Coach and The Cold War

        When I was a boy Coach was the high man on the totem pole.  He was above doctor, teacher, dentist, and even had more influence with us than Preacher.  In a way, he was a bit of a minister too.  Coach supervised the Harvey County Park Pool in the summers.  When it thundered he’d blow that whistle to the top of his lungs.  Lord help the boy who thought he’d dawdle a bit.

        I recall a JV basketball scrimmage game. It was the one when ‘Double W’ (Wrong Way) Ron earned his nickname.  He ran the length of the court and put a basket in the wrong goal to lose the game.  Double W was so fast none of us could catch him, and so excited he didn’t hear us all screaming at him to stop. 

        Coach blew his whistle and we all headed for the showers.  One boy bumped WW at the door, and they slipped and fell.  Then the next two piled on and all of a sudden the doorway was blocked by a pile of wild boys all kicking and yelling.

        Coach came up and blew his whistle so hard I thought his eyes were gonna pop outta his head.  I still recall that maniacal look and those red eyes bugging out. “Straighten up boys, straighten up and I MEAN NOW!!!”

        We all lined up along the wall like prisoners.  Coach paced up and down the line like a drill Sargent.  He went on and on how we needed to be good losers, and how Ron was faster than all of us put together and it wasn’t his fault.  Man did we feel feel bad.  (By the way, WW got the last laugh.  He was the only one of us to play college basketball, and now he is a coach!)

       Coach closed his speech with an unforgettable line.  “And boys, I want you to know this right here is the reason the Communists are getting ahead of us!”  I tell you the truth we thought we were the cause of the demise of the Free World.

       Years later Reagen when made the speech about tearing down that wall, I sure was happy.  I could finally lay to rest the idea that Coach would have held us responsible if the Cold War had gone bad.  That’s how influential he was with us.

        Next time I see Coach at the Barber shop I’m gonna tell him I sure am glad he kept me safe from Russian tyranny.  Without  Coach we mighta been taken over sure enough, but he wouldn’t have any part of it.

Dr. B

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4 Comments on “Coach and The Cold War”

  1. Karen Says:

    Dr. B., it just shows how influential people in authority can be! Your Coach sounds like he could sure keep you boys in line. I take my hat off to him. I\’m pretty sure that wouldn\’t have been an easy job. As for the Cold War, you wouldn\’t want that on your conscience, would you? So glad history worked out the way it did…for all of us :)

    I just got invited to the 21st birthday party of a kid I taught in Grade 6 more than a few years ago. He was always up to mischief and had more than his fair share of burdens to carry for such a young man. I spent many sleepless nights wondering how to reach him. Apparently, I did. All these years on and he chats to me on Facebook almost every day. I politely declined his invite – I\’m not sure this thirty-something mother of three would quite fit with his twenty-something crowd of wild party animals…but it was lovely to be asked!

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Karen,

      I got to know him years later, and told him as kids we were scared to death of him. I think back then he was a good actor. His worst fear was that some tragedy would happen on his watch, but he retired and never had any big disaster in the pool or on the court. All that discipline paid off.

      I’ve got some young’uns on my Facebook, too. About all I know to do is give them the best fatherly advice I can. That is what Coach woulda done.

      Dr. B

  2. Felix Miller Says:

    You are so right, Doc. “Coach” is a higher title than most anything else, in high school, at least. At the semi-military private school I attended, some of the teachers had military titles, but Coach trumped all of them, too.

    I liked your account of meeting your coach in later years and hearing that he had his own fears, even while he was putting the fear of himself and the communists into you and your friends. It takes a little age and perspective to realize that your teachers and coaches were just as human as us, although they seemed without doubt or frailty to their young charges. That makes their contribution even more important.

    Another good story, thanks, Doc.

    Felix Miller

    • drtombibey Says:

      Felix,

      I’ve got a notion Coach worried a lot more about us than he let on.

      Talking to him reminded me of my fears as a Doc. If I get to the end with no major disasters, I’m gonna have the brass throw a party with a big shrimp bowl, hire the best bluegrass band in town, put a slight bit of dark in my hair for the only time in my adult life and then sit back and not worry.

      After that I’ll go home and cry for two days, and then go to church on Sunday to thank the Good Lord for seeing me through without hurting anyone.

      It worries me every day, and yet I am compelled to carry on, ’cause being a Doc is all I know.

      Dr. B


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