…..Two of my managers, Deandre and Scooter, had learning disabilities and were students in my physical education class. Trouble followed them around like a shadow: fights, stealing, talking back. After meeting with their teacher, I took on the challenge of trying to make a difference with them. Most of their problems went back to a poor self image and lack of a family structure with a positive male figure. I made them managers on the football team. Each day, they swept the locker room, washed towels and got uniforms ready for the afternoon practice. Their attitudes gradually changed as a result of being part of the team. Since they were best friends, I made them responsible for each other's actions. When I got a report that Deandre had talked back to his teacher, neither made the bus trip with the team that Friday night. Lesson learned. They also collected aluminum cans around school. I helped them do a science report on aluminum and a math report that showed how their proceeds were calculated. It was always a joy for me to be able to take them and their bagged cans to the recycling company in Athens. They learned how to order from a menu and about proper table manners as we shared lunch at Whitt's Barbecue. I got a little emotional seeing both of them at the twenty-fifth reunion of the 1980 and 1981 teams.
…..When Lee and Almer raised the price of a haircut at Leighton Barbershop to a dollar, Mother decided she could save money by cutting our hair. (She forgot about the cost of hats to cover it up). She bought a pair of clippers from Felton's that sold everything from overalls to pine caskets. Mother and our neighbor Beverly, wrapped a towel around Bob's neck. Every time that they would try to even it out, they would giggle and the clipper would hit Bob's scalp. Gaps in the hair; blood from his scalp. His head looked like a bloodshot eyeball. With his ears, he looked like a '57 Chevy with the doors open.
…..At our football camp, we ate out of old Army mess kits that we had to clean on our own. Mama wasn't there. One of our lazier players named Joe gave a new meaning to GI Joe since he was lax in keeping his kit clean. Running laps also took on a new meaning for him.