G. cornerstones (366)

Losing close friends and colleagues is tough.   David  Adkins was both.  He served as Athletics Director at Atlantic Christian College/ now Barton College.

David was admired in many ways.  In our world of college athletics judgement centers first on wins and losses.  And for Athletics Directors the league all-sports trophy  is the measurement.  As it was in our conference , the Carolinas Conference.  Joby Hawn was the man the trophy was named for.

The conference ranged from eight to eleven institutions over the twenty five years I was either  a student or coach at the school.    From 1959 until David was hired ACC was dead last every year in the HAWN CUP STANDINGS.  There were bright spots before but David’s leadership and hard work were pivotal.  The first men’s soccer coach, David’s first two teams won a total of 1 game.  The third year his team was 7-5 and solid.  For the next years of his tenure it was “… picnic days for teddy bears!”  With the new kids on the block kicking their way to conference and district and regional titles.   David ushered in this new found game of soccer and soon the whole area was sold on the game. And David.  Me too.   Soon Carole Mckeel coached the women’s basketball team to their first conference title.   Next baseball and Doc Sanford tossed in a great team that went all the way in the league.   Mens tennis won two National NAIA team titles.

David left his post to go into private business, but he left all cylinders churning, and one year later Atlantic Christian was second in the HAWN CUP STANDINGS.   The next year, not only the #1, but the trophy itself.

More importantly,  a culture was changed for good.  One subsequent period featured three top HAWN finishes in a row.   Gary Hall, an Adkins disciple, many coaches and men and women players , continued to carry the flag.   David Adkins was the cornerstone.

8.THE SCAR OF RUSSIA AND TIP O’NEIL

Country was afraid of Gerald Wallace. That’s saying a lot, but he was justified. Gerald could get a lot drunker that we could, liked guns too much, and invariably got us kicked out of wherever.
Gerald convinced me to buy a gun. I’ve never shot it. Then he said I needed more guns and ammunition.
I did laugh at him.
“Parham,” Scope said, “you college people think you’re smarter than people like me, but I know that the Scar of Russia took all the guns up.” We called him “Scar” in Wilson.
People in Greensboro, his home, called him “Scope.” Why? I asked.
“Well, when we went skinny dipping, the rest of ‘em had to hide in the water. I’ve got a “bankwalker.” Up scope!
Gerald was high up in the Greensboro Elk’s Club. His buddy “Gooch” Lane start- ed the first topless bar in Greensboro, and the rest of them went down hill after that.
Pal “Percy” was home bound later on because he wouldn’t try to get his re- voked driver’s license back. “Percy, I get just as drunk as you do. I feel just as bad as you do the next day. To hell with you, I’m not driving you around anymore.”
Percy stayed at home. Drank all day, and ate pecans.
Gerald called me late at night, often, and often drunk. One night he told me
he’d talked to Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil. “Horse shit, Gerald.”
“Parham, we were at the Elks Club and we decided we wanted some tickets to the Redskins-Cowboys football game in Washington. The “Professor” (one of the Elk’s Rat Pack) has a son named John who works in Tip’s office. It was Sunday, so
we called John’s office. Tip answered.”
“Oh, Mr. O’Neil, we were trying to talk with John” Gerald’s entrée.
“I’m sorry, but he’s not here,” politely Mr. O’Neil replied. “Can I help you?” “Well,” Scope revealed, “we’re trying to get four tickets to the Washington-
Dallas game next Sunday.”
“Hmmm,” the Speaker replied, “that’s mighty tough to do!”
Gerald swore he came back with “…well, goddamn Tip, if it was easy we’d do
it ourselves.”
See why we got kicked out a lot? When Gerald told me this I didn’t believe
him. “Call Percy, he was there.” He gave me Percy’s number.
“By golly yes, I’ll call Percy tomorrow!”
I didn’t want to give Gerald an advantage so I asked Percy if Gerald had re-
cently talked with any “politicians.” It was noon, a little early for Percy. After a moments silence a voice asks “oh yeah, you mean when he called Skip O’Neil?”

Gerald’s housing centered around a place he could walk home from the Elk’s Club. He’d had two D.U.I.’s. Someone told me he’d bought a moped. This ought to be good. I called him.
“Scar, how is it driving around Greensboro on that moped,” was my question.
“Well, Parham, it’s a lot like screwing a fat woman. It ain’t bad till your friends see you.”

I asked Gerald how his daughter was doing once. “Her mother and I flipped a coin to see who’d get to shoot her.”

