Mar 24 2008
07:35 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, Our "Mystery Writer" is still being featured. It is a big help too because I will have surgery on my right hand April 23. No, it isn't Carpal Tunnel, the joints in my hand and wrist have deteriorated causing the bones to rub together and chip off, due to arthritis. It will be in a cast for about six weeks so typing, and especially researching will not be easy. If any of you want to send in your "Memories" of Rockwood, or growing up wherever, it sure will be appreciated. Here is another week's article from our "Mystery Writer." A lot of guesses have come in and some are right, some are wrong, but the promise to not reveal his identity holds true. Even the ones who did guess right were not told that they were correct. Here is another chapter entitled...


" Coach Tom was not very happy about the outcome of that Dayton game or for that matter he wasn't too happy about any of the eight losses that season. I was never sure if he was mad because his math was wrong, or because we played so badly. I guess it was a combination of things. Anyhow we didn't stop at the Peggy Ann or any other place to eat on the way home, and Coach Tom said if we wanted to be on the team Monday, then we had better be on the field Saturday and Sunday to run laps. We ran so many laps that weekend that we were all glad to see Monday come, knowing we could go to classes and get off of the field."

"One last note about running laps, there used to be a big oak tree that we had to run by when running laps around the field and more than one player used to hide behind that tree while the rest of the team made another lap. When we came back around, they would join back in with us. Now I won't name names, but I WILL use some more fictitious initials like J.B. for one of them. I guess some boys in later classes must have done the same thing and finally got caught because that tree was gone a few years later."

"My academic life as a sophomore wasn't a lot to talk about either, although I did learn how important the theatrical arts were. Ms. Terry was my English teacher and had assigned all of us one of those dreaded oral book reports which was to be a large part of our first semester grade. As usual, I had procrastinated until it was day before the oral report was due. On that day, I was in the school library for my study period, when I found a book titled, "Tammy". Lucky for me, I had been to the Roane Theater the day before, and "Tammy" was playing. I read a few pages of the book and much to my surprise it was the same story. The next day, Ms. Terry said I had one of the best book reports that she had ever heard and couldn't believe that I gave so much detail without once looking at my note cards. Of course, some of the kids were sort of snickering when I was giving the report. I decided then and there, that the next time, that I would go to Harriman to see a movie for my next oral report."

" In the summer of 1959, I was 16 and started thinking that my chances of being a football hero were pretty slim, and with Coach Tom's dreaded two-a-day practice sessions about to start, I decided the Marines might be easier. It turned out that I was wrong again. The Marines had a lot of new ways that I could get killed, and compared to my Drill Instructors, those '57 boys didn't know what mean was. Coach Tom made sure that his boys were in top physical condition and taught us about teamwork, and that no team is really better than the worse player. Being told a team was no better than the worse player was another reason that I decided to go into the Marines, as I wanted the Tigers to get back on a winning track. I heard that Coach Tom gave the team a week off from two-a-day practices when I didn't show up for the start of fall practice in '59, but I can't swear to that as I was a sixteen year old kid running around in the swamps of Parris Island, S.C. wishing that I was still hanging out on the end of the Tiger bench."

"A few years ago, when a book titled "Forrest Gump" came out, I thought about suing the author because I was sure he had used my life as a basis for his story. I do think Forrest was right, and life is like a box of chocolates, and you never know what you are going to get. The key is, no matter which piece you get, share it with someone special and years later, you can smile about the memory. As for me, I found being a football hero is not nearly important as simply spending time with my wife, being called papaw, or taking a moment to talk with a friend. Still, it might have been nice to have been a football hero like those '57 boys were. Did you notice that I never mentioned my name. You see, I do a little more thinking at my age and don't need those boys that I mentioned on the '57 and '58 team looking for me. I'm just too old to be a Matador, but I'll look for my cape just in case they do show up someday."

Thank You "Mystery Writer"....Until next week, Ray

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