The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle, Christmas Edition

 

Looking at the pages of the Tuesday edition of The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle, managing editor, Isabella Frost knew it was going to be a long night.  Ever since she was a young, bright-eyed copy editor, ignoring the clock on the wall had been a tradition. There was a lot to do and she had a “to-do” list a mile long to prove it.

After nearly 40 years in the newsroom, that was one thing that never changed. Isabella was used to working late. To be honest, she enjoyed the time it took and the excitement of putting out a newspaper, especially during the holiday season. She liked seeing all of the brilliant colors of pictures and the heart-warming stories of the town coming together splashed all over the pages.  After all these years, they always filled her heart with joy.

Isabella closed her eyes, took a deep breath and remembered she needed to make room for the full-page ad that would accompany the feature for Dexter Dolby’s new movie, Attack of the 50-Foot Reindeer. She also needed to include milk to her list of things to pick up on her way home before she continued gazing at the words and pictures intermingling across tomorrow’s layout.  She was content with her life and the work she had done.  Then something peculiar caught her attention—she couldn’t look away.

Every story seemed to be in a “Top 10 List” format. As she clicked through each section, there were lists after lists scattered all throughout the pages. In the age of social media, Isabella knows that lists are a quick and effective way to tell a story. She, herself, has used them and keeps countless lists stored in her phone: “to-do” lists, lists for potential articles she wants to write, even her grocery list on her refrigerator is synced to her phone so even if she forgets to write milk to her shopping list, it’s not a big deal. Isabella can just send the list that is on her refrigerator to her phone and call it a day.

There is “Top 10”lists for everything nowadays. Every newspaper, magazine and media outlet around the globe seems to gravitate towards using them, not as just an element to a story, but as the primary way to relay information to the masses.

And Isabella saw that The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle is definitely keeping up with current trends. The headlines staring back at her were: Top 10 Best Christmas Gifts for Chefs, The 10 Best Christmas Yodeling Albums of 2017, Merry Duggins’ List of the 10 Best Christmas Movies to name just a few.

Thankfully, the piece on Dexter’s new movie premiere would add an element of tradition to the paper. He was a longtime friend of Isabella’s and a beloved movie legend of Letongaloosa. His premiere film, Attack of the 50-Foot Turkey, lead him to head to job at a film production company on the Pacific Coast. He was home for the holidays to showcase his sophomore film, Attack of the 50-Foot Reindeer.  It was only fitting that Dexter come back to where his first began and it was only right that Isabella conduct his homecoming interview.

Excited, seeing Dexter and writing about his newest movie was an article that Isabella had looked forward to writing. Dexter was a student at Letongaloosa Community College where Isabella taught a writing course. She supervised his internship here at the paper and had been following his career ever since. She made sure Dexter’s story would be front and center highlight of the Lifestyle section.

After giving the Tuesday edition a final glance, she checked some final things off of her “to-do” list and headed off to the grocery store. It had been a long day. She was happy to go home, close her eyes and relax.

 

As Isabella woke the next morning, she reached for her phone to check her schedule for the day. It was going to be another long day. Making her way to into the newsroom, she grabbed a paper and flipped to the Lifestyle section and saw Dexter Dolby’s big smile, sparkling eyes and his “Top 10 Favorite Scifi Movies” staring back at her. She was filled with joy!!

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Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia, is available for download on Lulu.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pop Fly Redemption Redux©

Redux, adjective: to restore, to revive

 

 

La Mancha is the posh section of Letongaloosa where the streets are winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile. Among the leading  residents of La Mancha are Archibald and Olivia Sommerset.  The Summersets’ daughter, Madison “Madie”  Sommerset, was the suburb’s leading high school athlete.
Madie had been respected by all and revered by many for leading the La Mancha Amazons to victory in all sports, particularly in softball.
But then Madie’s athletic career suffered a serious setback.  The Amazons had let their dinky rivals, the Fairfield Fusions, tie the score in the last inning.  The fusions had a runner on third and a scrawny end-of-the-lineup batter at the plate. The Amazon pitcher’s finger slipped off the ball and the pitch came over the plate looking like a watermelon.
Scrawny Arms closed her eyes, swung and hit a blooper that looked like it was going foul. But  then  the ball came back fair–between home and the pitcher’s mound.  Madie called for the ball.  But Madie muffed the catch when she couldn’t get her catcher’s mask off.  The mask was stuck on her face by an excess of makeup. Madie applied the makeup in anticipation of being photographed for the local newspaper.  When she did manage to  rip the mask off,  the makeup made her look like a raccoon.
When it came to academics Madie had been an indifferent student. She worked hard enough in school to stay eligible for athletics and extracurricular activities, but she often failed to turn in assignments.  She never tried to get good grades, much less make the dean’s list.

