Noticed in the news yet another U.S. State governor(New Mexico this time, previously it was South Carolina) caught embellishing their past with false claims about athletic accomplishments. What is it with the need to project some “All-American” image of sports in your background in order to get elected in this country? Are voters that shallow to think it matters? (unfortunately, yes)
As a recent appointee to the Parks, Recreation and Greenways Advisory Board for the town of Marvin, NC, I am taking this opportunity to set the record straight about my accomplishments in sport to avoid confusion or charges of misrepresentation in the future.
Apart from backyards, schoolyards or empty lot playing fields, my official career began as a nine year old when I wore the full fledged old-style baseball uniform(stirrup socks, etc.) and played in the entry level community Pee-Wee baseball league. After a successful first season, the next year I went to try-outs for the more advanced “Little League” where I apparently underwhelmed the coaches with my abilities and subsequently failed to be drafted. My father, a Pee-Wee league coach, arranged a deal with one of his co-workers who happened to coach one of the “Little League” teams. I was offered a spot on his team but declined, choosing to play another year of Pee-Wee baseball. After that I walked away. Thus ended my formal uniformed baseball career.
As a skinny fourteen year old 98 pound weakling I tried out for and somehow made the freshman high school football team. Exactly one week before the first game my right arm was fractured when I fell back on it during a practice drill. Thinking at first it was a bad sprain, the coach admonished me for not suiting up the next day saying I had to learn to play with “little boo-boos”. He then suggested I see a doctor if I really thought it was necessary but failed to say a single word when I showed up afterward wearing a cast. In hindsight the broken arm was a blessing that probably saved me from a worse fate had I continued. Thus ended my formal football career.(before I got the chance to wear the uniform)
The next year I tried Junior Varsity basketball and ended up making the team two years in a row. Most of the time was spent on the bench but I didn’t mind too much. When my senior year came around it was assumed I would try out for varsity where many of my teammates went the previous year. Acknowledging my overall lack of athletic ability, and still feeling the proverbial splinters in my butt, I chose to bypass sports my last year of high school and concentrated doing what I knew best. Being a nerd. Thus ended my formal uniformed basketball career.
Sort of related, but maybe not, was my experience with college ROTC. NJROTC came to our high school my junior year. It is a three year program and I was able to double up during my second year by taking a correspondence course which gave me credit for the third year. At the small community college I attended after high school I enrolled in a satellite Army ROTC program run out the larger formal program at nearby University of Florida. There were a grand total of three of us. I attended a few field training exercises and noticed the only cadets who seemed to understand what they were doing were the former Vietnam vets now attending college after the war. To everyone else it was Boy Scouts with guns(and after hours alcohol). After two semesters I left the program. Thus ended my formal uniformed military career.
Have I ever mentioned I’m also a Dale Carnegie Course dropout?