“… but, the Good is oft-interred with their bones”

    Kinston2
    BobLee
    April01/ 2019

    BL LOGO

    “… the good is oft interred with their bones”

    .

    I told a friend last Friday that I was “going back home” to a local Hall of Fame awards dinner.  He replied Have a good time. You always make those sound like fun…

    I did “have a good time”.  To “make it sound like fun” will be easy.

    My first “things like this” happened 35+ years ago… in a far away place called Kansas City. My 5-6 years in KCMO were far more pleasant that Roy’s Boyz’ most recent visit. OUCH!

    I was Sports Director for a fancy hotel called The Crown Center. We hosted all the visiting pro sports teams as well as the annual fancy shindigs put on by The Royals and The Chiefs. … There was this one time when Howard Cosell and Reggie Jackson and three hookers… but let’s not go there today. This is about fancy sports award dinners.

    Those affairs were grand indeed considering the A/V technology available “back then”. 1,000+ KC’s gliterrati turned out dressed to the 9’s with their trophy wives in tow. National celebrities filled the dais in The Grand Ballroom and I recall musing “Gee, can it possibly get any better than this…?”

    Fast forward to a recreation center gymnasium… on the former site of a slaughterhouse… across the highway from a state mental hospital… with an A/V system that worked like every A/V system in every gymnasium always does… a lot of “I can’t understand a word… can you?”.

    Several hundred+ “local glitterati” were on-hand… with trophy wives in tow and…  Yes… for this Internet Legend – in many ways – it WAS “better than” those halcyon days in Kansas City.

    I almost did not go this time. Thursday I get a call from “Leo” – “You’re coming to the Hall of Fame dinner… aren’t you?” … I was busted. Wherever he is on The Planet, Leo uses any excuse to come “back home”… he recently moved from Napa Valley to outside Atlanta and he was, of course, coming back.

    I’m 90 minutes away and I was wavering … “Oh sure… I’ll be there”… Leo and I chatted a few minutes about the onrushing National Apocalypse as well as Duke and UNC’s chances for the weekend… then signed off.

    “Who was that? asked Blondie. “Leo” … “You’re going aren’t you?” … “Yes” … “Good, you’ll have a good time. You always do. Stay at the goofy retro motel…”

    The “goofy retro motel” was about a “3” on a 1-10… but otherwise A Very Fine Time was had by all at:

    .

    The 2019 Kinston /Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame Awards Dinner.

    .

    Now – FINALLY – to the point of this rambling tale…

    From those glitzy “big city” affairs in KC… to the ever-improving North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame fetes … to the notorious George Whitfield Sports Hall of Fame “things” in Goldsboro … to … this gymnasium / “grand ballroom” on the site of the old slaughterhouse… with the sketchy sound system…

    IMO… events such as these MATTER.  Sure, at less sophisticated levels they get a bit “HOKEY” but – by golly –

    HOKEY IS A GOOD THING.

    Maybe Hokey events like this can slow down America’s Self Destruction by a few days.

    Even if that is overly-optimistic… at least some of us will face our mutually assured obliteration with pleasant memories of recently shared experiences with friends of long standing. … So it was this past Saturday night in My Home Town.

    NOTE: Would Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have enjoyed The KLCSHoF shindig?  Probably not.  Alexandria Who?

    A small town (20,000 or so give/take) honoring its “sports heroes” is hardly a Big Deal even to neighboring small towns. The seismic impact of last Sat night was not felt in Greenville, Goldsboro, New Bern, et al. Hell, maybe the folks 10 miles away in LaGrange “The Garden Spot” were unaware. None of Kinston’s gathered “glitterati” seemed to care.

    It was Kinston like Tex Ritter describing Hillbilly Heaven…. There was Reid… and Dorsey… and Stinky… and Claude… and The Twins – Ray/Jay… and Larry… and BettyLou… and Willie & Barbara… and Teena… and Tall Paul… and Titus & Phyllis… and The Gwaltneys… and and and… and 3-4 folks who I have no clue who they were that gave me hearty hugs and handshakes and said how great it was to see me again… ??

    The KLCSHoF is a dozen or so years old.  All the obvious inductees have already been inducted. The legendary coaches… the athletes who starred at “the next level” or even “that mythical level beyond the next…”.

    By the time a Hall of Fame sports or otherwise gets to its 3rd – 4th – 5th induction ceremony, the pickins’ start getting kinda arguable… to some observers.

