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Reflections

Yalobusha County Has Rich Sports Heritage

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  Let’s hope that we’ve had our worst blast of winter now and it will be more moderate until spring.

In summer people tend to say,  “I’ll be glad when it turns cold,” and in winter they will say, “I’ll be glad when warm weather gets here.”

This morning I saw some little kids waiting for a school bus and that really took me back. The difference is now that they get on a bus with a heater. When I was in school we had to rely on body heat and, if you were the first, you would shiver until more riders got on.  

Each classroom had a small wood heater that was supposed to heat the entire room. The faulty reasoning in that was proved when all the kids would hover around the stove as long as possible. The bigger boys from each class had to bring  in additional firewood as needed and sometimes it was wet and the fire would nearly go out so we were never that comfortable during cold weather.  

Papa Badley told me that when he ran a school wagon he would have Nannie heat several bricks and put them on the seats and that plus body heat kept the kids reasonably comfortable.  

Even with all the primitive conditions I think we got as good an education as was available in the public schools of those days. The Camp Ground girls basketball team won several championships during the 1920s.  

My aunt, Elizabeth Cooper; Ila Mae McMinn’s mother, “Lumpie” Mixon; and Vashti Henderson, Rick Carlisle’s grandmother were all a part of that team at one time or another. Not bad when you consider that they had to practice on a dirt court.

They were state champions and Hortense Wilhoit was coach in the 1935-36 season. The team consisted of Roxie Garner, Johnnie Mae Jenkins, Marie Carr, Dorothy Maynor, Louise Baddley, Annice Churchill, Carrie Mae Phillips, Bertha Lee Vanlandingham, Juanita White, Agnes McNamee, Lucille Holt, and Nancy Pass.  

If any members of that team are still living, which  I doubt, I’d like to hear from them.

I knew Dorothy Maynor, Marie Carr, Roxie Garner, Lucille Holt, Hortense Wilhoit,  and Nancy Pass and of course Louise Baddley, who  was Mother’s first cousin and Aaron Baddley, Jr’s aunt.

When you look back, Yalobusha County has a rich sports heritage under what had to be difficult times with limited resources, bad roads and poor transportation.  What we had were dedicated teachers and coaches that were never compensated in relation to what they achieved.  

Several years ago I heard from Hortense’s daughter who lived in Alabama and I think we talked on the phone.

I remember telling her that her father, Dick Wilhoit, was once my Sunday School teacher at First Methodist.  I’ve heard from so many people over the years, and unfortunately many I’ve never heard from since.  The input from you readers has always been welcomed and I hope to continue to hear from you.  

My email address is cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me at PO Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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