After the Fusion  High debacle, people at the country club treated Mr. and Mrs. Sommerset with pity rather than deference. When her parents found that Madie was, academically, a nonperson, they demanded she make the honor roll and excel at some other extracurricular activity than sports.
At  Letongaloosa High School, forensics was to the brainy kids what athletics was to the athletic kids:  a ticket to popularity and recognition.  Madie had always distained non sport activities.          But now, she signed up for forensics, and focused on poetry recitation.  She memorized and practiced reciting “Casey at the Bat.” She loved the poem, and maybe because she looked the part, the judges liked Madie’s recitation.  She won the local and district forensics poetry competitions and went on to regionals.
Madie managed to win or place second in poetry recitation at regionals and found herself in the final round facing an opponent from Fusion High School.  Madie’s opponent was listed on the forensics tote board as Sally Teasley– her old softball nemesis, A.K.A. “Scrawny Arms”.
One of the judges said:  “We’ll begin this session with Sally Teasley reciting “The Highwayman,” by Alfred Noyes.  Sally went to the lectern:
“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees…” Then she paused and turned pale.  The room was silent. Sally stood frozen at the lectern. Then Madie’s quiet voice came from behind her: “The moon was a ghostly…”  Sally finished reciting the poem beautifully, and  after Madie had recited “Casey at the Bat,” the two girls left the room arm in arm.
Madie did well in forensics, and found she liked academics as well.
About that time Madie met Tyler Kirby.  Tyler was a brainy kid with a 4.0 grade point average. He hungered to play football.  The problem was, he weighed 187 pounds. On the first day of practice the coach took one look and told Tyler to turn in his uniform.
A phone call from the school principal changed all that. The principal lowered the boom on the team because most of the football players’ low grades.
The coach got back in touch with Tyler Kirby.
“Son, do you get good grades?” asked the coach.
“I have a 4.0 grade point average.”
“Come on back to the gym and suit up, son, you’ve made the team.”
From then on, Tyler tutored male athletes and Madie tutored female athletes. That was the year Letongaloosa High School won state finals in athletics and forensics.
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Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer.

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10 Ways to be A Really Annoying Travel Companion

I was inspired to add my own travel experiences to a wonderful piece I found on Smarter Travel.   I can attest that what they say definitely is true and have shared my own stories to prove it!! Please enjoy my thoughts on these all too true tips and advice.
Through my travels as a foreign correspondent or a wide-eyed explorer on a family vacation, I’ve been to almost every state in the U.S. By sea or by air, I’ve every country in Latin America and the Caribbean—including Cuba. I’ve been to Botswana and Khartoum (where the Blue Nile and the White Nile converge). I’ve been to Tokyo, Topeka and Tonganoxie. I’ve been to Manchester, England and Manhattan …Kansas. So you can imagine that I have had countless travel companions.
1. To annoy, when you do go somewhere without your travel companion, come back acting glum and say, “Oh it was okay,” and don’t say any more.
Decades ago a usually talkative friend and I were on a U.S. government sponsored assignment to the Caribbean. At one point the schedule called for us to go or separate ways and then link back up. When we got back together I briefed him fully on my assignments. He reported: “Oh it worked out all right.” Not another word from him on the topic.

Advice: Adjust to your companion’s traveling style.

 

2. To annoy, your traveling companion likes to sightsee, you say, “I’d rather hang out here in the room.”
On a flight from the U.S. to Santiago, Chile, our flight was diverted to Antofagasta, Peru (in the middle of the Atacama Desert). The pilot told the passengers that buses would be available to take us into town for a couple of hours while until the flight got an all-clear from Santiago. I said, “I’ve never been to Antofagasta. Let’s go take a look. The person I was traveling with said, “I’d rather stay here in the airplane.”
Advice: Have a good time when you’re apart and share when you return.

