Saturday, January 14, 2017

One of my favorite Tiger fans.

One of my favorite memories of playing football for the Paintsville Tigers was the inner-action we had with our fans. Our Big Blue Nation is much like the University of Kentucky BBN. Our fans are almost fanatical. They love their Tigers regardless of the outcome of a game. Like the mailman, they are there to support their boys through the rain, the heat, the sleet, and snow.

One of my personal favorite was Wallace ("Wha Wha") Bailey. He loved to be called "Wha Wha" because "Wha Wha" Jones was his favorite UK player.

Wallace Jones

American Professional Basketball Player
Wallace Jones
Wallace Clayton "Wah Wah" Jones was an American professional basketball player. He played in the Nat…
"Wha Wha" Bailey enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War II at the tender age of eighteen. While serving in combat he was crawling on his hands and knees when he was hit in the spine  by a German "Sniper". He was paralyzed from the waist down. As a result of his injuries he was discharged from the Army with a 100% disability. He received a nice monthly pension, a nurse to care for him, and free medical supplies and treatment for a lifetime. He also received a new car equipped with hand controls about every three years, depending on the mileage accumulated on the car. He was one of the toughest men I ever met in my life. He never complained. He just took life one day at a time and endured his constant pain.

"Wha Wha" and I became close, personal friends as a result of him being on our sidelines at every game, home and away. He would often call me over to congratulate me on my play. He became my biggest fan; my best friend, and solid supporter. He often took me out to Tuffy's restaurant after a home game and allowed me to order anything I wanted. For a poor son of a coal miner this was a wonderful treat. We would often go back to the football field and pass a football in the lights of his car. He loved to throw me the football and bragged what a great quarterback he would have been. Beneath my teasing of him about his passing ability my heart cried out for his injuries and the loss of his youth.

I lost touch with "Wha Wha" when I entered the military. I have heard from friends that he married a wonderful lady who tenderly cared for him until he died, peacefully in his arms.

Wallace was not the only soldier in his family. His brother Charles, who later married my great friend, Victoria Meek, served in the Korean War and won the Silver Star for bravery in action.

No comments:

Post a Comment