Sunday, February 19, 2017


‘Ya go with what brung ya!’

The first I heard this non-grammatical phrase was when I was attending Washington Junior High School in Long Beach, California. I am sure, I would fall short of the actual number of times I heard Coach Hill say these words when I was participating in the sports programs under his guidance. The interschool programs for Junior High Schools in those days consisted of Basketball and Flag Football.

In those days, before everyone else had overnight growth spurts which left me rather dwarfed at my 5’ 8” plus stature, I was really physically competitive with my peers and enjoyed more than a little bit of success on those teams. Sadly, by the time I was very far along in my High School years, and as I started looking up at my friends, I was relegated to the bench in those leagues and eventually found satisfaction in participating in the Church sponsored athletics. This being left behind in school athletics must have been quite traumatic, since I treated it quite at length in my personal history which I affectionately refer to as my guessoirs since I wrote it when my memory was beginning to falter.

Anyway, ‘Ya go with what brung ya!’

One of the times I remember most clearly hearing Coach Hill use these words was when we had made it to the 7th grade district championship game in flag football and he was trying to make the point that just because it was the most important game of our season, this was not the time to make a lot of dramatic changes.

The irony of that day was that on our last possession when the game was about to end, Coach Hill called a time out and drew up a play in the dirt which we had never used. I was to take the ball from center and start to run to the right and then abruptly stop and throw the ball to a friend who was streaking down the left sideline. Perfection = Championship!

Since that time I have come to realize that like most things we utter or write, this saying of Coach Hill’s probably didn't originate with him, but was probably said to some knight during a jousting tournament in the middle ages or maybe David said it to Saul when he rejected the king’s heavy armor and picked up his familiar sling and went forth to meet Goliath.

Over and over when a skater has lost their edge or a ball player gets out of their groove or a pitcher loses their snap or a runner is a half a step slower, we hear coaches everywhere say in one way or another, ‘Let’s get back to basics.’

‘Ya go with what brung ya!’

Maybe, just maybe, in this age of high stress, too few hours and increasing moments of depression, it might be time to get back to life’s basics and try to find out what ‘brung us’. What were we doing and how were we doing it in those days which were more up than down, when happy was the constant and sadness was the exception?

I am pretty sure my list would include items to be tossed as I unencumber and items to be retrieved as I return to where I was when happy days were normal.

There would be fewer gadgets, toys and cluttering stuff!

I would be trying to go in fewer directions all at the same time!

I would attempt to stop being encumbered with the impossible task of trying to please everyone!

I would attempt to stop using my critical lenses when looking at others!

I would remind myself that I can only affect the small world that surrounds me!

I would let go of trying to solve the macro problems of the world!

I would speak as one who is on the path of learning!

My prayers would become more inclusive!

I would demand less logic on things little understood!

I would base my relationship with God more on love and faith!

The pragmatist who resides in me is reminded by that Hail Mary pass in the 7th grade that there indeed are times when unanticipated circumstances require unusual and untested actions. Just like that championship which came about because of a play hastily drawn in the dirt can result in spectacular results, by and large we will all be better off to rely on the basics to guide us to happiness and contentment.

The preceding list could be summed up by saying that that life which was far simpler and far less complex included a much shorter and less complicated path to joy.

I still think about the whole speech Coach Hill gave on that day. ‘When we are about to be involved in some very important events of life and we want to maximize our chances of getting through them successfully, ‘ya go with what brung ya!’



No comments:

Post a Comment