3. To annoy, stick to your travel companion like an adhesive bandage.
Decades ago I was doing proselyting work in South America for our church. The service was done working in pairs—I had a series of companions. Protocol dictated that I never go out on the street without my companion. Our small congregation was planning a party and we needed dishes and utensils. My companion at the time refused to go along. I went alone. Less than ten steps from our door I met a neighbor who asked me where I was going. I told the neighbor that I needed to find some where to buy or rent the needed supplies. The neighbor said, “Why we have all you need. The neighbor brought the supplies a little later and the party was a success. My companion was annoyed at my having disregarded protocol and I was dinged by our supervisors. But then we developed a friendship with the neighbor and the neighbor’s family that was most helpful to our work, and my failure to follow protocol was forgiven.

Advice: “Disappear now and then.”

4. To annoy, take your time packing the re-pack your suitcase saying, “Oh I got my socks on top instead of at the bottom.” And take 30-45 minutes looking around the room for anything you might have left. In the lobby say, “Don’t turn in the key, We’d better check the room to see if we left anything.”
This is, actually an incident that is the REVERSE of the “annoy” advice: My wife and I were in a hurry to check out of our hotel and catch a flight home As she tidied up the hotel room my wife threw away a pile of scrap paper that had accumulated. When we got to the airport we didn’t have our tickets (back in the day when airlines issued paper tickets). I grabbed a cab back to the hotel and dashed up to the room The maid was just cleaning up. She had a plastic bag full of trash in her cart. I looked through the trash, found our ticket envelope and hurried back to the airport. We made the flight.
Advice: When It’s time to move, move.

5. To annoy say things like, “whatever you say is Okay with me,” and “Gee, what do you think?,” and “Well, maybe…Oh, I don’t know.”
Here’s another “reverse” incident. Back in the day the U.S. government wanted other nations to like America and Americans. The U.S. Information Agency sent people abroad to give seminars and workshops to help with that image-building policy. I was in Central America giving workshops with the eminent author Erskine Caldwell. Mr. Caldwell’s wife wanted to take an afternoon sightseeing. Mr. Caldwell declined to accompany her. Mr. Caldwell knew exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted stay at the hotel. Mrs. Caldwell was reluctant to leave him alone. I volunteered to spend the afternoon with Mr. Caldwell at the hotel. That afternoon as we conversed, Mr. Caldwell told me of some of his adventures including his World War II trip with a famous news photographer across Siberia to Moscow.
Advice: Have an Opinion.
6. To annoy Choose to do things that you’ve always failed at, and say, “I’m going to get this if it kills me.”
“Guilty as Charged, your honor.” My father was the handiest man I’ve ever known. He could fix anything. Oftentimes he had to improvise because he didn’t have the right tool or equipment. But he got the thing fixed. I was absent when the Lord handed out “fix-it” talent. But very much present when He handed out stubbornness. BAD combination. I drive my wife nuts trying to fix things around the house. She’s learned to… wait as long as it take for me to say: “Honey, I guess we’d better call a repair man.”
Advice: Do what you’re best at.
7. To annoy say repeatedly, “Oh I borrowed your…(socks hand lotion, nail clippers, etc.) the other day. It seems to have disappeared.”
The advice, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” was lost on another of my proselytizing companions year ago . He was generous to a fault. Or he would have been. The problem was he couldn’t keep track of his stuff and was always borrowing stuff—or nicking it unbeknownst to the owner. If we were missing something, we didn’t even bother to look for it. We just went and rummaged through his stuff. Inevitably he’d say, “Oh. I borrowed that the other day. Meant to give it back.”

Advice: Don’t nick the other person’s stuff without asking.

8. To annoy you have two choices: a.) don’t ever pay for anything. b.) Insist on paying for EVERYTHING and don’t let anyone forget it.
Duh.
Sylvester, another guy I knew in college grew up in a small place His daddy had piles of money.
Sylvester would insist on buying everybody’s burger. Then, while we ate them, he’d tell us how much money his daddy had made in the stock market that day.
Advice: Pay your fair share but don’t over react.

