Two individuals, two stories of inspiration, on and off the field:
Most fans noticed an extra zip in the step Friday night of the Conway Wampus Cats in a 37-7 shellacking of Fort Smith Southside that nobody saw coming.
Offense, defense and kicking game, it was one of the best overall efforts by the Cats in recent years.
The two teams were playing to become the major challenger to Greenwood in 7A/6A Central.
But the Cats may have been playing for more,
Gary “G-Bob” Lasker, one of their greatest supporters (maybe one of their most loyal of all time) died this week.
Lasker was hands-on with the Conway program. He was a mentor and inspiration to generations of young players. His presence transcended the playing arena.
There was no doubt the Wampus Cats were playing for him in an extra zip sort of way.
With that effort, he would be smiling, absolutely beaming.
Now for a scene far away from the field, way off the radar:
Don Meyer, whom former Hendrix coach Cliff Garrison puts right up their with John Wooden as one of the greatest of all time, conducted a clinic for the Arkansas Basketball Coaches Association at Hendrix College.
Meyer compiled a 923-324 record during stints at Lipscomb, Hamline and Northern State. His team compiled a 41-5 record one year at Lipscomb.
But that’s not the inspiration.
He has cancer, a pacemaker and has had a leg amputated.
Garrison said he conducted the daylong clinic before more than 200 coaches “on adrenaline.” He has to constantly monitor his white cell count.
After the clinic, Garrison told him he had Meyer’s picture displayed in his office.
Meyer wanted to see it.
“You sure you can walk up the stairs?” Garrison asked.
So Meyer steadily walked up the stairs to Garrison’s office.
“One of the most amazing things I have seen,” said Garrison.
We are conditioned to watch scoreboards. An awful lot of good stuff happens away from them.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dmaclcd)