The Worst Day Ever in The Life of "Mr. Sports," Claude Goodson
This, my friends, is a true sports fan
A look at other "Sports" in life
Claude "Buster" Goodson
is all about sports. Football, baseball, soccer, hockey. To risk over-kill, Goodson eats, sleeps, breathes, talks, watches, and sometimes makes dangerous wagers on sporting events. Yes, just name the sport, and Goodson is there. Hot or cold, rain or sleet, he beats the United States Post Office every time when it's time to yell, bellow and make an idiot of himself for his team. Goodson may not know a lot of things in life, but he knows his sports like the back of his hand.
As for his nickname, "Buster," he was known for bursting through the defensive line of any opponent as halfback for his football team, the Wango High School "Purple Dragons," and make valuable yardage like his dad did in his days at Wango High School. Yes, Claude was his father's son because his entire life revolved around sports.
But don't be too judgemental on Claude. He was born into a sports atmosphere. His dad, Jimmy "Flash Legs" Goodson was a stellar wide-out receiver at Wango High School in Foster, Kentucky and went on to perform his amazing playing talent at Northeastern Arkansas Junior College, thus the nickname, "Flashy Legs."
But Claude's mother, a gentile lady of much feminine charm, "Juney Belle Whitley, now Juney Belle Whitley Goodson, was, of course, the head cheerleader at Wango High School when Jimmy fell in-love with her. That was only for a short few weeks because Jimmy's "first love" was sports. Juney Belle realized and accepted this heartless fact because she knew that one day maybe Jimmy would either grow into a man or luck-out and sign a lucrative NFL contract. Juney's luck was running good in 1966 for Jimmy blew-out his right knee and settled on a job with Jones and Sons Cement Company on the east side of Foster.
On a sad note, Jimmy was delicately-let go from Jones and Sons Cement Company for his 14-years of superior-sales performance due to the sticky fact that one day, something just "snapped" in Jimmy's head as he was chatting-up a new cement customer, "St. Matthew's Parish of The Tearful Lady," church located near Lexington, Kentucky when he began telling his epic high school football stories one right after the other.
The client, a "Father Dewey," not to cause Jimmy any static, casually-declined Jimmy's cement deal and hung up on him. Jimmy's boss and buddy, Tom "Big Bear" Taylor, who also played football with Jimmy at Wango High, called him to his office and told him not to come in again due to the company's down-sizing, a way to save money. Jimmy was given a golden shovel for his years of service. Juney kept the shovel in a precarious position on her mantel for years.
As in the inner-workings of a well-designed diesel engine for a locomotive, Claude "Buster" Goodson's day always began the same way. He arose at 5:30 a.m. for two hours of rigid physical exercise--50 push-ups; 50 sit-ups; 50 ab crunches; thirty-minutes running-in-place followed by building his endurance by lifting weights that became more of a burden than an exercise each passing day, but God forbid he tell anyone, for Claude was "Mr. Sports," and he loved that title.
You won't be shocked when I tell you that Claude never married. Not that he wasn't a good catch for any girl who wanted a steady life with a three bedroom, two bath house and children, one boy and one girl, plus a membership with the local Garden Club as a delightful diversion to spend time with the neighborhood ladies on each Tuesday afternoon.
Many girls' hearts are still pining away for they didn't get to "hook" Claude "Buster" Goodson into walking the aisle of holy matrimony when he was younger. They can only look at their sagging figures and sleeping overweight hubbies and sigh with despair.
But Claude's mostly-happy bachelor life is not to say that he doesn't have a few girls in his life. Well, few is stretching it a bit. Claude has only one girl, a female "buddy," named, "Jenny Minneux," who struck up a good friendship one night at the Stars Over Foster Bowling Alley in her position as "beer gal," and we all know what that job meant.
Claude had no trouble connecting with Jenny. As long as his work buddies from Jefferson's Cemetery Plot Designers in Foster, Kentucky, his hometown, were hanging with him sipping beer, throwing strikes and just being guys who love beer, bowling and each other's company.
Claude's friends, for the record were: Tony Valeentyne; Mark Caspur; J.J. "Sneezer" Gillespie and Chad Overton. These guys were good friends with Claude and always supported him in every idea his head would hatch even if Claude had wanted to leave the cemetery plot designing business and start raising chickens for huge companies such as: Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeye's Fried Chicken and others, they stood arm-in-arm with Claude.
And if Claude saw fit to talk to a girl, in most cases, Jenny, they all were at his side. Four good "wing men." Solid friends until death. Or until the Detroit Lions of the NFL won their first Super Bowl. Which ever one came first.