9. To annoy, “I will NOT drink that brand of soda. Let’s go to another restaurant.” And, I want to eat NOW. I have my routine, and I’m sticking to it not matter what.”
Ginger, our 12-year-old dachshund is the most “set in her ways” person I know. She wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. sharp. There’s no “let’s sleep a little longer, Ginger.” Oh no. “Up and attem, Dad. Put my pellets in my dish. Eat…Eat…Eat. Then “Okay, outside.” Off the back porch. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Back up on the porch. Okay let’s go back to bed.”
Advice: Roll with it. (be flexible)
10. To annoy say things like, “Yuck! Don t tell me that you put catsup on your scrambled eggs!,” and “You look as big as a moose in that outfit,” and “You’ve been dragging that piece of toilet paper on your shoe for half a block. Why don’t you ever look behind you?”
Back when we lived in Florida, Glinda (not the good) was or next door neighbor. Glinda was a gossip-scold-“I-told-you-so,” kind of person. Glinda never saw a situation on which she didn’t have an opinion. She’s judge a piece of lint on your lapel before picking it off. “That’s just cotton, not wool,” she’d say. But my wife was often glad to have Glinda around. When it came to foretelling the weather or making other routine daily choices, we could ask Glinda get her unequivocal judgment and then do the opposite. Ninety percent of the time we were right.

Advice: Don’t judge.

 

 

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A Few Funny Thoughts About Baseball

It’s a beautiful day for baseball.   Too bad our team is playing  a night game
Baseball is won/played between the lines.  Baseball is played between the lines until the groundskeepers run out of chalk.
He’s got 30 homers on the year.  That sportscaster’s got 68 on the IQ.
He’s got the batters eating out of his hand.  And the popcorn vendors have the fans eating out of paper bags.
He’s pitching a gem.  But don’t let him near a baseball diamond.
He’s pitching lights out.   His last wild pitch knocked an arc light out
He’s really throwing some heat. Unfortunately for him the hitters are using asbestos bats.
He can overpower the hitters.  His wife?  Not so much.
His fastball is really working for him…if he wants go back and play double A ball.
He took something off that pitch.  The umpire checked the previous pitch for saliva.
He’s got good mechanics.  They keep his  Rolls Royce and his Lamborgini in top shape.
He’s capable of going the distance, no matter how far it is to the locker room.
This is shaping up to be a real pitchers duel.  It’s squirt guns at eight paces.
This game is a slugfest.  The field has real grass and the slugs are having a feast.
He’s trying to pitch out of a jam.  because his fast ball has turned to jelly
He uncorked a wild pitch.   That’s cause  he uncorked a few beers in the hotel before the game.

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The Haunted Disc Jockey

As Halloween approaches, Barkley Michaels muses about episodes in his long career as a disc jockey at Letongaloosa’s own radio station: WZBZ Mega-Radio.  One episode stands out. Barkley calls it “The Control Room Ghost Story.”
Halloween night was a tough shift for a disc jockey. There were always lots of crank calls.
Ring.
“K-R-U-D Radio. What’s your request?
“Does Letongaloosa Boulevard run past your station?”
“Yes it does.”
“Then you’d better run out and catch it.  Ha,ha,ha,ha.” Click.
Barkley wasn’t even supposed to be on duty.  His friend Garrison Storm, the station meteorologist had asked Barkley to fill in for a sick employee.
On top of all that it was Halloween and there was the ghost legend.
According to lore handed down over the decades, Mega-Radio was haunted by the ghost of the former station owner Reginald Wicker.  Mr. Wicker had died of apoplexy in the control booth as he bawled out a new announcer. The announcer had mispronounced the name of the person who bought more commercial time on the radio than any other sponsor. His name was Kuless Klemelborg. The young announcer had pronounced the first name “Kluless”  instead of “Kuless.”
Wicker went ballistic, and in the middle of his tirade, Wicker dropped dead right there in the control booth.
After Wicker’s death there were strange manifestations.  Control room lights would grow brighter then dimmer, then go out.  Announcers’ throats suddenly tightened up and they sounded like Minnie Mouse for a few seconds. Then their voices would go back to normal. It was pretty easy-going haunting.  It was not threatening or scary.
But  then there was the curse. Wicker’s ghost was condemned to haunt the station until some future announcer pronounced the name Kuless Klemelborg correctly.  The incident happened years ago.  Kuless Klemelborg has long since joined Reginald Wicker in the great broadcast network in the sky.
The odds of removing the curse became slim to none.
So there was Barkley on the air at KRUD-radio on Halloween night.
“Ring.”
“K-R-U-D Radio, what’s your request?”
“Can you play a Golden Oldie for me?
“Sure thing, if we have it.  What do you want me to play and who is the song going out to?”
“Please play “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” for my Great Grandpa, Chellsie Clinghampton,” said the caller.
But just as the caller began to give the name of the person to whom his request was going, a loud crackling noise came into Barkley’s headphones.
“Sorry, I didn’t get that name.  Stay on the line while we go to  a commercial.” Barkley told the caller.
At that very instant a ghostly voice came into Barkley’s earphones.
It whispered: “The song is for Kuless Kemelborg.”
`        “Did you say Caroline Clemantis?” asked Barkley
`        “Kuless Kemelborg,” said the ghostly voice emphatically.
“Okay, I’ve got it now.  This song’s for Chelsey Clarington, right?” said Barkley.
“No. No! The name is Kuless Kemelborg.”
“That’s Chester Clemmelthorne?”
At this point  the station was coming back from the commercial. Barkley  pressed a button to cut the caller off, but the call light didn’t go out. The caller was still on the line.
“Play ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ for Kuless Kemelborg,” said the caller. Play it NOW.”
Barkley improvised. “Okay listeners. We have a special request for “It’s Now or Never,” for Claireese Caltenborn.”
There was a loud crackling noise, then static.  The dials on the  control board in front of Barkley started to jump around.
Barkley panicked.
“Here we go folks “this number’s for Cleatus Carrlingberg, Carlene Clampton, Krystal Klomberg, Charlie Chinghammer,” Barkley’s  voice lost its suave announcer quality. He sounded tinny and desperate. “Kleatis Klogsider, Karlos Kimmell, Klarice Kleenbopter, Kelly Kemmelwitz,  Klaghorn Kipplemeyer, Konstance Kimberly.
Barkley paused, terrified. A quiet, ghostly voice came into Barkley’s  headphones:
It said, “The name is “Kuless Kemelborg.”
“This one’s for Kuless Kemelborg,” screamed Barkley.
A loud pop sounded in the booth, a puff of smoke rose from the control board, and,  with a shriek of joy, the ghost of  Reginald Wicker, K-R-U-D Radio’s resident ghost, disappeared forever. Happy Halloween.

