Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 years ago

Lori Leachman | Average to Savage EP17

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the seventeenth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Duke professor Lori Leachman. Paul Guarino talked with Lori Leachman discussing her book The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen: A Daughter's Tale of Family and Football, the future of football, and what her experience has been like being a professor at Duke University. Follow Lori Leachman www.twitter.com/Lori_Leachman www.instagram.com/Lori.Leachman https://www.amazon.com/King-Halloween-Miss-Firecracker-Queen/dp/1614488258 Fueled by Lawless Jerky www.lawlessjerky.com/

This is the average Ti avage podcastwith Bal Garino, everyone in anyone, athletes, solentsand much more im ever on im back for another greatepisode, O average Tigh podcast or special gues todayis lorry leashme, theprofessor at Duke and author, and an artist, let's jump right into it. Lauriyour new book is the King e King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen.So First Fon how'd, you co up with that name and what's the book about okay, sothe book has nothing to do with Enomi. The book is a Menon about growing up inthe south in a football family in he sites n into the and ten, the last woplyout. A porder ofthe book is about my father's Decan and how we dealt with that onckge, which ofcourse, he contracted from a lifetime and football. So the title the King ofHallowanan is parpeer. Clean Tad is actually my mother and Dad. My Dad wasthe king of Haleleen in Eleventh Grade, and my mother was I like say to part by theP. She was voted this body by some faternity or another at the Universityof Tennessee and an in the book. That's a contest. Youcould only have in tedays before political correctes thank Te, so te Kio for sure yeah. I was super curious onhow you got that so no sopce Ontheil is the fact tat. My Daddied right around Halloween and so that whole we found that picture of him isthe king of Halloween at the what was hat be the Wak pessentially,my mother had all these pictures out and that Wonas jus playing there AniasBlak blown away by it. When I saw it because we had had thi hobgussion abouttat, we have a funeral on hallareeand. Would that be appropriate and wedecided it was fine.

YSO. Did you guys know your father hadct Yeaka. This is part of the story and the Book My Dad was really the front ofthe curve when you respectod that- and that is, is this a good pay, not a goodficedag. What happened for him was. He was coaching with distoy with thedetroi lions and he was you know. Following a play on the field and hegot hit on the sideline playlent out of bound, he got hit on the Gideline. Shefell on the ASER turf. He had a comcussion blew out. His knee alreadyhad bad knee so in the offseason had to have a ne replacement, so we hadsurgery, he was recovering from a corcussion and between the two of thosethings you know, after that he was really never the same. He couldremember all things football, but he could not remember where he parked hiscar. If he were in a a stadium that was not the home stadium, he couldn'tfigure out how to give hem an out of it. Couldn't figure out how to find thefield right and dee day. That was quite problematic to continue work for sure.So I know like causct is like bigger, like research now but like so. How didyou guys, like think about that Lik yeah? Well, basically, what happened withHfather is that you know Yo retirement and we thought that he was just you knowproved to crept about retiring and all that that it happened to teine. But hewas sort of pushed into it because his mouth asite was dersing n and he started to drink heavily andwhich you know. We now know. ADDIPTION is sort of one of the critical thingsthat goes with mental decline, particularly CT, and so we all thoughtthat what was happening to him mentally...

...was up his own doing. Okay was relatedto the drinking, and you know he should just feelherself basically, and what happened is that he ended up in the hospital withanother blow to the head, because he's been drinking heavily and he was quitebeligerant and the hospital and they retrained him on a restraining boardeen as blading Forizona and he moma dide an aspirated, Bom and Ang upe being in the ICU. And if he had not been such a big, powerful guy, it wouldhave killed e mind right then and there, but that was in the beginning of ouractually really getting treatment for what was is happening to him, an pity.Without at the hospital which took about six week, we brought him to doand started having him being treated by the head, OS and othelogical disorders.Planica do when we went in there. Dr Snakel is wit the Hood Clinic Aid. Itis totally Lifedollan and we thought we knew what that is. We saw t it me thathe had these two blows to the head. After sixty and Thaf, he was a drinker,and so we thought we understood it right. At that point, yeah we th wasnomal alcohol. You know cugly clean himself up an got a whole new routine,going. He relearnd how to read and write which he had lost axpapity allkinds of things, and then that was for about four years. She was being treatedgoing back and forth and then one day I was reading New York ton tartabookabout a retired football grade that had ste and what his family was goingthrough and I started reading the Artibl I was justlike. Oh my goodness, this is everything that we lived through and Icalled by another, and I said you got to go by the NELORK time. A D read thisarticle she did and in his next...

