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The Time the School Bus Ate Big Randy Melton

School Bus

The Time the School Bus Ate Big Randy Melton

Big Randy Melton was just getting some off-season conditioning in on Tiger Drive when he was gobbled up by a school bus. Up the hill all we baseball players could do was watch as the whole episode went down.

Randy Melton was a football player at my high school alma mater. He didn’t play a spring sport, so he engaged in off-season weightlifting and conditioning in preparation for football season on spring afternoons. The other baseball players and I would often see Randy faithfully running laps around the school driveway that encircled the football field.

The baseball field sat on a hill, so we could find plenty of diversions from the grind of practice. Coach Charlie Butts would often call us back to attention from watching traffic passing on the street beside the field or gazing at birds or planes flying overhead…or from watching Big Randy Melton running laps around the school drive.

Coach Butts wasn’t a big fan of any of these distractions. Our coach’s work was cut out for him already trying to build a baseball program from the ground up at our almost-new high school without anything else jockeying for his players’ attention.

One day, the baseball team was taking a break during one of Big Randy’s conditioning sessions. Coach Butts watched with us as Randy turned the corner from the street and kept a steady pace down the hill. Unbeknownst to him, a school bus was turning in not far behind him. We watched as the bus crept closer and closer. Big Randy remained oblivious.

Randy disappeared from our sight as he ran between the fieldhouse and the football bleachers. The bus continued to gain on him. The next thing we saw was the school bus emerging on the other side of the fieldhouse.

Coach Butts shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hmm, school bus done ate ol’ Big Randy Melton.” And then we went back to practice.

That may very well be one of those you-had-to-be-there moments. Over 30 years since my last high school baseball game, I’ll take one of my boys back to Mike Abel Memorial Field every once in a while to watch a game at the old high school. And always, as we look down the hill toward the school, I’ll tell them about the time the school bus ate ol’ Big Randy Melton.

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About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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