    Of this year’s dozen inductees, I was familiar with ten of’em.  Six of’em I count as personal friends.

    I have a local reputation as “… ask BobLee he remembers all that stuff.” I’m also renown as “the guy who wrote that column about Cotton.” – a classmate who died suddenly 6-7 years ago. One can be locally renown for far less noble reasons… for sure.

    .Buck Fichter

    Wilbur “Buck” Fichter was this year’s WHO? … but when his bio was read no one questioned Buck’s creds.

    “Buck” Fichter was a local high school pitcher in the early 50s who was on Wake Forest’s NatChamp team … “Buck” went on to become a renown Brilliant Engineer with freakin’ NASA. HOLY COW!

    The Wilbur “Buck” Fichters of this world is one of many reasons I am such a strong advocate for “hokey local events held in recreation centers with sketchy sound systems”.

    I have traveled this country far and wide enough to appreciate that “My Home Town” is Special… BECAUSE It is “My Home Town”.

    If you are from a “small town” I hope yours has such activities as this. I hope Yours is Special… Because It’s Yours.

    If you are from Hickory… or Shelby… or Albemarle… or Cape Girardeau MO or Tucumcari or Valdosta or … chances are there have been Wilbur “Buck” Fichters that grew up there.

    He/She did something sorta kinda noteworthy in sports or otherwise… and merits a 5-minute recognition from the local glitterati… and their name on a dusty wall plaque somewhere.GeorgeWhitfield

    My Home Town – thanks to the bulldog persistence of – yes – The George Whitfield – him again – has such a process in place. Will Kinston’s process outlive George… be picked up and carried forth by others?

    “They say” the world will end in 12 years. Maybe George can hang on that much longer.

    George Whitfield runs a Hall of Fame Ceremony like Captain Bligh ran the HMS Bounty.  Inductees “walk the plank” if they get wordy and violate George’s 4-Minute Rule.

    .

    Are there other “Buck” Fichters to be found… deserving to be re-remembered if only for one night … in a recreation center gymnasium with a sketchy sound system… on the site of an old slaughterhouse… across from a state mental hospital… in someone’s home town.

    For, as Will Shakespeare lamented thru Julius Caesar…

    “The Evil that men do lives after them …The Good is oft-interred with their bones.”

    ##

    PS: Thank you George… Thank you Leo… and Thank you to all of my old (YIKES!) and dear friends of long standing… in My Home Town.

    .

    I DARE YOU to go to this LINK …. I DOUBLE DARE YOU! … SKIP THE AD!

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    2,000+ More BobLeeSays Columns … LINK

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    NOTE:  This column was posted three minutes before BREAKING NEWS about UNC Women’s Basketball.  My crack team of “Inside Sources” are “on it” …… COULD Be an April Fools Joke … but we don’t think so.

    .

    BobLee
    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      Stackhouse arrested for assault on a female. Charges dropped. Might as well put it out there. Some more good news from Kinston. The Felix Harvey Parkway will be extended to NC Highway’s 58 and 11 to alleviate all the traffic congestion caused by the Global Transpark. Thank you Jim Hunt. 😎

      http://www.espn.com/nba/story?id=1592292

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Hasn’t EVERY NBA player been accused of sexual assault real or otherwise? … no such thing as Too Many GTP jokes …

    • Former96Heel Reply
      3 months ago

      I can see Stack and Rasheed being good coaches. Certainly they can relate to a modern player much better than your normal coach. Malcolm Turner was far and away the smartest person I knew at UNC. He must see something in Stack’s ability to give him a shot there. of course an 0-18 conference set-up means there is nowhere to go but up. Vandy tribe also much more likely to grant someone a few years to build and recruit than the typical Power 5 school.
      I still think Malcolm will replace Adam Silver one day.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Jerry could be “like Avery Johnson at Alabama”… except Johnson DID have several years as an NBA HC before trying college coaching. It’s all about recruiting in college. Can Jerry “sell iceboxes to Eskimos”? The expectations at Vandy can’t be too high which helps Jerry’s chances.

    • 70sTarheel Reply
      3 months ago

      It’s apparently official. SI and others reporting a 6-year deal.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I knew he is friends with the Vandy AD. He (JS) does have some direct coaching experience in the NBA. The element of surprise is that his name has never come up before for coaching vacancies. … Now Jerry AND his UNC teammate Rasheed Wallace are both coaches. Wallace at Durham’s Jordan HS.