You see, Claude was so comfortable talking to Jenny, always standing, not sitting, that he sometimes forgot that she was a female. Jenny's sports IQ was a few notches lower than Claude's, but he didn't mind. He just went on talking to her and as he said one time, (and this was a totally-innocent guy remark), "she is just one of us guys." Jenny never let-on at the time when Claude said that demeaning remark. She tried hard to write it off as Claude had guzzled more than nine Pabst Blue Ribbon beers at the bowling alley and the beer had affected his judgement.
As master story tellers are known to write and say, "time went by." Jenny let the foolish remark of Claude's fester in her mind so much that even as she dressed for church, she caught herself gazing in her full-length mirror and whispering, "am I really a guy in a girl's body?" Sad. What one stupid male remark can do to a girl.
One Sunday in church, Jenny's minister, "Rev. Peter Willsoneux," her dad's second-cousin, presented a sermon about "vengeance," and how this luxury belonged solely to God Himself, not us. Jenny found herself dwelling, even at lunch that Sunday, how to make Claude see the error of his male remark and how it made her feel manly, a sin to Jenny who was actually a good-looking girl.
As she finished her last bite of her mom's mashed potatoes, it hit her. She would devise a way for her and Claude to be in the bowling alley one night just the two of them. She would cleverly call each of Claude's friends and tell them that Claude needed them to go to some fake town in the southern part of Kentucky and bring him back some professionally-made bowling shoes, which was excuse-enough for these gullible goons who wrapped themselves around Claude like a cheap suit.
In the next few days, Jenny put her devious plan into motion. And each of Claude's devoted "wing men," fell for Jenny's "request" from Claude as if Claude himself had made the request himself.
Now she was to go to work, as usual, without anything unusual about her night as the "beer girl," at Stars Over Foster Bowling Alley, and having called Claude to tell him that she needed to see him and his four friends that night, her plan was working like a union shop that had just got a ten-percent raise.
Jenny was drawing Pabst Blue Ribbon's from her tap as he saw Claude out of the corner of her right eye, strolling in like a male peacock allowing people to see his taut body in a bowling sports shirt with his initial, "C," embroidered on the left pocket. He was, as Jenny thought, a sight to see.
"Hi ya, Jen. Need a brewski, if you please," Claude said chewing his Wrigley's spearmint gum as he leaned against the fake oak bar.
"Here, Claude. On the house!" Jenny said with a beaming smile.
Claude almost sucked down the entire brew and said, "what's up, Jen? You wanted to see me and the guys?"
"Yes, Claude. I did. I needed to get some valuable sports advice to win an argument with my uncle Thad from Rhode Island," Jenny said making sure that her every word was believable.
And so predictable, Claude replied, "why don't we just sit at the table there and I will help ya," he finished off his first beer and motioned for another one from Jenny as she came to the table.
"Now, Claude, say, where are your buddies tonight? Maybe I need their input on this situation as well as yours," Jenny said to fire-up Claude's male bravado.
"Naaah, well, uhhhh, just where are the guys anyway?" Claude stuttered.
"Oh never mind. I just thought that "you" would help me beat my uncle Thad with some football stats," she said with a pouty tone to her voice.
Claude began to perspire. His hands shook under the table out of fear that he was now alone with a female. On his own. No "wing men" to protect him. Fact is, it took Claude a long time to realize a situation sometimes due to what many people said behind his back that he was "hit too many times on the head" at Wango High School in his football days.
"Claude? Are you still here?" Jenny prodded, but kept her female gloating hid from Claude's wide eyes.
"Uhh, err, ye---ah, Jen. Uhh, I got to use the "head," (cough)," Claude said, but Jenny, being ahead of him mentally said, "head's dead, Claude. Just got to hold it, buddy." Jenny had a way of talking the male gab with most of her beer-drinking customers.
"Where--ARE--the guys?" Claude said almost in a panic.
"Claude! Get a grip. Pretend you are in one of your legendary football games at Wango High. Now here is what I want to know," Jenny said.
Claude was gazing at Jenny's mouth with his eyes set in his head from fear. his mouth was half-open and frozen as if Jenny had cast her spell over him as a way to get back at him for saying she "was just one of the guys."
"Who was the quarterback of The Washington Redskins who had a "bad boy" reputation of partying before every game?" Jenny said softly to Claude who was now pale in color and resembled a corpse.
"Claude?!!!" Ya' hear me?" Who was the "bad boy" quarterback of the Washington Redskins?" Jenny verbally-prodded him again.