GEOMETRY (413)

Another summer failure was a college foray with an East Carolina student. I was hired by Virginia Beach Photo Service, located on 15th St., Virginia Beach. The trick was to sell pictures on the beach, which were developed, and placed in a key chain “plastic viewer.” $2.50 charges netted a commission of 50 cents per sale. Strictly commission.
The summer job gods got me good this time. It rained for 17 straight days. I mean no one was at the beach. I almost starved. Finally the sun shown.
I was an apprentice without sale #1. My mentor advised me to leap when I felt froggy. I watched several sales pitches and began to think I could do it.
As we approached two seated teenaged girls my employer went into high gear. He: “Let me take your picture.”
She: “No”
Through several “pitches” she remained firm, where upon he reached down and yanked her up by the arm and took her down to the shoreline and snapped her picture.
My turn!
Me: “Let’s join your friend.”
She: “No way.”
After three similar rebukes I employed similar tactics as my teacher.
As I grabbed her arm and started to lift her she began to shout “I’ve got an
artificial leg! I’ve got an artificial leg!”
As I watched the towel that had covered her prosthesis, I observed in compass
fashion, her leg draw a half circle in the Va. Beach sand.
Bus back to Robbins. Borrowed the fare.

G. RUNS IN THE FAMILY (371)

Both my sons played college tennis and have continued to play.   Oldest grandchild plays tournaments.  Elder son, Tee,  just finished a tournament in hometown, Boulder.  Runner-up in doubles, they won $200.  Reminded me of my “total earnings” from pro tennis.

I attended all the early ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) coaches conferences, held mostly in Sanibel, Florida.  In 1989 the ITA held a prize money tournament, singles only, all ages.   Not for me.  1990 they added age divisions.  The late Bob Brynes, a fine player, asked me to partner with him in the 50’s and older.  When we got the draw there were only four entries.   Our first round opponents were both over 70 years old.  Pretty easy, this pro tennis.  However our next opponents, in the “finals”, no less, were pretty good,  The 7/6, 7/6 match was really long.  Bob carried the load.  I realized I was late for my free shuttle back to the airport.  A cab cost me $30.

Weeks later I received my share of the win.  EIGHTY FIVE BUCKS!  However, the check bounced.  Later redeemed,  I yielded $55.   Our  family earnings from tennis play are now:  Tee-$200, Dad –$55, or $255.

My trophy reads ITA NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPION  (50 and OVER).   Thanks, Bob.

H.THE GYM (378)

THE GYM 1960-1985

 

I doubt if Ed Cloyd or Milton Adams or anyone else at Atlantic Christian College had any idea that the gym they had pushed to reality would house so many different happenings and changes about to be become reality in the 60’s, 7o’s and even the 80’s. ‘Uncle Milty”was the beloved and trusted business manager who delivered the money to fulfill Mr. Cloyd’s vision.

Ed Cloyd was the Chairman of the Physical Education Department and the Athletics Department. A World War 11 veteran who survived the Saipan invasion, Mr. Cloyd was a true idealist and professional. He was also a self effacing , skilled athlete. For years He was the best tennis player in town and able to shoot par equally.

The design of the new gym bore his stamp. One characteristic was the multitude of different lines in the gym. The main blue lines were for varsity basketball and wider. Red lines marked two cross-courts for free play and class instruction, Yellow lines were boundaries for six badminton courts. White for two volleyball.   This insured training areas for future teachers, not like many gyms designed only for Men’s varsity basketball. While coaches howled, the lines stayed and never reportedly tripped anyone.

In fact Cloyd saw athletics being only a part of the gym, staff, and departments duties. Steadfastly he built a strong overall program, with first priority for the average student. As for former teacher/coach majors their sacred trust was to consider all students and their health and physical well being.

The gym housed classes, games, intramurals, free play, indoor soccer, baseball practice, aerobics and the 12 minute run, concerts, class registrations, the Danish gymnastics team, and others too many to recall. Once a year the North Carolina symphony played for the public schools children in the gym. All day bus loads of fifth graders.   When the crowd after lunch settled in I swear you could smell what was served that day in school cafeterias. The gym schedule was tight. Everyone claimed ownership and governance was tough. .   One grown neighborhood man told me “…if you ask me to leave, I will. But I’ll be back tomorrow. The only thing in life for me is basketball.”

The gym housed concerts people still talk about. Fleetwood Mac, Ray Charles . I had a new pair of tennis shorts in my unlocked locker that the Tams used to shine their shoes.

