Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 78 - The Front Page Headline - Dadgummit

Flames when you add copper to a fire
The headline in today's paper was "Do the RIGHT thing."  Just Coincidence? The name of my blog is the same. This happens often and I don't know why.  One time Felipe asked me what 'C'est la vie' meant.  I told him, That's Life. The next day in the paper the headline said C'est la vie.  We had just returned on another occasion from visiting Steve's Grandfather, Leo.  Leo never swore.  At the age of ninety-two he of all people had every right to swear but he was a soft-spoken man who delighted in meeting our Brazilian and German students.  The only international country he had traveled to was Canada and this was a big experience for him.  We were able to share the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with Felipe and Jula while picking up left over ears of corn from Leo's cornfield.  He would always say, "Dadgummit!" in frustration to which we always laughed.  When we got home after our thirteen hour trip in the car, the headline the next day was Dadgummit!  We couldn't believe it.

Leo with binocallows
As was tradition when Steve went up to Indiana to visit Leo, he built a big fire that night.  We roasted marshmallows and threw pennies into the fire.  This delighted all of us with the hues of blue and green fire flames. Leo had been in and out of the hospital and was doing really well.  We had one thing in common....we loooovvvved basketball.  He had been attending every single practice and game of the local Indiana High School Girls Softball and Basketball team for approximately ten years.  The school gave him a lifetime pass to all the high school games and he rode on the team bus with the girls. He loved the attention and the girls on the team loved the patronage.  One time he got hit in the head by a softball during practice.  I'm not sure what he uttered at the time but I think it might have been a different swear word.

One of Leo's Birdhouses
It is a rare occasion to get hit by a ball when we are on the court. It happens though.  We try to get out of the way but sometimes, a player will catch us coming into their peripheral view and pass us the ball.  That always makes me laugh.  I feel bad for the player. Other times we actually manage to get in a players way.  One time during a game, my partner was running down the side line in front of a team's bench.  The play came right after him on a fast break and he never saw it coming.  A player hit him from behind and ran him into the bench.  He didn't get up right away.  We stopped play and went over to see if he was ok.  He literally had been knocked in the head and was slow to get up.  We told the teams to go to their benches and we gave him a minute or two to catch his breath.

That particular game was on the local TV so we were sure that would make the local news.  After a few minutes he felt ok and we finished the game.  Another time an official who I admired immensely, Harvey, had a similar event.  He had cancer and continued to officiate.  Everyone was talking about this and whether he should be doing it because of the "what if" factor of having a fatality on the court.  We had a good relationship so doing the right thing, I took a deep breath and asked him if he ever thought about that.  I didn't believe in talking behind somebody's back that I hadn't already addressed to their face.  I believed we were close enough that I could be the one to tell him what others were saying. I said, "Harvey, many officials are talking, and forgive me for telling you to your face but we all wonder what would happen to the girls who are playing during a game if something did happen?"  He said he had thought about it too but officiating was what kept him going.  One leg was twice as large due to the swelling from blood clots in his leg. He showed me as we talked in our pregame.  He brushed off the subject and finished his pregame.

We went out to start the game.  Harvey was the crew chief so he tossed the ball.  I was the U2 (umpire in second position) and ran down to my position after the toss, I looked back and Harvey was laying on the floor in the center circle. My heart sank. I waited one second to see if he was moving.  He rolled over jumped up and ran into his position at Trail.  I asked him at half-time what had happened. Harvey was a football official as well as a basketball official.  He replied, "Did you see what that girl did to me? She ran into me from the back of my legs and knocked me down!"  He signaled like a football referee for a first down and said, "Clipping, good for ten yards!"  We laughed hysterically relieved that it wasn't his time to go just yet.

Leo gives Jula and Felipe Cougar Mascot Bears

Both Harvey and Leo have left this earth recently.  (I never had any photos of Harvey.) Both were older and had witty sayings.  Both loved sports, particularly basketball.  Both were men of integrity and were role models to me. As a pilot gets his wings, I know that when Harvey and Leo arrived at the Pearly Gates, God was there to pin basketball wings of gold on their robes. They both earned them with hard work and loyalty. If I had to think of a newspaper title to epitomize both men, it wouldn't be "No missed free throws, no missed practices, or no missed opportunities, just.... Missed Pair of Binocallows." [Binocallows is my own word of binoculars and marshmallows.  It means someone who can see due to wisdom. This wisdom is usually accompanied by a great sense of humor and a thick pair of marshmallow glasses.]

Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.  ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

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