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Keeps On A Comin’

By J. Speer-Williams

Sheriff John Hazard was a bad dude. He was also a good-looking guy, totally ripped with chiseled muscles, a lantern-square jaw, and piercing blue eyes. Maybe the meanest a-hole on the whole Florida Gator football team.

Was “Sheriff” his real first name? I never found out. Anyway, Hazard had been a Golden Gloves boxer and he always had a bad attitude. Never once during the three years of me trying to play college football did I ever see Sheriff John smile. Never. Not once.

 I never once spoke to Hazard ­ I merely tried to stay away from him.

 Hazard, however, always spotted me, if I was anywhere near him on the football field. And he would invariably glare at me with fixed and angry hate vibes.

 At first ­ in return ­ I’d smile nervously at Sheriff John Hazard, but that would incite him into glowering at me with snarling lips. So I began to always look away from his threatening stares, pretending I had not noticed.

 Walking to and from classes, I’d usually be on cautious alert for Hazard. Fortunately, with over 13,000 students enrolled at the university, I never saw him on campus.

 But with only about 125 football players on the practice field, Hazard saw way too much of me, even though he worked out with the linemen, while I was with the running backs.

 It was in the dressing room, where I most feared Hazard. There, I usually set speed records taking off my uniform and pads, and cutting the tape off my ankles. Then I’d quickly shower, dress, and make my exit.

 I did not have a football scholarship, so I couldn’t live or eat with the players. That was both good and bad. It was bad because I had very little money and was never able to buy all the food I needed to consume after practice. But without a scholarship, I didn’t have to live and eat in close proximity to Sheriff John Hazard.

 Anyway, once I was away from Hazard for any length of time, I would usually convince myself “it” was all in my mind. Sheriff John had absolutely no reason to hate me. I wasn’t competing for his position on the football team. I didn’t owe him any money. I had never even talked with the guy.

 I certainly was not trying to steal his girl, as I didn’t even know if he had a girlfriend. So, maybe it was just my delirium to think Hazard hated me.

 Or was it?

 In addition to always being broke and fearing Sheriff John, I had lots of other problems in college.

 First of all, I was a functional illiterate who could not understand the poorly written textbooks upon which I was periodically tested.

 Then there was Jan. I was hopelessly and stupidly head-over-heels crazy about Jan. And how did Jan feel about me? Well, like Hazard, I never really knew how Jan felt about me. Like Hazard, Jan was a mystery. Did she love me or not?

 I had two walls closing in on me. On one side was the strong possibility of hate, and on the other side, the slim possibility of love. I was bound by two mighty MAYBES, enough to drive anyone as mad as a hatter.

 Now with the benefit of many years, and much retrospection, I believe Jan used me as a second-rate substitute, until someone better-looking, someone smarter, someone richer, or someone who was a star took an interest in her. It was something that never occurred; truth be known, Jan was not in that league.

 And the more I think about it, it must have been my ever-present hunger for food that drove me into the illusions I had of Jan’s allure.

 Anyway, this discourse is about Sheriff John, not Jan. And it was Hazard beating me to a pulp that I feared more than Jan not loving me. There were moments, however, when I was free from both Sheriff John and Jan. Glorious moments they were. They were days at the beach, with a peaceful setting sun.

Have you ever had it happen that when you’re feeling happy-go-lucky, fate will rear its head and quickly let you know that a carefree attitude might not have been warranted?

 Something like that happened to me one late afternoon after football practice, on a day when I was feeling pretty good about my performance on the field.

 On my way to the showers, I saw Sheriff John Hazard facing off with husky right-guard Bob Smithfield, while both were in the nude.

 Then, like the lightning quick strike of an angry rattlesnake, Hazard hit Bob squarely in the face.

 SPLAT! went half a pint of Bob’s nose blood against a tile wall.

 Bob sank to the floor. But before hitting the tile, Hazard must have hit poor Bob three or four more times ­ all in the face and head.

 I was mesmerized looking at Bob twitch, lying on his back, his face and chest covered with blood. I couldn’t move. I began to tremble. Finally, I shot into the showers. I took the fastest shower of my young, immature, and very scared life.

 I had no more encounters with the Hazard for the rest of the season. I spent most of the off-season concentrating on my lack of money by getting odd jobs, trying to study a lot more effectively, and wondering what I could do to get Jan to show a little more interest in me.

 Then came spring practice. My weight was down to an all-time college low, but oddly enough it did not seem to increase my rather slow speed.

