It seems that spring has sprung. It’s February and it seems like summer. Several things keep coming to mind lately. One of our high school football teammates just passed away and it’s actually been hot in the afternoons recently. My mind wanders back to the sixties and the original Mighty Minford Falcons. These guys were no knock-off, imitation, wanna be brand. They were the original recipe – not made in China but made in Muletown, U.S.A.
When I think of us then, I think of two-a-days, laps, exercise, weights, pads, salt pills, and learning that it’s more fun to hit than be hit. When I think of the weights, it was the Folgers Training System and homemade by our own boosters program. They were cement-filled coffee cans on the ends of galvanized pipe. We were a brand new football program with hand-me-down shoes and stadium from New Boston and glad to get them.
Those were the days my friend; we thought they’d never end. We would go at it twice a day in football practice and do marathon laps around the midway at the county fair at night. We didn’t have electronic games so we made our own fun and games. By day, it was all business (Coach Sammons’ style) and by night it was all monkey business. Neither of these activities paid money so on the weekends you would bale hay. We were never bored. What’s it all about Alfie? Pure and simple – the lovely ladies of Scioto County. That’s the way we rolled.
Who are Pat and Mike? They are the Borders boys and they were two of the more colorful characters on the football team. I first met them as a Freshman. When Mike was a Senior and Pat was a Junior. Of course, there was their faithful sidekick Gabe Canary also.
Mike and Pat went on to play football at Eastern Kentucky (Claude Sammons Alma Mater). They lived around here for a while and then migrated to Florida, where they live today. They’ve been into teaching, coaching, construction, and produce farming, but mainly – they’ve been brothers. In Falcon football they were fierce competitors but always brothers. If you messed with one, you had both to deal with – always brothers.
Then there was the Muletown Rumble. Two wanna-be tough guy brothers challenged the Borders Boys to a fight in the middle of Minford (right downtown in the business district). That didn’t take long. Those other two only lasted one day of football practice too.
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. It’s that two-a-day mentality that makes you reach down deep inside yourself and figure just who you want to be in life – the hammer or the nail.
That Muletown version of the Shootout at the O.K Corral and Falcon Football instilled the linebacker mentality in me that it’s more fun to hit then be hit.
Yes, the notorious Borders Gang is homestead’n in the Sunshine State but they sashay through these parts when you least expect it, unless you’ve got ‘em patterned.
We’ve stayed in touch through the years and I know about when they will surface here. You can figure on seeing them at reunions (both class and football) and they will be as far north as South Shore, Kentucky. This is Holbrook Territory and Mike married into that clan (Donna).
One of Mike’s lifelong projects is “The Pat Borders Field” (aka Beagle Field) and that’s on Holbrook Property in South Shore, This is Mike’s “Field of Dreams” and he has built a tremendous softball facility there that is home to an annual Fourth of July Tournament. He’s done this with a lot of work, money, and help from his friends and family. Brother Pat, brother-in-law Rob Holbrook, Gabe Canary and Bob Rase have been involved in the project. I’ve done two tree plantings there. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch – our roots run deep.
You would think as well as I knew those guys, they would have told me about their little sister but no, not a word. Of course, I never mentioned my little sister to them either. You figure that that’s just not going to come up in shower room lingo. Maybe we knew each other too well.
Earlier I mentioned Brother Pat. Well, there are two Pat Borders. One is Mike’s brother which I’ve spoke of all through this article and the other is Mike’s son. Now this guy is one that many of you who read the sports page will know, played M.L.B. This is one they both want to take credit for. Mike would say, “He’s a chip off the ol’ block” and Brother Pat would say, “He’s named right.” The younger Pat Borders was with the Toronto Bluejays, a World Series M.V. P and is on your flood wall murals. I believe he’s still a batting coach at Toronto but I would bet that we would find that his motivation and success is a combination of inherit talent and environment. I’m betting his environment included his dad Mike, Uncle Pat, and two-a-days.
It’s funny how your mind can take you back in time and how the impressions made then still linger today. I didn’t have any brothers so I was impressed with those that I was around. It may have been the Flaigs, Slones, Parkers, or borders Boys but there was always a bond there. They may have had an occasional skiff between them but it was them against the world. Now, much further down the road, it’s my observation that the brothers are as close as ever and life is good. This is probably all the P.D.T will allow me to tell on these guys. Here’s to the brothers – Pat and Mike.
Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.