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Baron Drexel and Harris - My Mentors, Teachers and Coaches
My life was always about playing ball, mostly baseball as I grew up. Therefore, I was always at the playground on Chancellor Avenue. This was a hotbed for sports activity in the Weequahic section of Newark. From Monday through Saturday there were...

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Why I'd Rather Be A Slugger
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Country Tennis, Anyone?

It really is true that you learn something new each day...

I was in Juliette yesterday teaching my son Will how to drive. He turned fifteen recently and got his learner’s permit, so we now go driving most Sunday afternoons. We both like Juliette cause it’s the perfect place for him to practice - not much traffic and a whole lot of country roads for him to drive around on. It also has one additional thing going for it - if we practice driving in Juliette, we can ease over to Ed Jr.s’ house after we’re done and spend some time with him.

That’s exactly what we did yesterday. We drove around Juliette for awhile, then rode over to Ed Jr.s’ house. We’d barely gotten out of my truck when he appeared at his front door, yelled hello, and told us both to come on in the house. And that’s exactly what we did.

The three of us talked for a good half hour, and we had a blast. During our conversations we pretty much solved the Middle East crisis, decided which Georgia flag is best, and figured out whether Britney Spear’s chest is real or silicone. It was all great fun.

After that we decided to go outside and stretch our legs. As we walked around Ed Jr.s’ front yard we happened to amble over to where his combination storage shed/garage is located. After serenading us with a couple of slightly off color jokes, Ed Jr. asked Will and I the following,

“You boys ever played country tennis?”

Will looked over at me like I’d know what his grandpa was talking about, but I didn’t have a clue. I shrugged my shoulders and said,

“Can’t say that we have. What is it?”

He replied, “I’ll show you.” And with that, he walked around the side of the shed and returned with a tennis racket.

Will and I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m sure we both wondered just how you’d play tennis standing right outside a storage shed. I think Ed Jr. sensed this as well, so he handed the racket over to me and then pointed around a corner to where some bumble bees were flying around...

“See those?”

“Those bees?”

“Yeah. Those are our tennis balls. Those and wasps and yellow jackets or anything else with wings that’s zippin’ around out here. In country tennis

you get points for knocking down stuff that flies.”

“You mean you want me to stand here and swing this racket at wasps or bees?”


“Isn’t there a chance I could be stung if I swing at one of them and miss?”

“Yeah, but anything worthwhile has some risk involved in it. Now, are you gonna play country tennis or do I need to buy you some pink drawers?”

That was all it took. I grabbed the racket and broke down into a Kung-Fu like stance. A few bees buzzed by, and I swung at ‘em but came up empty. Finally, a big, quarter-sized bee flew directly at me. I eyed it, raised my racket, and BAMMM! A direct hit - ole’ Billy hit the ground, and I was sure I’d scored some major points!

That hope lasted for only a few seconds. Ed Jr. glanced at the bee, then at me, and said,

“One point.”

I thought he was kidding, so I asked,

“One point?”

“Yep, just one. Son, that bee was huge. You have to earn points, what you just did would be like someone using a baseball bat to hit a basketball. Anybody can do that. Give me the racket and I‘ll show you how it‘s done.”

I handed it over to him. The old man took it, got really still, and held it maybe waist high. No more than a minute passed when a medium sized bee flew right into his line of vision. Ed Jr. tensed up, flicked his wrist, and...

POPPP!!! The bee dropped like it‘d been shot. I looked at it for a second, then looked over at Ed Jr, who promptly announced,

“Game, set, and match.”

And there you have it. My first country tennis match, a 2-1 loss to Ed Jr. Will and I left right after that, cause it was getting late and he still had some homework left to do. On our way back, Will looked over at me and said,

“Guess you learn something new every day, huh dad?”

That might be an understatement....

About the Author
Ed’s latest book, “Rough As A Cob,“ can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. He’s also a popular after dinner speaker, and his column runs in a number of Southeastern publications. You can contact him via email at:, or through his web site address at:

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