(Continued from 1/14 blog)
Coaches never call an athlete by their first name. I don’t think they care if players have first names. During my sporting career I simply became “Kentner.” I was embarrassed by this change. My brother Donald, (known by those back at the farm as Gene) wasn’t a great athlete who’d left a legacy behind for me to bask in. In fact, I had witnessed him getting beaten up on our school bus not once, but twice. The second time was by Nancy Estes. I had also witnessed him getting beat up while carrying groceries out of the local supermarket. His broken glasses and bloody nose were barely noticed due to the glass ketchup bottle contents splattered across the concrete sidewalk. Soon all my teammates started using my surname as if I had never been known as Edward or Ed.
Naturally, they continued this practice in our high school classrooms. During my sophomore year, a skinny cheerleader started calling me Kentner. I didn’t mind that she called me by my last name. I was flattered and even excited she knew I had a name. Over time, Kentner became Kentnerd, and Edward became Edweird. Thirty –five years later, she still calls me Edweird Kentnerd, and our grandchildren giggle with glee.
During my formative years, I never felt comfortable with who I was. If someone called me Edward, Eddie, Ed, Lee, Kentner Kenter, Keltner or “hey you” it was suffice for me to answer without correction. As a youngster, I was embarrassed that I was not sure who I was and what I should be called. Several years have passed and many names have been added to the list. Dad, Coach, Fast Ed, Boss, Mrs. Kentner’s husband, and Grandpa. I think the title of Lylah M. Alphonse’s much read essay “ I’m Just Me” says it best. No matter the name that is used, I am just me.
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