US Highway 460
Blacksburg, VA 24060

     I moved quietly into the University Motel Apartments in September of 1971, to take care of some "unfinished business".  I knew this would probably be my last chance.  I felt like a Gladiator returning to the Coliseum where seemingly invincible opponents waited to spill more of my blood.  Over 3 years had passed, and most of the students I knew at Virginia Tech had graduated and moved on.  Certainly, no one expected I'd ever come back to Blacksburg, not after making a fool of myself, squandering 4 years of golden opportunities (1964 to 1968), and especially not after serving 3 years in the US Army.  All evidence seemed to suggest that I was not college material, so they figured I'd take the "Army Lifer" option.  However, upon closer inspection, they might have discovered those beastly little burrs burried deep beneath my saddle.  A dead Grandmother's wish that I graduate from college still haunted me.  And what could be more shameful than your own Mother having to make excuses, trying to explain why her son was such a loser.  It also bothered me that my high school football coach had once said I had "great second effort".  I'm sure he recanted that statement many times.  GD right, there was plenty of unfinished business in Blacksburg.  After wallowing in defeat for 7 years, I understood why they had left me for dead.  But their GD graveyard was not gonna hold me.  Here's how "second effort" works on the football field--just when they think you're stopped, you rise up and kick their stinking teeth out.  It helps to be a little stubborn, kind of like "Papillon" and "Cool Hand Luke", naturally two of my favorite movies.  Anyway, by December of 1973, I'd surprised the hell out of all the naysayers.  Their words had to be eaten, along with plenty of teeth.  And without a doubt, the 2-year battle I waged in Apartment 404, of the "Last Chance Motel", was the most important victory of my life.

"We improve ourselves by victories over ourself.  There must be contests, and you must win".  Edward Gibbon (1737 - 1794)

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat".  Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

"Victory belongs to the most persevering".  Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)

"Its not so important how you start the race, its how you finish that counts." William 'Billy' Morrison (mentor, coach, counselor of young men)


Gladiator - A Hero Will Rise
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