All Men are Not Created Equal / True Story by Bo Majors
Once upon a time in 1979 the Dalton High Catamount’s played their last game. We almost made it to the state final. I was a 5′ 11 3/4″, 185 pound defensive end who was ready to hang the cleats up. No more work outs, knock outs, squeezing the inside gap while protecting the outside shoulder and keeping contain on toss sweeps. Whatever those two non coordinating mental bullshit’s were. Nope. I was tired and ready for freedom. From now on it’s cruising, air conditioners, ram loud music and free breezes on the mellow road to liberty and leisure.
Damn if some large man named Bill Dupes wasn’t standing outside the locker room waiting on somebody. Crap. He is waiting on me with a crummy idea. All I want to do haul tail out of there and party down charlie brown. He caught me though. Sober and off kilter. Something about me paying $1000 (which I had cause my dad was killed) and his team paying the other $1000 to go to Sweetwater TN to play ball for a quarter, (yea, I’m so old we used quarter’s) for his half way house TMI football team. Half way between hell and college scholarship. I was in a way hurry and said I’ll check it out and burnt a trail to let’s go screw off, cya dude.
The same offer, I learned later, was tendered to fellow senior Catamount, Trip Shaw, the reckless disruptive nose man of no fear and my friend. Offers of doubles to teammates happen often in hopes acceptance will render more likely when your friend get’s to go too. We were part of the 1979 GO BIG RED Catamounts. Possibly the best and brightest 4 year class of winners Dalton GA had ever seen. We went 10-0 as freshmen while the varsity lost in the title game. We lost the State Championship game three years straight, and we lost in the quarter-finals to the team that won State my senior year. We played like a team.
There were three men total from the 1980 Dalton football class offered college scholarship. Robert Woods, aka Cheese was offered a real live 4 year football player scholarship.
Trip and his dad Bob rode up to Sweetwater TN in my step dad’s new every year Buick for the fun of it. Trip’s dad was alive but Trip had way more money than my dad’s death afforded me. Then something happened. For some big football name reason I thought I could play and unconsciously became willing to endure more massive cussing and physical torture. Hell I liked it all. The fracas of this game we call football is intoxicating to no end. Boy do I love Intoxication.
Trip never set foot in Sweetwater again as far as I know. Gotta admit, the water or sweet never troubled me. One Dairy Queen and a cave canoe attraction was all I could find in Sweetwater. Well there was also a very old military site that was being sandblasted and had no hot water or ac in the dorm rooms. They called it TMI. Ouch. So much for lounge and leisure.
The first person I met was large and dark. Frank Wright’s eyes and teeth glowed in luminescence as we waited on the cement floor for coach Dupes to call us in. Later the 6′ 3″ 275 pound South Carolina defensive line prospect and I ran the forty yard dash beside each other. Frank ran step for step beside me. That completely freaked me out. All men are not created equal.
There were two types of athletes at TMI. There were people like me who needed to get bigger and stronger (which makes me an idiot) to gain a scholarship offer and there were guys who had scholarships but had not graduated high school and needed schooling. Frank obviously was the later as was Mark Landrum from Lenoir City TN.
I first met Mark as I groggy eyed myself to the barracks latrine one morning. Mark was a happy faced, shirtless, large offensive tackle. He was brushing his teeth vigorously failing to use the most common teeth brushing tool. The spit. Toothpaste was running right down his formidable hairless chest as he beamed a whopper toothed “Hey Man” at my confused faced. I mumbled something and took a cold shower wondering what just happened.
The first day in pads, we scrimmaged and Frank kept popping the center so hard that the quarterback was getting knocked down. After about three or four of these events, Frank was told to go stand on the side so the offense could actually run a play. Wow!
Mark was playing left tackle next to my end and kept squatting awkwardly and lining up in telegraph, obviously aiming for the person he was going to block. A lineman is supposed keep their tail level with their shoulders and be tricky discrete before they make quick powerful moves to block people. Coach Dupes spent about three to four weeks working with Mark on his shitty technique. Watching coach Dupes mollycoddling this huge man explaining in excruciating detail why lineman don’t shit before the snap, provided untold amusement for me on that moonscape field. I decided to go visit Mark after practice one day. My roommate Joe Herron from Cartersville GA went with me. Joe and I liked to laugh and boy did we laugh one hot 1980 summer.fall.
When we got there Mark was shirtless, wearing hospital scrub pants. He met us with a giant headed grin, sporting that quarter sized white teeth smile. “Come on in Guys”. Mark was and still is Be Happy First. He had no roommate and the room was sparse. There weren’t even sheets on the single bed cheap mattresses Knoxville TN. You know. The really cheap government issue ones with blueish strips running the length about 2 inches on center. Cheap. No pillowcase was on the cheap pillow either. Nothing was in the closet. He had a wind up alarm clock, a middle school looking, half-moon book bag and a box of meow mix. I’m certain Mark could carry everything he owned in the middle school book bag.I say “Here kitty kitty! Here kitty kitty! Where’s your cat Mark? Mark say’s “I don’t have a cat” “Well what are you doing with the box of Meow Mix then?” “Oh! That’s a snack.” He pick’s up the meow mix and offers me and my roommate some. No No No. What? “Yea Meow Mix is a great snack. I eat it all the time.”
