Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Old Ball Coach's old man

I first posted this blog in the summer of 2014, but it is timely in light of Steve Spurrier's latest rant about his age. He said he feels 55 and has declared the media to be the enemy because they insist on reporting that he is 490 in Dawg years. And don't you dare call him the Old Ball Coach, like he used to describe himself in his youth. 

Personally, I hope he coaches as long as John McKissick (who won a championship at Williams-Brice Stadium at age 72, by the way). Spurrier is worth his weight in goad.

If you've been sequestered on the Howard's Rock jury and are wondering what the heck this is all about, click here.

'Absent from the body, present with the Lord'
 Listening to Steve Spurrier warming up in recent days, I was reminded of these quotes I meant to post back on June 16, 2014, which would have been his dad's 100th birthday. 
     Rev. J. Graham Spurrier served as a Presbyterian pastor in Arkansas, West Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee, where young Steve emerged as a football star at Science Hill High School in Johnson City. 
     Spurrier was still the Head Ball Coach at Florida when his dad died in 2000. Here are some of his remembrances, which I found on a blog by another Presbyterian minister known as the Christian Curmudgeon. Most of the material originated in an interview with the Florida Times-Union.
      As a 145-pound guard on the football team at Erskine College: He liked to tell people he wasn't very good, but he did get two letters in one season. The first letter was from the coach in midseason asking him, very politely, to please quit the team. The second came from the athletic director, saying he was going to get kicked out of school if he didn't return all the socks and T-shirts.
     As a Tennis Player: Uncle Bob used to tell me that when Dad missed an easy shot, he'd have a tendency to sometimes fling that racquet into the net or against the fence. So when I throw things….
     As a Moving Minister: He moved around a bit. Ministers, sometimes when it's not going really well in a church, you have got to move around. Just like coaches do.
     As a Preacher: My dad was the most uncomplicated person I've ever known in the world. He believed the Bible from the front to the back. If the Bible said Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days then you know what? Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days. There was none of this stuff about how the story might have been exaggerated or interpreted differently over the years. My dad believed it exactly the way it was written. He kept things very simple. 
     As the youngest of three children (Speaking at the 2016 American Football Coaches Association convention, Spurrier said that his parents planned to have only two children, and his mom once told him he was an accident): Thank the Lord that preachers get horny, too. That was my first divine appointment. 
     As a Babe Ruth Coach: He told us, "How many of you boys believe that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game? Well, you can all put your hands down because I don't believe in that statement. I believe it does matter if you win or lose, and we're going to try and win. Anytime you keep score, you're supposed to try and win." 
     As a Father: He was one of those dads who always thought I could do better, and he was right. He didn't flatter me and pamper me and tell me how great I was as a kid. I could score 35 points in a youth league basketball game, and he'd talk about the free throw I missed or the careless foul I committed. 
     As a Christian: The way he approached life, there was never a chance of him ever being depressed. Because he was such a sincere Christian, his faith kept him happy. The last 15 or 20 years of his life, he would talk excitedly about dying and going to heaven. He'd always say, "I can't wait to get to heaven." I can't help but thinking that when he had trouble breathing that night a few weeks ago, he said to himself, "It's time for me to move on out of here and get to a better place." He was the most prepared person to leave this earth I have ever known. He looked forward to this day. He was looking forward to going to heaven, to going to a better place.
     As a Dad: I just thank God that I was lucky enough to have a dad like my dad.
     On Losing Him: You sort of prepare for this day. When it happens, I guess, 50 years of memories flash by. I certainly feel very fortunate that I had my dad. He fought a good fight, ran a good race. Now, his mission on earth is done.

No comments:

Post a Comment