"Cough, gasp, choke, uhhh, now, errr, Jen, cough, I feel kinda sick. Uhhh, hey, can I get up and call the guys . . .? I am not, err, sure of my answer to your question," Claude said not looking at Jenny at all, but looking up at the ceiling like an idiot.
"Sure, you can call the guys, but maybe they aren't home," Jenny laughed knowing full-well where they had went.
Thirty-minutes or more passed. Claude wore the paint off the floor near the wall phone as he would almost beg whomever answered the phone at his four friends' homes to tell him where his buddy was?
Claude now was facing something more fierce than the 288-pound, all-muscle, middle linebacker, "Dennis "Lion Head" Rockstone," from Wango High's arch-enemy, Planters Town High School, who hated Wango High and all of their players when Claude played running back for Wango.
Sweat poured from every orifice in Claude's shaking body as he slinked back to the table where Jenny was looking so confident, sure of herself and ready to teach him a lesson in respect for girls.
"buddies not home, Claude?" Jenny asked.
"uhh, choke, gasp, nope. Must be on dates, or at confession," Claude managed to say while wiping his forehead of the cold sweat that had pooled-up in his wrinkles.
"Okay then. Who was the quarterback I was asking about, Claude?" Jenny said again.
"Ohhh, uhhh, hey, I am getting ready to vomit, Jen. Must be the beer. Stale or something," Claude said looking at the "entrance" hoping that one of his buddies would enter.
But none of them did. For the rest of that painful night in Claude "Buster" Goodson's life. He prayed silently for God to take his miserable life as Jenny brought up subject after subject about female-related things making him so edgy that the sound of a toothpick hitting the floor ten feet away made him jump like a Jack in The Box.
"Claude," Jenny said. "What color of bra should I wear on my family's summer vacation?" she continued. "You see, I wanted to wear white, but my bra's are mostly black and they show through the white blouses I have, so Claude, I'm in a jam."
Claude was near tears. Helpless as Jenny continued to bombard him with more female things to discuss such as why her period was late two months running and did pedal pushers make her butt look fat?
Claude had no sports to talk about. No football stats to brag to his buddies about reading in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Claude was alone with a real, live, breathing female, who at this time, didn't care about sports. And with his buddies, his "wing men," who always propped him up, being gone, Claude was, for the first time in his life, a "victim," of a sport-less conversation.
"Okay, I give up! I give up!" Claude cried like a tot being whipped with a belt as his head bowed in embarrassment as his fists banged the table top over and over.
"Give up what, Claude?" Jenny asked in an "innocent" tone.
"This - - -this thing you are doing, Jen. Uhh, you never - - -cough, choke, talk about these - - -gasp, choke, uhh, stuff when the guys are with me," Claude whispered.
"You know why, Claude "The Idiot" Goodson?" Jenny screamed like a banshee causing the other patrons in Stars Over Foster Bowling Alley to stop in mid-approach, to hear what she was saying.
"Because you are afraid of girls, Claude! Afraid of being alone with them, and if you would open your eyes, you would see that . . .I am NOT 'just one of the guys,' as you said last week in front of your buddies . . .I am a girl through and through and you - - -are - - -going to treat me like one, you maroon!" Jenny screamed as the entire crowd of people bowling, drinking, smoking all stood up and applauded.
A General Electric light bulb clicked "on" above Claude's sweaty head. He knew that he had been "schooled," by Jenny, who was every bit his equal in every way.
"I - - -cough - - -am - - -choke, gasp, am, uhh, sorry, Jenny, for saying . . .that, uggh, stupid thing about - - -you," he mumbled.
Jenny was now satisfied that Claude had learned his lesson. And out of their strange friendship, walked him slowly to the "exit."
"Night, Jen," Claude said almost in a whisper.
"Night, Claude. And you just remember that the next time you said something stupid like that about me or any other girl, I will really make it rough on you," Jen advised a reborn Claude as he walked to his beaten-up Plymouth in the parking lot.
Before Jenny went back inside the bowling alley, she heard Claude say, "Dear God, this had to the THE worst day in my life."
"But the best day I've had in years," Jenny said grinning from ear-to-ear.
"Hey, Claude! By the way, It was Sonny Jergensen, partying quarterback for the Washington Redskins," Jenny yelled as she locked the door to the bowling alley.
And went home as Claude's equal.
WRITER'S NOTE . . .nothing was ever heard from Claude's four buddies who went to buy him professionally-designed pair of bowling shoes. The guys must have gotten lost. Strange thing is there were no clues as to what happened to them.