Pop Culture Under The Microscope!

Reach Marc at: Marc@MarcMason.com

Site Feed

Buy Quality Marc Merchandise!

<< current

Marc Mason is a freelance writer based in Tempe, AZ.

Saturday, January 12, 2013  

I awoke to a phone call from my mother today, and she was crying so hard that I could barely understand what she was saying. But I soon pieced it together quickly: Scott Griffey had died. I was mute in disbelief.

Griff had been ill for a long time, and the true depth of how sick he was wasn’t something widely known. During the holidays, Mom was getting updates from him as he learned about his condition and charted a course for surgery and healing. It wasn’t easy for her; Griff had always been a great friend and mentor to me, but to her, he was one of her two best friends. As he had been getting sicker, she had stepped in to help Abdul (Mrs. Griff) with taking him to doctors’ appointments and the like. He had also been keeping an eye on her through Mom’s own health issues. That’s what good friends do. It gave me comfort to know that she had Griff for a friend, because he was top of the line as far as humans go.

The man first came into my life as a teacher, but he quickly moved beyond that. He was a mentor. A friend. A coach. Spending time with him, even as a kid, was something that I knew was special. He was also honest, and he never fed me bullshit. When I was wrong, or being a jerk, Griff never hesitated to tell me so. When you’re a teenager, that isn’t always easy, but later I realized what a precious gift that is. Most of the world is ready to blow smoke up your ass; Griff blew his smoke out the window and then let you know what you really needed to hear.

When Griff was assigned to teach the Gifted & Talented Students program, I think a lot of people may have been taken aback. Griff had a reputation as an eccentric guy, and maybe not the most rigorous teacher; hell, even I was a little baffled by it at the time. I couldn’t even understand why he would want the task. It wasn’t like we were any less of a pain in the ass than anyone else. In many ways, we were probably worse. But later I would understand all of it quite clearly.

You see, Scott Griffey was a chameleon. He was an incredibly intelligent man, but he didn’t necessarily like it when people realized that. Like Muhammad Ali, Griff used the rope-a-dope. If you underestimated him, he had you right where he wanted to. By using that perception of him as an eccentric, he could quietly maneuver people into doing what they should be doing and acting how they should be acting.

For instance, in the G/T class, he made us read Ayn Rand’s THE FOUNTAINHEAD. This drove my pal Bill Beechler absolutely crazy. Billy hated that book. Hated it. Some others liked it. I was intrigued by it enough to read it twice. But I never quite understood why, of all books, Griff made us read it. Later, I would.

In the book, Howard Roark uses his uncompromising vision to power through the world and attain the greatness that he knows he can achieve. I think that Griff saw that potential in us and wanted very much for us to tap it and reach greatness ourselves. But Roark was also a colossal asshole in reaching for his goals, scorching the Earth in his quest for personal glory.

Griff saw that potential in us as well.

I realized that Griff wanted us to see both sides of the coin, that he wanted to make sure that any quest for creating something wonderful must also be tempered with caring and respect for the lives of others. That if we do that, we can truly become better than we hoped to be in our wildest dreams.

Clever man, that Griff.

He also used the rope-a-dope to inspire others. When he was the girls basketball coach, I remember one thing that never fails to make me laugh to this day. We had Noblesville on the schedule, and they were ranked number one in the state. Mind you, the HHHS team was really, really good. Just not Noblesville good. Anyway, someone asked Griff if he had a plan to for how to start the game strong and keep us in it, and this was (approximately) his response: “Well, Noblesville will win the tip, and then run down for a layup. Then we’ll bring the ball upcourt, they’ll steal it, and then they’ll run it down for a layup. Then I’ll call timeout and hope for the best the rest of the way.”

We didn’t beat Noblesville. But where that team was beating everyone else by 40 or 50 points, we were always within 20. Because Griff coached our girls hard on how to effectively play against that team so they couldn’t do what he had joked about.

Griff could show you the surface all day, but you really had to get close in order for him to let you see the real, brilliant man below.

But if I had to pick the most important thing about Scott Griffey, at least as he pertained to my life, I would tell you with all honesty that I would not be the man I am today without him, and my life path would be wildly different. Here’s why:

Early in my high school years, the sports editor of the Noblesville Daily Ledger, a man named Chuck Godby, struck out on his own and started a sports tabloid. It was called Hamilton County Sports Weekly. Sometime after the paper got going, and I don’t remember the specific details of how it happened, Griff got an offer from Chuck to write a column for that charming little publication. And while I don’t remember the details out of how it played out, Griff brought me into the mix. Thus, “The Ramblin’ Guys” column was born. At the age of fifteen, I was co-writing a column for a legit newspaper. Awesome.

As time passed, though, Griff quietly handed off more and more of the writing to me, until finally, I was almost a solo show. Eventually, the tabloid folded, and Chuck went back to the Ledger. Not long after Chuck went back to the Ledger, he gave me a call and offered me a job as a full-on sports reporter. For a daily newspaper! I was still just seventeen years old.

I took that job. I learned more at that job that I can even begin to explain. I would go on from that job to write for a weekly magazine at ASU, do a stint at U Magazine, review films… When digital rolled around, I would continue to do those types of jobs online. I still do. But it all started with HCSW and “The Ramblin’ Guys.”

Again, Griff knew what he was doing. He saw the potential in me, and he saw a path for me, and he helped set me on it. No way that Chuck called and offered me a job without Griff in his ear telling him about how much of the column he had turned over to me. No way Chuck offers me that job without Griff telling him that I can do it, and do it well, and that I can be counted on. Still, that took balls of steel; he put himself on the line for me, betting on me coming through and succeeding. He never told me as much, and he never held that over my head. He just believed in me.

There were other things as well, and I could belabor them for a long time, but I think what you need to know about the man is abundantly clear: he was one of the best. You couldn’t ask for a better person in your corner. Friend. Mentor. Family. Scott Griffey was all of those things to me, and more. I am who I am today in no small part to the influence he had on my life. I am lucky to have known him and to have been a small part of the enormous sphere of influence he achieved in his amazing, wondrous life. For that, I will forever be grateful.

2:54 PM

I'm starting a new internet website directory and was wanting to know if I can submit your blog? I'm trying to increase
my directory little by little by hand so that
it maintains high quality. I'll make sure and put your blog in the best category and I'll also use, "Blogger: HAPPY NONSENSE: POP CULTURE CONFIDENTIAL" as your anchor text.
Make sure you let me know if this is alright with
you by contacting me. Thank you

my site ... how to golf
Hi there.
Would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with? I'm looking to start my own blog soon but I'm having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique.

P.S. Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

My website - Shooting Games
Hi Ya
Your write-up on Blogger: HAPPY NONSENSE: POP CULTURE CONFIDENTIAL is great & thought provoking.

I definitely will return in order to read through your article content!

my web page Best iPhone App
I just found your website: Blogger: HAPPY NONSENSE: POP CULTURE CONFIDENTIAL
when I was exploring reddit.com. It looks as though someone liked your site so much they decided
to bookmark it - good job!

Stop by my blog: Desktop Gadgets
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger.