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

Kinston2
BobLee
April01/ 2019

BL LOGO

“… the good is oft interred with their bones”

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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:

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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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BobLee

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Doug
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Doug

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

Former96Heel
Guest
Former96Heel

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.

70sTarheel
Guest
70sTarheel

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

Carolina Del Nord
Guest

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

70sTarheel
Guest
70sTarheel

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

Mayberry Jim
Guest
Mayberry Jim

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

ENC1
Guest
ENC1

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… Read more »

Earl.Alabama
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Earl.Alabama

“… 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.”
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I’ve never been to Kinston… probably never will; but colorful lines like that one keeps me addicted to BLSays. Thanks as always BobLee.

Former96Heel
Guest
Former96Heel

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?

Robert Kennel
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Robert Kennel

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?”

thailand
Guest
thailand

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… Read more »

Robert Kennel
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Robert Kennel

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.

Lonnie baker
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Lonnie baker

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

Porgie
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Porgie

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?

BC.in.PV
Guest
BC.in.PV

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

Doug
Guest
Doug

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

Doug
Guest
Doug

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

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

BobH
Guest
BobH

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.

robedixon
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robedixon

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