MY brain never shuts off. As an adult with ADHD I’m finally learning to embrace everything that’s in there. These from my early years are a sampling of the infinite thoughts and memories that keep spinning around and around. I’m making it a point to start sharing some of these before it’s too late! I know we all have memories, it’s just that mine keep spinning round and round… and all day long!
No pictures, just pure brain dump and please forgive some of the street language.
Calvin Jordan, Butch Pollard, Cap Washington and Roy Riley…
These Four guys’ influenced me big time in a good way; during my early elementary school years, from say… I don’t know…8 – 12 years old?
The first inspired, the second tolerated, the third helped me prepare and the fourth simply cared. Four “Sleepers” that had very limited interaction with me but remain in my head providing unlimited results.
Today is March 15th 2016 and I’m thinking about these guys! YES; they influenced me.
For starters I must say thank you! I’m forever grateful!
One thing I’ve learned is there is something to learn from everyone.
Let’s start with Calvin Jordan; he inspired me at an early age! Actually I was more of a friend with his younger brother James but honestly knowing Calvin made me feel cool. Calvin was older, my brothers age. They played on the same Pop Warner football team; The 109 (as in Police precinct) Rebels.
I was 4 – 5 years younger but for some reason really liked Calvin. He was authentic! He was cool, nice, badass, honest and I always thought of him as someone I would always like to be around, even when I was only (I don’t know) 9 years old?
We were playing punch ball in the PS 214 “Summer Center” one Summer morning. I was playing on Calvin’s team; he picked me!
I came up to bat (or punch) and the other team was slinging some nasty inner City shit; Calvin; you picked this little mother fucker? Are you his long lost relative of another color?
Yes, they were taunting him and me. If I was on that team, I would’ve been doing the same maybe worse. That’s what we did. That’s what we were good at.
They moved all the way in, signaling that I was weak! (That pissed me off)
Calvin came up to me before I stepped into the “punch box”. He was not angry at all. In fact he was having fun. He got real close to me so only we could hear each other. He said, “don’t listen to them. I know you. I know you can hit it over all their heads, that’s why I picked you”.
I think at that moment I fell in love with Calvin Jordan. Calvin Jorden inspired me by telling me he believed in me! I swear I don’t remember what happened in the game but I will always remember Calvin Jordan.
Butch Pollard: Again like with the Jordan’s, I was kind of friendly with Butchs’ younger brother Michael. Butch was older. I think Older than Calvin.
Butch gave me an early lesson about tolerance.
Butch (and Michael) were the fastest runners I have ever seen.
I was at the park one afternoon (Levitt’s field) watching a Flushing HS track meet.
Butch was about to run in the 100 yard dash. I was riveted. One of the other runners from the other school was walking with a cane, almost limping. He barely got into the blocks.
The gun sounds (holy shit).
How the hell can someone run this fast?
Believe it or not that cripple won the race beating Butch by a hair! Of course we referred to this as a certain type of hair, even though I was too young at the time to really understand what that meant.
Honestly, I didn’t even notice the winner. I guess I did but figured he was cheating, making everyone believe he was injured for the sole purpose of taking Butch off his game.
So Butch lost! He must’ve been besides himself angry. If they raced again, there’s no doubt Butch not only would’ve won but he would’ve then beat that runner with his cane and make his make believe injury real.
For some reason from where I was standing, I was really close to the finish line. Too close. I was the first to make eye contact with Butch after that race. Butch was I guess 18. I was 9? 10? 11?
“Wow great race Butch”
“Thanks, he was faster than I thought”
Fuck! Butch Pollard, the fastest person ever just lost a race and the first person he speaks to is …. ME!
I felt like such a little badass! I was somewhere around 4 foot something but at that moment I felt 10 feet tall. Butch was headed over to his awaiting posse with extreme angst but did not show it to little old me!
