Sunday, November 13, 2011

Put Me In Coach

Oh, put me in, Coach - I`m ready to play today.  
Put me in, Coach - I`m ready to play today… 

As we traveled to the funeral, my mind was filled with an assortment of conflicting emotions. I looked forward to visiting with my relatives and seeing my mom and dad but my heart ached for the loss of my dear uncle and the sadness his immediate and extended family was feeling. It’s ironic how a funeral becomes a family reunion. The despair of losing a loved one is evident but at the same time memories of good times are revived.

My uncle was a great man. I knew it but it was reaffirmed today. He was born in 1926 and was my mother’s oldest brother. He grew up in a small town called Jayton, Texas and went to school there through the tenth grade. The family moved to Wolfforth, Texas, and he graduated from Frenship High School in 1944.

Sonny served in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne, from 1944 to 1946. The interesting thing about that is my nephew is in the same division. They talked about it at the family reunion this summer. I thought it was cool and it made me proud.
U.S.Army, 101st Airborne. Hooah!

Wilford “Sonny” Arthur, influenced many in his life. He was a teacher and a coach. He began his coaching career in 1950 at Pettit, Texas. The population was about 100 people. Now, the town does not even appear on the state map and the 2000 population is unknown. He went on to Spade, Texas then back to his hometown, Jayton, Texas.
Pettit HS, Pettit, TX Photo courtesy Stephen Taylor

Sonny coached in Jayton from 1952 to 1967. Until the last three years of his time there he was the only coach. Finally, another coach was hired to help with the girl’s athletic program. During his career in Jayton he had forty-four straight wins in football. Five of those were trips to Regional, which at that time was as high as you could go. Besides the success in football he also had thirty-one straight wins in basketball with two trips to Regional. As coaches do, Sonny moved to another school to coach for six more years. At Ropesville, Texas, he added even more wins to his successful coaching career. Overall, he achieved a lifetime record of 73% wins in football and 69% in basketball. That’s by far better than the average bear!
Jayton Jay Birds

After coaching, Sonny began his career as a Superintendent of Schools in Quail, Texas. He stayed there for six years then moved to Lakeview, Texas and stayed there as Superintendent until his retirement in 1989.

Retirement didn’t mean stop working to Sonny. He took care of his ranch and was active in the community, especially as a fan of the Jayton Jaybirds athletics program. He and my aunt Ruth, were honored as Fans of the Year in 2008.

Perhaps one of the things Sonny was most proud of in his coaching career was his induction into the 6-man Coaches Hall of Fame. He is famous for his experience in this area. I remember once when I was at a training with a friend in Waco, that we went down to the hotel lounge to hang out a bit. It was when former Texas Tech coach, Spike Dykes, was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. The room was filled with active and retired coaches. My friend had a brother who was also a coach and she knew some of the people there so we started visiting. I mentioned that my uncle was a coach, and said his name. The majority of the people in the room knew him! He was not only well known but highly regarded in the coaching circle.

The church where the funeral was held was packed with people. One of his former students was asked to pay homage to Sonny. He asked how many in the congregation had been coached by Coach Arthur. An incredible number stood up. It was heartwarming to see how his influence affected these boys, old men now, so much that they came, years after high school, to pay respect to their ‘coach’. I can only hope that in my career in education I may impact one tenth of the people Coach Arthur inspired in his lifetime. I’ll forever hear him call me ‘hon’ and tell me I get prettier every year. Sonny, you’ll be missed.

 Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!
We`re born again, there`s new grass on the field.

The only advantage to traveling long distances, to whatever event, and not driving, is that there is a lot of knitting time. I finished another cowl, just needing blocking, and think that I have found the never ending skein of sock yarn! It’s part of one cowl, a complete other cowl and there’s still some left.
One cowl, two cowl...

I had thought I’d finish it in the second cowl but if I had continued to knit until it was gone it would have been long enough for a giraffe’s neck! As it is, I stopped and I’ll figure out something to use it with.
It keeps going and going and going...

If you’ve not seen Our Creative Spaces, head on over! I missed this week’s deadline, with all that was going on, but there is plenty to see. Check it out!

Well, it was a great weekend and I’m ready to hit the week with a positive attitude. I’ll give it my best shot. It’s just a game and I’m ready to play.

Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today.
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today…


  1. What a great story about your uncle! I'm sorry for the loss but so glad you have such good memories of him. Sounds like everybody else does too!

  2. Thank you Miss Bee! You are always so sweet.

  3. What a nice tribute to your uncle. I'm so sorry for your loss.