COACH ‘EM UP AND LOVE ‘EM

An article from the Washington Post by Chuck Culpepper, “Across college football, ‘I love you’ becomes audible” caught my eye. It featured an exchange, among others, which took place between Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Deshaun Watson after the 2016 National Championship loss to Alabama. As Dabo finished answering a question he turned to Watson and said, “I love you.” Watson returned the love with a back at you “Love you too” to Swinney. There is a great deal to love about these men if you are a Clemson fan.

Football has certainly changed from the days of Frank Howard, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Darrell Royal. The major change is reflected in Royal’s quote, “When you throw a pass three things can happen to it, and two of them are bad.” I would say today’s coaches have totally ignored that pearl of wisdom and have proven the one good thing that can happen is a whole bunch of points are being scored. Another change I doubt any of these “old school” coaches would have ever uttered, is a statement like “I love you” to a player. Old school coaches simply would not or COULD NOT say it.

It is only recently men have been free to express feelings of love for other men…in a manly kind of way. See, I have trouble even talking about it. I can’t even give more than a “love ya Man” to my brother and I feel terrible I am so repressed. Coaches kissing their players on the cheek or giving out hugs, until recently, were restricted to the women’s side of athletics. Displays of affection have now found there way over to the men’s side of the bench and I say GREAT! Until this era the best a player might hope for would be a slap on the butt or a noogie.

I’m sure Frank, Woody, Bo and Darrell all loved their players and for the most part I’m sure their players knew it…maybe. I guess I should add my name to the list. I can’t remember ever coming out and saying “I love you” to a team. Maybe late in my career. You ask a bunch of kids to sweat and bleed for you but you are too repressed to let them know you care about them as young men by saying it. Shame on me.

Once after a particular tough loss, I asked South Carolina high school hall of fame coach Mike Anthony what I should do. His wisdom was simple, “Nothing you can do except coach ’em up and love ’em.” Wise words…wish I had listened. Soooooooo, to all my former players, sorry I’m late doing this…I LOVE YOU and while I’m at it, THANK YOU.

To all of you new coaches or coach want to bes, don’t be afraid to “coach ’em up and love ’em.”

The complete article by Chuck Culpepper can be accessed from the following link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/across-college-football-i-love-you-becomes-audible/2016/11/23/e2d61f4c-a90d-11e6-8fc0-7be8f848c492_story.html

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

TRIBUTE TO AN ICON

I find political programing to be quite depressing, especially recently. Today when I should have been in church, but wasn’t for reasons beyond my control, I found myself being uplifted by Face the Nation, normally an impossibility. This day, host John Dickerson interviewed Vin Scully, the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for six decades and a true ambassador for the game of baseball and all that is good about humankind. Vin was presented with one of the Presidential Medals of Freedom this past week, a great choice by anyone’s standard.

I’ve never been a die-hard Dodger fan but there have been times…. During my childhood, I received a transistor radio for a birthday and remember listening to baseball games deep into the night when my parents thought I was asleep. Some nights Don Drysdale or Sandy Koufax might have been on the mound and if atmospheric conditions were perfect and they were playing on the East Coast, I might have heard the play by play by Vin Scully iconic voice.

During his interview, Vin Scully spoke of evenings spent laying under a four legged Victrola as an eight year old listening to baseball games and dreaming that one day he would become a baseball announcer. I had similar dreams but mine were of performing inside of the foul lines, not outside of them. I am glad he realized HIS dreams.

Vin had one of those familiar voices that will be forever missed by me. I remember the 1988 World Series when Vin said into his microphone, “And look who’s coming up” as Kirk Gibson limped to the plate. With only one good leg Gibson drove the game winning home run over the right field wall as Scully said, “High fly ball into right field. She is gone! … In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

My greatest memory of Vin Scully making the call was on April 8, 1974 when Hank Aaron sent a fourth inning, Al Downing fastball into the left field Atlanta bullpen and himself into the record books. As Aaron rounded the bases, Scully said into his microphone, “What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron.”

