Season Brings Fond Memories Of His ‘Second Fathers,’ Including Coach Fox

Published 11:46 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

Editor, The Herald:

As I flipped the calendar to June and noted appointments and activities for the month, Father’s Day this year took on more significance for me than usual. In addition to thinking of my own father, who is fast approaching 89, I thought of some of my “Second Fathers.”

These men, mostly volunteers, were Sunday school teachers, Boy Scout leaders and coaches. My hat is off to U.B. Morris, Woodrow Townsend, Freeman Fox, T-Bird Hollingsworth, Jim McGall, Bob Hazlewood, Bozo Addleman, Al Smith, Skeeter Fore, Stokeley Fulton and others that took the time to help me along the way. These were gentle men and gentlemen who had guided me through the years.

I do have one amusing memory of my very first coach, Freeman Fox. It was the summer of 1963 after my first-grade year when I was 7 years old. Mr. Fox was the coach of the Giants baseball team and we were having our first practice.

All I had ever done was to play catch in the back yard with Dad, so I really knew nothing of the sport itself. Mr. Fox started practice by asking, “Who plays first base?” A couple older kids raised their hands and he would answer, “OK, go on out there.” Then, “Who plays second base?” A few more would raise their hands and he would tell them to “go on out there.”

He went on with the same question all around the bases and finally he asked who played catcher. Nobody raised their hand, so I raised mine. He said, “OK, go on out there.” I replied, “OK, where do I go?” I had no idea where to go and all the remaining kids were laughing at me. Mr. Fox turned away from the crowd of boys and just quietly whispered in my ear, “Just wait right here and I will show you in just a minute.” After the other boys were situated, he took me to the catcher spot, where I played through my teen years.   

Mark C. McKissick

Rockbridge Baths

P.S.  Congratulations to Ken Woodley for his many successful years at the Herald.