The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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Unsung Heroes

By Julie Terry Cartner

Looking at her budget one more time, the coach shook her head in frustration. Her total budget for volleyball from which she had to provide meals, uniforms, and equipment, not to mention at least one overnight stay during tournament time, was far lower than needed.

Sighing, she looked at the clock. 11:00 at night, and she was still at work, the hallways and gym lit by the emergency exit signs. She’d prepared for her classes and practices, had graded all the papers and exams, and was once again staring in frustration at a budget that was not just impossible, it was insulting. Gathering her belongings, she trudged toward the nearest exit, her footsteps echoing eerily through the deserted building.

She didn’t resent the work. Her athletes deserved every consideration, and her students weren’t responsible for the world where men’s sports garnered more funding. She would do her best for all of them, her work ethic beyond reproach. But it was late, she was tired, and she had to be back in her office early for office hours, and then, after her classes, she had a meeting with the dean that she both anticipated and dreaded.

As she settled into sleep, she whispered a prayer of hope, that some way, somehow, she’d find a way to procure more funds, a way to continue her quest to promote women’s athletics and help young ladies feel respected for their skills.

The next day dragged by until it was time for her meeting. She’d decided on her approach. Despite her five-foot nothing stature, she’d enter the meeting, large and in charge. She’d be polite, but direct. Her athletes deserved no less from her.

After the salutations, she looked directly at the dean and stated, “I need more money for my athletes. It is unconscionable to send them to matches across the state and not provide money for meals.” She continued, “I have cut every corner I can. I bought discount shirts and sewed the numbers on. I do the laundry. We drive the old checker bus, even though I have to tie the doors shut to ensure they don’t pop open while we’re driving. And I convinced stores to donate volleyballs. Also, our nets need to be cabled to create the tension required by collegiate volleyball rules. That’s one thing I can’t do by myself.”

Conversation and negotiation followed, and after considerable give and take, and the words Title IX mentioned a few times, an agreement was reached. Neither party was completely happy, but both accepted this was a beginning. The coach would get bagged lunches from the cafeteria to feed the athletes, and the dean would add the net requirements to the top of the maintenance list.

“Now,” the dean asked, “Is there anything else?” his tone indicating that he desperately hoped the answer was going to be no.

His hopes were dashed when he met the fire in the coach’s eyes. “You know food and equipment are subjects that shouldn’t even be issues,” she answered. “They were just the most basic of needs. The girls can’t play without food, and the NCAA regulates the playing conditions. If we don’t meet their standards, we have no team. So no, that was just taking care of basics.”

“Okay,” he sighed, “What do you really want to talk about?”

Once again, using her trademark direct approach, she answered succinctly. “Scholarships.”

Watching his jaw drop, she continued. My athletes deserve this. Besides helping financially, scholarships show athletes they are valued.” She then added. “We won’t discuss how many football, wrestling, and men’s basketball scholarships are awarded each year, because I know you are aware, the imbalance between men’s and women’s sports is larger than the Grand Canyon.”

What could the dean say? She was right. He tried. “Next year…”

He barely got the words out. “No, Now.” She held firm.

“All right, you win. Is that it?”

She shook his hand. “For now,” she said with a smirk. “Until basketball season…”

He groaned.

*March is National Women’s History Month. For every woman who has been recognized for her contributions, there are dozens more unsung heroes who stayed out of the spotlight and quietly made a difference. This story is loosely based on one of these, Dr. Patricia Rice Whitley from Catawba College. Thank you, Coach, for all the barriers you did not just open; you obliterated.

Keep Yourself from Disappearing

By Marie Craig

Why is it important to compile family history?  It seems that there is no middle ground for feelings of desire to write down and save details about ancestors.  You either love it and spend many hours chasing data, or you just say, “They’re all dead; why does it matter?”  Hopefully, I can convert the disinterested.