I will miss Vin Scully and hope that he enjoys his retirement as much as I enjoyed his work. What a glorious way to make a living…doing what you enjoy the most. Thank you, Vin Scully.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

A PERSONAL GIVING OF THANKS

As a country, we celebrate the holiday known as Thanksgiving in different ways. I realize there are groups of people who have little reason to celebrate a holiday created by ancestors of white Europeans imposing their will upon groups of people and the land they lived upon some five hundred years ago. I am of white European ancestry along with a dash of Powhatan Native American and British-African seaman thrown in for good measure, so I guess it would be natural for me to greet the holiday with decidedly mixed emotions…but I don’t because I am the product of my up bring and will celebrate traditionally with too much food followed by napping through a football game.

This past Sunday our associate minister delivered a traditional Thanksgiving sermon in a somewhat non-traditional way which I would have entitled “In Praise of Celebration.” During his talk, he mentioned the very first Thanksgiving. Not the one we recognize on the fourth Thursday of November by law nor the traditional historical celebration that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts, eels and all. He spoke of a celebration which took place in Jamestown during the winter of 1610. In 1607, some two hundred “fortune hunters” had come ashore and seized the low, marshy, mosquito filled swamp we now call Jamestown. After three years, their numbers had been reduced to only sixty due to disease, starvation and skirmishes with local native tribes. Due to a delayed supply ship from Bermuda, they were forced to boil their own shoe leather to feed themselves despite the undiscovered oyster beds located in the knee-deep waters feet from their encampment. Much like the cavalry arriving in the nick of time in some old John Wayne movie, the supply ship came to their rescue and not a moment too soon.

My minister made the point that, despite the loss of eighty per cent of their company, the survivors celebrated their good fortune and I don’t believe (my words not his) it should be taken as a “hurrah for me and the hell with everybody else” kind of moment. I understand the feeling of thankfulness despite the feeling of loss that I am sure those sixty souls were experiencing.

Like most folks of my age, I have become used to the loss of friends and family…no not used to it, but rather, accepting their loss as the “circle of life” we will all experience. Rather than dwelling upon my sadness, I choose instead to celebrate my good fortune; still having my health, my loving wife, my immediate family, grandbabies, my friends, food on my table and a roof over my head, much in the same way sixty starving settlers celebrated when their “ship came in.”

It has been a tough six months for those of us who still believe in Superman’s mantra, “truth, justice and the American way.” Rather than lament on the lack of those ideals in our presidential candidates, I shall choose to believe the AMERICAN PEOPLE will find their way back to truth and justice FOR ALL and help create an AMERICAN WAY FOR ALL GOD’S CHILDREN regardless of who happens to be sitting in the White House. Americans have always been resilient, I am thankful we will prove to be again. I am thankful that most of my true friends feel the same.

I am thankful to have discovered a group of people from different geographic areas, political beliefs, religious backgrounds, races and sexual preferences. I have learned to celebrate and embrace their differences and have discovered our similarities far outweigh those differences.

Finally, I am thankful to have the freedom to say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to those same people who are observing some thirty different celebrations between Thanksgiving and the end of January. May your God’s good graces shine upon thee. Happy Thanksgiving to all, friend, foe or yet undecided or misunderstood. I love you all.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND THE MEN IN BLACK

Being left in the dark can be somewhat dangerous. Then Vice-President George H. W. Bush once paid a visit to South Carolina in the mid-Eighties. I am sure he was on the mid-term campaign trail and for reasons which escape me, he stopped off in Greenville. I was aware of the upcoming elections but was not a very politically savvy person during those days, much more concerned with running an athletic program than concerned about who was attempting to run our country. Yes, I now understand my mistake. Somehow while I wasn’t paying attention we ended up with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

During this political stop, my principal failed to inform me “George the runner” and his staff of Secret Service minions would be looking at Sirrine Stadium, home of the Greenville High Red Raiders, as a possible running site. My principal knew but failed to tell me or decided it was a good way to get rid of me. Considering our contentious relationship, and with 20/20 hindsight, I realize it was probably the latter.

During the summer our primary focus was on fields, growing grass; fertilizing it, watering it and then cutting it…repeatedly. On a Friday in mid-July in the mid-Eighties, I drove the school tractor to Sirrine to mow the field as we did three times a week in the summer. As I dismounted the old Ford, I dropped the keys to the gate and bent to pick them up. Straightening I discovered two young gentlemen standing in front of the gate who had not been there milliseconds before. Both were dressed in dark suits, ties, very polished shoes and dark wraparound sunglasses. (Think of the movie Men in Black but better looking than Tommy Lee Jones and much blonder than Will Smith) Considering the time of year, mid-July, the only part of their wardrobe that fit the time of day or the temperature was their sunglasses.

