Letters to the Coach: Cactus Pryor

9/27/2012

Cactus shares some memories of working with Coach Royal:

"I think he really wanted somebody that represented the masses. Somebody that really didn't know all about football...and that's what I was. Just a typical fan . I learned a lot. He was a wonderful guy to work with because he had the ability to make his point and get it across. He had a good sense of humor. He knew when to tell the audience "Well, I screwed up last night didn't I?!"

When we did lose a game he knew how to win it as far as the fans ---how to handle it. If we had been really killed the day before he would say " I appreciate you all for coming down today, after that football game. Cactus, did you check their coats for what they are carrying in their pockets?"

He had that talent for when it was tough, tough, tough and everyone was mad, mad, mad, he would just say "I screwed up didn't I?"

I'd say, "Oh, you got some help from so, and so, and so." But he really knew how to do it!

We were up in Boston. We played a game that was not a game, it was a killing. They ate us up. After the game we go in and change our clothes to come up to the bus to take us home and they were circling the bus. Mean guys shouting tacky things, pushing and shoving. I said "Coach, you better get in, out of this.

He said, "Well, I couldn't do it on the field, I don't think I can do it now". It was a sad, sad time. So, we got on. It was a sad, sad tour but the next morning, before we had any sleep, we go to the station and I said "Well, Coach, I think we were in Boston weren't we?"

He said, "Well, not all of us. We left something behind."

And, he played it that way, with a sense of humor.

We didn't ever rehearse before the show but maybe he would tell me sometimes, something like, "talk to THAT guy." He just trusted me to let it flow. That's how courageous he was!"