 Maybe, I was just too weak from the lack of food.

 I was, however, beginning to make some progress on my romantic fronts. I had finally given up on Jan. I got a date with a new hottie, named Ann, a transfer from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Her father, Dr. Jeffery Finestein, was the head of the Department of Religion at the University of Florida. So, I used one of my electives to take a course called Comparative Religions. I didn’t understand a word, but Judaism seemed to have the best PR, with Islam having the worse.  And my religion, Christianity? It was hardly talked about.

 I thought Ann held the potential of driving me as crazy as Jan did. And it was with Ann and my teammate, the ever pugnacious Tony (who was always without a date), that I found myself partying in the infamous ATO basement one Saturday night.

The 3.2 beer was flowing freely from kegs. The Shirelles were screaming their hit song, Mama Said, while Tony was yelling across Ann to me about some stuff of no interest to me or Ann.

 Ann wanted to dance, but I wanted to drink, yell, drink some more, laugh, and have male fun. I still had not learned how to woo a woman.

 But life was good, anyway. I was carefree once again. Happy-go-lucky, you might say. Then it happened. The unbelievable happened.

 The SAE fraternity was our chief rival on campus, and one of their prized athletes was none other than the terrible Sheriff John Hazard.

 And it was the Hazard who had the amazing nerve to show up in our ATO basement ­ uninvited ­ the very night I had my date with Ann.

 Hazard was flanked by two of his rather large fraternity brothers while the three of them rudely walked through all the dancers, everyone giving way to them. An entrance that was completely, wholly, and utterly unprecedented.

 Sheriff John Hazard and his cohorts positioned themselves on chairs in the back of the basement, each one of them leaning back against the wall, all of them looking straight at me.

 My happy little world fell apart. Sheriff John’s boldness was unheard of. If any ATOs had tried the same stunt at the SAE House, they’d have been beaten to pulps and had all their hair shaved off.

 Maybe the Hazard was actually crazy, which made him all the more fearsome. I began to tremble, like I did when Sheriff John so savagely beat poor Bob Smithfield into a bloody pulp.

 I flashed sly looks toward the hazardous trio, trying to figure out what to do. My best thought was to pretend I had to go to the bathroom, upstairs; then I’d bolt to the front door and escape into the night.

 Was it my imagination that Sheriff John wanted some of my hide?

 What had I ever done to him? I had never even spoken to him. It made no sense. A familiar feeling of unreality was overtaking me. Was I in a nightmare or in the Twilight Zone?

 Hazard … what a name! His name told the world who he was. He was a dangerous hazard, who had no regard for convention or consequences.

 What if he killed me, or worse yet, disfigured me for life?

 Aww … there I go again, imagining things. Maybe Sheriff John is just having some sport. Maybe we’ll all laugh about it later.

 “Who is that?” asked Ann.

 “I dunno,” I mumbled.

 “Is he a football player?” Ann persisted.

 “Ah … I think so,” I said, totally distracted.

 “Don’t you football players all know each other? Aren’t you a football player?” Ann asked.

 “Ah … kinda,” I responded, still distracted.

 “Well, are you a football player or not? My girl friends said you were a player,” Ann said, raising her voice.

 “Well, not really … you see … I kinda give the impression I’m a …” I uttered, my voice low and rather indistinct.

 Now, I had two problems: Hazard, and losing points with Ann.

 “Hey, that’s my song. Let’s dance,” said Ann.

 “Ah … ah … what?” said I, stumbling with my words, as I stumbled toward the dance floor.

The song was the great Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,” … each time I see you again … you walk by and I fall to pieces … I fall to pieces each time someone speaks your name … I fall to pieces, time only adds to the pain …


 Then the music stopped. There was a stunned silence. Am I dreaming, or did Sheriff John just speak ­ or rather scream ­ his first words to me?

 During the hush, I was transported to another world, one of utter confusion.

 In this alien world I’m rising on an up-escalator, with people rushing past me. “Where’s everybody going,” I wondered.

 Then all the faces of all those who rushed past me turned and glared at me. The faces zoomed toward and past me, all shouting … “Hazard AheadHazardAheadHazard AheadHazardAheadHazardAhead.”

 “Hazard,” said Tony, close to my face, as we stood outside on the ATO front lawn, with a couple of hundred electrified people.

 “Hazard,” Tony repeated. “You’re no match for him. Better let me take him on.”