Taken by surprise I stammered “Can I help you?” Both were tall, blond, young and filled out their dark suits quite well. I also found it interesting that they were not sweating in the July sun. They were two fine specimens of the species known as the adult male and I wanted to be nice until the burly blond guy on the right replied to my question with a question, “Who are you?” A question answering a question equals a smart-ass response: “I asked first,” I reminded them. The blond, burly guy on the left smiled broadly and responded, “Our badges trump your question.” Mr. Burly opened his jacket and retrieved his Secret Service credentials flashing them for me to see. I also had a glimpse of a service automatic on his belt and a small automatic weapon hanging from his shoulder. Even with Mel Brooks’ “badges” quote from “Blazing Saddles” running through my head I decided that being a smart ass would not be “prudent” and quickly explained who I was and what I was doing. Burly blond guy on the right explained I would be doing something else until the next day, while burly blond guy on the left nodded his head before speaking into his sleeve and said, “Stand down, he is not a threat.”

With hair standing up on the back of my neck, I quickly left and after parking the tractor, drove to the Corner Pocket for a beer and a hot dog. That seemed like a good something else to do. “Barkeep! Hit me again!” I do wish I had asked if they could have gotten me George’s autograph.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

GRUMPY OLD WHITE MEN

It’s four, IN THE FREAKING AM, and I have been awake for an hour, cursed with a racking cough caused by my fall allergies, dry-crisp air, along with the smoke from the twenty wildfires raging, ALL keeping me from being able to “dream a little dream of” you. I have coughed so much my ribs hurt and I guess I am a grumpy old man…but not for the reasons I have been thinking about and, since I have this time on my hands, the thoughts I am going to write about.

Lord have mercy! Dear God, can you please put a bridle on my thoughts? My “unbridled” pondering transported me to another time and place…another lifetime. Maybe it was a “semi” dream, standing in front of a sociology class fully clothed, attempting to explain what it meant to be a minority. Like a lot of kids, my students believed minority meant numbers, which is or WAS a factor. I was attempting to explain, “it is more about power and control.”

My example was me, the older male WASP in the room. At this time, maybe thirty years ago, we were the most hated group in America. “What do you mean Coach Miller?” Well, that would be the most powerful group in the United States, grumpy old white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant men, fighting to maintain control over anyone not white, not of Western European ancestry, not Christian Protestant or, and of course, not male. One of my “little Johnnies” asked, “Shouldn’t you add teacher to that group?” Yes, Little Johnny, yes.

I would say, if recent developments are to be believed, this situation has not changed very much except the covert battle to keep our world like the television program “Mad Men”, if not “Leave it to Beaver”, may now be raging overtly, much like the wildfires around my home, ever expanding, destroying everything in its path. Grumpy old white men, destroying “the weeds” in our path…just to hold on to the power we somehow believe we deserve. Before my brother points out that I am painting all white men with a broad stroke…well…yes I am so I will add the word some. Better bro? Remember it is a system we have always been a part of and therefore we probably don’t even notice.

I continue to see “some” Grumpy Old White Men railing against all the social ills in the United States. Notice I said social ills. I don’t deny ISIS, the economy, taxes,the job market and more all suck. Socially, however, we Grumpy Old White Men seem to have all the answers while pointing our fingers at “them.” Unfortunately, there are those sneaky three fingers pointing back at us. I believe Grumpy Old White Men have created much of our social ills by going to war against everything that is not us. Women who don’t believe we are their saviors, other races, religions, and sexual orientations, even “globalization”, anything to maintain the status quo for the grumpy old white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant men, and the traditions WE have created. After all, if we created them, they must be righteous.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

THIRTY YEARS AGO…WE CELEBRATE!

