RUSSELL

LENOX RAWLINGS
NC SPORTS HALL OF FAME
MAY 15, 2015

When I was a boy growing up in Wilson, my grandfather would pick me up on Sundays around lunchtime and drive downtown to the Cherry Hotel newsstand across the street from the train station. He would buy a New York newspaper, and then we’d ride over to Fleming Stadium and enjoy the lazy hour or so before a Carolina League baseball game. I’d lay across the back seat in his Buick Special and get lost in the sports pages of the Herald-Tribune or the Times. We’d ask each other questions and exchange opinions – none of which I remember specifically. But I do remember feeling completely at peace.

It’s impossible to say when my love of sports and my love of language met at the crossroads, but one thing led to another, and now that I’m my grandfather’s age, I’m somewhat astonished to find myself standing here tonight accepting this great honor. There are lots of people to thank, beginning with my family, who taught me the difference between right and wrong and encouraged me to be myself and to do whatever I wanted to do in life.

My parents read at the beginning and end of every day and took us to the library where my mother later worked. My father, Lenox Jr., was a masterful storyteller with a dancer’s fine sense of timing, and he could leave a room roaring with laughter. My mother, Gloria, had a dry wit and precise powers of observation and considerable insight into human character. When I was about 11, she handed me her new copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and said, maybe for the only time, “I think you should read this.” She was right, of course. My brothers John and Russell and my sister Ann supported whatever I did and read my columns even if they had little interest in the subject. My wife Janice was a bit more discriminating. She preferred the good ones or the unusual ones, like that one about the alleged intelligence of the elusive largemouth bass. Janice reinforced the importance of intellectual honesty in everyone around her. She carried on cheerfully whenever I took off across the country to cover another story, and she traveled with me far and wide, especially after Jennifer and Barak grew up.

All of them sacrificed something for my freedom of movement.

So did my editors and publishers at the Winston-Salem Journal and other newspapers. They gave me freedom of expression. They defended my freedom of speech whenever they had to, which required more spine than you find in fair-weather guardians of the First Amendment. Fortunately, most of my interview subjects were civilized and cooperative. Many of the people I’ve written about and many of the writers I’ve worked beside are loyal friends. I’ve been lucky that way – in so many ways, really.

From elementary school through college, certain teachers recognized my affinity for descriptive writing and reacted positively. This happens every day in every school around the state, so it galls me when I hear politicians lump all teachers together and criticize them for failing to fix every breakdown in our society.

I’ll admit to an inherent bias. My other grandfather was a high school teacher and football coach before he became the town manager of Wendell. And, for half a century, I have watched teachers and coaches help young folks change their lives for the better. I’ve seen the modest home where my high school teammate Carlester Crumpler lived, raised by his loving grandmother. I’ve seen the neighborhood where Rodney Rogers grew up. I’ve seen the backyard goal where Kay Yow and her sisters and brother learned to shoot, long before women had a tangible future in basketball.

The beauty of sports – the democratic essence of sports, really – is that everyone stands on his or her own merits. Success depends on talent and work and persistence and passion, not privilege. These are basic values that endure long after the cheering fades. I’m more impressed with Carlester as an adviser to college students than Carlester the teenage legend. I’m more impressed with how Rodney has handled personal tragedy than how he handled basketball glory. I’m more impressed with Kay’s legacy as a cancer pioneer than her record as a pioneering coach.

They represent the best among us, but they aren’t alone. This room is full of people whose formal educations began in North Carolina’s public schools, people who developed a love for fair competition and helping teammates reach their potential, people who can look back through the clutter and clatter of modern times and recognize the wisdom of these simple ideas. When I was young, North Carolina was a leader in public education, but we’ve slipped. We should vastly improve the public schools for a future beyond our time – not because it’s the liberal or conservative thing to do, or the black or white thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do. And because out there tonight in North Carolina, other kids are sitting in cars reading their electronic devices – maybe even reading the New York papers – and wondering how their stories will turn out. They deserve a fair chance, too.