Ken Cooper, founder of Aerobics spoke to the entire student body. Better still, Tom Cureton led the volunteer students in a skipping/exercise in circular fashion around   the gym floor. One by one they gave out and dropped out until only the 70 year old Cureton danced around in a circle. Later we heard that the same thing happened that afternoon at ECTC (now East Carolina university).

Here are some others gym memories:

There were “club sports” and hosted tournaments for volleyball and badminton enthusiasts. Military clubs and ACC level clubs from “big schools” came to Wilson.

Class registration was held in the gym.

There were indoor soccer tournaments.

Winter nights would fill the gym with intramural games many among the fraternity and sorority teams and fans.

Once we decided to have the heavyweight intramural wrestling championship in the gym.   Raymond Boykin vs Gid Alston. It packed the whole building.

For several years we held indoor professional tennis matches in the gym, World class players on a borrowed mat. These were town sponsored events and never has there been better “town-gown” cooperation.

Once we hosted the Danish Gymnastics team for a performance. They stayed several days and used the gym as home. Lots of male students hung around the gym those three days.

Those who took freshman physical education in the Aerobics requirement period never worked harder , or were in better shape. Laps in the gym. The 12 minutes run. Tough.

The basketball world was shocked about the same time our gym was opened. Henry Logan of Western Carolina was the first black player to play in our league and he kicked the door open. Mid 60’s, before major colleges, our league featured Dwight Durante of Catawba, then Gene Littles of High Point.   Soon after ACC recruited Cliff Black and James Jones of nearby Conetoe,NC. Both were gentlemen as well as fine players. Cliff held several records, many still unbroken.

Carole McKeel saw the light and recruited our first black woman, Lorraine Riley. Like the men, success followed with players like Cathy Wall, and soon our first Women’s All American, Tyra Boyd.

In 1972 the college hired David Adkins as the Athletics Director. He also was to coach the newly added soccer team.   David was a quiet leader and a hard worker.   Still he took his licks too, early on.   His first two teams were 1-22.   Team three, however, was 7-5 , featuring a corner turning coach, and some players who had paid their dues.   Adkins teams became the powerhouse of the conference and our district of the NAIA.   Adkins and his players were influential ambassadors for soccer’s development in Wilson and eastern North Carolina.

There was a “bell cow” effect.   Coach Carole Mckeel’s   women’s basketball team won it first conference. title.   Women’s volley ball team became a “tough out” in league play. The colorful Jack “Doc” Sanford finished his career coaching baseball, his first love.   A delightful leader in his seventieth year, Doc led a special group of youngsters to another formerly rare conference title. During this period Men’s tennis won 11conference titles and two NAIA team tennis championships (1979 and 1984). The first in North Carolina history.   “This proves to our students we can compete with anybody.”

Indeed a new culture was born in the 70’s ,   No more clear-cut evidence was there than the Hawn trophy finishes. For twenty years our total program’s finish was always dead last. Eighth of eight.    Coach Adkins’ years featured a steady climb in the final standings, While Adkins later entered the private business world, the year after he resigned the college job, the Bulldogs finished a historical #2 Hawn finish.. The year after that they won the outright claim to top sports program in this highly competitive conference.   Subsequently there was a three years stretch of Hawn winners.

*And there are more I remember
And more I could mention
Than words I could write in a song
But I feel them watching
And I see them laughing
And I hear them singing along

Lyle Lovett—FAMILY RESERVE

As you get older memories are about it.   I left the gym in 1985. And I am sure the next years provided many similar and different memories. Gyms are good places. The athletes gave us great games and performances to savor.:   The Dawgs thumping #1 ranked nationally Guilford, featuring Lloyd “World B “Free.   That was a special team” Carraway, Jones, Stallsmith, Gilmore, and Covington. And an injured Coach who chased a referee while confined to a wheel chair.

Our women, valiantly won their rights to the gym, basketball and volleyball.   And gave us great performances.

But there was more than the games. Every birthday my young boys had featured a request to bring their buddies to the gym to play floor hockey. We snuck in on Sundays, or late at night. Talk about a “perk”. Yes, and walking into the hollow gym at 8am hearing Johnson Moore, jr. or a rather large Russell Rawlings, firing away at the rim. “2 for 22!” Johnson said he was HOT!

They changed the name of the college to Barton College. But it’s the same gym. Only it is fifty plus years old and needs a major facelift. The college committed to a total renovation and the whole main floor is now gutted. New floor, bleachers, lighting, scoreboards, computerization, and—AIR CONDITIONING to come.

