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June 22, 2018 Coach Finley Read’s Dinner, Sports in a Small Town, and an Appreciative Father-A 4 Part Series-this is final segment
Skip to the 90s. I married a majorette from Sanford Central . She was also Junior Miss
We had a little girl .She was an only child and so used to being around adults growing up that she had a difficult time fitting in with kids her age. I was working with Bobby at the Armory ( Now the Bill Sapp Center) .
Gil Carroll moves back home to coach football at Lumberton HS (NC). I decide to walk the sidelines again and keep stats ( actually found one of the copies of that same old stat book from the 60s that I had made) and Lindsay wants to go with her daddy and she walks with me trying to help me with yardages and numbers.
I notice her watching the trainers and assistants and asking me questions as she always did. Week after week she becomes more familiar with the coaches. She becomes friends with one in particular. Paul Hodges. Assistant football coach, head baseball coach, father of Morgan, and husband of the late Angie. I am not going to go into details. I just want to say to You that your love, patience, graciousness that you have always showed with both Morgan and Angie was a life lesson for every player, bat girl, manager and anyone else close to the Lumberton Program.
Coach Read and Mrs Read , Your grandson Mac played baseball for Coach Hodges and saw a man confronting difficult times in his everyday life and dealing with them day after day after day after day.
It is a life lesson learned that has nothing to do with winning and losing on the field of competition. But it is a life lesson learned because of the opportunities athletic competition provides. Unless you were an athlete under Paul you didn’t get that life lesson up close and personal. Mac saw something very special and will be a better man for the experience. My daughter Lindsay also saw the exact same thing and is a better person for it.
Coach, had I not been given the chance back in the mid 60s to get involved with that stat book, it is very likely my daughter Lindsay would not have been involved with the athletic program as she was not an athlete. Her interest in athletics came from hanging out with me and she found somewhere that she could fit in. She was able to learn from Coach Hodges as we in this room learned from you and Coach Brooks, Coach Tyndall, Coach Collins, Coach Conner and all those other men and women whose 1st name is spelled C O A C H.
As Lindsay struggles to cope with her mother’s illness and the birth of her daughter, I have to believe watching Coach Hodges for 3 years has helped prepare her for these days ahead.
Coach Read; You taught us that Its not what the final score of a game that matters 40 -50 years later. Its what we learned while preparing to play the game that matters On and off the field. You taught us life lessons and gave us something we could always belong to and this shy little boy that became a father is forever grateful for the chance to be a part of something very special.
Cary, Allison, and Kathy and especially you Mrs. Read.
Each of us that ever walked on the field or the court, or in a study hall, or in a hallway, or sat in his little fishing boat will be forever grateful for the precious gift you gave Lumberton High School and its athletes.