...appointment I took it in with to theneurological, penic and Laitin on the desk of Dr Sniceleni said what aboutDII and he said: that's exactly what he had and when I told you that it was lifestyle and Dus football was exactlywhat I meant and that's wh. We had an understandingof what was happening and at that point that was at least ten or twelve yearsAnto his decline. Yehow many concussions did he have througho IkeBeers wow what weknowis that he had eight before the age of twenty two?That's what he could remember those anriht and you neen to recall that he'sremembering this after he said to pass the age of Sixteenso it' clear thatcan't be the you know: the full count, Woud for sure, IG befor, the age, antwenty two and two after Sitis Diffreo. So what did your family think about youwriting this book? In the beginning, everybody was verysupportive because you nobody thought it would amount of Mone and then what happened? I mean I wasvery lucky and U Boutta Bua, Never Hadin onpention to to Tet and apublisher actually came to me to be into pubish the book, Nowto, timly,topic, etc, and so that Sou put the wheels in motionand then light before I was getting ready to turn in the the final Dallis.My older sister said to me: Ka Mom's, not really happy about you publishingthis book and I got ton. I hadn't PLAC in any money, and I hadn't turned inthe final manscript and I said: Look I canbolit because I wrote it for mymother right try to make some seps of...

...everything we lose fo and we chattedabout it and she said now. You can't do that. Ou know sort of a damage. F, youdo damn if you don't and basically what was true as my mother did not want therest of the world, you know our dirty laundry. In particular, you know to my dad tokepdrinking and tat. You know there were a lot of verymesty sort of ugly thing when the decline Yon K A I wive watch that, butonce the book has come out, she's actually been quite pleased becauseformerproaches was people, Sho knew troug. Her life have written hime thatyou know you're just an amazing woman. I had you know no idea how strong you were. Sot e's been a really a really sweetgift, but it was a lot of anxiety about getting there. Maybethat's the best way. Ishoul ta yeah can totally seal that. So what was yourmain mortivation to write this book? Well, I wrote it for my mother as IPAIT.Basically, what was true is that you know my dad had this really long,terrible decline and when he died it was the relief and that probably sounds careful to say,but anybody that you know lived with people that are really losing Teir Faculties, Soth,physically and mentally. Understand that you know you can live so long,you're, not the same person. I and your quality of life is gone andall of those tens- and that was true for my dad and hid deatwas a sweet besson ultimately, but- and I thought because of that you know mymother would recover pretty quickly an start to travel and due with in, andthat didn't happen, and so I started to think about how could we, you know, sort of helpher get past that and one of the things...

...that I thought was. We need to have a bigger sense of thewhole story, no just the last twenty years, which were pretty graesome, andso I had two friends that were writers and I tried to get them to actuallywrite the towry and thay sat may can't do it is your story. You have to writeit and I said I'm not a writer, so I think it just porked around in me for awhile and then a couple years ago on vacation writing a lot. I was reading alot. I put a book down one day and INSAID. I've got a story and I think Iknow how to write it and I just started writing bid yet, and then I've got alot of help from my writer friends from my colleague Oppor from People Tanimiand and the King Palalin in the star.REKERQWEEN is a result of it. No, I really wanted my mother to see her lifein the total art ofit rather than just the last twenty years, and I think nowthat happening. I also want to say I was reading a book at the time forthree years. I read nothing but Tenlas, and I was reading Sellin Mans book holestill and belly manage ta photographer and she has line in her book. Thephotograph becomes the memory and in since I've read that I knew that wastrue. You know your memory of your christas. What in that photograph andwhat's around it right- and I thought the story can do that and that sort of put blend in my fail andmake me rededicate myself to the project and finishing, but it's awesome.So what would your hopes be for people reading a Woork wother take away befrom watheirt thing. I hope people would take fom the book Istat. You knowwe love football. Okay and football defined everything about whowe were as a family...

...and the INTENSO. My Book is not to youknow, Hammer football. It is to illuminate some of the things that arequite beautiful about it and with the hopes that people will dedicatethemselves to reform of the game. So that would be one thing sechically. Iwould hope that other families that are living through issues with ove ones that are sufferingfrom postive to cine and not Ju Seete, because there are a lot of other thingsthat are associated with repeated ad injury. Like you know, Parkin Erms,dimensio, early early on set dimension and things of that sort of nature thatthey would have a little more grace for themselves and what they go through.One of the things that I write about in Blokus that I was very impatient andnot at all understanding of what my father was going through and I in factmade his journey harder because of my judgmentalness. My attempts quote a wete to in the situation and I think there area lot of other people that you know have the same sort of reaction andresponsives that I did and I hope that everyone would give themselves a littlegrace and forgiveness, because we're all sort of doing the best we can inthe situation that we don't fully have an understanding of okay and I'm partof group, the sproup of women of the NFL and which is wives and daughtersand mothers, and that sort of thing- and I can tell you that we have notseen the Pak of this yhit- It is perbases and it is happening to youngfamilies where the husband is maybe forty years old, just retiring. Theyhave young children and...