 It was then, at that very moment, that the full two years of Hazard’s terror hit me in the face, and I knew it was all real. The decision I was about to make would go a long way in determining how I’d lead and live the rest of my life: fight Hazard or run away?

 Few of the Gators football players recognized me to be an asset. But, my frat brothers considered me to be one of their “house jocks.” How in the world could I disappoint them by “chickening out” in confronting Sheriff John? But do I have to prove my manhood with someone as formidable as John Hazard? Oh, why does my life have to be so damn complicated?

 Life is a dangerous affair, which eventually is fatal. And usually, the lessons of life are best to be learnt gradiently. Certainly boyhood fights should be on that gradient scale, as young boys are not yet strong enough to really hurt each other when fighting on a clean one-on-one basis.

 Fighting amongst boys and young men has long been part of the rites of passage for males in various cultures, and such fights should be allowed if we are to have future leaders strong enough to lead and serve us honorably and courageously.

 In their grand pretense to eliminate violence by criminalizing schoolyard fights, our leaders have launched avalanches of violence from their movies and television shows to their street cops. All the while their computer video games condition our youth to “kill” human beings from safe and remote distances. Some of these subtly trained boys have become American soldiers who, while stationed in the US, aim their guided gunfire and missiles from drone aircraft on foreign non-combatants, killing many innocent civilians. How many of these kinds of young cowards ever faced up to a bully on some schoolyard?

 To ban fighting in schools and to criminalize boys who fight on playgrounds is to forevermore afflict us with the likes of the chicken-necked, cowardly leaders we have today, who start wars but never actually engage in any combat.

 The John Hazards of our world serve a valuable purpose, one that should not be minimized. They can make men out of boys. We don’t have to beat them; we merely have to fight them ­ cleanly.

 When a young man learns of the fear and pain of a mere tussle, scuffle, wrestling match, or more seriously, of a fistfight on a playground, I believe he is more likely to think twice about engaging in warfare or the brutalizing of others.

 It’s the little weasels who covertly instigate fights but never actually engage in them who have for so long directed our world into all its wars, with its attendant torture, death, and wide-spread destruction.

 Today’s brutes of the intelligence/military/police establishment, who do the torturing and killing for the weasels, were once playground bullies without an ounce of real courage.

 Courageous men try to avoid fights, and certainly try to avoid killing anyone; they are the ones who are big enough to have compassion and mercy for others.

 Such courage often begins with fights on school grounds, the very fights the Controllers want to criminalize so as to eliminate the lessons to be gained from those playgrounds. And in this regard, many people have become the unknown accomplices of the cowardly Controllers.

 The so-called Teaching Tolerance program sponsored by the alien Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the driving force to criminalize schoolyard fights.

 It is also the SPLC, along with their partner in crimes ­ the Anti-Defamation League ­ that has  pushed the “hate crimes” legislation in Congress that would make it a crime to publicly report on corruption in government.

 Both the ADL and SPLC are tax-free, 501(c)3 hate groups that are largely funded by the controlling oligarchs of Earth, who abhor life ­ all forms of life ­ from plant to animal. Exposing these oligarchs and their front-men is called extremism by the SPLC and the ADL.

 Beware of anything sponsored by the SPLC and ADL, as they are not what they appear to be.

 Certainly better rites of passage could be created and perhaps enforced. Supervised wrestling, or boxing matches (with gloves) is one thought. Arm wrestling is another, as is football.

 But whatever the rite, it must be physical and require courage, strength, and exertion, with some pain in the mix, for a man will likely be challenged during his adulthood with some formidable confrontations that will require courage in the protection of his family.

 Children should be sheltered and protected. Boys, however, should be allowed to fight, and to do so cleanly, without weapons.

 “No, it’s my fight,” I finally told Tony.

 The die was cast. I’d face the mighty Hazard in a dual that could be a fight for my life.

 In a microsecond, I was transported to the middle of the ATO lawn, surrounded by what looked to be a hundred to two hundred noisy people. Where was Ann?

 Where was my mama?

 Cars on 13th Street and University Avenue were blowing their horns; some were stopping, with people jumping out and running toward the ATO lawn.

 I thought, “No one wants to miss the slaughter,” which had just begun. Hazard had just blasted me squarely in the nose and I felt warm stuff pouring out of it.

 “Oh no, not my nose,” I fretted. It was a big and ugly enough nose as it was.

 I was staggered, but felt the hot rage of, “The nerve of that son-of-a-bitch.”

 I swung on Hazard with everything I had, almost falling down with the effort. Being a skilled boxer, Hazard easily side-stepped my attempt. I must have missed his head by a good foot.

