I went to school with some fine athletes at both Burdine Grade School and what little time I went to Jenkins High School before I joined the military. My teammates on our Burdine baseball and basketball team that I can remember were: Rodney Gallion, Orville Goff, Billy Anderson, Curtis Belcher, Russell Potter, Herschel Wright, Bill Crum and myself.
All of our sports equipment was handed down from Jenkins High School when they got new equipment. When we played basketball outside, you had to watch out for the rocks, mud holes and ditches. We sometimes played football with a tin can wrapped with a lot of tape.
In baseball, we had one bat and one ball if we were lucky. If the ball was hit into the creek, whoever hit the ball had to wade into the dirty creek and retrieve the ball. We had some very good players who could hit the ball a long way.
Most of these Burdine young men who went on to Jenkins High School were outstanding athletes. Woodrow Crum was one of Jenkins’s best basketball players ever. He went on to college where he played sports, and was later that college’s coach. His best friend from Jenkins and my cousin, Jack Brummitt, was also an excellent athlete in his own right. He went on to serve his country as a jet fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force during a couple of wars, and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
One Burdine baseball player, Dill Berry Miller, pitched on the Bud Blizzard traveling team that I played on for two summers before I joined the military. He won many games for us all over Letcher and Wise counties.
Myself and one of the Pendleton boys were asked to practice with the Jenkins Coal Company pro team. I don’t know if that ever happened before. The Pendleton boys were outstanding players and at least one of them played for a pro team.
At Burdine Grade School we were always having foot races during the seventh and eighth grades. No one ever beat me in a foot race. I also best the older high school runners from Jenkins High School during May Day programs.
One time after the Korean War when I was home on leave, I ran into Orville Goff at the VFW in Pound, Va. He told me he tried to out-run me many times in our foot races, but never could. He said it bothered him over the years.
When we were in Burdine School, I think those were some of the best years of my life. I will never forget the days after Halloween night, when the old outhouses were turned over, and we students suffered for a few days.