One of these days I just might get around to writing my autobiography.
After all, I’m already halfway there. I have a title:
Headlong is how I’ve spent my 65 years, two months and one day on this ride through time and space, careening from one pursuit or activity to another in an impassioned frenzy. How nice it would be if I could ever finish one plan or project before starting the next, but that, as I can see by now, would be way too much to ask.
So I just keep living large in my head, picking up a thought here, a reference there, an idea that rattles around until I either commit it to notes – if not, on the rarest of occasions, action – or it goes hurtling off to that great trash bin somewhere in the outer reaches of the cosmos. By now I know that poor bin has to be full to overflowing, but being a certified Ludditte stuck in the 20th century, it will have to remain so until someone shows me how to empty the file.
Looking back, I’ve always been this way. Call it ADD, hyperactivity or just being a damn fool, from my earliest days growing up in the deep reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains (hometown Franklin) I was too wired to do all that needed to be done.
Athletically I had a modicum of ability and talent My father Hobe Collins, after all, played a little college football while attending Western Carolina University (then known as Western Carolina Teachers College) on the GI bill. And brothers Tom and Joe both started at quarterback for the Mighty Franklin High Fighting Panthers. But the reason I was seven games into my senior season before I ever got off the bench had less to do with any desire or skill as a hopeless inability to get a grip on my jangling nerves and fleeting attention span.
I could never settle in, could never settle down. Today, a half-century later, I still have that problem.
What a mess I would have made of this ride through time and space without the blessings and understanding of all the angels in my life, among them mother Frances, brothers Tom and Joe, awesome offspring Nate and Rebecca and first and foremost, my radiant bride, co-pilot and spiritual proctor Tybee. Every family needs a shaman and we’re lucky enough to have ours in Tybee Leigh Terry Collins.
But there have also been others – and hopefully you know who you are – who helped me get to and through college and into gainful employment with the Chapel Hill Newspaper (1972-78) and the Winston-Salem Journal (1978-2017). Writing sports is something I found I could do. I could somehow marshal my attention and energies long enough to watch an athletic event unfold, interview the participants and produce an account that passed enough muster to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.
As of August 18, 2017, however, I am no longer a sportswriter. After 45 years in the profession I retired to pursue all my many other passions and interests. The thrill of covering games was long gone, the industry was picking up momentum on his inexorable slide into the dustbin of history and I was Done.
Done, I tell you. I was Done.
I knew I always had my music. Truth be told I’ve been writing songs longer than I’ve been writing sports, if you could call the dimwitted ditties I was churning out at the stupid age of 15 songs. But I did pick up some momentum once I reached 50 and have spent the last 15 years playing around town, writing songs and ram-roding Open Mics at a couple of establishments enlightened enough to enlist my services. And that has been great fun.
Otherwise my time is mostly spent reading, another life-long love. Whenever any budding (don’t you love the term) writer was desperate enough to ask my advice about the craft, my answer was always to same. To write you have to read. Read for knowledge, to stock the mind. Read for style. Read to know how other writers go about doing what they’re trying to do. Because of my love for the written word, I’ve clogged the hard-drive in my head with all kinds of files, features and facts that for the most part might mean nothing to nobody but me. I’m hoping I’m wrong on that score, that what I have to say might be on interest to other travelers on this ride through time and space.
To that end, and, most of all, just to have some pursuit to fill my the hours of the day, I’m launching – with the eminently able assistance of Web-Maestro Rebecca — my blog My Take on Whatever. Here’s hoping you enjoy reading it as much as I surely will laying it on you. Just know you’re always welcome here. It’s always nice to have company on my headlong ride through life.