Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Friday night and a lousy mourning

Dad always stood at the north end of the football field.
There he was, on what back then was a cinder track.
Dad watched intently, but he hardly uttered a word. Regular as a Timex watch. That is, until Timex began manufacturing its watches in China. Those keep lousy time.
Dad’s timing was impeccable.
It is now called the Tom Evans Field at Walled Lake Central High School. After Dad died, they erected the sign.
The Walled Lake Central Vikings were on the road for a Division 1 regional championship game in Utica against Eisenhower Friday night.
Eisenhower took advantage of its guests, defeating the Vikings 38-21. Eisenhower advances to a semifinal game against Detroit Cass Tech. The Technicians got past De La Salle 6-0 on a touchdown scored late in the fourth quarter.
Cancer is a thieving bastard. It stole Dad away some years ago.
He started out as a teacher and coach at what was then Walled Lake High School and later became the district athletic director.
When Walled Lake Western opened for the 1969-70 school year, Walled Lake High became Walled Lake Central.
There are now three high schools in the expansive district with the addition of Walled Lake Northern out on Bogie Lake Road.
Dad and Muddy Waters were buddies at Michigan State University.
Muddy got out of school a year before Dad and he came to Walled Lake as a high school teacher and coach. Muddy called my dad one day and told him the school needed a driver’s education instructor.
Great, said Dad. There was just one problem. Dad did not know how to drive. Born and raised in Chicago, there was never any need for a car. He traveled by bus or took “the L.”
Dad took a driver’s training course in Lansing himself and then came down for the job interview. He got the job.
Dad was supposed to play basketball and baseball at Michigan State, but those plans were interrupted by World War II. Just a few weeks into his freshman year, he enlisted in the Navy.
When the war ended, he went back to East Lansing, but he did not play any sports.
Still, games remained very important to him. Especially those games played by his three sons.
He attended most of our games. The ones he could not get to, he’d ask about.
After the infrequent baseball game he could not make, Dad would ask if we got any hits. Then he’d ask if we had struck out. If the answer was yes, he’d ask if we had swung at the last pitch.
Swinging implied effort, and effort was very important to Dad.
Dad would’ve loved the effort expended at Swinehart Field in Utica Friday night. Both Eisenhower and Walled Lake Central enjoyed outstanding seasons leading up to the regional championship contest.
Coach Bob Meyer’s Walled Lake Central squad reached the Division 2 semifinals last season, but when the Vikings moved up a division this year and had a 6-3 record during the regular season, they were expected to make a quick exit from the playoffs. Central became even more of a long shot when it drew defending Division 1 state champion Lake Orion in the first round.
The Vikings beat the Dragons 20-17, then faced a strong Clarkston team in the district final and overpowered the Wolves 45-26.
Coach Bob Lantzy’s Eisenhower squad is enjoying another outstanding season. The Eagles are champions of the MAC Red Division. They emerged from the rugged league competition with a 5-0 record and will take an 11-1 mark into the semifinals.
Yep, despite the final score, Dad would’ve loved Friday night’s game. I would’ve loved watching it with him, too. From the south end of the field.
Cancer is a thieving bastard.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home