Write Again … He caught his train

Published 4:05 pm Monday, March 21, 2016

What a real blessing it is to enjoy reading. Those of us who love and value books feel that we are so very fortunate.

I feel especially blessed because I enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction, and many variations of subjects and genres therein. My life has truly been enriched by my love of reading. Those of you who share these same affinities understand. Non-readers, well, let’s just say we’re not all alike in what interests us.

Which brings me to today’s topic.

My friend Ray Midgett let me read his copy of “Sports in North Carolina” by Charlie Harville, a well known sports broadcaster in his day.

The book, published in 1977, had a foreword by Coach Dean Smith, who wrote that Charlie Harville was “One of the finest sports broadcasters in the South.” Smith called it “… an informative and entertaining book about the athletic life of a great state.”

Indeed it is. Let me share with you just one small entry, after which I’ll tell you why it’s of special interest to me.

“There has been some professional boxing in the state from the early days until the present time. When I was a boy, bouts were held in an arena on High Street across from the railroad station in High Point. I can recall an exhibition there by W. L. ‘Young’ Stribling, a Georgian who was a heavyweight contender (he once fought Jack Dempsey for the title).

“Stribling boxed one of the local stars, and the promoter asked the visitor to prolong the show by carrying the hometown lad for a few rounds. Stribling said that he had to catch a train and hadn’t planned on being in town very long. The fight ended when he kayoed his opponent in the first round. Apparently he made his connection without any trouble.”

“Young” Stribling. So many times did I hear that name growing up. You see, he was in school with my father — Lanier High School — in Macon, Georgia, in the mid-20s.

My father told me that “Young” Stribling’s dad wouldn’t let him play football. He didn’t want him to injure his hands.

There are a lot of stories out there, folks.

And a lot of memories.