By LARRY VAUGHT
Today is a hard day for my friend, Freddie Maggard. His father, Freddie Sr., died Sunday in Corbin and both visitation and a celebration of life will be held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin today.
I’ve heard Freddie talk about his dad — he called him Big Fred — often and I’ve often told him how much I have missed my father since his passing and that it never got easier.
Big Fred was a star athlete at Carr Creek and hit two game-winning shots to give Carr Creek state tourney wins over Central City and Wayland, which featured King Kelly Coleman. He also had 20 points in a win over Henderson.
Freddie never hesitated to remind me that Carr Creek was not the Cinderella story that many have made it out to be. In fact, Carr Creek was considered the team to beat going into the state tourney.
Freddie Maggard went to this year’s state tourney to watch another mountain team, Buckhorn, play.
But even then he knew time with his father could be limited.
Check out the closing to a column he wrote for Kentucky Sports Report (http://kentuckysportsradio.com/) about his father:
“I don’t know how many more Marches I’ll have with my dad. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Today, I will call him as I’ve done for the past two decades. I’ll make a copy of the Sweet 16 brackets; we’ll then guess the winners. Most always, one of us, if not both, will take a mountain team to go all the way,” Freddie Maggard wrote.
“My dad is my hero. Always has been, always will be. I told him that yesterday. I wish I would have told him that more often. We’ll make the most out of this month and subsequent Marches we have together. You see, time is the great equalizer. The older I get, the closer we become. Roles are reversing. I regret the years of being too cool for my dad. I love March. I love my dad.”
Wise words we all should heed. Like Freddie, I regret the times I was too cool for my dad. Like Freddie, I was with my father when he passed.
Today Freddie and his family will shed some tears but also should have plenty of smiles because there are so many great memories that will last forever.
Rest in peace, Mr. Maggard.