Coffee shop coaches


By Michael Stegall - From the Sidelines



As I have grown older, I seem to have developed some habits that as I was growing up, seemed…..well…..different.

I used to get up at 5 o’clock (still do!) and go with my dad to the Front Street Inn where we would meet a bunch of old guys who knew all the gossip and how to fix the world. I enjoyed it, listening to those guys was always entertaining.

However, when I got out of school, and went to college, I quit going. When I returned, I would go back and sit with the old guys again and learn all about what was wrong and how to fix it. I still go to the Front Street Inn occasionally for lunch or breakfast and as always the food is great, and the people are wonderful. (Good place to go if you haven’t tried it!)

Now, I have two new coffee shops and some new friends and now, we are the “old guys” figuring out the world’s problems and discussing sports. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually find myself at the A&B Coffee and Cake Company at the corner of 4th and Broadway in Greenville.

I am not one of those what I call “froofy” coffee guys, I like mine just black, no flavors or additives, cream, sugar or other exotic things they now put in coffee. Just black. I have been going there since they opened, about 10 years ago, I think.

The other one is M&M in the Palace building.I go there on Friday mornings to solve the world’s problems with, Chet and Shelly Walker, the owners, Dale Musser, and Gaylen Blosser.

Most of the time some real old friends, John Hupman and Jim Anderson show up and that is when the fun starts. It is always entertaining!

Since going to these places, I have met new people and, as most of you know, I love to talk and interact with, well……everybody! I am a people guy.

Occasionally, I will meet my old golf buddy Larry Ullery at A&B and we talk sports, all sports, mainly baseball, softball and football. We have the same tastes and we have played a lot of golf together.

One of my newer friends are the Shorts, Denis and Roberta, from Arcanum. We met several years ago, and since Denis plays golf, well, a natural friendship was born. Denis was and still is a very good golfer, and he and a friend usually are teeing up on Sunday morning at Turtle creek right behind my group of Me, Dale Ary and Randy Breaden. Denis and Roberta are great people who have girls that are good athletes.

I am sure that in all the coffee places in Darke County, the same thing occurs every morning. Guys get together, solve the world’s problems, and talk sports. Most old guys played sports in High School or College, and trust us, WE KNOW what we are talking about!

We are experts on everything, and would be better coaches than Vince Lombardi or Red Auerbach! We are legends in our own minds! That is what makes these get-togethers so much fun.

It is often said that women are great gossipers. Let me tell you, women can’t hold a candle to a group of old guys!! One guy can say he saw three aliens land on Broadway, and two others will swear to it!! There isn’t a sport on the planet that we could not make better.

Oh, and the guys who played when we were younger are the best that ever played, and ever will play forever, none of these younger guys, or those not even born yet can even compete with Willy Mays, Jim Brown, Larry Bird, Jack Nicklaus, or Edwin Moses!

Getting old is a privilege some people do not get to enjoy. It is a blessing, and with age comes wisdom……and better stories!

As a former athlete and official, talking sports and remembering those days give me great joy. That is why us old guys always talk about the good old days; it was the best time of our lives. So, the next time you younger people are around us old guys, and we start talking about how it was when we were their age, just enjoy it, even though you may have heard it a dozen times before.

Remember, some day in the not too distant future, you too will be sitting in a coffee house, with old friends, telling lies, solving problems, complaining how the local coach or your pro or college teams coach screwed up, and swapping sports stories with them……..and you will love it! That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.

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By Michael Stegall

From the Sidelines

Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27 year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner

Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27 year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner