Now Playing: Revolution 1, by The Beatles. “You say you got a real solution. Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan. You ask me for a contribution. Well, you know, we’re all doing what we can. But if you want money for people with minds that hate, All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.”
A lot of Carolina fans don’t want Sidney Lowe to be fired as basketball coach at N.C. State University. That’s because he’s not a very good coach. The Wolpfack was picked to finish fourth this year, and it came in 10th.
Me, I don’t want El Sid fired either. But for completely different reasons.
No. 1, I always liked and respected him as a player.
But even that has little to do with my wanting him to stick around.
The real reason is he reminds me of a guy I used to play basketball with, when I was growing up just outside South Boston, Va.
I grew up playing ball. You’d think I would have gotten better with all the time I put in on the court. But between lack of height – I’m 5-7 at best – lack of speed and lack of shooting ability, I never was very good. That’s OK, I loved playing, and that’s all that really counts.
My best friend growing up, Mike Lipford, and I used to play every day after school. We’d even nearly every day in the blazing hot summer, sometimes after a shift working in tobacco – hell, sometimes we’d play during lunch break. We were that crazy about it. And Mike was good, high-school team good (and I must mention here that my high school, the Halifax County Senior High School went to the state Final Four all three years I attended. Among the teams standing in our way was Moses Malone’s Petersburg High School squad.).
Anyway, Mike and I met and more-or-less befriended a lot guys along the way playing pickup ball.
The best player we played with then was probably Kenny Harris, a smallish guy (taller than me, of course), who could handle the ball, pass and shoot like crazy. Then there was Woody, tall and kind of a bully but a pretty good player; Theon, who had long arms, an easy laugh and was a really nice guy (he sort of made sure the games never got out of hand), and our schoolmate Willie Carrington, whom we called Patrick when we played on the asphalt courts outside Cluster Springs Elementary School.
When we got older, we played on the outdoor courts at C.H. Friend Elementary in SoBo. That’s where I met Pieface. That’s the only name I ever knew him by. Pieface loved to hoop. I don’t know what he did for money. He was older, about 6-4 or 6-5, thin legs but a bit husky, shall we say, in his upper body. He could shoot, rebound and he liked to pass, too. Even to unathletic, not-very-good shooting guys. Obviously, he had a round head – that’s how he got the name, which he never seemed to mind.
Here’s the thing: He and El Sid are dead ringers for one another. I’ve always thought so. Sid excelled at passing when he was a player. I’m sure he wishes his team had this year. But they didn’t. Plus his team had some unfortunate injuries and illnesses this season. Not to mention he has a couple of headcases who don’t really seem all that interested in playing college ball. Truthfully, they haven’t had a very good run under Sid.
But if they fire him, I’ll miss old Sid. Like tea and madeleine cake, he evokes memories. Good luck to you, Sid, whatever happens. And good luck to Pieface, whereever you are.
“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
_ Saul Bellow