MY DANNY TALBOTT STORY

Danny Talbott lost his war with cancer. Many thought he’d win. He won every thing else. Danny was a baptist preacher’s kid. In the 1960’s in North Carolina he was legendary. His pre-integration time called for every able bodied, red blooded male to play football. Most added basketball and baseball, as did Danny. Tennis and golf were for sissies. No one had heard of soccer. Maybe Pele. No girls allowed.
Coach Henry Trevathan coached Danny in Rocky Mount, NC. He said Danny was like another coach on the field. And not just in football. Rocky Mount won state titles in football, then basketball, then baseball, then football again the next year.
I was a “Peacock” in 1963/64. Danny’s freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Peacocks were so called as our graduate school advisor was the beloved Dr. Bill Peacock. There were thirty college grads who taught the UNC freshman classes. I was teaching a basketball class on the Woollen Gym floor when Jack Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
Having lived in Wilson,NC, 18 miles from Talbott and Rocky Mt., I knew of his career. And told my fellow Peacocks who were mostly unaware of his feats. Freshman were ineligible then, and my colleagues hardly believed my hype. As basketball arrived Danny changed uniforms like a superhero. Shoulder pads for sneakers even after basketball and the remarkable Bobby Lewis show had started. All my buddies were there to watch Lewis. When they inserted Danny into the lineup, I loudly alerted them to his entry. Sure enough he was shortly on the foul line with two free throws. Nothing but foul lane, 1 and 2. howls and chagrin. Exit Danny until the game’s end, when fouled out Tar Heels dictated his reentry.
Sure enough, with one point down and seconds on the clock, there is Talbott on the line, with game on the line. Swish goes #1, swish #2, Game Talbott.
Come spring time there he is on the diamond, first year of an outstanding college baseball career. He later told me, “…I probably should have pursued pro baseball.”
Danny was easy to like. Big smile, rosy/rusty cheeks that glowed. Made you feel great. Bobby Dunn and I are friends and he and Danny were very close. When Danny went into sales after pro football, Bobby said he missed competition and was considering tennis. Send him over, I suggested.
Low and behold here he came to our college courts. Coat and tie abandoned for shorts and racket, on the run.
Danny was ambidextrous. He was hitting groundstrokes left handed forehand and backhand. His beginning shots looked good to me. “Why are you so discouraged?” I asked him.
“Watch this serve” he whimpered. He was correct. I never thought I’d see Danny Talbott look awkward at anything, but this was pretty awful to watch. He tried a couple of more serves. Then the duh? moment. Left-handed serve?
“Danny, aren’t you the quarterback that holds the NCAA record for 28 out o32 pass completions in the EAST/WEST All-Star game?” A puzzled “yes”. Did you throw them left handed ? Well, no of course.
Below is the quickest, most productive lesson I taught in my career:
1. The serve is a throw. Put the racket in your right hand. Turn your grip a little this way (“first knuckle, first bevel”). Now serve it like a throw.
2. Your wrist action at hit moment is much like a fast ball or slider is thrown.

I’m not sure if it was the first serve he tried, but I know it was before the fourth, that repeated ace like rockets zoomed over the net. I know he wanted to stop and thank me but he was having too much fun, I was too. So, I’d toss him a ball and a big “thump” would echo. I only asked about the grip, as that action is hard to see? “Yeah, fastball, slider, I got it!”
He would show up with questions and conversations. Eventually he played right handed while serving, left-handed on both ground strokes. On overheads he hit ones on the right, right-handed. The ones on the left, left handed.
It wasn’t long before I was getting reports that he was right in the middle of NC senior tennis tournaments. And, later, he did a similar thing with golf, becoming an accomplished player there too.
The last time I saw him was a year ago in Wilson’s DICK’S HOT DOG STAND. He was with a man I didn’t know, but later Danny said was his “cancer doctor”. “We go out to eat once a month”.
Rocky Mount named their hospital’s new cancer center after Danny Talbott.

Danny was so gracious with me. He always said “…that’s my tennis coach, he made my game.” But I always knew the “Big Coach” made Danny. He made a masterpiece.
PS–you guys who play sports up there. He’s coming. But you better be ready. He’s competitive.