I appreciate the school’s commitment to my old friend, the gym.

 

 

 

J. FROM BOHUNK TO HAWN (367)

Pivotal Sports Moments and Memories 1959-1985

Symbols are important to athletes.   In the early years I spent as a student , and later as a coach, the BOHUNK BUCKET was “…to die for!” As described in detail in BARTON COLLEGE—Our Century, historian Dr. Jerry McClean details this prize as “…a common wooden bucket”, retained by winners of contests between then Atlantic Christian College and East Carolina college. (AC HIGH SCHOOL vs ECTC). This symbol“…served as a strong incentive to players and fans of the schools. Resulting in hotly contested games and close scores”.

In the early 60’s our sister schools in the North State Conference included East Carolina, Appalachain, Western Carolina, Elon, High Point, Catawba, Lenoir Rhyne, Guilford and varying others. The then symbol of excellence was the Hawn Trophy, named after commissioner , Joby Hawn. A point system determined a league all sports winner.

Our school was low key in money and commitment   Granted there were bright moments, but our 8th of 8 finishes in the Hawn race for more than ten years straight, pointed directly to the proverbial “cows-tail.” Two facilities built in the early 60’s changed this, and my life; the gym and the tennis courts.

In 1972 the college hired David Adkins as the Athletics Director. He also was to coach the newly added soccer team.   David was a quiet leader and a hard worker.   Still he took his licks too, early on.   His first two teams were 1-22.   Team three, however, was 7-5 , featuring a corner turning coach, and some players who had paid their dues.   Adkins teams became the powerhouse of the conference and our district of the NAIA.   Adkins and his players were influential ambassadors for soccer’s development in Wilson and eastern North Carolina.

There was a “bell cow” effect.   Coach Carole Mckeel’s   women’s basketball team won its first conference. title.   Women’s volley team became a “tough out” in league play. The colorful Jack “Doc” Sanford finished his career coaching baseball, his first love.   A delightful leader in his seventieth year, Doc led a special group of youngsters to another formerly rare conference title. During this period Men’s tennis won 11conference titles and two NAIA team tennis championships (1979 and 1984). The first in North Carolina history.   “This proves to our students we can compete with anybody.”

Indeed a new culture was born in the 70’s ,   No more clear-cut evidence was there than the Hawn trophy finishes.   Coach Adkins’ years featured a steady climb in the final standings, While Adkins later entered the private business world, the year after he resigned the college job, the Bulldogs finished a historical #2 Hawn finish.. The year after that they won the outright claim to top sports program in this highly competitive conference.   Subsequently there was a three years stretch of Hawn winners.

Gyms and tennis courts and leaders are important.   The college gym was named Wilson/Alumni Gymnasium. I am grateful to the town and alumni.   And for David Adkins.

K. 1960-1985 RENOVATION (406)

“…70 maybe the new 60, but 80 is still 80!”

I went Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, NC. from 1959-1963. Worked there for 20 years. They changed the name of the school to Barton College in the late 80’s.
In 1985 I went to Elon College.Their mascot the Fightin’ Christian was subsequently changed to the Phoenix. A friend observed “…Parham has worked at two schools and they took “Christian” out of both names!” My Father, a Southern Baptist Minister, probably sat up in his grave. My Mom was the church pianist and choir director. She told me not to sing the hymns, she could hear my young monotone voice over the whole crowd. I never sang again.
I love music. Just no talent. Still I absorbed the Broadman Hymnal songs and words and challenged the world to a “hymnal lyrics test” (Baptist hymns only) in one of my bestsellers. Lost only to my Sister, who pointed out an error on the test.
All churches have their own ritualistic favorites. My Dad sang the doxology, “Blessed be the tie that bind our hearts in Christian love”. Very often there was a “community prayer”.
Fifty plus years ago (1964 and 1965), the college built Wilson Gym on the campus—my first years working there. Last night Barton held a special evening for those who contributed to the renovation of the main gym floor. First class night and a first class reworking of this old girl and her lifetime of memories.
Most of the money was given by my peers, teammates, townspeople. And, as the dignitaries thanked those in attendance, I noted with pride how many made the effort to be there. The oldest were octogenarians plus.
Earlier I wrote MY summary of our athletic programs for OUR years (1960-1985).
See Below:

