Be that guy…

    Guest Posts on County 10 are provided by contributors and the opinions, thoughts, and comments within are their own and may not necessarily reflect those of County 10.

    It didn’t seem possible when I was 21, but those mysterious morning pains that have you tracing back what you did yesterday to determine why your back, neck, knee (fill in the blank) is hurting grow all too commonplace as you continue to take trips around the sun.

    Friends of my vintage speak of it often. The guys who went ahead of me on the path spoke of it too, but when you’re young, strong, and invincible, it just doesn’t seem real.


    Well, reality has a way of getting you to focus.

    A song from the late Toby Keith sums it up well. There are two extremes of growing old, and he challenges both in his song, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

    You can become bitter, angry, disgusted with life, and condescending towards those younger than you, or you can become the old guy that everyone loves. The man with the smile, that often hides the pain, who encourages, jokes, and relates the events of his life, with those you are experiencing.

    I strive to be the latter. Those who wallow in the former don’t get much attention since being around them is such a drag. Toby wrote and sang these masterful lines.


    And I knew all of my life
    That someday it would end
    Get up and go outside
    Don’t let the old man in

    Many moons I have lived
    My body’s weathered and worn
    Ask yourself how old would you be
    If you didn’t know the day you were born?

    As a kid, I loved to listen to the stories of the old timers who were born before the arrival of the 20th century. Men who served in World War I, who managed to feed a family in the Great Depression. Women who worked from dawn to dusk, feeding that same family, making do with nothing and all the while remaining stoic, and the rock of their family and community.

    We need more of those people in today’s youth-obsessed, self-centered world.


    I sat next to my friend Ronnie Oldman at the Wyoming Indian boy’s game against Pine Bluffs last Thursday at Casper College. Ronnie was shouting phrases in the Arapaho language to the boys. Aside from a couple of words, it was Greek, or rather Arapaho to me.

    I asked him what he was saying. Ronnie said, “Keep it up Chiefs, move your feet, and play hard.”

    These were all positive messages any team could be encouraged to do. Coming from an elder, it meant more to the boys.


    I’m not just a fan of the generation ahead of me but of those behind me on the path as well. When I see great young coaches like Craig Ferris, Eddie Fullmer, Max Mills, or Logan Burningham working with their players, it gives me hope for the future.

    Logan is the head coach at Greybull. He holds the all-time scoring record for a Wyoming player from his four years as a Ten Sleep Pioneer. Eddie is the nephew of one of my mentors, head coach Jerry Fullmer of those same Lusk Tigers.

    The attributes that made Logan such a great player are now being shared with his team.

    One fan probably doesn’t care much about the strategy, skill development, or style of offense in the Greybull stands, but you can sure tell that he loves his grandsons.

    An older Hispanic man, with a booming voice that can carry over a crowd of thousands is a familiar presence at Greybull Buff basketball games.

    I’m not sure how much English he speaks, but the few phrases I can comprehend in Spanish are indicative of a true fan.

    With a voice more akin to a cannon blast than a cheer, he rallies the Buffs and his boys from the upper decks.

    If you’re a Greybull fan and hear this every week, I’m sure it gets a little old, but as a guy who only watches the Buffs when they’re in Shoshoni, Pavillion, or Ethete or end-of-the-season tournaments, he always makes me smile. Nice work.

    In an era of image over substance, politicians, and big city businessmen hire swarms of attorneys to draw up contracts trying to tie each other up in a deal, so no one can renege on the agreement, yet they always do.

    When you’re a shyster, you spend your time on attorneys who will delay, appeal, and stall out a crooked deal until everyone involved has died. It’s the American way of politics, but it shouldn’t be.

    In the world I choose to live in, a handshake is a binding agreement. You don’t go back on it even if you lose money. It’s a contract stronger than any paper written by a crooked attorney on a $5000 per hour retainer could ever generate.

    We like to believe that the entire world once operated that way, but it never did. There were always those who preyed upon others for even the most minuscule gain on their part. I’ve never cared for those people, not many of us raised out here on the frontier do.

    Depending on your neighbors, respecting their property, their lines of involvement, and their beliefs, even if they are different than your own are integral parts of survival in this hostile wilderness we all call home.

    It is what makes a community prosper. It makes it a place where you feel at home. Almost like the old jingle from Cheers, where “Everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…”

    There are those among us, even in our communal setting, who whine and cry when kids or organizations come around for funding. You can spot them easily, they’re the ones complaining that their business is hit harder than anyone else is.

    Newsflash to these “victims,” you’re not the ones the kids go to, you’re not even close.

    I know people who donate thousands to charities every year and never say a word. When the COVID checks came out, there were people among us who just signed it over to St. Jude’s.

    Others learn that a kid can’t afford wrestling, track, or basketball shoes, or a trumpet, piano, or clarinet. A few days later these magically appear in the youngster’s locker or arrive at their home.

    If you think you’re hit up for donations by every youth team in town, try being the local sportswriter. I never win the raffle, drawing, or grand prize, but I always buy the tickets. It’s just what you do in a community like ours.

    It’s another, unwritten rule of living where we do.

    The message is clear, don’t be an idiot, don’t be “that guy” the one who thinks the world is out to get him, who wouldn’t help another person no matter how much money he had, and how much they needed assistance.

    Don’t let the old man in.


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