I visited with Coach Myles in his new “Man Cave” last week. Bill and Lorita have downsized from the family home to a beautiful one floor condo without stairs. After the stroke, it will make it so much easier. Every square inch of the walls in Bills new “room” is covered with awards, trophies, pictures. It is a mini football hall of fame. Bill spends a lot of time there since he can’t drive due to the stroke. As we sat, and I admired all of his memorabilia, Bill said to me, “When I get to feeling low, I get out the book and read it. You made me great!”
“No Bill”, I replied, “You already were great, I just told the story.”
Readers of Myles Traveled will know that story, the story of a young Billy Myles, grandson of a slave, growing up amongst segregation, coaching kids without dad’s in the inner city of Kansas City during the turbulent 60’s. They will know of the lives saved by Coach Myles, know of the example he set as to how to live your life.
There is a new Bill Myles in today’s Washington Post. This generation’s version, Brice Brown, is coaching now at Edna Karr High school in New Orleans. In “Our Call Is To Save Them”, Post sports writer Kent Babb tells the story of Coach Brown, a championship coach, dedicating his life to saving his players from the horrors of gun violence. As I read about Coach Brown, I couldn’t help but go back to the similar tale of Myles Traveled and Kansas City, Missouri. I was carried back to running back William Lincoln living under a porch, back to the firing of All City quarterback Gary Black, back to Diamond Warren telling me if it wasn’t for Bill he would probably be dead, and especially back to that night at Thirty-First and Indianola when Bill was driving players home and it came over the radio that Martin Luther King had been shot. I went back to all the lessons taught and lives saved that are chronicled in Myles Traveled and thought how Brice Brown is teaching new lessons now.
Our world needed Bill Myles back then, and it needs Brice Brown today. Read “Our Call is To Save Them” at the link below. Kent Babb has done one fine piece of writing. If it doesn’t tug at your conscience, well, you are a cold-hearted person. My Buckeye hat goes off to Mr. Brown and Mr. Babb.