    • Carolina Del Nord Reply
      3 months ago

      The “Leo” being Leo Hart of course. Hope he’s doing well.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        It is… and he is doing very well. Recently relocated from Napa Valley to a winery NE of Atlanta.

    • 70sTarheel Reply
      3 months ago

      Stackhouse going to coach Vandy? That’s some HOF credential burnishing.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        It that Official ??

    • Mayberry Jim Reply
      3 months ago

      Clicked the link. Listened to the song real close. Must be this pollen making my eyes sting.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Do folks in Mt Airy still “… read the Good Book from Fri ’til Monday” ? I bet they do.

    • ENC1 Reply
      3 months ago

      Did not grow up in Kinston but competed against KHS and came a couple years after HS. Great sports town every since I watched Leo Hart in HS as a young boy. Once I came here to live have got to know many great people. My children grew up here and took advantage of the outstanding recreation department here. I really enjoy your stories about growing up in Kinston.

      Finally got to know Coach Jones and just a great person and coach as I competed against his teams in HS. Watched from the bench when my team defeated KHS and Cornbread Maxwell having no idea he would be a college/pro star…..Kinston is one of the best sports town in this state IMO.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Certainly as far as Basketball is concerned. For its relatively small size… its the Best NBA Source Per Capita in US. The City Recreation Dept along with Coach Jones and, before him Amos Sexton in the 50s, are credited with laying that foundations. KHS has also had several excellent BB coaches over the past decade continuing that tradition.

    • Earl.Alabama Reply
      3 months ago

      “… George Whitfield runs a Hall of Fame Ceremony like Captain Bligh ran the HMS Bounty. Inductees “walk the plank” if they get wordy and violate George’s 4-Minute Rule.”
      .
      I’ve never been to Kinston… probably never will; but colorful lines like that one keeps me addicted to BLSays. Thanks as always BobLee.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Thanks Earl. My appeal is somewhat restricted to bi-peds with a certain level of retentive “book learnin” which limits my audience market considerably. Glad you obviously qualify.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      NOTE: Someone inquired if Kinston native – the late – Charles “Amphibious” Shackleford is enshrined in the KLCSHoF. He is NOT… and it is doubtful he ever will be… despite his NCState and 5-6 years NBA career.
      .
      Charles did not distinguish himself in either scholarship/academics nor good citizenship. Neither of which are official criteria… but just sayin’. … being forever linked to arguably THE #1 Rivalry Jibe in Big Four BB History is also not a criteria.
      .
      FWIW: Jerry Stackhouse and “Cornbread” Maxwell were First Year Inductees…

    • Former96Heel Reply
      3 months ago

      Had to google Buck. If honoring someone who lived a life like his is hokey, count me in.

      re UNCWBB, I assume only about 6 people in Orange County are really concerned, maybe 8. But I can only assume this is the result of having jettisoned ‘the most ethical person I know’. How did they navigate without their moral compass?

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Buck Fichter totally validates the existence of The KLCSHoF! Buck Fichter’s Obituary – https://legcy.co/2HUttdk
        .
        I am surprised its been going on 18+ hours without “details” leaking on What Did Sylvia DO? If “Facts” don’t emerge very soon, the BS speculation will fill the void… and THAT, while Great Fodder, does not serve a useful purpose.

    • Robert Kennel Reply
      3 months ago

      For humor:
      New Bern indeed does have a similar HOF certainly with Bellamy and Bunting.
      I’m fortunate as well An announcement at school, a dinner primarily for inductees and families, and introduction at the Bears football get that night.
      At halftime I was being interviewed on live TV, and the concluding question came from a smart Alec whippersnapper as “Is it true, Mr Kennel that when you played you wore leather helmets?”
      Waiting for the tittering to subside, I looked directly into the camera, and said, “helmets?”

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I wonder if Dover and Cove City have Halls of Fame? I think BBQ caterers and trophy shops are the Big Winners with these affairs. They ARE indeed a vital part of Americana at least as we all knew it in the 50-60-70-80s. … sigh.

