People Out Loud: Not Mayberry

April 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

DixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

With the NCAA Men’s Basketball champion now decided (Duke over Wisconsin, 68-63), I have some vivid memories of March Madness, great games, huge upsets, and an unexpected meeting of the coach who led Duke to its fifth title.

I was in line to a Las Vegas show with a business partner several years ago, and turned around. Immediately behind me was Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his wife, Mickie, waiting for the line to move. Having had the autograph door figuratively slammed in my face by one Willie Mays in 1960, I have learned that fame has to be as hard on the celebrity as it is on those who adore them.  I could have asked the man who will likely go down in history as the greatest, and perhaps classiest basketball coach of all time for an autograph. But it just didn’t feel right. The guy was out for a night with his wife and deserved to be left alone.  So I smiled and turned away.  But it didn’t work out that way. A nerdy young man of about 20 yelled across the room, “Coach K, Coach K.”  The coach smiled and waved, but here came the young man seeking an autograph. After he left, I turned around and said, “I bet that gets real old?” He laughed and said, “I really don’t mind. The fans are so important to the game.”  He could have dropped the discussion but instead asked us, “Where are you from?” We told him Portland and he chuckled rather quietly to himself then said, “We stole a good one from you.”  I replied, “Yes, I know you did. That Mike Dunleavy kid is outstanding and would have looked much better in a Beaver uniform.”  He and his wife laughed, and we talked for a few more minutes about the Blazers, Mike Jrs. dad, Blazers head coach at the time, and he was so pleasant, unassuming, and easy to talk to.  After the show, as we walked out, he asked if we had enjoyed the show (Lord of the Dance).  I said we did, and told him, rather boldly, “Hey Coach. If that Dunleavy kid doesn’t work out, could you send him to Corvallis?” He cracked up and said, “I think he’s gonna be just fine.”  A humble man, a genuinely nice man, and a spectacular human being. I ought to give Willie his number.

The musical Jesus Christ, Superstar is coming to Silverton High School by way of Center  Stage April 24 and 25, and May 1-3. It is going to be incredible. Made famous in the early 1970s, the rock musical  is a contemporized but accurate telling of Christ’s final days on Earth. Except for one rather suspect priest that slightly resembles a local writer of limited musical talent, the cast is absolutely amazing. Greg Hiltz is remarkable as Judas, and Tim Kelley as King Herod is sure to make your sides split with laughter. Two Silverton Health powerhouses, Dr. Joseph Huang as Jesus, and Sarah Fronza as Mary Magdalene, are dynamic both together and impressive in the play’s well-known solos.  It is worth the price of admission, with most proceeds going to help the marching band’s quest to get new band uniforms before the start of the new school year. This is a must-see event on your spring calendar.

Want to see local politics at its best and worst? Keep an eye on the Silver Falls School Board election on May 19. The behind the scenes maneuverings are quite entertaining as one group launches an aggressive campaign to commandeer the school board voting and another has an aggressive campaign to stop them by getting their candidates, whether already on the ballot or write-ins, elected. This is not Mayberry, anymore, folks, with the endearing Sheriff Taylor, loveable goofball Barney Fife, and Aunt Bea in her Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Clothes. Please do your homework and if you don’t see the candidate you like, write-in someone who you think will best represent your interests. The Silver Falls School District has real issues and real opportunities before it, and it will take real candidates who understand the value of working for the greater good, not with hidden agendas to take us back to the 1950s where Ward Cleaver reigned supreme as “The Beaver’s”  perfect but fictitious dad.

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