I was chatting with the early morning dudes at Peet’s and Harbaugh came up again. One of the dudes is the father of a blue chip player, Paly class of 1981, who played with Jim and together they went deep into the CCS playoffs. There was some talk, just before, about Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October” and the fact that baseball now goes into November.
Then I picked up the local rag and it said something about “Harbaugh mutiny”. Huh? Harbaugh mutiny is 1982 when, following the graduation of Marc Ford (son of NFL black pioneer Henry Ford), Mark Johnson (son of track star and VC stud Pitch Johnson) and son of my unnamed neighbor (hint: former Cornell basketball player, covered Rudy LaRusso of Dartmouth, retired head of Physics Depart, three letters, sounds like, but isn’t “whack”), Vikings go 5-5 or 4-6 and by end of the season, or so was heard thru the grapevine moving towards South Palo Alto (i.e. Gunn-Cub, or former Cub guys at Gunn talking to former Cub guys at Paly) Captain Jim, aka “The Peacock” was losing control of his guys. Indeed, as Scott Ostler hints at in his Chron column — “Let someone else pick up the blitz, dude…” said Vikings were more agape and placate than “rape and pillage” (these are sports metaphors…???) toward the onrushing non-sons of football coaches and non-scholarship to Big Ten and whammo! Or: something out of “The Longest Yard”.
That was the rumor and one of the seeds of what became the Gunn Oracle’s April 1, 1982 fake Paly Campanile (The Crapanile) and our “Our Boy Jim Does It Again” spoof.
Thirty years later, I am researching what became a 20,000 word treatise on “history of jazz in Palo Alto” going thru the Palo Alto History Association archive of clippings, and the verso — Ivy League English guy word for “other side” — of a music clip has a Palo Alto weekly sports article, no byline on Paly football: Jim Harbaugh running for his life…direct quote.
(And I had a riff, for a while, whether published here, or in my head only, or maybe one of the five or six or seven times I described this, as part of a comedic monologue I was calling “The Harbaugina Monologue”, that in that moment, with his life flashing before his eyes, Jim had a psychic break and everything else weird is therefore explainable, his behavior, like in a Philip K. Dick movie or story).
And I always say: Type O positive that I am, I want to heal brother Jim — I played with/against on the hardwood, hoops — not bury him; I picture a second life as hand drums in a world music group of bass player in a reggae or Christian reggae group ala the mayor of Portlandia.
Never thought I would have anything in common with Deion Sanders (who is the one talking smack about Harbaugh and people doubt him).
also: weird segue or coda: I was writing a random exercise in information management, sorting Raiders coaches by wins, and noticed the oddity of Bill Callahan as both a Raider Super Bowl coach and the folksinger also known as smog. By the way, Bill Callahan the coach — a Cowboy these days — is from Chicago and Bill Callahan the singer, who I met in SF and dates or did date Cat Power who just played or is playing tonight in SF, who I saw at Bottom of the Hill in 1997 or so with Rachel Metz whose kid brother Noah Metz I visited in Chi-town in 2009, shaggy dog, shaggy dog — Callahan is from DC area or Maryland but his label Drag City is in…wait for it..Chicago. But that also got me searching “drug addicted losers” and Jim Garrett coach of Columbia and not to be confused with Bill Campbell, to whom I sold a Chevy Celebrity in 1983 and some weird comparison between bad coach Jim Garrett and bad coach Harbaugh, who does, I admit, have one of the top percentages in NFL history.
