Monday, December 22, 2014

Me And Joe.....And Jenny

Joe Cocker died today at age seventy. I had seen it on the Internet- it was all over Facebook immediately. Funny, I would guess that none of my current students have ever heard of him. Within an hour, I received an e-mail from one of my very favorite former students/basketball managers, Jenny Haynes Parish. Under the subject line of SAD NEWS!, her message read:

Coach Hawley, I can never think of Joe Cocker without thinking of you!!  Hope you are doing well!  J
My curiosity got the best of me so I replied, asking why she thought of me when she thought of Joe. Her second message set the record straight:
Coach, you don’t remember doing the Joe Cocker impersonation and singing “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends”?  I mean, it was only over 20 years ago?!?  J 
I remember!!  J 
Merry Christmas!  J
Well, now that you mention it, Jenny, I do!
Cocker, who was called by Barrie Marshall, '' the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain,'' was best known, at least in the US, for doing masterful interpretations of such classics as The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window." What Jenny was referring to I'm sure was my imitation of his singing style, drawing from John Belushi's duet with Cocker on Saturday Night Live. So, what the lovely Jenny recalls is me imitating John Belushi imitating Joe Cocker, a clip of which is at the bottom of these thoughts. Hopefully, there is no film evidence of my salute to Joe floating around somewhere!

I love it when Jenny and other former students recall in detail events and incidents from the time they spent in my classroom. Two weeks ago, I was reunited with students and players from Georgia Christian School, my first teaching and coaching stop. What they recall and what I remember were not always identical! That Joe Cocker impersonation left an imprint on the slightly younger version of Jenny. I could mimic John Belushi mimicking Joe Cocker but my prayer is she remembers more than that. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul admonishes his readers to,
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."

It's easy to do a thirty second knock off of a couple of famous guys doing an act. It's much harder to be convincing over six years where there is no script and the camera doesn't cut away. It's easier to act like imperfect entertainers than the perfect Son Of God. I'm not a singer but as a teacher, I'm being watched everyday by a captive audience, playing the most vital role in which I can ever be cast. Thanks for the reminder, Jen- I needed it! A little help from my friends!

To watch that incredible SNL clip with Joe Cocker and John Belushi, copy and paste the link below!

Applicable quote of the day:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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