Opinion: Randy Brown – It’s Never Too Late

1996

It’s Never Too Late

Is there a hobby or activity in your life that you used to enjoy doing? Have you not been able to do this hobby or activity in a while? Whatever this hobby, activity or enjoyable pass time happens to be, it is never too late to get back to it. Maybe you have been planning to get back to it, but you have been putting it off, procrastinating, finding excuses. If getting back to a formerly enjoyable hobby, activity or pass time is on your itinerary of endless tomorrows, then quit putting it off. It is never too late. It is never too late to go back to it!

As is always so easy to do when you are the one writing the column, I will use myself as an example. Some of you may get tired of my frequent tendency to do so and if you do, I am sorry. However, this is my column. So, just bare with me for a few lines. Ha! Ha!

When I was younger, there was a lot of pressure on me to be involved in youth sports. My Dad was a good basketball player in his youth and started all four years on his high school team. Dad and I used to shoot around in the driveway quite bit. I remember seeing him hit 21 corner baseline shots in a row in one of our afternoon “shoot arounds.” I developed some shots that I could hit, but that was seldom the case with someone actually guarding me. So, not many of Dad’s basketball skills rubbed off on me.

As my junior high school football coach so carefully worded it when I tried out for the basketball team: “Brown, basketball is a game of skill. I want to see you try out for the track team in the spring though. With your size, I think you would be good at the shot put.” I have always remembered these words and I have been so thankful through the years that Coach Ken Cochran chose his words so carefully in letting me down and then building me right back up. We all seem to remember moments such as these from our youth when someone that we highly respected and looked up to said something to us that made a life-long impression.

Well, I didn’t try out for the track team and I have sometimes regretted that I didn’t. There is still a part of me that wonders if I would have been good at hurling the shot put.
My grandfather (Mom’s Dad) played practically every kind of sport there was in his day. He was especially fond of baseball. He always urged me to try out for all of the sports teams that existed in my youth (there were no youth soccer teams back in those days). If there would have been, I probably would have at least tried out. I have been told that I have a pretty mean kick!

I did play youth football (through the 8th grade), basketball and baseball through my elementary school years. I have always felt that I was a disappointment to my grandfather where sports were concerned. My cousin Greg made up for my shortcomings in that area though.

Without a doubt, Greg inherited the sports genes from our grandfather, not me. When we were kids, Greg was involved in every sport there was at the time and was quite good at all of them, actually. Again, not me. After some very good high school football years, Greg wound up becoming a PGA golf professional (“club pro”). He has made a great living and has also enjoyed a very rewarding career. When he first got into golf when he was in high school, Greg tried to get me interested. I was very interested and I played quite a bit but again, it never really took. However, at various times through the years, I have been bitten by the golf bug and when it happens, I go play regularly for a period of time. I am looking at my golf clubs standing in the corner of my office right now.

About four years ago when my good friend Kary Landry and I decided to go play golf weekly for several consecutive months, I was able to occasionally birdie a short hole or two at the now closed Westwood Executive Golf Course (the course known as “Par 3” when I was growing up). However, as I became even busier than normal at the newspaper, it has now been four years since I have even picked up a golf club. There have been several planned attempts to get back at it though. But as of yet, it has not happened. Got to get back to it!

Just like with all of the jogging/running (up to 21-22 miles per week) that I was doing back during that period of time (as my Facebook friends so often saw me post), I have all but quit (which is something that I promised myself that I would never do). However, I broke my promise to myself! There is absolutely no excuse for that! But, it happened! And,  I do have somewhat of an excuse.

Again, as I have become even busier at the newspaper, I have most often found myself sitting at my desk in my office at 5a in the morning instead of out on the streets getting my exercise. It shows too. I have gained back 35 of the almost 50 pounds that I lost 4-6 years ago. In the time that has passed since I lost my exercise/workout momentum in the past two years (plus), I have had an awfully hard time getting back to it. Well, I keep saying at the start of each passing week that I have to get back to it. As such, I have experienced short bursts of activity occasionally, but nothing with regular frequency.

Above, I talked about my many attempts at being involved with youth sports without much success. I did play quite a bit of tennis growing up and I was decent enough to get the ball back over the net on a frequent basis. I did eventually buy the $250 tennis racquet, but it never made me as good at tennis as I hoped it would.

I also used to enjoy bowling quite a bit. During my high school days, I thought that I had really made it big when I saved up and purchased my own bowling ball. Boy, I have some great bowling memories of times shared with two of my best friends in high school. The bowling alley at Shreve City (“Tebbe’s Bowlero” – I think it was called) had one price (“All You Can Bowl”) bowling from 11p-2a on Fridays and Saturdays back then. We didn’t always go bowling (like we told our parents), but that is a story for another time. My Mom never knew. Or, if she did, she never said anything. But when she reads this column, well……

Though I am not an athlete (as shown by my statements above), I spent a lot of time playing music growing up. My Dad always tells me that I inherited the “music gene” from his father. I have often written in my newspaper columns about my musical interests. I have also previously written about my years of playing drums and how (after a 25 year break) I started playing again five years ago at church. I have to say (once again) what a tremendous blessing this has been in my life in so many ways. God has used me way beyond what I could ever imagine! Getting back to the musical gift that God gave me and using it for his honor, praise and glory has opened so many doors for me.

In my youth, I played violin in the school orchestra for one year. I also took two years of guitar lessons and played the slide trombone in junior high and high school. Unfortunately, I rarely pick up the guitar these days and the trombone has not been out of the case in about 30 years. I have been wanting to play trombone again for the last few years. However, I have not touched it.

Well, I have received a lot of encouragement from some high school band friends. Also, our music minister at church (who plays trumpet) has really encouraged me. I have been challenged to build up to play a duet for trumpet and trombone at church sometime in the months ahead. So, maybe it is not too late. I really can do this. The first step is to take the trombone to the music store to get it re-worked with a new cork and some other standard “tune-ups.” I have made up my mind, I am going to do it.

It is never too late. I am going to do all of the things mentioned above that I want to get back to doing (jogging/running/exercise, golf, trombone, guitar, etc.). I might even get back to bass fishing (my open faced fishing reels and rods are still in my utility room). Heck, I might even buy a boat. I am going to make these things happen and soon. Let me ask again, is there something in your life that you used to enjoy doing that you have let slide or have totally moved away from as time has moved forward? If so, let me encourage you to get back to it…it is never too late!

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com