Friday, February 12, 2016

Who was Bo?

Bo Schembechler Jr. was born on April’s fool’s day in 1929 in Barberton, Ohio. He described it as a tough, but typical industrial town with every ethnic group represented. It was a true melting pot. His parents were Glen E Schembechler and Betty Schembechler. Junior was the youngest of three children. Interestingly, he didn’t know his older sister’s birthdate. He thought Virginia was about five years older than him. He believed Margie, the next in line, was about 13 months older than him. Margie couldn’t say brother and said Bobo instead. Thus, Bo got his nickname. His father, a member of the working class, worked for the Babcock and Wilcox Boilermaker Company until the depression took his job. He then became a fireman and moonlighted on the side to make ends meet. This blue-collar family rented a home from a grocer where they bought their groceries. Bo thought that it might’ve been part of the rental agreement. Junior describes his father as being an honorable man yet frustrated with his career. Glenn senior was given an opportunity to take a civil service exam in order to become fire chief. However, he subsequently learned that his competitor had a sample of the exam in his possession prior, which resulted in him achieving a higher score on the exam. Apparently his father cried and blurted out to his family “I just can’t do it.” His father had had an opportunity to see the exam prior, but declined. His competitor with the higher score became the fire chief. Glenn chose not to work under the cheater -called him “a son of a bitch” and subsequently transferred to another job-a fire inspector’s position. Bo claimed he learned integrity from his father from that episode. Bo also that his father never achieved what he desired and was frustrated with his career. That also was a valuable lesson for Bo. Junior said that his father called that new fire chief, colorful words such as “Bastards”, “cheaters”, “A son of a bitch” for cheating. We now know where Bo learned his colorful language. Bo probably did not spend any significant time with his father until he went on a fishing trip to Canada with his father. Unfortunately, a year later, his father died at age 60, in 1962. Apparently his father never came to any of Bo’s high school football practices and Bo supposedly said, “It didn’t bother me.” On the other hand, perhaps a contradiction, when Bo became a coach, he stated that his father bragged about him at the Elks club and that he probably “laid it on pretty thick to those boys.” He claimed he didn’t really know his father very well. He added that his father never give him advice or encouraged him. Was his father indifferent to him? He didn’t consider his father, a hero. Bo’s father was not an athlete nor did he read the sports section in the daily paper. He did not complete high school but Bo still considered him smart. He described his father as being principled and taught never to lie. Bo also learned not to bend one’s principles-and that sticking to your guns is important, regardless. Some might call that stubborn. To Be Continued. Frank Lieberman

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