...my heart breaks to that, and so I amhoping that other people going through that will take some comfort from whatwe went through. Yes, is definitely said, I know you said people arereaching out to your mom, I'm assuming other people are reaching Ou to you,toi yeah. I mean really one of the things that's been so sweet about. Thiscall. Is People that sort of knew my dad or newAF or new of my dad are getting in contact toor example about three weeksago I got an email from a Guy Nam, Ron, Smith and and lawn email me and saidI've just read your book. It's Greay Lear leachman was a mysical finger. Iplayed against him in high school in Savana. He recruited me to play at theUniversity of Richmond everyone that knew him thought he was mythical and you havedone a great service to him by telling this story, and it turns out that wrongmat was the poet boat Virginia on two thousand and fourteen to two thousandand sixteen so they're, all these little wribbles ou that are starting tosort of converge and come back Yand. It's just really sweet sure. So what doyou think the NFL should do to try O, I guess, prevent CD. I know it's notprementable, but lessen Te. I was hopingwe would sort of get to thisbecause Thatoud be another emission with my book, given what we've lived through and whatis now happening more pervasively. I would hope that there would be somemomentum behind wereforming the game. I am fully aware of the wonderful thingsto come from football, the sense of Caraderie of being part of somethingbigger, the bact hat. You know it cuts...

...across Socio Economic Class Cross race.You know all of those things I get that and those are valuable things, and so,let's try to make the game more robus going forward, and I think that thereare quite a lot of things that the NFL could be doling with respect that,unfortunately, I don't see much happening number one. I Say I don'tunderstand why there is not a dedicated sub committee on the NFL RulesCommittee that is undertaking reform of the game, specifically with the intentto reduce head injuries. Chool changing is very easy in the NFL. Why do theynot have a broad representative body in this means players, coaches and ownersthat are rel inphositions that are really talking about how we can changethe nature of PLAC? Okay, that's nomberin number, two thereare smallthings that Tikindo that won' change. Your fan experience at all Wald respectto te game, and let me just give you an example of one in the CFL: they line uppessentially with Thae Yard between the office and he tentipin in the NFL theyline up with about ten to twelve inches, okay, and just that little differentmakes a huge difference in omentum coming off the LID and Limon Centers.Those are the number one position for repeated head injury, see the incidentsof CTE etcete, so just changing that difference on the line. Wouldn't changeyour experience at all. It would reduce the momentum coming off the line, andso some of big trauma, fom impact. Okay, I mean clearly equipment changes arehappening. The introduction of technology is happening, but those arenot a complete solution. Okay in the...

Ivy League they're experimenting withhow they practice and not just in terms of what' full contact practice, but incertain certain teams they have had to Tan practicing with the helmet, theother have prantising without a helmet and trying to assess the impact of thatso ther ere things you cl do with respect to practice. Because look, youpractice a lot more than you play right and you know, even with the rulechanges life, the world seems they just made about headdown a D tennalties. Youknow those rule. Changes are only as good as the enforcers rih, and we justsaw in the last week of play that that was really at hot things were called.They shouldn't have been things that should have been called clearly werenot, and so I would say better. offitiating isalso going to be really part of the solution, Ould E hapeing and where they arehappening, they are not happening in the NFL, and this to me is the problem,because my view is- and I've been at a lot of different institutions over theyears, I'm an academic by training and what separates e quality institutionfrom one that is on its leadership and the top of the football pyramid is theNFLL and we have not seen the appropriate leadership with respect.This issue do think there are a lot of reasons for that which we could talkabout or not, but it's a problem in Yidm DD. Definitely, no being aprofessor, a Duke. Are you currently doing anything with the football teamthere? Well, one of the things that I did to in February is that I workedwith some of my colleagues in the law school, principally a woman namedDoryan Collman, who is a runner and...

...writes about sports law, and we puttogether a forum a one day forum, football head injury and the future,and we had historians talk about the role of football and culture. We hadnirro scientists from a Tokan and the surrounding community. Some had been onthe NFL cestion committee. Some have been on the players side. We hadbiomedical engineers, talk about, you, know, equipment and technologicalchanges. We had the head of ethics that did costital talk about the issue ofinforge consent and we also brought in Harry Parson to talk aboutessentially the future of football and how we go forward, and that, for me, was actually hugelyilluminating and very very valuable and thinking morecomprehensively about the issue. Our intent is to actually write a whitepaper about it, which sort of lays out the parameters, an the issue, but none of us have gotten to that yet,just because of other things on our play. So that's a long answer to wearen't doing anything specifically with football, but we did invite the coaches,the Tan, the trainer came as their representative, and you have tounderstand that when you put together propers like this and Cte is the topic.People are very reticent that are currently actively engaged in the sportto participate, God for sure it's a catch. Twenty two for them.Andsothey are very sympathetic, awarefthe issue, but they were notrepresented on the panel y, but would you like to work with them more yeah? Imean I know coach Cop la and COS U Liaf,...

