Learning to compete was a valuable life lesson

Published 4:57 pm Monday, January 8, 2024

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Older boys in our neighborhood were responsible for our competitive spirit. From the likes of Marshall Todd Singleton to Steve and Mickey Cochran to the late Billy Pittman and don’t let me forget Ted Day, who once was our coach! Ted took me to and from practice every day when I was a manager for Coach Wagner and couldn’t drive. They had more influence than they could imagine.

The fact that the Pam Pack always had a winning team and they were part of that team didn’t hurt. Every Friday night you could expect a win. The band won too, and Jimmy Larkin always won when it came to competitive bands. In fact, the marching Pam Pack represented the state of North Carolina in the John F. Kennedy inaugural parade.
The girls always had to be competitive. They were the cheerleaders and majorettes for Mrs. Perkins and Mr. Larkin and they competed for a spot on the squad. Betty and Jane had a role model in Charlie Mike Smith.

Academics were competitive also. We strived to be highest in our class, except me! I was never one to be smart and I wasn’t competitive in that arena. I’d leave that to the smart ones like Betty and Jane and Dave Tayloe and many others. I went to school to see my friends and play sports. Mostly to see my friends.

Competition was everywhere. From the older ones in the neighborhood passed down to younger ones. It was even handed down from our parents. Our parents handed it down in ways that mattered. It was the way they did their jobs and worked to provide their families with the things they did not have as children.

Competing was great and something that no one could ever take from us. Our livelihoods depended on it and it was what made us the citizens we are today. Some did not have the best of times but others did. I have to keep that in mind when writing each week because I had a great childhood and it was because I had to compete for everything I got. Competition is great and we competed for everything. Thank you to the older ones for showing us how to compete, It trickled down from you to us.

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

Harold Jr.