Wednesday, December 4, 2013


As kids, we were into clubs.

My neighbor Roy built a treehouse, so we had a treehouse club.  One day, the club had a competition to see who could hammer a nail into a block of wood with the least number of strokes.  I think I was pretty lousy at it … but I kept on swinging, because I wanted to be in the club.


In Pee Wee football, my friend Lance and I came up with the “Good Hands” Club.  Lance was a wide receiver, and I was a tight end.  Our team mainly ran the ball, though, so the Good Hands Club didn’t see much action.  Except for blocking.  We got really good at blocking.

Lance and I were optimists, though.  We knew it was just a matter of time before we got our hands on the ball, so we came up with a “good hands” play.  It went something like this … if Lance ever caught a pass, he would turn and lateral the ball to me.  If I ever caught a pass, I would turn and lateral the ball to him.

Genius, right?

Well, I did finally catch a pass in a game, right at the end of the first half.  I took a couple of steps and then lateraled/fumbled the ball back toward Lance.

At halftime, our coach looked over at me and said, “Nice job of trying to keep the ball alive out there after the clock had expired.”  I nodded my head, as if that had been my plan all along.  But it wasn’t my plan.  I was simply executing the Good Hands Club play.


Which brings me to my favorite club … maybe the best club in the history of clubs.

One fall in elementary school, some friends and I formed the B.A.D. Club.  (Yes, the “A” stood for Allen. You may guess at the other initials, if you wish.)

We spent most of our afternoons running around the Harding Music Building where D’s dad worked.  We yelled up and down the hallways, and associate professors eyed us suspiciously as we sped by their offices.  We slid down the stairs on flattened cardboard boxes (which sounds like a lot more fun than it actually was).  And eventually, we’d always end up in the recording studio, which was a big as a basketball court.  A stage stood at the far end of it, and at the entrance these words were etched into the wall:

Little by little
time goes by
short if you sing
long if you sigh.

(I quoted this to my wife recently.  She was unimpressed.)

One cool feature of the stage … it had doors at one end that allowed access to the underneath.  You could flip a light switch to illuminate the underworld, or you could just crawl around in the darkness – if you dared.  The lower-stage lands were filled with boxes, a thin layer of dust, and even a spider or two.

Around Christmastime, the B.A.D. Club began planning our first, and only, holiday party.  (By this time, the club had grown to include a few people whose last names did not start with “B” or “A” or “D”.)  Before the big day arrived, we decorated the under-stage with our very own Christmas tree, and then drew names for a surprise gift exchange.

I was completely stoked.

On the afternoon of the party, we handed out Christmas presents by the light of our 2 ½ foot plastic tree.  The flat, loosely-wrapped package given to me contained a BiC pen.  Not the greatest gift I’ve ever received, but a gold-letter day nonetheless.  Why?  Because, I was at a Christmas party … under a stage … with good friends.  What could be better than that?


These days, Cheryl and I still believe in the power of clubs.  We belong to a group that meets at Matt and Jill’s place on Tuesday nights.  We talk about shallow things.  We talk about deep things.  We’ve been known to crack open a Bible.  We’ve even had a few parties along the way.

Yes, even in these middle ages, we still need clubs to help us on the journey.


  1. Oh, my goodness. I just remembered when four of us for a while called ourselves "Us Four." And used to play Rook before school started, in Mrs. Sears' class. Do you remember? I went from being your dummy hand to actually learning how to play.....what fun. (And I never knew you could go under the stage in the recording studio! How cool!)

    1. Ha! I had forgotten about that. I'm guessing G.B. was in this group?

  2. What a cute young coach in your picture, Mike! Love your writing!