Best Holiday Job Ever
Is there a better sports month than December for a football fan? College football’s conference championship games happen this weekend, and Larry Culpepper’s invention, the College Football Playoff, will have it’s selection show, as the 4 playoff teams will be decided. Later on this month, the myriad of bowl games will begin. And, the NFL stretch run begins as teams jockey for playoff position.
I also want to mention the great start by Shenandoah University men’s basketball. Wins in recent years have been few and far between , but year’s 2016-17 edition is off to a 4-1 start, and features added height and athleticism. Malcom Clark leads the Hornets, and is a fun player to watch. Good luck to Coach Pryor’s squad, as they try to continue their winning ways this weekend in North Carolina!
Now, to today’s topic. This time of year always takes me back to my younger days in Martinsburg, WV., and the best Holiday part-time job ever. At a time when most 16-17 year olds worked at places like McDonalds (nothing wrong with that, by the way), I was lucky enough to have never worked in the fast-food industry. I had probably the best job ever for a young man who was consumed with sports.
I landed a gig at Coaches’ Supply on Queen Street, a local sporting goods store. Coaches’ was the place where my Mom would take us every year for $9.99 Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor “sneakers”. Available in all colors: Blue for North Jr High, Black for South Jr High, Green for Mussleman, Orange for MHS, and so on…
Our Boss at Coaches’ Supply was Ron West, whose wife Jane, a wonderful lady, ran the gift shop next store. Ron was a taskmaster, and had no problem dressing an employee down in front of customers. That being said, he also had his moments. In a previous blog post I wrote about he and my HS baseball coach working out an arrangement whereby I could play baseball and still keep my job at Coaches’ Supply.
My co-workers were also my age, and as an added bonus, were also very good friends outside of work. We were a fun-loving bunch who couldn’t wait until Mr. West would go on buying trips to DC, or leave us in charge of the store while he ran errands. That’s when we would grab a football from the display rack and run pass-patterns throughout the store, or play a football or baseball board-game, or even have pro-wrestling style matches amidst the aisles of sporting goods, using said items as “props.”
Then, there was the evening one Christmas Season, when the store had extended evening hours , and my friend Doug Cain and I were left to man the store. It was a particularly slow night, so Doug decided to don a striped referee’s jacket, hat, whistle, and penalty flag, while I put on a baseball hat, athletic windbreaker, and grabbed a clipboard. We climbed into the storefront window and acted out a scene as a coach arguing with an official. The looks we got from passers-by were priceless. Take that, “Mannequin Challenge!”
Coaches Supply no longer exists, and I suspect there is no evidence left on Queen Street that it ever did. But the time I worked there (especially during the Holidays) will live on in my memory as one of the best times of my life. I can still hear Ron West yelling, “Are you guys working or talking!?”
Best Part Time Job Ever…
That’s it from The Booth…until next week, GO HORNETS!