Volunteer football officiating challenged my fairness

Once — JUST once — I was “volunteered” to officiate a junior high school football game.
Thank the good Lord I was spared that indignity ever again, but I couldn’t refuse that time.
The head coach of those Teague Junior High Lions was one Jack Meredith, my family’s next-door neighbor and absolutely one of the best guys I’ve ever known.
Jack went to Stanford University where he was a three-year starter at end.
He married a Teague girl (Norita Keils) and wound up coaching there in both the high school and the junior high. There are much


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Are there truly six people with whom you can be in love?

Somewhere I read that there are six people in your lifetime in this world that you can truly be in love with. Can that be true?
I’ve never professed to be an expert on women and I certainly would never begin to make decisions or predictions in their behalf.
And, I won’t make decisions in behalf of the male gender either, but being of the old-hairy-legged legions I make some assumptions and observations about our all too often blindly proud group.
So, “in love” has to, in simple terms, be someone about whom you have romantic notions.
Alright, down boys, I


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Membership in the ‘Old Coots’ is distinct honor for me

There are a number of advantages to growing older.
One, of course, is that you are indeed growing older.
And, as I always say: “Beats the heck out of the alternative.”
Another “advantage” to me is being a proud member of the Old Coots, but as a mere 70ish guy, I’m still a “fresh young whippersnapper” to the more seasoned of that erstwhile group.
One of the privileges, however, is particularly useful to those who pen a column: “That reminds me of the time…”
Not long ago, I was talking to Rebecca Toney Hutchinson about one of the newspapers she edits, The Gulf Coast Tribune in Needville, and that triggered that Old Coot handle in my mind.
Those Needville memories involve my days as a college student at then-Sam Houston State Teachers College in



Football sidelines, press boxes provide ‘adventures’

One of my columns on football press box conversations drew a lot of comments from editor-publishers before it ever hit their papers’ pages.
Community newspapers are often not large enough to have a “sports” editor or a staff photographer, so the job(s) become(s) a one-man-show.
Everyone has a story or two to tell about some adventures or misadventures, as it were.
In hearing some of the tales by my contemporaries, it prompted me to resurrect some past experiences in that vein.
Staffing on small newspapers often precludes having a true “professional” photographer.
Most weekly newspapers don’t have anyone whose job is strictly photography, so whoever is the designated editor-newshound-paparazzi gets to shoot sports, particularly football.
Of course, football is the Holy Grail in Texas small towns.
So, Bub, suck it up, hoist that camera bag over your shoulder, drape the 35-mm’s strap around your neck and hit the field.


Courage in newspapering brings obstacles, challenges

"Crusading" newspapers a la the screaming headline variety of the early 20th Century have fallen by the wayside. To be a crusader in any life facet takes a certain amount of courage and, in most cases, a dash of derring-do.

That most assuredly applies to newspapers that take the plunge into the swirling waters of need, controversy, right and wrong plus the ragged and often hidden shoals of financial interest.

However, most community newspapers today have found ways to negotiatie the often-murky waters


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Recognizing schoolmates after six decades ain’t easy

Spending the better part of six decades editing and publishing country newspapers, as penned here before, includes enough seven-day work weeks that trips to my hometown were quite limited.
Those trips almost never included a Friday night, much less a Teague Lion football game, including the biennial homecoming that is my hometown school’s tradition.
And, frankly, this particular trip was a Friday-Sunday occasion, but we skipped the game to spend some quality time with family.
However, we got a full homecoming dose on Saturday.
First, there was lunch with my three younger brothers and their spouses.
We dined at


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Greatest football pain not injury, but making a mistake

Few would dispute the claim that, in Texas high school sports, football is king.  
That’s changed some over the years but that head-butting game is still dominant. Friday night frenzy is adequate testimony to that claim.
I don’t know everything that runs through players’ minds today but “don’t fumble,” “don’t miss a tackle” and “man-up” are probably in the top five.
Injury or physical harm never worried me when I played. If it had, neither I nor anyone else would be likely to go


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Life is often about how one responds to hard times

Most people face some kind of adversity every day.
A recent article in the Houston Chronicle described a young man’s determination to get his college degree.
He was living in his car and working while attending college - doing that expected American thing of seeking to better his lot in life.
Admirable. And, it is an oft-repeated story of overcoming hardships while trying to climb the success ladder.
Over the years, I have had the good fortune to watch this story repeated


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John Sharp is a true down-to-earth public servant

John Sharp is one of those people to whom you take an instant liking. ‘
He is down-to-earth but brilliant and is truly devoted to public service.
Two opportunities to view the Texas A&M University System chancellor revealed a man who seems to always be relaxed and at ease talking to anyone.  
My first introduction to Sharp came in Lockhart in 1982.
An energetic state representative, Sharp was running for the Texas Senate and, of course, did so successfully.
That intro made me a Sharp fan and I have remained an admirer


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Aluminum walking cane is high school football ‘trophy’

“You’ve got to be a football hero to get along with the beautiful girls…” Song written in 1933
For someone who started out (at age 14) wanting to be a sterling high school football player at 135 pounds (growing to a “hefty” 150 by age 17), I didn’t want to hear about the potential for crippling injuries.
Maybe I should’ve listened to my mother and the other detractors about the dangers on the gridiron.
Peer pressure being what it has always been — do the popular, accepted thing — has led many of us


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