FROM BOHUNK TO HAWN
Pivotal Sports Moments and Memories
1960-1985

Symbols are important to athletes. In the early years I spent as a student , and later as a coach, the BOHUNK BUCKET was “…to die for!” As described in detail in BARTON COLLEGE—Our Century, historian Dr. Jerry McClean details this prize as “…a common wooden bucket”, retained by winners of contests between then Atlantic Christian College and East Carolina college. (AC HIGH SCHOOL vs ECTC). This symbol “…served as a strong incentive to players and fans of the schools. Resulting in hotly contested games and close scores”.
In the early 60’s our sister schools in the North State Conference included East Carolina, Appalachian, Western Carolina, Elon, High Point, Catawba, Lenoir Rhyne, Guilford and varying others. The then symbol of excellence was the Hawn Trophy, named after commissioner, Joby Hawn. A point system determined a league all sports winner.
Our school was low key in money and commitment Granted there were bright moments, but our 8th of 8 finishes in the Hawn race for more than ten years straight, pointed directly to the proverbial “cows-tail.”
Two facilities built in the early 60’s changed this, and my life; the gym and the tennis courts.
In 1972 the college hired David Adkins as the Athletics Director. He also was to coach the newly added soccer team. David was a quiet leader and a hard worker. Still he took his licks too, early on. His first two teams were 1-22. Team three, however, was 7-5 , featuring a corner turning coach, and some players who had paid their dues. Adkins teams became the powerhouse of the conference and our district of the NAIA. Adkins and his players were influential ambassadors for soccer’s development in Wilson and eastern north Carolina.
There was a “bell cow” effect. Coach Carole Mckeel’s women’s basketball team won its first conference. title. Women’s volleyball team became a “tough out” in league play. The colorful Jack “Doc” Sanford finished his career coaching baseball, his first love. A delightful leader in his seventieth year, Doc led a special group of youngsters to another formerly rare conference title. During this period Men’s tennis won 11 conference titles and two NAIA team tennis championships (1979 and 1984): The first in North Carolina history. “This proves to our students we can compete with anybody.”
Indeed a new culture was born in the 70’s. No more clear-cut evidence was there than the Hawn trophy finishes. Coach Adkins’ years featured a steady climb in the final standings. While Adkins later entered the private business world, the year after he resigned the college job, the Bulldogs finished a historical #2 Hawn finish.. The year after that they won the outright claim to top sports program in this highly competitive conference. Subsequently there was a three years stretch of Hawn winners.
Gyms and tennis courts and leaders are important. The college gym was named Wilson/Alumni Gymnasium. I am grateful to the town and alumni. And for David Adkins.”

The President noted that I was instrumental in urging (he said “harassing”) the donors. Gazing at these friends I remembered the Baptist community prayer. I constructed a modified version to fit the occasion:
“We pray for the recently departed (that’s the dead).
We pray for the very sick (that’s the dying).
We pray for the elderly, the shut-ins and the shook-ups.”
The room fit the prayer in no small part.

Thanks again. Go Dawgs!

N. AX THROWING AND BEER DRINKING (216)

“Ninety percent of the time I got in real trouble, my Uncle Si was involved.”)  Jase Robertson of DUCK DYNASTY.

Went to dinner with Margaret’s friend last week.  Nicest place in our neighborhood.   The friend  asked about my non-wine meal?  I have explained this to others, several times.  And wrote a blog article on the same topic (CHATEAU LOW RENT- blog 74).  See https://littlegreenbookoftennis.com/2013/07/26/chateau-low-rent/.

We were all about the same age, and Margaret reminded us of “brown bagging” in the South.  And on to other funny drinking tales.   Today’s  newspaper has a feature on a new bar in Durham highlighting AX THROWING AND BEER DRINKING.  I immediately thought of Pete Craig (“…damn- forty five years ago Pete and I would have been there for opening night, and opening night closing!”)

I began to think of a host of friends.  “Country” Boykin was either head of the class, or it didn’t take long to call the roll.  He concluded “,,,a friend would come get you out of jail, but a true friend would be in the cell with you, saying what a great time that was.”)

Being a minister’s son cramped my earlier childhood, but even at age four I found Billy Fulton who could get me, but more often Tuddy Webster, in deep doo.  And throughout my life, I have loved the funny ones.  Bruno and Dude Brown of teen age.  Creative!   College roommate,  John Eskew, highly qualified, and combined with Dick Knox–lethal.  Jack Boyd was a new level.

Even graduate school.  Took me a semester to find Dick Blackmon.  NCAA wrestling runner-up, who thought PBR and fighting were both blessings.   Full time employment slows most down.  Joe Robinson and living with a liquor salesman did not compute with “slow down”.

