September 29, 2008


I loved the song "Green Onions" when I was a kid. And in my cd collection now is the Greatest Hits of Booker T and the MG's.

That's foreshadowing, folks.

So I'm at the soccer game last Friday. I sit with the families. To many of them I am a blessing (I modestly say) because I give such intense and personal tutoring to their sons who struggle to survive academically at UCB. I have my posse -- I can't handle working so intensely with the whole team. Last year, I got overwhelmed. After a few years of just doing good work with a few soccer players, I had built a reputation. At the first game of the season last Fall, I was approached by two mothers who I had never met. They came up and said "Are you Sherman?" (I'm not hard to miss at 350 lbs, after all). I said yes, and then one of the two said "We've heard that if you want your son to graduate, you should make sure Sherman likes him. So what kind of cookies do you like?" I ended up taking on six freshmen, and my cup definitely runneth over.

Only one of my posse graduated, so I wasn't looking to take on any new students for the academic coaching I do. Jake and Hector and JoshB and Andrew and AJ and Servando and Imaan and Kyle and Scot and Anthony were more than enough. So I purposely avoided the Team Potluck that introduced the frosh parents to the rest of the parents. "You should go" one parent said "because the frosh parents will definitely want to meet you" and as soon as I heard that, I made up an excuse to miss the potluck. I stayed away from meeting the new frosh because I can barely handle any more after work and weekend meetings to help the posse members I already have.

So Friday I'm sitting with the parents, and some new parents joined the crowd in the stands. They sat right in front of me. They were introduced as Nan and Booker Jones -- their son was Teddy. Teddy had taken over #8 uniform for Javi who graduated -- my one posse player to leave. We talked a bit, and I did my usual thing and when I talked about my academic coaching, I mentioned to the new parents that I had heard good things about their son -- that he was being serious about his studying. They were happy to hear that. And it turned out to be a good day for them as Teddy got his first chance to start in the second half of the game when a vet player got injured at the end of the first half.

It was a nice conversation, and what could I say when Nan finally asked "Would it be okay if Teddy came to see you" and Booker chimed in --- 'He's a good worker, but he needs someone to guide him" so I said yes, tell him to come see me -- the other guys can show him where my office is.

So today at lunch, Jake -- the captain of my posse --- was eating in my office and I mentioned that it looks like I'm gonna take on one of the frosh and he laughed about how I just can't stop myself and he asked who and I said it was Teddy and Jake said "Oh you'll like him. He's a sherman kind of kid." I said cool, and then Jake said "You know, I think his dad is someone famous." "Huh?" "Yeah, he's got a grammy or something." And then I spat out the words: "Booker? Booker Jones?" "Yeah, but he didn't use his last name or something. Just his middle initial." "BOOKER T?!!! Teddy's dad is Booker T of the MG'S?!!! That's who I was talking to!!!!???"

Booker T Jones. Wants me to do him a solid and take care of his son.

I do love these brushes with fame.

Watch this clip from the old show Shindig -- that's Teddy's dad at the piano:

Posted by sherman at September 29, 2008 08:19 PM