As a ninth-grader at Margaret Green Junior High many, many moons ago, I was quiet and mousy with an inner soul that wanted to be heard but I didn’t know how to give it a voice.
It was a day like any other during football season, a Thursday I think. It was pep rally day, which never really excited me, but the obligation was there so that is where my day began.
Entering the gym with excitement filling the air mainly from the football team, coaches and cheerleaders, I found a safe place to sit where no one would bother me. I watched attentively. The new wildcat mascot was bouncing around trying to get the crowd hyped up. Kelly Crocker was the first to acquire this job and she was excellent.
It was a typical pep rally— lot of cheering and hollering. I mostly sat and watched. I liked the cheerleaders since a lot of them were my friends. I watched the football players as well because a lot of them were my friends as well but a lot of them were really cute too.
Once the pep rally died down to a memory for that day, all of the students scurried like field mice to lockers and then on to class. I went to my locker but what I had forgotten was that along with the pep rally the cheerleaders put a football cut out with the player’s name and number on it in their locker for luck or just to pep them up. The idea was to give the football player something to keep in his locker or something he could wear. The tradition was that each football player would give it to a girl to wear for that day.
This particular day, I really wanted to wear one of the “footballs” but I was way to scared to talk to a boy much less ask if I could wear one. So I just was going to go on with my day dreaming about getting to wear one.
Between classes I told my girl friends how much I wanted one and it would have been nice to wear one particular boy’s “football.” I couldn’t ask. I just could never do it.
The bell rung for second period and I left the group to go to my locker to switch out books for my next class. I was hurt knowing my dream would never become a reality. But as I slammed my locker shut and turned around a wonderful miracle happened.
There he was standing in front of me with beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous eyes. I think he was even talking to me but his voice wasn’t registering. I was floored and as I got myself together I realized that he had asked me if I wanted to wear his “football.”
Apparently, he had overheard my friends and I discussing it in the hallway. His beautiful spirit decided to ask me to wear it. I couldn’t have been happier. My feet didn’t touch the floor all day long. It was such a sweet thing for him to do. He was as kind as he was good looking. From that day forward we became friends and for the rest of high school he was always a stand up guy.
Unfortunately, the world has been cheated as his kind soul was recently taken from us. He was a lot of different things to a lot of people but to me he was the person that showed me that boys could be kind and that they are just people like any of my other friends. I thank him for that lesson.
I thank him too for my knowledge of baseball. My friend Sally Lawes and I went to watch Coach Powe’s boys play home games. I went to watch this guy play ball and in the mean time I learned the game. I even bought a CHS baseball cap.
My childhood friend and neighbor Leigh Ann Thorton Dauler put a comment on Facebook that hit the nail on the head. I tried to find it again but to paraphrase it, it went something like this. “He was a person everyone wanted to be friends with. He was the guy all the girls wanted to date. He was a coach’s dream. All of these things are true and the world will miss Taylor King and so will I.”