Marriage you say?  Newly wed at OLDE TOWNE apartments even showed me trouble, like kudzu, was everywhere.  Gerald “Scope” Wallace and Bob Johnson both in the same apartment  development?  What are the odds.  While most of my other friends were truly afraid of these two,  they were too  much fun.  Rest in peace, you two.

I had these final thoughts:

  1.  When guns were involved, I left.
  2. .  When COUNTY quit flying lessons, I was happy.
  3.  I somehow realized riding with a drunk was as bad as me driving drunk.
  4. When Pete moved in with “Mad Dog” McCotter and Watson Hale,  I was overmatched.
  5. Drinking takes a lot of time, and it is hard work if you do it right.
  6. Moderation never “set in” for me.

Again–Duck Dynasty:  “It is fun if everybody lives!” (Uncle Si).

 

 

 

 

ODE TO THE GYM (364)

“We could beat anybody in a gym” Doc Sanford (1984). *

Doctor Jack Sanford was standing at the entrance to the gym watching his baseball team practicing indoors, after a week of rain. I asked him how his team was going to be this year? *See quote above.

Wilson/Alumni gym was named after its two sources of funding, the town and the college. It was built in 1965/66, my second year as a teacher at Atlantic Christian College.   My first year my office was located in the bowels of the “old gym”. The physical education department chair, Ed Cloyd, would come by my office almost daily and suggest we go to the new construction site. He had designed the building and knew where every brick should go.

One day I walked to the new site alone, and met Mr Cloyd coming back toward me. He had tears in his eyes. I asked what was wrong? “They took the wall hung urinals out of the bathrooms.! You can’t clean the floor if the urinals are floor mounted”!

The new gym was his baby.

I never saw a gym that wouldn’t fill up if the door was open.   One grown neighborhood man told me “…if you ask me to leave, I will. But I’ll be back tomorrow. The only thing in life for me is basketball.”

The gym housed classes, games, intramurals, free play, indoor soccer, baseball practice, aerobics and the 12 minute run, concerts, class registrations, the Danish gymnastics team, and others too many to recall. Once a year the North Carolina symphony played for the public schools children in the gym. All day bus loads of fifth graders.   When the crowd after lunch settled in I swear you could smell what was served that day in school cafeterias.

One characteristic was the multitude of different lines in the gym. The main blue lines were for varsity basketball and wider. Red lines marked two cross-courts for free play and class instruction, Yellow lines were boundaries for six badminton courts. White for two volleyball.

I taught eight DIFFERENT classes my first semester. Intramural director and tennis coach tacked on. One class was first aid. Twenty years at 8 am, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.   I have been told about 15 times by a former first aid students that they saved someone’s life, or helped with a major injury or drowning. One student swore they saved their beloved mule with CPR.

Three days a week then, I was one of the first in the gym. The first was “Mr. B”. Mister Bowen had one eye, managed the equipment room and loved Ed Cloyd. He had eleven children, all girls. “We threw the boys away”.   He rode his bike four miles a day to open the gym at 5am. Did that at 85 years of age.

At about seven thirty a.m.(mwf) I’d enter the back door: “Mawnin Mr Tom”. “Morning Mr B.”   The next sound came from the gym floor. The ball would hit the floor, then a diminishing sound of 4 or 5 bounces.   I’d guess to myself whether it was Johnson Moore, or Russell Rawlings (the large one).

I’d say Hey,Russell. Hey coach. Or Hey Johnson, and he’d say “watch this one coach.” And there would go that two hander. How you hitting em , Johnson? I’m 2 for 22. I’m hot!

The gym housed concerts people still talk about. Fleetwood Mac, Ray Charles . I had a new pair of tennis shorts in my unlocked locker that the Tams used to shine their shoes.

Ken Cooper, founder of Aerobics spoke to the entire student body. Better still, Tom Cureton led the volunteer students in a skipping/exercise in circular fashion around the gym floor. One by one they gave out and dropped out until only the 70 year Cureton danced around in a circle. Later we heard that the same thing happened that afternoon at ECTC (now East Carolina university).

As you get older memories are about it. I left the gym in 1985. And I am sure the next years provided many similar and different memories. Gyms are good places.

They changed the name of the college to Barton College. But it’s the same gym. Only it is fifty plus years old and needs a major facelift. The college committed to a total renovation and the whole main floor is now gutted. New floor, bleachers, lighting, scoreboards, computerization, and—AIR CONDITIONING to come.

I appreciate the school’s commitment to my old friend, the gym.