ECHOES FROM THE VAN

Maybe the saddest conversation occurred late one night after a match. Driving silently the boys talked about the spring break they’d just returned from.
Another kid stated, “My mom drinks gin all day. She’s a drunk.”
“Hmmm. I came home four nights last week and passed by my Dad, drunk in a chair. He never recognized me.”
Silence. Then from the back Rocky Peed spoke: “You guys don’t know any- thing. Last year I saved $50, all I had, and bought myself a new racket for the high school championships. I got dressed to leave and couldn’t find my racket. My father had sold it for $5 to buy a pint of whiskey.”
That one touched me.
Rocky had been a “need” case. I first heard about him when some one said he was going to attend Atlantic Christian.
I knew he was a pretty good player but he had no phone. He lived with his grandmother. She was his only family, having kicked Rocky’s father out.
Not only could I not call him, when I went to the tournaments Rocky was in, he ducked me.
Finally I cornered him in front of a small group of junior players. I introduced myself and commented that I’d heard he was interested in our school.
Rocky was 6’3”, longhaired, and really nice looking young man. He blushed and asked “Could I speak to you over there Coach?”
In private, he told me he knew who I was. Sam Modlin had told him all about our school. It sounds great.
“But Coach, I can’t go to college. I don’t have any money. All the kids I play with talk about their college plans all the time. I just said I was going to Atlantic Christian to save face. I’m sorry. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Rocky, you can come to AC on the B.E.O.G. (Federal aid for needy kids.) If you want to come, I’ll get you in. Don’t worry about the money. Rocky, a 1975 graduate, is now a grandfather, and highly successful insurance agent.
He also won a District Singles title. I bought his racket for him.

NO EXCUSES

I saw that happen in Kansas City once. A boy named Ben Taylor had lost a District title on a 9th point (old tie breaker) of the deciding set. Playing an hour from his campus, his coach said didn’t speak all the way back. His opponent’s own fans had seen the call and booed their classmate openly.
His coach dropped Ben off and confirmed: “Ben, you know your shot was good.”
Ben said, “I should have beaten him anyway.”
With a draw of 256 men in the NAIA Nationals, fate pitted Ben against the same guy.
Taylor by 6-2, 6-1.
Believe me.

