Thursday, December 27, 2012
Deacon Jones and the Ogre: Thanks
I must of been between 10 and 12 years old. One of the neighbor kids came yelling up the street, "Deacon Jones is at the park!" I hopped on my bike and got there as soon as I could. Sure enough, Deacon Jones, member of the Los Angeles Rams famed Fearsome Foursome, was sitting under a tree with a small group of kids like me just talking and laughing.
To this day I have no idea why he showed up there. All I know is that he was a great football player and one of the most genuine people I have ever met! He signed anything put in front of him, from scraps of paper to a Coke can. He seemed to truly enjoy himself. I will never forget that day.
His arms were massive and dotted with white pencil erasure sized dots/scars from his hands to at least his shirt sleeve. Everyone wanted to know what they were, so I finally spoke for the group and asked. "Cleat marks" he calmly replied. Ouch!
A few years ago I heard him talking with Jim Rome on sports radio. He still sounds like he wants to crush the opposing quarterback into the turf. He was also talking about his foundation to develop leadership from the inner-city ( http://www.deaconjones.com/ ). You can still hear the genuineness in his voice.
I just read John Ransome's "An Ogre Encounter" (http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2012/12/26/an-ogre-encounter-n1473943) which reminded me of my chance encounter with the great Deacon Jones. About a year later I met a certain member of the Lakers. He had just changed his name. He was one of the rudest people I have ever met. I asked him his new named and he looked down at me and told me but I can't put in writing the disdain and disgust that dripped from his words. I just walked away. The funny thing is that on the way how he happened to be in front of us for a while. He drove like a jerk too.
So, like Mr. Ransom and the ogre who wasn't I thankful for the time I got to meet the great Deacon Jones. My mom threw out the scrap paper he signed because she thought it was trash, but, the memory lives.