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Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor and the author of Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia, a collection of humorous short stories available on Amazon.

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Pop Fly Redemption

La Mancha is the posh section of Letongaloosa  where the streets are winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.  The La Mancha girls softball team—the Amazons—and the team’s star, catcher, Madison “Madie” Sommerset,  suffered an ignominious defeat in the final game of the 2014 regional tournament.  After trailing the whole game, the Amazons allowed the Fairfield Fusions to  tie the game in the bottom of the final inning.
With the score tied, and two out, a  scrawny Fusion  batter hit a high fly that Madie called for.  Madie was wearing extra thick make-up in anticipation of  posing for victory photos.   Madie tried to tear off her catcher’s mask but her thick make-up had bonded with the lining of her catcher’s mask . She couldn’t get it off.  Madie muffed the play and the fusion runner crossed the plate for the winning run.  There was no joy in La Manchaville , Mighty Madie had flubbed up.
Things were tough for Madie during the off season. Students called her “Muffles” behind her back, and a few called her Muffles to her face. She developed an allergy to cosmetics and had to go to school barefaced. Worse, Madie developed a pimple on her nose. Students called her Bruja  which is “witch” in Spanish. Someone left a big red apple on her desk to remind her that she wasn’t a big shot “Snow White,” any more.
When it came to academics Madie had been an indifferent student. She worked hard enough in school to stay eligible for athletics and extracurricular activities, but she often failed to turn in her assignments.  She just never even tried to get good grades, much less make the dean’s list.
That was acceptable, even to her parents, when she was a star athlete.  But when Mr. and Mrs. Sommerset found that people at the country club treated them with pity rather than the usual deference, they confronted Madie and found out that she was, academically, a nonperson. They demanded that she make the honor roll and that she excel at some other extracurricular activity than sports.
At  Letongaloosa High School, forensics was to the brainy kids what athletics was to the athletic kids: a ticket to popularity and recognition.  Madie had always distained non sport activities.   But now, Madie signed up for forensics and focused on poetry recitation.  She memorized and practiced reciting “Casey at the Bat.” Partly because she looked the part, and partly because she loved the poem, the judges liked Madie’s recitations.

