I was really anxious to get there this week. I was feeling pretty good about the hard fought game our young Wildcats had showed us on Saturday. So anxious that I found my seat before anyone arrived. That in itself left me wondering who was going to show up this week to discuss the game.
While I was waiting I found I had time to look around my surroundings. The large monitor was still there, directly in front of Bear Bryant's chair. I noticed that Bear's large armchair appeared to be a lot more worn than any of the others. My thoughts decided that he had spent many, many hours sitting in that chair re-watching the games on his monitor. I saw a few memorable photos and framed game winning articles scattered about on the walls of the scantly lit room. It was just as I would have pictured as a spot for great coaches of football to gather to discuss their thoughts.
Knock, knock, knock ... I heard coming from the hall behind the closed door.
"Hello???" I heard the familiar squeaky voice say. Of course, there was no answer. I thought about tipping him off to let him know that he wasn't just being ignored today, but I remained silent. I was sure he had plenty to say today because he was probably running over with things to say about the Gamecocks winning. I guessed he realized no one was present, well at least not anyone that he knew.
Then I heard what I thought sounded like someone trying to open the door. I didn't think Lou would try it, even though Bear had let him in last week when he was alone. Then I heard a metal key scratching on the door lock like someone was trying to open the door but was having real trouble getting it to cooperate with their efforts.
"Damn it, I gotta get that lock fixed" Bear said as he entered the room. The very first thing he did when he entered the room was to turn on the monitor. I had hoped he would turn it on today because I had found a prime hiding spot, with a view, before anyone was there.
Bear settled down in his humongous chair, stretched his legs out and settled back in the chair. I could tell by the look on his face and the sigh under his breath that his chair fit him like a glove.
The boys began to filter in, one by one, with no rhyme. I realized they benefited from no sense of time because no one mentioned anyone being late. Lou and I were the only two that didn't have this luxury, I guess.
"Are you watching the Wildcats, Bear?" Vince asked as he grabbed his chair.
"Yes, Vince, I am," he replied. "Third time this week," he added.
"So, what do you think about it, Bear? Do you see any improvement at all?"
"I do, Vince. I was pleasantly surprised, especially during the first half? The players played like they weren't giving up. They brought back to my mind one of my favorite sayings. "I’ll never give up on a player regardless of his ability as long as he never gives up on himself. In time he will develop."
Vince nodded in agreement. "Giving up is not an option," he said. "They are a really young team. It is a good thing to see them show that mindset."
" I know one thing," Bear said, "I don't like to see a team giving up. The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it."
Knock, knock, knock echoed again.
"Who is it? Bear asked.
"It's just me, Bear." Lou said. "Can I come in and talk about Carolina?"
Vince shook his head at Lou's pesky question and replied, "Lou, why do you always try to get in here?"
"The thing is, Vince, I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions."
"Oh, Lou," Vice replied, "You are always talking about something. And, I bet Bear lunch at B-Dubs that you would would want to come here today to talk about Carolina. I must say when he took the bet I was shocked."
"Vince, I didn't think for one second that I would win that bet," Bear admitted. " I think I owe you a round on me anyway. What do you think about my paying up on that bet, right now?"
"Right now, this very minute?"
"Sure, Vince, right now." Bear replied.
Vince grabbed his overcoat and said, "Okay, let's go."
"Who is coming with us?" Bear asked the group.
The first reply was the squeaky voice ask, "Can if I tag along?"
Vince, Bear, and at least three others yelled in perfect harmony, "NO!!" and I almost fell in the floor laughing. I would have been found if all of them hadn't been laughing too. It had been a good day.
[Author's note: A huge thank you to my fellow ASoB member for enhancing my photo. Thank you, dshnarw!]