Listen to me folks. I have seen quite a bit in my years of life on earth. But this one hit me like a ton of bricks in on hot summer fall. I’ve eaten headless, footless, tailless fried squirrel in Baptist preachers parsonage. Here was a guy that found nothing unusual about eating cat food as a snack. In fact he offered me some with a happy smile. Later I realized that Mark didn’t have much. The hospital scrubs and clock were given to him and he really didn’t have anything else. But Mark did have what looked like about 80 quarter sized bright white teeth and a giant chest to go with his 6′ 4″ 270 pound body. All four of those I would have killed for. Well… Not kill… My teeth are permanently stained from a drug my mother took to prevent something while I was in the womb. My front tooth is a corn cob from a swing accident in the 4th grade. I’m not big or particularly strong.
Well after a week or two things iron out and Sweetwater High School had a home football game. I gathered my roommate and Mark and we went out into the Sweetwater night looking for girls. I was sure Mark would be helpful breaking the ice. I had money in my pocket. Oh and a 200sx nissan hatchback with a roof, loovers and two hide under the hatch, 3 way 12″ woofer home speaker and a couple of 5 and 3/4 craigs in the vibrator long front doors .Powered by a jeering table of jumping mhk kz lights. Sound was king air. Still effin is. We were big bad wealthy, capable brothers of the pristine moonscape of hell Sweetater and Bill Dupes offered.
I decided Landrum would be fun so I gather Landrum and my roomie and we headed out into the Sweetwater TN night. It doesn’t take long till we find some High School girls and we stop.
“Landrum! Say something man!” (I’m afraid to start conversations myself) so the pearly whits affable Mark Landrum from Lenoir Sity TN came in real handy as an ice breaker
I THOUGHT! Uhhhhh? What kind of tooth paste do you use?” Landrum says The girls giggle thinking we are playing with them. After all High School is pretty young on the love language scale. Landrum has a hundred pearly whites. They give us time. “Come on Landrum say something.”
“How much do you bench press?” “What’s Bench press?” One girl responds.
No. No. No. He didn’t say that did he?
Yes he did. It’s funny now, but not then. I mean really.
“Come on Landrum something good” I whisper
“Well how fast do you run the forty?” Landrum quizzes
I just can’t believe my own two ears.
They start to walk. And Landrum asks one more question
“Well how much do you weigh then?”
This is the end of the most astounding set of pick-up lines
I have ever heard in my lifetime. I think so.
We get through this night like the first day of practice.
All Men are Not Created Equal / True Story by Bo Majors
Frank roomed with Jerry Butler, a raspy voiced highly skilled running back from Atlanta GA. Jerry yapped non stop while Frank barely talked at all. Their room was right beside mine and Joe’s on the second story. College teams put tape on your helmet and write your name on it till everyone gets to know each other or you knock it off in battle. The coaches wrote Hello on the front and Good Buy on the back of Jerry Butler’s helmet.
Between those two guys Bill Dupes TMI football team had a pretty easy time with the teams that would play our rag-tag bunch. Jerry ran for 5 touchdowns in one. When we played this baptist school in Atlanta Jerry held the bal and his hands up thinking he had scored AGAIN. But Jerry was standing on the five yard line and got nailed on tape. We ran that tape back so many times my belly split.
About half way through the killing season we went to Maryville College, which is close to Knoxville TN and my famous name uncle. .Coach Johnny Majors who came watch us play. We had one of his lineman Rusty Disney on our team and of course me.
During the course of the game something happened and an ugly bench clearing brawl erupted. I ran out there and found Landrum choking a guy hard on the ground. Things were settling down but Mark wouldn’t let go of this guys neck and the guy was turning colors and squirming helplessly. I started wacking Mark trying to get him to turn loose. It was useless, Mark was like a crazed dog in full grip. Others helped until somehow we got him lose and off this poor guy. Frick me a running.
When we got to the sidelines I asked Mark what happened to him. You almost killed that guy. Where you trying to kill him or what? Mark answered that the guy had hit Frank and no body was going to hit Frank and get away with it. Well Frank is big and doesn’t need Mark’s help. Frank was fine and walking the sidelines aimlessly unhindered.
So I asked.
Were you gonna kill that guy.
Mark responded that the guy shouldn’t have hit Frank. Mark is normally a happy go lucky even tempered guy. Something happened out there and he snapped. I’m sure that Mark was gonna kill that guy and I know that guy was sure of it too.
Near the end of the killing season, Bill Dupes decides to give us a long weekend till Tuesday.
Landrum decides he will hitch-hike about 40 miles north to his home in Lenoir city. Landrum packs his meager gym bag and is gone.Well Tuesday comes and goes and no Landrum. Wednesday and no Landrum. Coach Dupes is worried but doesn’t know who to call about Landrum. On Thursday Coach finally gets a call from a Sheriff wanting to know if a Landrum plays football for him. Coach Dupes explains. “Yes you have my offensive tackle, whom we have considerable time and money invested.” So the sheriff brings Landrum to Sweetwater in the back of a patrol car.
You see Landrum was hitch-hiking in Hospital scrubs on Interstate 75 carrying a gym bag full of his favorite snack
Meow Mix, telling the cops he was playing football for Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater TN. Well there’s not a cop in the world that would fall for that story and they took him straight to the funny farm. It took Landrum two full days just to convince the cops to try to call Bill Dupes.
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