Drop dead, you Grinch
This came as a shock, of course. Not about dying because anyone my age has one foot in the grave and the other on the proverbial banana peel. No, the shocking part was learning that I had so much influence on all the rugrats out there. Even Hitler or Atilla the Hun didn't possess that much power.
Not that I have any objection to being called Scrooge or a Grinch, although some might consider those names insulting. I look on them as complimentary even though at one time I had the job of being one of Santa's helpers. Any bum off the street can make that claim, but I have proof in the photo below that once ran in the Muncie Evening Press.
Warren (Santa) Collier was the sports editor. He, Roy Bigger and I covered most, but not all, of the high school basketball and football games in the vicinity. For Roy and me that meant twenty extra bucks per game in our weekly paycheck because during the day Roy covered the business beat and I did the same at the criminal courts.
When you were earning about $150 a week that extra twenty came in handy. You were doing really well if you could cover two games. Better yet was doing that and also handling a nighttime meeting of some sort.
Like all good deals, there were drawbacks. Roy and I had to be at our desks at 7 a.m. so the game stories had to be written the night before. No problem there if the game was in Muncie or close by, but when it was eighty miles away in Lafayette or Logansport you couldn't count on much sleep that night.
Covering a basketball game in a distant city on a snowy night was a real joy. Then there was the pleasure of walking the sidelines trying to make notes on a rainy evening at a football field without a pressbox.
But most of it was fun. The boys appreciated it, too. On many an occasion in Kokomo or Marion or Indianapolis a player would see me and call out to his teammates, "Hey, Stodghill's here!" Always made me feel good, think it was worthwhile and not just for the twenty bucks. Looking back on it I can't recall any of the kids ever calling me a grinch although after an unfavorable writeup a few coachs did say something about dropping dead.