There are times when a writer is too explicit.
The first time it happened to me was right here in Clarksdale. The Clarksdale High School Wildcats played a football game in Corinth one Friday night and were beaten handily. As I remember it, the score was 36-6. The headline I wrote said: “Tame Turtles lose to Corinth, 36-6.”
The reference to turtles reflected on the Wildcats’ inability to play in the rain as it poured down rain all night long!
The Wildcats had a chance to move up in the Big Eight rankings with a win, but the loss didn’t help them at all. The Coach, Roy Stinnett, didn’t talk to me for a week after the headline appeared in the paper.
Ronald “Hoss” Bennett was an assistant coach at the time and he was limited in what he could say to me. Oh, he talked to me, but I couldn’t repeat what he said to me as this is a family newspaper.
The Wildcats had a good team that year and could have made a run at the Big Eight title but that one game ruined their chances.
Sort of like the Ole Miss baseball team’s chances of hosting a regional playoff this season after being swept by Mississippi State last weekend. Any chance of the Rebels making the playoffs appears over now, much less hosting!
By calling them “tame turtles” I was just trying to humorously separate them from the ferocious Wildcats their nickname portrayed them to be.
Stinnett didn’t see the humor in my writing.
Writing for Sports Illustrated once got me in the doghouse under New Orleans Saints’ head coach John North once as well.
The highly regarded sports magazine called me and asked me to described John’s habit of kicking his cap on the sideline. I vividly described how John had one time dropped his cap and kicked it and the cap landed back on his head, without missing a beat!
I thought it funny and evidently, SI did as well as they printed the story just as I had related it. John, however, didn’t.
North had a sense of humor, though. Once, as we were returning from Los Angeles after suffering a humiliating loss at the hands of the Rams, John and I noticed a plethora of uniformed policemen standing at the end of the concourse at New Orleans International.
“I wonder what the police are doing here?” I wondered aloud.
“They’re probably going to arrest us for impersonating a professional football team,” North replied, laughing.
John Mecom Senior owned the Saints back in the day and he also owned a horse in the Kentucky Derby one year. That year was the first year that astronaut Richard Gordon was our General Manager. Mr. Mecom’s horse finished as an also ran in the Derby and as Mr. Mecom was passing the coffee room at Saints’ headquarters on Monday Morning after the Derby, Dick announced to those having coffee that “the boss’s hoss is still running in the Derby”. Mr. Mecom turned around in his tracks and told Dick where he could stow his knowledge of the Kentucky Derby and horse racing in general.
Talk about explicit!