I look nothing like Eddie Arnold and Linda Gail would not be caught dead in one of Eva Gabor’s chiffon outfits. She might be convinced to wear some of Eva’s jewelry but not her outfits. Linda leans more toward athletic wear or overalls. Yeah, a diamond neckless would look good accessorizing her overalls. Yet, despite this fact, as we stood at the front gate of a chain link fenced in yard, I was having a “Green Acres” moment gazing at the old farm house my wife had just fallen in love with. The chain link fence enclosed a yard filled with hemlock and black walnut trees. It was inhabited by the requisite canine, although this one looked more like a small bear. As it happens Bear was his actual name. Bear lay in the sun and gazed at us with wary eyes until he decided we were not a threat and went back to his mid-morning nap. I did notice that while his eyes were closed, his ears were at attention. I had no doubt should we attempt to breach the fence; he would be there to impede our passage.

Linda Gail and I had been out exploring, something we still do on occasion. Even after thirty years we seem to always find some new, or at least forgotten, pig trail to travel down. We saw the for sale sign as we drove by and Linda Gail forced me to turn around and go back. We were sort of house hunting, looking for a home to fix up with five or so acres of land. We had to do something; we were living in a condo with three Boykin Spaniel mixes who were about to poop us out of house and, if not home, a small backyard. This old farmhouse appeared, at least on the outside, to fit the bill. With the heavily wooded yard and surroundings, white clapboard siding and a tin roof, it certainly had the ambience! The problem was that no one was home.

A phone call to the realtor deflated my wife’s euphoria like a “nickel balloon.” The house had a contract written and signed on it with a closing date just around the corner. The realtor told us that when he spoke to Mr. James Copeland, the owner, about our wanting to see the house, Mr. Copeland had said “Sure, if we wanted to come out and look the place over. He would love to show it to us.” Odd I thought. If you are days away from closing why would someone want to show it? Odder still was Linda’s response, “We’ll be right there!” Knowing better than to question her, I decided to go along for the ride.

A very gregarious and personable Mr. Copeland met us at the front gate and led us inside. Seventy-seven years young, Mr. Copeland was a retired Methodist minister who had purchased the home in 1956 and, with his first wife, had begun to renovate. The home, empty for the past “many” years, had no electricity, indoor plumbing or heat, other than its five fireplaces. The original outhouse was and still is on the property but is now used for storage instead of its original purpose. There was an original chicken coop built from slabs milled from the forest surrounding the home. The house itself was supported on its field stone foundation by hand-hewn oak timbers. With help from his “good Baptist brethren”, heating, electricity and plumbing were added to the home which had been originally built in the late eighteen-eighties or early eighteen-nineties. All of the electrical outlets were put in waist high on the wall to accommodate his first wife who was blind.

South Carolina Highway 11, built around 1922, actually cut through the original two-hundred-acre tract of land, separating the home from its barn which still stands on the wrong side of Highway 11. The beautiful old barn does give me an opportunity to break a commandment every day when I walk outside and look across the road. It is the commandment against coveting…a barn, not my neighbor’s wife.

After a tour of the home and a history lesson, the very spry and physically fit Mr. Copeland decided we should go on a hike to see the land surrounding the house. While we had been looking for five or so acres, this particular parcel of gently rolling forest land was eighty-seven acres. If you are looking to purchase land and see the description “gently rolling” don’t believe it any more than you should believe a doctor who says, “This might sting” or a dentist who says, “You might feel a pinch.” Gently rolling means up and down a lot. With seven streams cutting through ravines, dense hardwoods and vines obstructing our path, along with both a humidity and temperature over ninety, it was a tough three-hour hike for a guy who thought he was in shape. Mr. Copeland hardly puffed at all. Instead, he simply “walked us into the ground” despite being over twice our age.

We enjoyed our time with Mr. Copeland but left with a “day late and a dollar” short feeling. The closing was at hand and it appeared there was nothing to do but keep looking for our little piece of heaven. Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction or maybe prayers are truly answered. We received a phone call from the realtor asking if we still wanted the place. Mr. Copeland had backed out of his original contract. His reasoning was, “He liked us better.” After thirty years, eight puppies, seven cats, eight goats, thirty chickens, a Vietnamese pot belly pig and a whole lot of stories involving possums, raccoons, snakes, and rats, I really don’t know whether to thank him or curse him.

