(NON-EDITOR’S NOTE: Even if you don’t like football, which I find strange, you need to read this piece. It’s not about blocks and tackles. No, it’s about a whole lot of good luck.)
Now that the 2019 football season is winding down, with the NCAA championship game pitting LSU against Clemson set next week, and NFL teams still vying for a spot in the Super Bowl (if you really care), it’s time for me to name the Football Highlight of The Year.
The award winner is, drum roll, please, WOODY WALKER, now 89 and the former highly successful Ross S. Sterling basketball/golf coach. Woody’s the winner hands-down.
Woody Walker? Football? What the hey, man?
Yes, Woody Walker. Did I say “hands-down?’’ Yes I did.
In reviewing the entirety of Football 2019, no coach, no player, no team scored as big a “victory” as Woody did after watching his beloved Fighting Texas Aggies go nose-to-nose with Alabama last October. The Crimson Tide won, 47-28, but that wasn’t the Big Story.
As was so ably chronicled earlier by former Baytown Sun reporter Christopher James, who writes better than I do, Woody LOST his cherished Aggie ring, which is a major deal at A&M, while attending the game.
And he lost it amongst a crowd of 106,749. I repeat: Amongst 106,749 screaming fans!
Woe was Woody. Almost.
Miracle of miracles, He got it back. Touchdown!
To be completely accurate, this was the SECOND Aggie ring Woody lost. Sounds like something I’d do.
But after learning about the first lost ring, Mike Chatham of Chatham Construction bought Woody a new one. Nice going, Mike. Touchdown!
(NON-EDITOR’S NOTE, No. 2: As was so ably chronicled earlier by Sun feature writer David Berkowitz, who writes better than I do, the number of Aggie rings in the Walker family far outdistances, say, cucumbers in the Walker ice box. Family members have earned an astonishing 13 of the tradition-packed rings. Wow!)
Being somewhat lazy today, I’m going to let Christopher James (he allows me to call him Chris) explain what happened. Take it away, Chris.
“Walker [same as Woody] thinks the coat he wore at the game caused it [the ring] to come off his finger since the cufflinks were a little bit too tight.
“‘I didn’t realize I had lost it until … Sunday when I tried putting it back on,’ Walker said.
“After a day of looking for it, Walker started calling Aggie groups, such as the 12th Man Foundation, Alumni Association, Memorial Student Center and Lettermen’s Association.
“With no luck, he called Kyle Field [the Aggies’ gridiron playpen] as a last-ditch effort and left a message.
“‘I was so discouraged by then that I thought they wouldn’t have it either, but I left a message anyway,’ Walker said. ‘Days later I got a call from Leslie Lamkin who told us that they had my ring. It was a real thrill for us to get that ring returned.’”
Woody went on to tell Chris that he was “proud of whoever returned the ring,” and said it was a miracle it was found among the huge crowd in attendance that day.
Woody, let it be stated, earned a basketball scholarship to A&M even though he stands only 5-7, and was a member of the Aggies’ 1951 Southwest Conference basketball championship team.
To this day, Woody, who was Sterling’s first-ever basketball coach and now has the floor at Winnie Brown Gym named in his honor, still plays golf occasionally.
Perhaps his greatest honor, however, is being a member of the Gathering Of Old Toots (GOOTs), the sparkling Baytown men’s luncheonette club.
So I don’t care if LSU’s Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy. I don’t care at all.
Woody, not Joe, scored the biggest win in 2019 by finding his precious ring lost at a football game.
It also proves that the Big Editor In The Sky was wearing a Maroon robe on the day the ring went missing, although He, the Big Guy, prefers Razorback Red.
Jim Finley is a retired managing editor of The Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com, Attention: Jim Finley.