Saturday, September 05, 2009

Folk Wisdom: Slopping Hogs

"The Lord won't feed the pigs, if you won't tote the slop bucket."
-Coach Nick Hyder c. 1965

Nick Hyder (L) and Wright Basemore (R)

Coach Hyder is legendary in Georgia. After coaching the mighty Chieftains of West Rome High, my alma mater, he was called down to the ultimate high school football town, Valdosta, Georgia. His career record in football was 302-48-5. He was the first coach in Georgia to reach 200 wins in 20 years and 300 wins in 30 years.
In 1996 Nick died suddenly of a heart attack in the cafeteria at Valdosta High School. He was buried in a custom casket - Wildcat Black and Gold - donated by the previous Valdosta legend, Coach Wright Basemore who had time before his own death several years later to have a second edition of the casket made.
I knew Coach Hyder as our baseball (124 wins-67 losses) coach in the mid sixties when I got to sit by him game after game and record the balls, strikes, hits, and other stats. Since I could figure batting averages and use complete English sentences to communicate with the sports editor of the local paper, and since I couldn't hit or catch, I settled for being the scorekeeper for Coach Hyder. I got to interact with him a lot during the games. I enjoyed that much more than the geometry class I took from Nick. He was a good teacher, as I recall, but I recall other stuff more than the geometry.

One thing that I admire about Hyder is that he refused to use foul language with the kids. Anyone who knows me knows that I too dislike crude language. I admire those who can express themselves more creatively than with repetitive scatalogical or profane words. He set high standards for himself and for his players and students.

An aside: A few years ago a friend cast me as a crazed murderer in an independent movie. In it I had to be... well, a crazed murderer. Those kinds of folks are generally very profane. The script was improvisational. I imagined my berserk character wildly and profanely berating the object of his hate. So I cussed. And we reshot the scene several times. I found the cussing easier each time. When I saw the scene on screen, I was appalled. My friend left little on the cutting room floor. The cussing went on and on. Coach Hyder would have had my hide, and my mother may if it ever gets shown publicly. I cussed more in that one day than I have during the total other days of my sixty-two years.

Another fellow has posted notes on a football speech Nick gave in the 80s. You can check that out here.

I wish I had a better memory or had been a disciplined journal keeper. The man had a way with words. My classmate (and West Rome's blazing little running back of the sixties) Dick Sapp posted the quote on a friend's Facebook wall recently and I stole it.

So this is the first of occasional postings of Folk Wisdom, the bits of good word choices, apt images, or sage advice that crop up in our every day interaction with other folk.

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