     I feel that it does matter very much.  You’re the result of many generations of relatives with unique mannerisms, facial features, and language.  You need to know where those things came from.  Attitudes toward family and top priorities in your life can be altered for the good if you learn more about your family.  You might have had a stressful life as a child in dealing with harsh parents and unresponsive grandparents.  There’s always a reason for negative behavior.  But despite all their flaws, they’re still your family, and you need to learn about their childhoods and the things they endured.

     You only need to go back two or more generations, and you’ll find poor dirt farmers and blue-collar workers who really had to strive long hours to support their large families.  Everybody had to help just to make ends meet.  Our affluent young families and children have no idea how tough it was back then.  Interview the oldest person in your family about the Great Depression and World War Two.  Then you’ll get an appreciation for enjoying the good times that we have.  We have so much “stuff” that we must rent separate quarters to store our things that we probably never needed in the first place.

     You need to write down information about your parents, your grandparents, and relatives as far back as you can reach.  It’s a way to honor them and the way they enabled you to live the good life that you do.  You should share this data and family stories with your children and grandchildren.

     Consider these four generations — count them off on your fingers if you wish.  First, there’s you.  Then there’s your two parents.  Next come your four grandparents, and last are your eight great grandparents.  Quick, think of the name of one of your great grandparents.  Can you do it?

     Let’s do it again, but go the other way through time.  First, there’s you.  Then there are your children.  Next come your grandchildren, and last are your great grandchildren.

     If you don’t write your ancestors’ information down for future generations, chances are that years from now, your great grandchildren will have no idea who you are, and you will disappear!  Four generations are included in both examples above.  Do you want to disappear?

Worker Bees

By Gaye Hoots

I read the articles in the Enterprise honoring my classmate, Grimes Parker, who taught, coached, and organized a youth program that enabled him to have a positive influence on many young lives. My life was shaped by my teachers, coaches, and ministers, in addition to my family. Other male classmates who taught and coached were Charles Crenshaw and Charles Markland, who mentored our community youth as well. The females in our group who taught and became nurses are too numerous to list. We have a doctor and at least one minister.

Others were business owners, farmers, or worked for other businesses, quietly supporting their families, their churches, their community, and our youth. We are worker bees and the foundation of this country. We are not part of the one percent, and we rarely make headlines, but we have much more control over our lives than we may realize, particularly in an election year.

We have raised children and grandchildren who are building our communities, schools, medical care opportunities, churches, and youth activities. There are issues with crime and drugs, and we have not won all these battles, I lost a granddaughter to a drug overdose, and I know many strong, Christian families who have fought this battle too. It affects all socioeconomic levels. We do not close our eyes to this but try to build strong children to combat this. Youth sports, bands, church groups, and family activities are important, especially for children whose parents are battling issues and not present for their children. My girls work in the medical field and my granddaughter works with autistic children. Each time I read the Enterprise, I see classmates and their children and grandchildren who help build a strong community and youth.

My great-granddaughter celebrated her eighteenth birthday and will graduate this year. She is a member of a Davie wind ensemble that will participate in a national competition with the top ten in the US. The dedication of the band leader and those in junior high who honed the skills of this group should be recognized as well as the families who bought instruments, provided transportation, and funded travel. The next fundraiser is Band Day which features many groups and is April 27 at Davie County Park. My family, extended family, and family friends have contributed for Jaden to be able to do this. She also plays soccer, and our community has volunteer coaches for every sport for children of all ages.

Jaden plans to go to community college because that is free for Davie graduates. The cost of college for an on-campus student is over twenty thousand per year. The business community and private donations fund our junior college, more worker bees building a strong foundation for future generations. Our graduating class funds a scholarship program for four-year college students as does many other classes and many individuals.

We are not powerless and would do well to disregard the gloom and doom predictions and continue building and supporting our families, churches, sports, music, art, schools, and communities. We worker bees are the foundation and the future of our nation and with God’s help will continue to be.