This is an excerpt from the book “THROUGH THE FRONT GATE.” It is a book about thirty years of memories, thirty years of celebration and thirty years of love. We celebrate our thirty anniversary of a place we call home. “Through the Front Gate” maybe purchased and downloaded at http://goo.gl/lomuQf

AS ONE NIGHTMARE ENDS, ANOTHER BEGINS

A nightmare will end this coming Tuesday…or Wednesday…or in December. Despite record numbers of early and absentee voters, most of us will go to the polls on Tuesday to end one nightmare…the nightmare of the Election of 2016. Unfortunately, I believe, and many others I have listened to believe, a new nightmare will begin regardless of which presidential candidate wins.

The issues bothering us as a nation will not be resolved simply because one presidential candidate is elected, because a slew of congressmen and senators at both the national and state levels are elected, or a dog catcher is elected at the local level. Fear, racism, ISIS and terrorism, bigotry, abortion, global climate change, misogyny, congressional logjams, crime, education, gun control or rights, sucking at the welfare teat, border security and illegals, LGBT rights, military spending, unequitable taxation, Russia, etc. are a few which enter my mind in no order. My internal voices argue over these issues just as the same arguments rage on social media, on news programming and in our local watering holes. We all know what’s wrong, we just seem to be unable to correct it…because we can’t come to or refuse to come to a consensus.

Most troubling for me is our blatant hatred for each other and how it goes against the one aspect of a presidential candidate’s campaign which do I support…” We are stronger together.” We cannot be fearful and be together. We cannot be afraid of compromise and be together. We cannot hate the other side and be together. A much tougher one is we can’t feel alienated by our own leaders and be together. I am at a loss at how to get us to come together…and most troubling is hearing calls for secession or armed revolt. I think we tried that once upon a time and it didn’t work out too well for the nearly seven hundred thousand who died so let’s put that bullshit aside.

Our history is fraught with periods of division…I wonder if it is not what makes us…us. Isolationism and the Great Depression prior to World War Two, Civil Rights, Viet Nam, Watergate, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Iran-Contra Affair, just to name a few coming readily to my mind where, our elected officials battled it out in the hallowed halls of government. Somehow we rose above it, mostly came together, AND MADE IT WORK. That is democracy I think.

I see an interesting first hundred days. I see an interesting decade to come. I don’t see a quick fix. We still suffer from Cold War policies and Watergate, at least I do, forty years after the fact. I am still suspicious of our nation’s leaders. Despite my suspicions I believe our freedoms are the best in the world and at my age, I don’t want to have to start over with something new. I don’t want to have to wake up every day from some new nightmare. November the Ninth is a time for us to come together…not further segment.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try http://goo.gl/lomuQf

AN OLD TEE SHIRT

I have somehow collected hundreds of tee shirts over the years. Some are old athletic tees dating to the Mauldin years when I first began teaching and coaching at the high school level. Many are tattered and yellowed from age, others carry what I hope are grass stains. Some are covered in memories and is why I have a hard time getting rid of or “repurposing” any of them; the tattered “lucky” blue one I wore the year we won a state championship, another from a region championship, the only region championship, in football. Some are not athletic wear from former teams but are souvenirs from races I have competed in, if you can call my running even running much less competing. I am drawn to one, almost forgotten, which brought back memories of the player who gave it to me. It was off white from its conception, not just with age, and has a prominent hole in the back. Dang! How did that get there? On the front, there was a design including a Kiwi, the bird not the fruit, surrounded by the logo “Kiwi Country.” Underneath the logo, screened in block letters is “New Zealand.” Wow, I had forgotten all about this particularly beautiful fashion statement.

“Hobby” Hobson or Hobart R. Hobson had a thick and, by my Southern “hillbilly” standards, a somewhat odd English accent and the coaching staff decided to pronounce it as a cockney would, ‘Obby Obson’. I don’t think he was very impressed. Hobby was also not impressed when I began to sing “Walzing Matilda,” the unofficial Australian National Anthem. I would have sung the New Zealand National Anthem had I known it. Oh, yeah, it’s “God Save the Queen. Despite being in the same hemisphere as Australia and settled by the same imperial power, Britain, I found they were more than thirteen hundred miles apart in distance and even farther apart in culture and mind set.

