David Sloan headshot

David Sloan

Lane High School

Well, of course, I played ’70, ’71, ’72, so, you know, still tumultuous times in America, as far as civil rights goes, and integration, and there were several movements locally.  I’ll never forget Free Cherry Pie, who was an activist.  And the Black side of that was Free Cherry Pie, and the white side was, “Where?  Where can we get free cherry pie?”  I mean, it was just clearly...  Didn’t know it then, but clearly it was racism that was a part of that.  And I can honestly say that playing for Coach Theodose, Coach Baylor, and their assistant coaches, that they viewed each person as a person, as a human being, and it did not matter whether you were White, Black, or...  Really, for that matter, they treated the guys who were first string the same way they treated the guys who were fourth string.  I mean, there was...  You know, it was just...  It was a good spirit, and it was an eye-opener for me.  I’ll never forget, my dad was a police officer.  My mother was a secretary.  And we grew up in Belmont.  I grew up in Belmont, and very much a blue-collar, working-class part of town.  And never realized all this stuff until later in life, obviously.  You’re too young then; you’re just doing whatever you do as a teenager or whatever, but, you know, we had probably seven or eight Black guys on that team that I’m very close to even today, and if we’d had everybody, every Black student athlete that played at either Buford Middle School or Walker Middle School come to Lane High School to play, I think we would have started another 53-game winning streak.  There were some great football players at Walker, and some good football players at Buford that didn’t play because of the climate, the climate with civil rights and massive resistance and all the rest of the aftershocks from the ’60s.  But I can laugh and joke and say, in a probably half-serious tone, that had some of those guys come I may not have ever played.  I don’t know.  So, anyway, never got a thing, never once did I ever feel...  In fact, we often thought Coach Theodose in particular was partial to Black athletes, ’cause he’d had the likes of Kent Merritt and Bonnie Wicks and Clyde Greenly, and guys that were really exceptional, exceptional high school football players, and many of them went on and played in college.