A Quarterback “Breaks A Leg” …. Twice!

March21/ 2011

This is not about Joe Theisman.  This is about an All-American kid who has grabbed TWO of the most coveted brass rings on any high school merry-go-round – Quarterback of the football team …. AND The Lead in the school play.  We all still remember The QB and The Lead in our high school play.  Especially if The Play was “Phantom”!

And BobLee gives a quick thumbnail of Week One of The You-Know-What.

I’ve only know Garrett Long peripherally but I know his daddy well and I know his granddaddy really well.  Garrett’s athletic skills have been apparent for many years.  Both dad and granddad passed along “good genes”.  He’s always stood out among his classmates.  He has always had “that look” that says “that good looking kid is a high school jock.”

Garrett is 100% “old school” high school athlete.  Clair Bee might write a Chip Hilton book about him.  Not nary one tattoo …. nor any desire to get one.  If he even gave it a passing thought his mamma and grandmamma would have something to say about it …. and it would not be favorable.  Not nary a cock-eyed ball cap has ever set sideways on Garrett’s handsome head.  He has the kind of frame at 6’5 and 215 that uniform companies want as their catalogue models.  His “old school” is North Raleigh Christian Academy.  A major benefactor in the early development of NRCA was former UNC QB Paul Miller.

When I think of young Garrett I think specifically of two phone calls I received from his granddaddy.  #1 was three years ago.  Garrett was attending an FCA summer camp at Black Mountain.  Participating in a tug-o-war he blew out his knee.  A form of “breaking his leg”.   A bit of background….

Granddaddy spent 25+ years enthusiastically recommending that young people turn their lives over to The Lord and follow His Plan for their lives.  Darn good advice …. but easy to forget when its your grandson, the budding young quarterback, with the busted up knee.  Grandad was a tad distraught.  My advice to him on the phone that day became legendary; oft-repeated in future assemblies.

 “So, you think Your Plan for Garrett might be better than God’s Plan for Garrett?  This blown knee doesn’t fit Your Plan?  Is that what I’m hearing?”

As with many of my comments; I was but a humble vessel reminding him, his son Mike and grandson Garrett what they already well knew.  We managed to get thru that episode with prayer … and a good orthopedist.

Garrett attended various Quarterback camps thru high school and developed well.  NRCA has “good” private school football, not great.  Garrett was not surrounded by too many great skilled athletes.  This past season a new coach decided to move Garrett to tight end much to the chagrin of several of Garrett’s relatives.  “God does have a wonderful plan for Garrett” but that Plan hasn’t always been obvious.

Garret will be attending Liberty University in the Fall and will be continuing his football career on the collegiate level.

Phone call #2 from Grandaddy Albert came this past Fall.

“Garrett has been chosen to play the lead in NRCA’s production of Phantom Of The Opera.”  ……. silence.

I could sense in his voice that he was bumfuzzled by this unexpected news.  This was NOT in “the plan”.  Would his young stallion be gelded.  Would he have to wear leotards and “toe shoes”?  Was this like “Hair” where they run around nekkid and act out overtly sexual themes?  Once again Grandad needed reassurance.  Once again I was firm.

“This is wonderful and a tremendous opportunity for Garrett.   You WILL be positive and encourage him 1,000%.  And so will Mike.  I’m not offering that as an option for either of you.  

“Do they get nekkid …”

You WILL support this great opportunity 1,000%.”

“Are you sure they don’t get nekkid.  Are you sure he won’t have to kiss another boy?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

Garrett was “discovered” by the school’s drama coach in October while foolin’ around with his football buddies singing country songs in the cafeteria.

After months of practice, NRCA’s 2011 production of “Phantom” was this past weekend.  Blondie and I were center stage, four rows back in the VIP Section along with assorted Long family friends.  I was assigned to “control Albert”.  I’m not sure who was assigned Garrett’s mamma.  They’da had to pay me for THAT job.

Garrett was an outstanding Phantom.  He nailed it!  His “Music of the night …..” would have drawn praise from Michael Crawford and Andrew Webber had either been in attendance.  Neither were.  His presence dominated the stage, exactly as Webber wrote it.  His body language and gestures perfectly captured the tortured genius exiled by fate to the sewers beneath the Paris Opera House.

This was a high school production.  There were opening night glitches.  The audience winched for their family members involved in the production.   Some were obvious, some not so much.  Garrett’s mic went dead at the beginning of Act Two – Scene 8.  Like a QB getting a bad snap, Garrett adjusted …. and made the play.

To combine theatrical and orthopedic metaphors ….. Once again, Garrett Long “broke a leg”. 

Garrett’s run out for his curtain call was goosebumpy epic.  Grandaddy was grumpy over the mic problem and was demanding some audio nerd’s head on a platter.  I jerked a knot in him reminding him …. “Garrett was terrific.” …… “Wasn’t he? Yes he was, now clap loudly.  And he didn’t have to kiss a boy ….”   The Phantom’s grandaddy almost smiled.

Twenty five years from now, barring The Rapture or global meltdown, NRCA’s Class of ’11 will reunite.  Garrett Long will probably attend.  He will have a Hallmark card family and, no doubt, be well into the Grand Plan that God has in store for him.  But to his NRCA classmates, Garrett Long will always be ….

“The Quarterback & The Phantom”



We never fully shed the shadow of …
“who we were in high school”. 



BobLee on Week One:

There are now FOUR major college programs competing with NC State for a new saviour coach.  They each have access to all the scoop on all the likely possibilities.  As each slot is filled it will open another slot.  Arkansas, Oklahoma, GaTech and Tennessee all have fists full of $$$ and alums full of champagne wishes and caviar dreams and full of themselves.   Grab ahold and ride the rumor roller coaster.

  Re: Tennessee ….. FINALLY an institution fires “a Sgt Schultz”.  UT didn’t grab their ankles and look the other way.  Who’s athunk the last bastion of collegiate integrity would be in  Knoxville !!!

Butler’s Hot Coach Brad Stevens isn’t going anywhere.  Read our NewsFlash to understand why.

 VCU AD Norwood Teague is selling his old UNC memorabilia on ebay to raise the $$$ it will cost him to keep his Hot Coach Shaka Smart.  Richmond Chamber of Commerce has copyrighted “City of Hoops” for the new city slogan at least for this week.

Technology has made a referee’s job, always perilous, now darn impossible.  Timing mechanisms are now faster than the human brain.  No officials reaction time can compete and EVERY school that loses is convinced “the refs were ‘agin us … they are jealous of us!”  “Us” being whoever has the lowest score at 00:00. ….. who knew “the whole country is jealous of Morehead State”.

Is EVERY team “out to prove all our critics are wrong.”  Can EVERY team say “It’s us against the world.”  No one “believes in us but us”.   Can we call a moratorium on trite clichés?

I like the new TV format.  Only the last 2:00 are really necessary but it’s nice to see whatever you want to see.

The Big East still leads in full arm tattoos.  That’s 4-5 years as “most tattooed” conference.

I refuse to consider those early “play-in games” as “the first round”.

I’m glad Kansas State lost.  I don’t like their coach.  I think he runs a thug program.  The people at K-State don’t care what I think.  Lots of fans at UNC and NCState don’t care what I think either.

You KNOW Larry Who II and his Mamma are watching. Bwhahahaha!

Two weeks from now 84% of you will not be able to name more than 8 of The Sweet Sixteen.  Fame is fleeting.

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