Coaches can help create a memory  

Football is easy to cover and report for webmasters. The schedules are pretty much set in stone months in advance making it a breeze to arrange plans for attending each contest on the gridiron.

As popular as football is, other sports deserve fair coverage too, and that is where the coaches come in to the picture.

More often than I would like, coaches sometimes put their losses on a back burner and report only the wins, something that comes naturally for our species.

However, many successful coaches will tell you that they learn more about their team in defeat, than in victory. Many also would agree that a team's character builds for the better more often in a loss than a win.

The last time I was a head coach in a sport was back in 1975 when at times I piled a whole baseball team of (Eden Gardens) middle school boys in the back of my 1972 yellow Chevy Vega hatchback to go from one side of town to another. No, seat belts were not required back then.

We lost one game that season and won both the league and playoff championship trophies.

That one loss was 4-3 to Youree Drive, a game we should have won since we beat them previously by eight runs. My team was composed of 11 black kids playing in an all-white league and we dominated everyone except that one time against Youree Drive.

After the game some of my boys fought hard to hold back tears, while others pulled out the common complaint that the umpires were favoring the other side.

The stunning defeat gave me a chance to develop a deeper relationship with my boys, a relationship that has carried on throughout the many years since that, what was then, devastating loss.

I still see some of the members of that team from time to time. One is a local pastor now; at least one is a fireman, another one made me guess his name when he showed up as a referee at one of our football games recently.

I understand at least one of my boys is in prison now, while a couple have gone on to be with the Lord.

That 4-3 loss helped pull our team together and we ended up whipping that same Youree Drive team for the playoff championship--I forgot the score, but it wasn't even relative--we won.


Flash Back In Time


mantleandmaris
My heroes growing up--Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris

In my entire baseball career, Termite League through high school, I hit several home runs, but only one left the yard. As I made contact with the ball that day, with my wooden bat (there were no such things as metal bats back then) I knew I put a good lick on the ball and expected it to be a hit--not one that would leave the park though. At 5-foot-2 and 122 pounds in the seventh grade, I was not built to be a power hitter.

The home run I hit out of the park was back in the 60s and, as fate would have it, we were playing a group of kids who attended Youree Drive that day too. Go figure.

Sad to say, we lost the game so the elation I felt as I rounded third base and trotted toward home after my shot was short-lived.

Back then, there was a newspaper then called the Shreveport Journal, an afternoon paper with Jerry Byrd and Nico Van Thyn handling the sports section with loads of SPAR line scores after every game.

As I read through the agate copy, which I could do easily back then sans reading glasses, I happened upon the line score of our game the night before.

In the game summary, they listed the winning and losing pitchers, then hitting highlights. For Sunset Acres they printed "HR-Chandler", a fact that made me feel like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris all rolled into one small package.

My coach, Brent Patterson, had not only phoned in the score of the game his team lost, he gave the details.

Maybe one day, a runt on a Calvary team may get his or her name "up in lights" as I did when my Louisville Slugger sent the little white pill over the left-centerfield fence and onto the railroad tracks at Cedar Grove Park. I will never forget my Walter Mitty moment.

My hopes are that someone wearing a Cavalier uniform will be able to have a similar experience.

That once-in-a-life-time event would have to be reported to this website by a coach.

Why did it take so many words to ask this simple favor of the coaches? One coach did it for me over 40 years ago, and I still remember it.

My e-mail is listed on this website. My fax is on 24/7 and happens to be 938-6216. If coaches prefer to give their game information to someone else to forward to me, that would be acceptable.

We need more than scores. Send as many details as possible.

For the Walter Mitty, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in me, I express my thanks for your reports in advance.


Rod








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