Athens Review, Athens, Texas


August 17, 2012

School days bring back Fridays as an athlete and musician

Athens — The school year is about to get up and running, and pretty soon it’s going to be all parents can do to keep up with the kids’ schedules.

I don’t have children of my own, so I watch as others rush hither and yon to be at this practice or that concert.

I admire anyone who can be a  good parent, and make sure the students are into what they should be into, and staying out of the other stuff.

I know when I was growing up in Mesquite, by August I was a little bored with vacation, and ready to get back into the classroom, although I wouldn’t admit it. I was in the band at Mesquite High School, and was anxious to tune up the old horn, and start fall practice.

There were hot marching sessions to endure, but  on the other hand, the band hall was one of the few air-conditioned buildings in the school, and felt like heaven after sweating it out between the yard lines.

Band is a good place for students to learn some things that will be valuable later  on in life – like how much Brasso it takes to shine a sousaphone, or how  to apply white shoe polish without getting it on your sleeve.

A great benefit of being in a good band is learning a sense of unity and team spirit. When we would perform well on Friday night and shine, everybody was happy, but if we didn’t stay in line, and execute our turns, Mr. Polk had a way of making us want to pull up a piece of the turf and hide under it.

Former Athens Band Director John Glover spoke to the Athens Kiwanis Tuesday, and said when the band kids took the field, the thing they cared most about was pleasing him.  It’s funny, but mom and dad and the whole community could be watching, but they wanted to look good in his eyes.

That’s the kind of leadership we need in our coaches, music directors and teachers. Even today, I still like to get a pat on the back from someone I respect.

The quality of a band is forged in all of those practices when no one but the director is watching. You don’t miraculously show up on Friday nights, hit all the right notes, and remember the drill.

You also have to practice on your own.  My director used to say that it takes a band until Wednesday to reach the point they were at when they went home on Friday night.

You have to be faithful to practice when you’re away from school. I guess that’s the reasoning behind homework, although I never got into that much.

We have some really excellent band programs in our area, and the students are a treat to watch at the games. Those kids play some pretty tough music too.

I gave up football after junior high, because I recognized my lack of talent. Coach Benny Carter helped me by saying things like, “You got to be tougher than that, Flowers.”

Life on the bench wasn’t so bad though. We won all of our games, so the coaches were  generally in a good mood.  I’d usually get in the game in the fourth quarter, and chase the opposing quarterback around. Teams didn’t pass  so well back then, especially in junior high, so we weren’t likely to get burned for a quick score.

There was that one game at Corsicana where they actually led at halftime, 6-0. We got the ball, punted, and then watched them use up most of the first and second quarters, before taking it in for a touchdown.

I listened as coach Carter gave the team a bracing pep talk, full of vague threats of what would happen in practice the next week if we didn’t turn things around.

Since I was a lineman, I got to hear the exhortations of Coach Clyde Van Sickle, who was near retirement age, and once played for the Green Bay Packers under Coach Curley Lambeau (yes, that Lambeau).

I had a lot of respect for Coach Van Sickle, because he diagrammed the plays, putting the Xs and Os on a chalk board.

I had never seen anyone diagram plays before, and wasn’t sure whether or not he had invented it. But he sure seemed to know what he was talking about.

We came back in the second half,  and blew them out. When we got up by a couple of touchdowns, I got in the game, only to give up a long run when the lead blocker pulled me down by my jersey.

“You’ve got to be tougher than that, Flowers,” Coach Carter screamed.

Failing that, I decided the better way to go would be to practice my horn.

Rich Flowers is News Editor of the Athens Daily Review.

Text Only
  • Jeff's mug.jpg Serial killers an interesting group of people

    I don’t mean to scare you - at least not for the wrong reasons.
    One of the reasons my wife, Jean and I married is that we liked many of the same things.  That includes entertainment.  And that further means, the same kind of movies.
    Many times we have found ourselves going to theaters to see Stephen King movies, such as “Carrie,” “Misery,” and the list is just too long to mention here.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction