Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here's the idea

Once a Knight, always a Knight ... but once a Knight is enough.
   Throughout most of the 1960s, a statue of a knight sat on Coach Jerry Adams' desk in the Woodlawn (Shreveport, La.) High School coaches' office. It was given to him -- if I remember correctly -- by a sporting goods salesman, probably Larry "Squirrely" Shirley, and it had an inscription that read ... Once a Knight, always a Knight ... but once a Knight is enough.
     Coach Adams liked the way the knight looked, and had the design made into a patch that was on the sleeve of the Woodlawn baseball uniforms for several years in the '60s.
     Jerry Adams was a terrific football coach and, while not a baseball man per se, coached baseball at Woodlawn for 10 years and made it fun. He and I were always close, and in all my years in athletics and sportswriting, he's one of my favorite characters -- and favorite people.
      Many years after the '60s, when I was working in Knoxville, Tenn., I received a package in the mail from Lawrenceburg, Tenn., where Coach Adams and his family moved in 1974, and made their home there to stay. In the package was a picture frame; in the frame was one of the patches of the knight.
    "Last one of these I have," Coach Adams wrote in a note. "I wanted you to have it as a keepsake."
    Across the top, above the knight, he had handwritten, "Not the triumph but the struggle." Across the bottom, "Ours is not to wonder why."
    (Coach always was one to motivate people, even managers/future sportswriters.)
     It sits on the dresser next to the bed at home. It's a good memory of good times in the '60s and good times at Woodlawn High. It reminds me of one of the many great people in my life.
      It's an inspiration.
      Those years at Woodlawn -- I was a student from the fall of 1962 to the spring of 1965, but remained a loyal fan through the rest of the decade -- don't define me totally. But it was where I began my sportswriting career. It was where I learned a helluva lot about how an athletic program should be run. It was where I saw how a school could tie a community together. It was where I learned how great it was to win, and also how you learned to deal with losses.
      Since I've become a retired sportswriter -- actually, I'm still doing some work, so I'm saying I'm semi-retired -- many people have suggested I write a book about my experiences in life and in work.
      I don't want to write a book; too much work, thank you. So I decided I would create a blog, and write the pieces for it. I can comment on the sports world and the world in general, if I like; I can write about the people I've worked with and the people, the teams and the games I've covered; I can write about any damn thing I want. And I can write whenever I want, for however long I want.
      Had to have a title for the blog, though. And on one of my daily walks -- I'll write about them -- it came to me. That statue, that inscription ... Once A Knight.
      Perfect, I think.
      Hope you enjoy what I have to say.