“Kiwis” do not like being thrown into the same pool as the Aussies. Despite the fact both were mapped by noted explorer James Cook and claimed by the British Empire, Australia was settled as a penal colony while New Zealand was settled as a religious colony. Think prisons rather than churches. Also, there are major environmental differences that provided opportunities for different cultural outlooks. Think deserts, snakes and drought in Australia and lakes, forests and glaciers in New Zealand. They also developed a love for different types of sports. Australia has Australian Rules football, which aside from its name, a very large football and large goalpost, resembles American football only slightly. New Zealand is known for Rugby which, despite its plumper ball, does resemble American football and is one of the sports that American football is derived from.

Foreign exchange student Hobby Hobson from New Zealand seemed to be a very serious and quiet young man; much more mature than his American counterparts. He was quite unlike the Crocodile Dundee character that I was still attempting to compare him to and he never understood why I continued to belt out “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” after his repeated denials of the existence of Kangaroos in New Zealand. Physically dark, with brown hair and a sturdy build, he looked and sounded nothing like Paul Hogan. This did not stop me from kidding him with questions about “shrimps on the barbie” or “What did your didgeridoo?” I always stopped short of cruelty and always goaded him with a smile on my face. I would not know how well he took it until much later. Hobby found that his serious good looks and exotic accent gave him an advantage when it came to man’s favorite sport, girls. Hobby was a “chick magnet” despite his quiet demeanor. They all seemed to want to take him gently into their arms and crush him passionately while lining up as if on a bill of fare at some blue-plate restaurant. When questioned about this week’s “menu choice” he would just smile and add that New Zealanders were more gentlemanly than their Australian counterparts. Never having met an Aussie I don’t know.

Hobby played rugby and therefore thought he wanted to play football. Of medium height and stocky build, physically he was typical of Riverside athletes, undersized for a linebacker or defensive end and too slow to play defensive back. A typical Riverside player, small and slow. We moved him from position to position until he settled in as an outside linebacker. He would hit you if he could get into position but there is a learning curve in football and sometimes we found him curving in the wrong direction. It began with the simple act of dressing. Did I mention that Rugby players don’t wear equipment? The game of rugby involves blocking and tackling, all without benefit of the equipment that we associate with our game of football including helmets and shoulder pads. This might explain why when “Googling” rugby I saw so many smiling rugby players without all their teeth.

Once he learned how to dress, and made it to the field, we decided to limit him to defense because of the learning curve involved with offense. In addition to never having played football, Hobby had also missed all four weeks of preseason practice. Defense is more about alignment and reaction than having to learn a play with all the terminology involved. “Bunch Right-Liz-Move-Combo Veer-On Three” is akin to learning another language in addition to acquiring the technical ability required to execute the play. He did find a place to play. Despite his disadvantages, Hobby would run as hard as he could and was not afraid to cause a collision. This made him perfect for the kickoff team and he became a good “wedge buster.” Unfortunately, this was not one of our better teams meaning we might not get to kick off but once due to our propensity for being shut out. As the season ended we also put him on the kickoff return team which gave him many more opportunities to play.

The end of football season also meant that Hobby and I did not run into each other as often. At the fall athletic banquet, he presented each member of the coaching staff a wall hanging of a New Zealand map which was divided according to their rugby teams and each of their team uniform shirts. After the banquet, there was limited contact until one day the following spring I saw him in the hallway and we paused long enough to catch up on how well he was doing and to remind him that I still thought he was Crocodile Dundee despite his protests. He was dressed in typical teenage faire, which is universal it would seem, blue jeans and tee-shirt. This tee shirt featured his county’s name and logo and I made a big deal about how much I liked it.

After bidding the seniors a fond adieu that spring, the next day would be spent completing those tasks that teachers must complete before we can run, cheering and dancing to the closest bar as we close school for the summer. I had completed my list of duties and had wandered to another room to try and assist another teacher. When I had assisted, or interfered all I could, I wandered back to my room and found the tee shirt neatly folded on my desk. There was no note but I got the message loud and clear. It would also explain why I have held on to it these years, hole and all.

This is a selection from the book “Winning Was Never the Only Thing…”, a feel good kind of book based upon Don Miller’s forty plus years of teaching and coaching. Should you be interested in purchasing this book or other’s of Don Miller’s unique views of life and humor try the following link: http://goo.gl/lomuQf