Being a water boy inspired me to coach

Published 7:22 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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In the fifth grade I moved back to Washington halfway through the school year. In the sixth grade I wanted to be a manager for the legendary Coach Wagner. My father said I would have to ask him because he wouldn’t do it for me. I went to the gym that day when I got the nerve because Coach Wagner always walked through the gym on the way to his car.

I ran up to him and asked him if I could be his water boy for him the next year. He responded, “I will call you before next August”.
He replied! I thought the time would never stop creeping by before the telephone call. I had announced it in class one day and everybody laughed at me. Finally, the night came and sure enough it was the Legend himself. He asked me if I could make every practice and I said that I could. Mom had arranged for Ted Day and the late Phil Moore to carry me to and from practice each day. Ted lived in the Singleton ‘s old house and Mr. Fields lived beside me in a trailer.

I remember one time after the Wilson game that Coach took us to Parker’s BBQ. The late Larry Poore had the worst game of his career and was feeling so sorry for himself that he didn’t want his BBQ. Larry played hard that night, but didn’t care to eat. He motioned to me and I scuffed right up. I think that was my first time eating BBQ and it was delicious!

I didn’t know that experience would prepare me for coaching but I knew all the plays by heart. I didn’t how much time coaches took preparing a player for a game and how much time they spent away from their families. Everything isn’t roses but everything was roses when you are twelve years old.

It when we took a chartered bus up to the Duke/ Georgia Tech game that I felt my oats. I had ridden home with Ted, got to be on the sidelines with my heroes and now was riding a chartered bus with all my friends.

It prepared me to coach. I could never thank that group of men enough for preparing me to coach. They taught how much it meant to sacrifice and the difference in winning and losing. Thank you for all the lessons!!

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

Harold Jr.