 All I got for my feeble effort was two left jabs in my face. Hazard was fast. He had hit me twice, then backed away.

 I charged Hazard, swinging with my right, and missed again; but, I absorbed two more jabs in my face. Now, I was having trouble seeing Hazard, as my eyes must have been swelling shut.

 Hazard was a skilled boxer. I was an occasional brawler, who didn’t know how to box, which did not portend well for me.

 Hazard was a superbly conditioned athlete. I smoked a lot and drank anything I could get my hands on, at any time. I considered beer to be more than merely an excellent breakfast drink.

 But what pissed me off more than anything else was how Sheriff John was rearranging my face. I was never blessed with a perfectly symmetrical face anyway; and after Hazard’s beatings, I’d be lucky to get off with a lopsided face that was made up of mismatching parts, the design of which might look like an old, lumpy, patchwork quilt, with cigarette hole burns in it.

 So, I did all I could do, which was to absorb John Hazard’s punches, but keep him from throwing a haymaker ­ with his right ­ by continually advancing on him.

 I felt like Sheriff John had hit me a hundred times, while I was yet to land a single punch.

 The screaming crowd of students kept re-forming itself as I backed up the ever punch-throwing John Hazard.

 Then to my surprise, Sheriff John pulled back about three yards and yelled, “Break!”

 He was bent over, his hands on his knees, heaving in long breaths. He must have exhausted himself by hitting me so often in the face.

 “No break!” I screamed, as I tore toward Sheriff John.

 Now I knew the supremely conditioned Hazard was not invincible.

 I swung wildly. Missed. Swung again. Missed again.

 Swung a third time. THUD! I had hit flesh and bone, Sheriff John Hazard’s head bone. I had landed my haymaker.

 Hazard went down like a stone. He was out. The great Sheriff John Hazard lay unconscious at my feet.

 I knelt beside his head, as his two lieutenants rushed to him.

 “I’ve never been hit … so hard …” murmured the fallen boxer.

 Good, he’s alive! I thought, as I stood up, feeling very victorious.

 I turned toward the cheering crowd, which no longer formed a boxing ring. It was now merely a milling collection of young men and coeds, who all seemed to want to touch me, but respectfully gave way, letting me pass through them.

 Everything now would be anti-climactic.

 I neither needed nor wanted congratulations, so I kept walking until I crossed 13th Street. There, I looked back at the still-milling crowd on the front yard of the ATO house.  

 Fungoo to Hazard and his intimidations. His bark had been worse than his bite.

 And even though it hurt to smile, there was a big grin on my face.

 Then I turned and walked toward the University’s Administration Building and the campus and my dorm room, still smiling. It hurt so good.

 Hazard had physically defeated me as the mirror in my dorm room later proved. But, as I continued to look into my mirror, I began to painfully laugh: I had defeated Hazard spiritually because I was in the right.

 For years after the Sheriff John Hazard fight, I have wondered what else had I learned from it.

 Immediately, however, it had become obvious to me that I could have saved myself much misery by confronting Hazard as soon as he began his intimidation tactics.

 I also learned that I never again saw Hazard even glance in my direction on the practice field or in the dressing room.

 At last, I had been free to endure bruising tackles as a running back on the Gator scout team, all without my great worry.

 And, I found out why Hazard so hated me. Sheriff John smelt my fear of him, and being a bully, he detested those who feared him, which is part of  the motivation of all torturers.

 And as fear stalks a man, that which he so fears will eventually catch up with him, if he compulsively worries about it.

 More importantly, in time, I learnt that the fears in my mind have always been greater and fiercer than experiencing that which caused my fears.

 When a dark cabal of conspiratorial oligarchs holds the reins of government in their hands, that very government becomes the enemy of the people.

 When that government uses its powers against its own citizens under pretenses of public service, those citizens can either turn their heads avowing they see nothing, know nothing, or they can and will educate themselves and others as to the true state of affairs.

 Every being that wakes up and helps to educate another is a punch thrown at an enemy that will never give us any quarter, whether we fight back or not. Throw enough punches, and sooner or later, they’ll add up to our haymaker, our knock-out punch.

 The decisions and actions we make and take today regarding our government will determine how we lead and live the rest of our lives.

 Remember, we are in the right; the basic laws of our land, the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights, say so.

 I eventually made the motto of the Texas Rangers my own, and invite you to do the same:

 No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’.

 J. Speer-Williams



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