Why I Bother

To think that anything I could write here or anywhere else might change anyone’s mind on politics would be the height of arrogance. It hasn’t taken me all of my 65 years, two months and one day on this ride through space and time to realize that there are those whose opinions are diametrically opposed to mine, and that often the thought and consideration they’ve put into reaching their conclusions is equal, if not deeper, than mine.

Differences, whenever possible, should be celebrated. What a dull life we would lead without them.

So why is this old boy, after 45 years of being politically muzzled by the nature of my job working for a daily newspaper, stepping into the rough-and-tumble arena of political discourse? Why am I pulling out the soapbox to have my say on the hot-button issues of the day? Why do I even bother?

Two reasons.

The first is that I feel the need to stand up for what I believe. And what I  believe is that our politics of America in the 21st century are terribly out of whack. The rich are too rich and the poor too poor.  The disparity of income in American is growing every day and the middle class — the true engine that drives a thriving ecomomy — continues to crater into the ever-widening abyss.

Actually, to backtrack just a bit, my problem is not that the rich are too rich. I have no problem with how much money a person is able to make in America. Incentive is the gear that greases a vibrant economy. So I’m not a socialist and certainly not a communist. Che Guevara might have been a pretty cool guy. He at least seemed to be — if the movie The Motorcyle Diaries had any relationship whatsoever with reality. And you have to admire his commitment, regardless of the cause.

But Che died in the jungles of Bolivia and everything coming from that team since has been just another form of control by the rich and powerful.

What I do have problems with is the richest and most powerful among us using their riches and power to rig the political system in such a way that ensures they will always get what they want whenever they want it. There’s a Club in this country to which only the richest and most powerful belong, and, sad to say — coming from a lifelong Democrat whose mother cut her political teeth on FDR’s New Deal — it enlists members from both parties.

Sure Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Charles and David Koch are card-carrying members of The Club, but so are Chuck Schumer and, yes, Hillary Clinton.  The Democratic party, in my mind, turned its back on the working class of this country and the price we all paid is waking up one day to find Donald Trump — the worst among us, the ugliest of all Ugly Americans — in the White House.

So that’s the first reason I rage against the machine. The second is the scant hope that somehow, someway I might help marshal the energies of the like-minded. Times are scary. We need all the good energy we can get.

Along the way I hope to get comments from anyone who stumbles across this blog. I recognize I’m playing with fire and that some folks’ political passions blow so hot that they feel the need to attack and hopefully diminish those opinions with which they disagree.  But let’s just at least try to keep it civil. My take is that your political opinion is your own and you’re entitled to it. There’s no need for me to be threatened by those with whom I disagree. I will endeavor to show everyone all the respect they deserve.

All I ask in return is the same.



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.