We had a most pleasant visit this week from a dear old pal, Dave Lamb, from the early 1970s and his lady friend, Margie. Back then, I was stationed at a radar station high atop Mt. Laguna, California, but we lived in government leased quarters in La Mesa (a suburb or San Diego), some 50 miles away.
After some very emotional tryouts, and some private tutoring/practices with dad, our son, Curt, got picked up to play minor league Little League baseball there in La Mesa. This was quite an accomplishment for Curt who was just nine, as we had just returned from a tour in Bangkok, Thailand, where the only sport he had played was soccer. A year later he was selected to play in the majors for a team called The La Mesa Optimists, managed by a young fellow named Dave Lamb. This was a proud day for the Platt family and we became avid supporters of all things Little League.
Another good friend of ours, Wayne Brierley, had been serving as Dave’s coach, but he had to resign so Dave asked me to take on that position. I was thrilled with the prospect but there were some real logistical problems in that I worked an 8-mile car ride and a 45-mile bus ride away. We managed to work it out even though I often conducted a practice in my Air Force uniform.
Dave and I made a good team — even if we were a study in opposites. He was a young California hippy-dippy with shoulder-length hair and I was an older guy with a severe brush cut hairdo. One of my favorite expressions to our players was, “If you hustle and play your best, you can have your hair long like Dave. However, if we catch you dogging it and not putting out your best, I’m gonna take you to my barber!” By the way, my son (bless his pointy little head) and his mates affectionately dubbed me “Grouch” and it has stuck with me ever since.