Quotes, Comments, Observations

Quotes, Comments, Observations
W.C Fields, an avowed atheist, was asked why, on his deathbed, he was reading the Bible. “I’m looking for loopholes.”
“The size of your funeral is often dictated by the weather.” “He’s a lost ball in high weeds.”
To Satchel Page: “Why do you call it your ‘B’ ball?” Satchel: “Because it always be where I want it to be.”
“It’s better to have love and lust, then to let your apparatus rust.” Kurl Vonnegut E.L. Doctorow called it “…hierarchal warrior nonsense” in The March.
“Looked like a goat rodeo.”
Husband: “Would you have believed, in your wildest dreams, we’d be here?” Wife: “You weren’t in my wildest dreams.”
Advice from the track coach: “Stay left and get back as quick as you can.” “The key to being a good rain dancer is timing.” Willie Nelson
”Once the shit is out of the bull….” Willie again.
“Noah built the ark before the flood.” Spy Games, Robert Redford. Inquisitive child: “ Was Jesus Jewish?”
Baptist teacher: “Only on his mother’s side.”
“If I don’t see you in the future, I’ll see you in the pasture.” T. Bone Burnett
A fan shot a soccer referee twice, once for each goal.
“I don’t have a drinking problem. I prefer to call it a drinking opportunity.” Ed Perkins
“The higher up the ladder you climb, the brighter your ass shines.”
On Age:
“When the Dead Sea was just sick.”
“Since Christ was a corporal.” Richard Russo
On Procrastination:
“The wind is blowing but the trees ain’t moving.”
Coach Billy Tubb’s wife: “You love basketball more than me.” Billy: “I love you more than track!”
A trainer, on his girls team’s physical condition: “We’ve got tons of girls, just not many of them.
“Genital Equity will never work.” Tony Tilley
“Life’s a shit sandwich, and you have to take a bite everyday.” Unnamed coaching friend
A magazine article in Sports Illustrated, “’Big Daddy’ Libscomb said he’d screwed so many hotel maids, he had an erection every time he heard a vacuum cleaner.”
On Golf:
“If we hadn’t had four players they’d have thought we were the ‘Three Stooges’.”
Bipli: “Ball in pocket, lost interest.” Fido: “Frig it, drive on.”
Loft: “Lack of friggin’ talent.”
Dave Feherty, coming in late from golf: “Is my dinner still warm?” Wife: “Should be, it’s in the dog.”
Some “Hall of Fame” Moments:
One of our neighborhood children, Grant Miles, was left as he ran to get on the bus. It was his first day of school. Grant cut across the woods and “mooned” the bus as it rode by. He reported to the principal’s office before he went to school.
One of Margaret’s sister’s kids, Ben Osier, told the nun barking at school bus mates to “fu__ off Old Lady.” The buzz oddly quiet just as Ben spoke.
A young man in my home town asked an older man about a problem. “My girl’s pregnant and I don’t have any insurance.”
Tell me the details the old man suggested.
Young man: “Well it happened two months ago in the back seat of my car.” Old man: “You got car insurance?”
Young man: “Well, yes.”
Old man: “Hell, you’re covered.”
True story. The young man took his hospital delivery bills to his car insurance
office. Both the old man and the Agency secretary are still laughing.
One of my players had an expensive pet cockatoo. It got loose. The bird catcher caught and delivered a cockatoo to the player’s home. $200.00 bill.
The player came home and reported it was the wrong bird.
The second time they got the right bird. $200.00 more.
While the family celebrated in the living room, a niece of age six asked to hold
the precious bird.
The child lost concentration and the bird got away. Straight up into the ceiling
fan, where a blade broke the bird’s neck. Pet cemetery?
George Bancroft attempted 192 hours at Atlantic Christian College, a record by far (124 hours are required for graduation). George began a painting business while still a student. About to complete the first coat of paint on his first job, George was approached by a man who’d come home from work. The man asked “What are you doing painting my house?” Double-check those addresses, Picasso.
One AC student opened his apartment door and found everything gone including his newly wed wife.
The girl in the next apartment volunteered, “She’s gone.” “Did you talk to her?” the groom asked.
“Yes.”
“What did she say?”
“Well, she asked me, ‘How many times have you been to bed with my hus- band?’ I said just once, and she packed up.”
At age 66:
“..it is not he or she, or them or it that you belong to It’s all right, Ma (Bob Dylan)
I’ve likened life to a chocolate milk shake. We all wind up sucking on the straw at the end. Here are a few suggestions before it gets too late.
1. I “coached” all students to: Advance your family one-generation. You can’t buy your way out of bad kids. No matter how much money you have or make, sorry kids can dissipate it all.
2. Do good deeds with out anyone knowing.

Most women are inherently better than most men. Learn the names of important people’s spouses, particularly wives.
Dr. Leroy Walker spoke at Elon. Two pieces of his advice:
“God gave you two ends. Whether you are to be successful or not depends on which one you use.”
Live everyday like it is your last. One day you’ll be right.
When Dan (my son) and I began to disagree during tennis discus- sions, I stopped bringing up the topic. I wrote letters of advice, telling him he could take it or leave it. He read the letters. Once I realized this worked, I wrote on other subjects.See Parham Letter page 120) Recently I wrote my memories of them. I enjoyed writing those.
Two things I feel good about as a parent:
a. I read to them a lot. And they love to read.
b. I tossed them a thousand balls. Start with balloons. Then a little
more active ball. On and on. Some experts say real young kids can’t “track the ball” but they’re wrong. They can track a balloon early.P.S. Youpick them up. Tee always helped.
7. Join a library. Check out a lot of books. Have them around the house.
8. Once a month our family rotated one seat from their traditional din- ning room seat. During that meal you assumed the persona of the normal occupant. Lots of revealing moments.
9. If I have a grandchild who is gay, wouldn’t I want that child to have equal rights? Sure. Any other position is indefensible. Why are we arguing about this in these troubled times?
10. Keep a “book list” of what you’ve read. Ask others who read, “What’s good?”
Pick up the balls. You’ll know when its time to require them to help you.

COACH OF THE YEAR

When they presented me with the 1990 National “Coach of the Year” for NAIA Tennis, I tried to give it to Coach Fred Kniffen of the University of Texas at Tyler. Fred had a firm rule in 1990 that no one rode in the van without their seat belts. No exceptions. En route from Tyler to Kansas City one of two team vans ran off a 35-foot bank. All belted, there was only one minor injury.