Some of our 1944 Burdine basketball team members walked miles from their farms in the hollows to Burdine School. Our basketball court was dirt, and to play on it you had to watch out for the rocks and ruts after we had a hard rain.
We never had anyone to coach us and tell us how to play the game. If a player with the ball was near the goal, he shot the ball. We were all good shooters.
One of our teachers was not much older than the students in our eight grade during wartime. She was also engaged to Coach Saylor at Jenkins High School. She arranged a game between Burdine Grade School and the Jenkins freshman team. I was asked to put a team together to play the big boys.
When our Burdine team arrived at the gym in Jenkins, none of us had ever played on a hardwood floor before. The many fans watching the game made us very nervous.
The Jenkins team had nice uniforms and shoes, my team had cutoff jeans, t-shirts and mismatched shoes. We did not look like a team.
When the game started, the fans were laughing their heads off. The Jenkins team was good; they had plays that made us look bad. But the score at half time was close.
The coach called me over and asked me if we had jockstraps. I did not know what a jockstrap was. The coach said the fans were laughing at my team, running up and down the court without a jockstrap.
I went back to my team and told them what the coach said to me. None of the other boys knew what a jockstrap was.
Needless to say, the rest of the game was a runaway for the Jenkins team.
That game was hard to live down, even after we became freshmen the following year at Jenkins High School.
That became the joke at both Burdine and Jenkins for a very long time.
<b>Doctor Mary E. Walker was awarded the Medal of Honor for her service as a Civil War physician, serving on the battlefield and in military hospitals without regard for her own health and safety.
When the criteria for awarding the medal changed in 1917, Walker’s medal was rescinded, along with 900 others.
But in 1977, the Army Board of Corrections reviewed the case and reversed the 1917 decision, restoring the Medal of Honor to Walker.
Four World War II nurses and two female soldiers have since been awarded the Silver Star.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.