    • thailand Reply
      3 months ago

      Been quietly reading without responding (a bit lazy I’m afraid) for quite a while. But always broadly smiling and chuckling.away at your clever insights.
      .
      This one especially caught my eye.
      .
      The Paramount (in that great photo of downtown Kinston s where my Grandmother took me to see monster movies (w/o Mom knowing)–where I ducked down behind the seats (especially when that giant spider came creeping over the horizon)…….Dad’s office was down the street on the right near the tall building (The Hotel Kinston). Good ole Kinston…..those were the days. 🙂
      .
      And lovely Nancy lived up the hill on the right in that Tudor house Dr. Williams built for his family.
      .
      Keep em coming–I always read. Still in Thailand/Cambodia–came back in October for Broughton’s 50th–what a great time. Lunches at Mitch’s and walks around campus remembering old girlfriends and such…..Raleigh is hardly recognizable now, save for Mitch’s and a few other old hang-outs–the PR, etc.
      .
      Told old Coach Stutts at the reunion that I could have been a star receiver/cornerback for him if i had only weighed a bit mor than 110 pounds 🙂
      .
      My heart is thumping with thoughts of Nancy….. 🙂
      .
      Later–from Pattaya,
      .
      thailand

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        OMG – OMG !!! THAI IS BACK! … Soooo many “Where is that guy from Thailand… is he OK ??” Really Thai, you have quite a fan club here.
        .
        You got my note about Nancy and her older sister – Dottie – who passed away from breast cancer 3-4 months ago. We spoke of her at dinner on Saturday. “Nancy” has aged remarkably well as wife of a loyal lawyer. I bet you would still recognize her from 55 years ago.
        .
        PLEASE don’t be a stranger. YOU MATTER HERE!

    • Robert Kennel Reply
      3 months ago

      Good writing, good memories, and lasting importance. Fichter was the key pitcher for Coach Mock’s 1953 Legion team. I was fortunate to “thumb” over from New Bern to play with Buck and George. As the catcher, I knew how good he was and would be
      My only question is why it took so long to get Fichter inducted.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Why so long re: Buck Fichter? You have to ask George. I think there is a mysterious committee that picks’em but GW is privy to all that. I wondered if Buck’s exploits overlapped yours? His post-BB exploits are even more impressive with his stature as a Nuclear Engineer for NASA et al.
        .
        Does New Bern have anything to match the KLCSHoF? You… Bellamy… Bunting would all be First Ballot picks for sure.
        .
        Still no clarity on the UNC WBB Brouhaha ???

    • Lonnie baker Reply
      3 months ago

      Another fun read. You always are able to bring back lots of fun memories..

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        “Little Brother” Mike was in attendance. On the drive home I was assessing that I have ZERO hard feelings about anyone in/from Kinston. No “grudges” or axes to grind… or maybe I just have a poor memory for such things.

    • Porgie Reply
      3 months ago

      We had a trip planned that conflicted with the dates or otherwise, ME and I would have been there. Going back for her class Birthday Party this weekend.
      Just read the WBB staff at unc-ch put on administrative leave as a review is being made of the program. Is this the final shove under the bus?

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I have my elves digging into the UNC WBB “issue”… No reports yet. Seems to be catching everyone by surprise… that is everyone that cares about WBB.
        .
        You and ME woulda had a fine time with “all the usual gang”.

    • BC.in.PV Reply
      3 months ago

      BL, thanks for “taking me there.” Very enjoyable. I wonder if these types of gatherings will fade into oblivion considering society today.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        I fear they may NOT survive Bill. From Day One KLCSHoF has been sure to include our AfAm athletes (5-6 NBA players) but “small towns” are imperiled for many reasons. “Civic Pride” in general is not faring well these days…. Sigh. Enjoy such memories while we can…

    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      If’n pigs have ambition I’m guessing no. My little sister loved those FM commercials.

    • Doug Reply
      3 months ago

      Wish I’d known. Maceo “Live At Frosty Morn” would’ve been classic.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDrMGqSSKgw

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Maceo mighta been there. Two AfAms were inducted and they had sizable contingents of family/fans. Do you really think it was “every little piggie’s ambition…” to be a Frosty Morn sausage?

    • BobH Reply
      3 months ago

      So . . . that pic is looking sorta Northeast, IIRC. How much further down Queen Street to the right was the cafeteria? This takes me back about 55 years, to 1962.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        “Creech’s” had several locations but the one you likely mean was about two blocks below the Paramount Theater… next to The Court House.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      OK. Did you go to that LINK? Did you Skip The Ad? … if So… you can’t get that tune outta your head … GOTCHA!
      .
      “…. with picket fence and ramblin’ rose…”

    • robedixon Reply
      3 months ago

      Love the old Queen Street photo, oh and the music too.

      • BobLee Reply
        3 months ago

        Ahhh BD. You’re easy to please! 🙂

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