Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Peggy McCracken
Letter jacket evokes
high school memories
PECOS, Jan. 21, 2003 - Smokey the Boss dragged an old letter jacket from
his high school days to the office this morning, then had
the audacity to put it on to show it still fits. I hate him.
If I still had one of my maroon-and-white letter
jackets from Flomot, I probably couldn't even get it on,
much less snap or zip it up. I entered the freshman class and
the "B" basketball team at a skinny age 12, with black
high-top boys tennis shoes Daddy bought at Lacy Dry
Goods in Turkey.
Sister, the fashion plate, was too embarrassed to
wear the black shoes, but I was glad to get them.
It was that or play barefooted. I didn't even care
that my skinny legs looked like stilts sticking out of the
maroon satin uniform. I just wanted to play ball.
My first taste of basketball came in
8th grade, when we had a choose-up game one day at noon. I was one
of three forwards on the split court we used back in
the olden days, and made 8 points, bare feet and all.
That hooked me for life. I still can't walk past a
group shooting baskets without grabbing the ball and taking
a shot. The ball nearly always falls short of the
goal, because I misjudge my waning strength. It doesn't
keep me from trying, though.
After Daddy bought us the black shoes, I played in
a real game against Turkey, on their court. I was so
shy about attempting a goal that I would stand right under
it and feed the ball to another forward.
Finally, with much urging, I did try a shot and it
fell way short. Anyway, it was fun.
Once I got the bug, nothing could stop me. We
had democratic elections to determine team captains, and
my freshman year I was captain of the "B" team _ what
we would call junior varsity now. We went everywhere
the "A" team went, and played against the host school's
"B" team. Sister Mary, two years older and a junior, joined
me on the court and we mowed down the competition.
The next year, I made the "A" team, and Sister was
my substitute. She didn't get to play much, because I
was always there and never tired of playing.
I did sit out one game so she could play, but it
was pure misery. I think she was actually a better player
than I was and should have been a starter all the time.
We played two schools that went all out to win, even
if it meant playing rough. Silverton had some rugged
guards that gave me a hard time, but it was Matador I hated
They would stop at nothing to win, even to bribing
the referee. Those big girls would put a body block on
skinny little kids like me and knock us flat, then throw up
their hands to show they hadn't touched us.
My senior year, Matador put Frances Traweek on
me as guard. She was tall and skinny and stuck to me
There was no way I could get a shot off over
those long arms. And it was hard to outrun her because of
her long legs. She could dive like a swan, though, and I
enjoyed watching her in the Roaring Springs swimming pool.
Turkey also had some rough guards, and I had
one that kept kneeing me in a tournament at Flomot. I got
so angry that once when she planted that knee in my
stomach I balled up my fist and hit her in the mouth, adding a
fiery epithet (cuss word to you). Neither of us drew a foul
for that, but we both should have been thrown out of
Basketball is supposed to be a non-contact sport,
but it's hard to keep your hands off an opponent when she
is getting the best of you.
I played so rough with two of my nephews once
that they went in the house and complained to my sister.
Well, it was their own fault. If they hadn't been so good, I
could have beat them fair and square.
Life is like that. Sometimes we get frustrated
when things don't go our way and let our anger overrule
our sense of fair play. Solomon says don't do that.
"An angry man stirs up dissension, and a
hot-tempered one commits many sins." Proverbs 29:22, NIV
Do Hispanics all think alike?
A half-dozen national columnists have shared
their thoughts on Hispanic voters recently. Most
commented on the damage done to the Republican cause by
ex-senate majority leader Trent Lott's comments at a party for
retiring Senator Strom Thurman.
Lott had the bad taste to say that Thurman would
have been a good president if he had been elected when he
ran in 1948. Part of the party's platform back then was
support for segregation.
The gist of most of these columns is that Lott's
remarks show Hispanic voters that the Republican party is
this, or the Republican party is that, etc
Each column takes a swing at the racism people
took from Lott's remarks.
The bothersome thing in each of these columns is
not the point each tries to make, but rather the
universal willingness to lump all people who speak a version
of Spanish into one mindless lump of like-minded people.
If these columns were your only source of
information you would be convinced that everyone you can
classify by heritage as Hispanic has the exact same set of
values, the same goals and the same needs.
You could only assume that there are no
conservatives or liberals of Spanish origin, no Libertarians, or
Green Party types _ only a tightly knit group of
mostly-tan individuals who think alike and vote alike.
There appears to be a universal willingness to
classify all people of Spanish origin into one lump. Obviously,
all Hispanics are not of the same mind, and probably,
like other Americans, where they do think politically alike,
it is more because of social and economic forces in
their lives, not some shared ethnic or linguistic heritage.
The irony is that each of these columnist commits
a form of racism as they discuss the topic of racism
and universally criticize Lott for his remarks.
Of course, it is easy to fall into the same trap.
According to most polls, a clear majority of
Hispanics vote Democrat, and associate with the ideals of
the Democratic Party.
But, it is not their shared places of origin or
language or skin color that influences their votes; it is their
shared social and economic background.
As more and more Hispanics assimilate into
mainstream American culture, more and more will develop
political views that differ.
Then columnist may have to start referring to them
as Americans, or
democrats, or Republicans.
That would be a nice change.
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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