She won the local and district forensics poetry competitions and went on to regionals. Competition was very tough at the regional tournament but Madie managed to win or place second in poetry recitation and found herself in the final round facing an opponent from Fusion High School.  Madie’s  opponent was listed on the forensics tote board in the hall as Sally Teasley.  The tournament was held on a Saturday in a neutral high school building. The tournament judges were from out of town  They didn’t know the competitors other than by their names, and didn’t know what high school the contestants represented.
That afternoon Madie walked into the large classroom designated for the poetry competition. She wrote her name on the board under the sign “Poetry Recitation Finalists,” and sat down.  A moment later her opponent entered the room and signed in. Madie drew a sudden breath. Her recitation opponent was her old softball nemesis, Sally Teasley, A.K.A. “Scrawny Arms” from Fusion High School.
The judges were sitting in student desks eight rows back. They conferred, then one of them announced:  “We’ll begin this session with Sally Teasley reciting  “ The Highwayman,” by Alfred Noyes.  Sally went to the lectern and began this session with Sally Teasley reciting  “ The Highwayman,” by Alfred Noyes.  Sally went to the lectern and began reciting:

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees…” Then she paused and turned pale.  The room was silent. Sally stood frozen at the lectern. Then Madie’s quiet voice came from behind her: “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed among…” Sally brightened, picked up the refrain, and finished her recitation beautifully.  After Madie had recited “Casey at the Bat,” the two girls walked out of the room arm in arm.

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Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor and the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a book of humor columns that have nothing to do with old age. Download it from Amazon today!!

 

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Don’t Punt, Coach!©

Coach  Nick Whitlow was sorting football equipment in the Leopards locker room when his cell phone buzzed.  He looked at the caller ID. Coach Whitlow  scowled and said, !@#$%^&*.  Then he pushed the answer button, smiled and said, “Coach Whitlow speaking.”

The caller was Dr. Ima Farseer, dean of  Letongaloosa Community Junior College’s School  of  Electromagnetic Communigraphics.

“Coach Whitlow, we need to talk,” said the dean.

“I’m real tied up right now, Ma’ am,”  he said. “Got football practice, comin’ up ya know.”

“That’s why I  need  to see you in my office.  Your football team has academic eligibility problems.”

 

“Whoa.   Whoa. Hold on.  I’ll be right there.”

Dean Farseer’s office door was open so Coach Whitlow   walked in and sat in the visitor’s  chair opposite the dean’s massive mahogany desk.  All four legs of the  visitor’s chair had been shortened.  And one leg had been cut shorter than the other three.  The visitor was forced to sit on a low, teetery  chair.  Advantage, Farseer.

“Ima,” pause, “Uh, I mean Dean Farseer, our atha-letes  work very hard on their academic studies. Very hard, in deed.”

“With little to show for it when grade cards come out,”  said the dean.

“Ma’am,   the Leopards are  ten and one on the year.  Our best season since 2012.”

“And  your athletes are  zero and 23 academically.  Not a single ath-lete (she pronounced the word  slowly and enunciated it pointedly) is on the dean’s list. On the other hand, 17 football players are in various after school detention programs.”

The coach teetered silently.  Then he said, “Let me get back to you on this,” said the coach.

“Please do,” said the dean.  “Soon.”

It had never occurred to Coach Whitfield to call up the dean’s list on his computer, but he did so the moment he arrived back at his office.

The names of students with four-point- oh grades led the list, followed by others in descending order down to the bottom of the list where he recognized the names of a number of his football players.

At the top of the 4.0 list was Tyler Kirby.  The coach remembered him. He had been an eager first-day-of- practice walk-on. Kirby weighed 187 pounds. His thick  glasses were held on by an elastic  band .

“Sorry, kid,” the coach had said, “We already got enough  managers.”

“I want to make the team, Coach.”

 

“Not  this team, you don’t  Go take a shower.”

“Gaaaa,” said the coach, as he remembered the encounter. He left the building.

On the sidewalk outside the  building he bumped into someone.

“Sorry, Coach, I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

“My fault. Say, aren’t you Tyler Kirby?”

“Yes sir.”

“ Son, I need to talk to you.  Could you come to my office?”

“Now, sir?”

“Yes, if you’re free.”

After the meeting, Kirby Tyler set up a team of his own—a group of academically high achieving students who tutored athletes. The athletes thrived.

Coach Whitlow put Tyler on his team, and  made  sure  that Tyler got to suit up for every game.  Toward the end of the season when the Leopards were leading the La Mancha Mongrels 47-6  the coach called:

“Kirby. Get in there at quarterback and heave a long one down field.  ”

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Dr. Larry Day is a retired KU J-School professor turned humor writer. He is also the author of Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia, a collection of goofy and fun short stories that have nothing to do with old age,

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