U.S. TRACK AND FIELD’S TRAGIC TRILOGY – They buried Boston T. Grant today

THE RANDOM HOUSE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

     TRAGEDY – Extremely mournful, melancholy

     TRILOGY – A series or group of three……,although individually complete, are closely related in theme and the like

They buried Boston T. Grant today. He died over the weekend and his daughter-in-law, seeing my call back number on his phone , rightfully assumed I was a friend and called to break the sad news to me. I had left a message for him not too long ago after we had missed connections a couple of times. His last call to me was from the hospital where he complained that he had lost a lot of weight and was down to less and 130 pounds. Boston joins Jimmy Carnes and Dr Bert Lyle as individual track and field icons to/for me each of whom died within months of each other. Somewhere there is a saying that such news comes in threes ( 3s ) and being somewhat superstitious, after the passing of Jimmy in April, and Dr Lyle in May,  I was waiting with great dread for the the third shoe to drop.

Boston was a legend in high school coaching . His last high school job was at South Oak Cliff  High School in Dallas, Texas.  But he would have been a legend on any level of coaching because he was just that good !  But I personally respected the coach, but loved the man because he was a throwback and “old school”. In our last phone conversation this spring while he was in the hospital, the exchange went something like this:

     Boston, how you doing man ?

     Brooks, I ain’t doing all that good. I don’t feel like eating and have trouble keeping what I do eat down.

     Boston, must be they don’t have no “soul” food up in that hospital.

     Brooks, don’t know what it is. Don’t know man.

     Boston, do you remember your own competition days right after World War II ?

     Yeah I do. I already told you ’bout all that stuff .

     I want you to tell me again because I want you to get your mind on something good that you and I can share.

     Well you know I was in the service back in 1948. We was all stationed in Italy.

     Who was with you ? Bunch of boys you probably don’t know, but Roscoe Lee Brown, the actor was one of them.  Him   and some other Negro boys. We also had some good white boys too with us too. That was back when white boys could really run.  

     Boston, white boys can still run.

     Not like they used to !

     Boston, that is a racist statement.

     Racist my ass ! Them white boys would wear your butt out if you let ’em.

     You don’t think they are as good today as then ?

     Hell no ! Back then, everyone was hongry . There was no BMWs and there was no excuses. Them white boys were “bad” and nothing made them feel better than kicking some nigger ass.

     Boston, that still sounds racist to me.

He could here the chuckle and humor in my voice and said:

     Man, you need to go on ! You know I ain’t got nothing against no white man. Let me take that back, Bubba hasn’t call me back. He always gives me tickets to the Texas Relays and passes to the fish fry they have before the meet. I sure could use some of that fried fish right now. Maybe I could put on some weight if I had some of Bubba’s fried fish.

     You know Bubba will get back to you pretty soon now. You and him go back a long ways.

     You right about that. Brooks, I am getting a little tired right now. Can’t talk like I used to.

     I understand. This is Brooks Tee. Johnson signing off to Boston Tee. Grant. Get some rest, you hear, because the next time we talk there ain’t going to be no time limits.

I was right. The next time Boston Tee. Grant and I talk there will be no limits.

Brooks T. Johnson

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