An Old School Paddling

Back in the early 70s in May Eanes Jr. High, Mobile, Al. There was this boy in junior high school who held the record for the most paddlings.  He was the most paddled 7th grader, the most paddled 8th grader, and the most paddled 9th grader, that is up until the second semester.   That record was not just for those years but was an all-time record for the school!

Now this boy was not really all that bad.  He did have a rebellious streak to him but the real problem was that he enjoyed his misbehaving so much that the paddlings, even though unpleasant, were worth the fun he had cutting up. Added to this was the street cred he enjoyed from his reputation as a tough guy who couldn't be broken.  Paddlings had become his "claim to fame".

Well one day he went little too far in giving a certain lady teacher a hard time in class.  Right about that time Coach McCrory was walking by the classroom door.  Now this man was a lesson in masculine engineering.  His arms were large and his neck was thick, and he sported a neat flat top crew cut.  He was small at the waist and never said more than two words at a time but you better believe he really meant those two words.

This lady teacher teacher looked out the door and saw the coach walking down the hall.  She got his attention and complained about this boy for about 30 seconds.  He looked at the boy and said, "Outside."  He happened to have his planed down baseball bat with him.  He took this guy over to a 56 Chevy parked around the corner, pushed him toward the hood and said, "bend over."

All it took was two full swings to reduce this tough street punk into a sobbing spectacle of complete contrition.  Today he might have been arrested for child abuse as he actually made twin bruises, one for each cheek, on that boy’s rebellious backside.  Back then it was just another day in the public school system when a misbehaving student crossed the line and needed to be given a wake-up call.

Well that boy went back to class, apologized to the teacher, and changed his ways.  That was the last spanking I ever got in my life and it probably did more to form my character than any other single event.  I finally had to learn that there was something and someone bigger than myself and the law did really have some teeth!

I ran into Coach McCrory 11 years later when I was pastoring a new church in Mobile.  He still had that same flat top and that same imposing physique.  I don't know if he even remembered that incident but there was a look in his eye that made me think that he did and he was proud to see that I wasn’t in jail but was wearing a suit and buying tires for the family car.  I should have said “thank you” but the silent nods from each to the other was enough.  With guys, sometimes no words are really needed.