I think at that moment I fell in love with Butch Pollard. He tolerated me in that moment when he most likely wanted to fling me across the track. I’m not even sure if we ever spoke again. As I got a little older I became close with his younger brother Michael and damn if he was not the fastest person I’ve ever seen too! The Pollards; the fastest runners I’ve ever seen. Butch Pollard gave me an early lesson in tolerance. Michael; well I loved him too but we’ll table that for now.
OK; Cap Washington; I may have already shared this one with at least Eva.
As I became of age, I (like my brother) played Pop Warner football for the 109 Rebels. I wasn’t as good as I would’ve liked but at least I was tough; I could take it. This team had a weight limit of 135 pounds. At the weigh in I weighed 88 ¼. I was getting my ass kicked but loving it. At 11 years old the best “fit in” strategy I had was to show I could take whatever the older, stronger, meaner players could dish out; Fuck them! They’re not so tough! I would get hit so hard, I would see stars and my helmet would get knocked right off my head but so what; this I football right?
One practice (again at Levitt’s field) one of the men watching was Cap Washington. Honestly I don’t remember if he was a professional player or not. He was providing wisdom to many of the other players. After one particular play he came over to me. He said “little man, not sure why you’re playing this game but I admire your toughness. Let me help you from being slaughtered. When you get down in your 3-point football stance, grab a handful of dirt. Don’t let anyone see this but just make sure you have some dirt in your little hands. When the ball is snapped and all hell breaks loose at the line, open your hands and let the dirt fly in the face of that mother fucker that’s trying to kill you!”
We never spoke again. Well maybe a little after the next few plays but that’s it. Cap Washington taught me if the deck is stacked, you must do what you must do to un stack it.
I’ve always said and still say I’m black inspired. These three guys were some of the early ones.
Yes, like with the others Roy was older. Roy was a tough guy. We called them “hitters” back then. Roy was part of a big family of which I was friends with his younger sister Janet and also his younger brother Gary. Back then, where I lived, everyone was tough. There were always fights. I managed to stay out of them but one time I did have to fight Sidney Medlock. I remember thinking if I lost, Janet would be disappointed.
Anyway, this is not about any of that. Roy was one of those as I saw thru my 10 year old eyes as someone who didn’t have to prove himself, he didn’t have to be a bully, he just had it. He knew he was tough and that was good enough for him. Everyone else could simply fuck off!
I never saw Roy as a bad person. I knew Janet and Gary were the best so I trusted Roy can’t be too far off.
There was a transient neighbor that was acting like a jerk to Janet. Now honestly (I believe) Janet could’ve kicked his ass. Also we never escalated any of our issues; we handled them ourselves.
Oh listen to me, like I had any or handled any issues at 10 years old! But the older ones did. Janet must’ve discussed this at home during dinner. I speculate and may not be 100% accurate but Roy somehow got wind of the situation; his sister in in an uncomfortable situation. I might’ve even been there when Janet discussed this. Now I’m hoping I wasn’t putting gas on the issue!!
So Roy confronted this guy. I and everyone else on the street was there. Roy could’ve done whatever he felt like to that guy. I remember that guy screaming “I didn’t touch your sister”.
I remember Roy being so damn calm! I remember Roy saying something like it doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t just make sure you don’t.
I remember wondering why there was no action! Where’s the beat down that we would be talking about for years to come?
Roy was too mature! Too cool and too nice of a person to ruin someone’s dignity. Plus, there were younger people (like me) present. Rather he said (and I paraphrase; asshole; take a breath, understand you’re not really good at anything so don’t ever think you’re better than anyone. If you have a problem with someone in my family and can’t seem to work it out respectfully; come to me. In the meantime and most important don’t ever put your hands on my sister.
Man for me at my age, that was memorable! Like out of a movie! The bad guy; the badass turned out to be the good guy! No violence, limited but strong words and no bad ending. In fact 10 minutes later we we’re all hanging out on the “stoop”
Everybody won that day all because Roy cared!
That’s the lesson; CARE! It makes everything better!
Maybe it’s because I was smaller than most and therefore accepted by most but…….
Fuck I miss those days. I Learned from everyone!
If I only learned nearly as much in school!