Coda 2: at NoLas’s Monday I spotted a man I had seen in stands at Gunn-Prospect who said he is Greg Badger (I have this proper and written on a menu, will double-check) and seems knowledgeable and legit on football, and said he is Noah Riley (of Gunn) personal quarterback coach and says Bill Walsh was under-valued by Paul Brown. Also: I named-checked “Jim Sparaco” today to a large football-sized Palo Alto Police Sergeant named Rich Bulljahn I think and stuck out. The Sarge (not to be confused with South-West Illinois indie band “Sarge”) was waiting in line to update his parking pass, commuting 18 miles does he from San Jo area. Which reminds that my former client the singer and Broadway star Mark “Stew” Stewart who is 5’5″ or so but was called “linebacker sized” by some music writer, largely because he is black. Stew told me once, we were backstage or in our green room, opening for John Mayers and Counting Crows in 2002, that he has never, ever bluffed his way out of a fight by acting, like his character in “Passing Strange” blacker, tougher or more street than he actually is. I did this exactly once: at the Ramp, 1988 or 1987, with Greg Hulbert, an actual former Dartmouth lineman, and his pesky blond friend: the two got confronted by a group of four or five, for stealing beer from the bar back and — I thought we were on our way out, home, done for the evening, I was designated driver — I turned back to see a stand-off, and they go “Yeah, you got the big guy, but it’s two versus four” and I rip off my eyeglasses, run back, shoulder up to Hulbert and, in a vocce an octave lower than my normal bass, or contralto, “Four against THREE”. They backed down enough for us to retreat with our dignity, but not before Pesky Blond prop-type (rugby-term), tried to bait them further.
Anyhow, if Jim Harbaugh catches whiff of my preaching here and wants personal management in his music career, I will ring Pat Monahan of Train and offer him big money to reprise his famous 1998 show at the Cub (attended by: Hulbert, ex-SI quarterback and Dartmouth 2-sport and A-USA Brian Stretch, AND Sam Abbey of SC Builders, who built the Oliveira Windhover Contemplative Center at Stanford which just opened). What would Jim Harbaugh call his act, the one which would open for Train?
Also: and I went out of bounds miles ago, but did cover ladies lacrosse, they of no boundary, if you are still in pursuit: the former Stanford lineman, who beat up his boyfriend, Kwame Harris, I recall the news showing him on piano and wanted to rep him. And weirdly I wanted to confuse him with Jon Martin, ex-Dolphin.
That’s all I got. Release the self-hounds.
dude: passing strange. or Jim Harbaugh’s Passing Strange.
Jim Harbaugh’s Passing Strange Featuring Jim Harbaugh — I will tell this story, or read this post during the changeover.
edit to add, thirty minutes later: I mean “Greg Barber” — I asked if he is kin to Tiki and Ronde — and found:
Greg Barber has been hired as quarterbacks coach at Sequoia High.
But that’s just the beginning of this story.
The 78-year-old Barber has had all four limbs amputated. He gets around on a wheelchair with handlebars, sort of a motorized scooter.
“I have half a thumb left,” Barber said.
He suffered an aortic dissection — a tear in the wall of the aorta — in 2007. An adverse drug reaction necessitated the amputation of all his fingers. Both legs were amputated at mid-calf.
Now Barber, who has coached at San Mateo, Burlingame, Gunn and Los Altos, is returning to the high school ranks at Sequoia.
“I want to extend our passing game,” Sequoia coach Rob Poulos said. “Greg’s got a great mind for quarterback mechanics. We’re similar in how we look at football, at developing kids. He’s very positive.”
Sequoia employs the no-huddle, spread, read-option Oregon offense. But last year it was run-heavy. The Cherokees rushed for 267 yards per game in 2013, passed for 89.5. Barber will work with 250-pound junior quarterback Fa’avae Brown, who rushed for 683 yards and passed for 498 as a sophomore.
“Now I get a challenge,” Barber said. “I get to work with a quarterback who can throw the ball a million miles, but not very accurately. My job is to make him accurate.”
That challenge might pale in contrast with what he’s already been through.
“I got lucky,” Barber said. “I’ve been lucky my whole life.”
Vedantic philosophy, Bagadavita, as related thru (me and) David Shields, Shane Salerno and J.D. Salinger:
we have the right to work. we do not have the right to fruits of our work.