From the front porch to behind the plate

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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Growing up on 10th Street gave me many opportunities to have heroes, from Ted Day, Marshall Todd Singleton to Steve and Mickey Cochran.  Mickey graduated from high school a decorated athlete and left for UNC.  Now Mickey had a brother and sister, Steve and Sandra, and they lived one house away from me. I thought they had hung the moon because they were good athletes and they had others who came to visit.

Mickey would come home in the summer from UNC and work for the Washington Recreation Department.  That is where this story starts.  Mickey was in charge of the Small Fry League where I and others began playing baseball behind the high school on Ninth Street.  Phil Edwards, Lee Drake, Joe Stalls and I got our start playing Small Fry softball.  We had to use a softball to play with.  The names of the teams were Green, Blue and Red and we wore our T-Shirts proudly, the same color as our team.  Mine was green.

It was not a far walk down Telfair St. to the high school and my mom was always there, wearing her green shirt supporting her son’s team.  Other moms would do the same because fathers were working and could not attend.  Moms were special to a son and have always been just like daughters were special to a dad.  Moms were the doctors, cleaners, taxi cabs, cooks and in-between all of that, the buffer between their husband and son.  And mine was special!  She was always there sitting in the aluminum bleachers pulling for the Green team.

Now, I have been umpiring high school softball and baseball for six years and throughout the summer months.  I can hear the moms pulling for their individual son with each pitch and can hear the dad pulling for their daughter every inning.  Sometimes, not often, they can be heard above the crowd if they think you missed a call.  That is the family unit – pulling for one another!  Many times, it will be grandfather and grandmother pulling for their grandson or granddaughter.  “If you pay a dollar, you got the right to holler” that is what I keep telling myself as I umpire any game.

Thank you, Mickey, for the Small Fry League and the opportunity to compete because it only made us better the older we got.  Thank you for your patience and the time you spent away from your own family to help us make ours better.  Thank you also, for the many nights sitting on your porch with you and Steve. You are the only one that lives on Tenth Street now and you are the ROCK!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C!  The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.