...actually new, my dad through reputation.I Know Kevin Wy Av, I think they're, both quality people. I had a couple offootball players in my class this past spring. I invited all of them to theevent and on so yes, you know I would like to have more interplayin voitions in that space,but it's I recognize it's a really really really trickyo study. You have kids that are siving theirdram and you're, asking them to think about the downside of that itdefinitely so you think football is going to be around in say fifty yearsOso. I hope it wot look like it does now exactly, but I hope so because I justas I said, I think there are a lot of things that young men get playing a sorti, Dosn't Hav to befootball. You know football is one of the dominant on, so I would hope thatthat would be the case, but let me say a couple of things with respect to that.It's already clear that you know middle class folks are not letting teir kidsplay football in the numbers that they used to. I wouldn't let my sons playfootball and I had to luxury of having a good job and being able to epporttheir college, so I didn't need a scholarship for them. Okay, if CNFL doesn't and it football doesn'tperform itself essentially, what's going to be true, if it is going to bea Getto, I mean it it's approaching that now, but it is clearly going to bethat and it's going to be a gladiator sport. Alright- and I don't know whatthe appeal broad appeal of that will then look like. Hopefully it would beblessed Bu. I don't know you know,...

...that's a sort of Boudo now to get theirkind of thing, but I would I would hope that there would be some move toeliminate contact football for anyone below the age of sixteen and Tis is anaside in t. The American Pediatric Association recommended that no one PLAcontact football before the age of twelve thes. They had recended thatrecommendation from pressure, but now we know there was a real reason forthat. Okay, and so I don't think anybody should beplaying contact football. The sixteen, I think the NFL, if it had a realvision to the future, should be providing equipament to every publichigh school king cross country and it's a tax de duct for them. It makes thegame safer, it helps sure of their Pypine, and let me just give you anexample of how they could start all right. Tan have to be all or nothing atonce what they can do if they could provide every player in high schoolfootball with a good mouthguard. One thing we know it's a good mouthhardreally makes a difference and the potential for shearing and head impactand the severity of it, and it could even say, compliments Taf the NFL,because your safety is important to us. Okay, it be a win Lin for everybody,sure right, and so there are. There are things that they could be doing rightnow, that are small, that are trivial to their bottom line and that wuld bemeanful, and this is what I mean. I don't see the leadership at the top onthis issue, but that's a long answer: Will it will it be here in the future?So, but it will reqire change, fo that to happen yeah, definitely for sure,you'r ready for some ligter questions...

...yeah. So why did you become a professor? Let me tell you Paul. Somebody asked methat one time at a business conference- and I said to them- oh you thought Ishould have been the humconquen okay, because what they were inpain tome. I oh you're, not ugly and you're an academic right exactly what was Sein ask to me. Whydid I become an academic? I became an academic because of a lifestyle. Therewere I'm not built to work. Fifty weeks a year, nine five that has never beenMiam, O and academics. Provided me a setting inwhich I could have a career, not just a job and have time off, AF flexibility.It allowed me to be the type of parent I wanted to be. I wie to be able to goto my kids soccer games with them and take them to the doctor and have theflexibility for that and be successful, and that was one of the fewenvironments where that was a possibility. So that's really why I got a PhD. Istarted with masters recaching and figured out. Jhus was going to be theright sort of whythm for me and then let back and got thd and want to addhater that I think that one of the reasons I was able to do that is thehousehold I grew up in, because my dad was frigging, the letace and Youyou, never wit before youcrossed the go bid and the goal one in this case was the PhD okay, Joe. Idropped out for two years after I got my master degree and taught at theUniversity of nouth Carolina and Charlotte and my dad about lost hismind, and he calld me every week to tell me that I was a college drove outa okay and now I'V had a masters Fr...

Right. It was just relatlesh, andhe wasnot satisfied, and so I went back and finished and you know, while I did notdo it for my father, I am sure part that upbringing enabled me to completethe task des sure. It's AWSOM hwhat's it like being a professor, Duke it's Great. Oh, my God, I've been in.You know a lot of insticutions and I can say without a doubt, tit dod is thebest institution. I've ever been at part of it is forans resource ritch.Part of it is. I believe that it is private and not subject to statelegislatures and that sort of craziness and part of it is that the quality of the student body isso gray that you can always shoot for the time, because the nature of themand their competition with each other they will, they will always figure outhow to get above the bar, and that means it'. It's wonderful to teach. Youcan do things that you just can't do and expect things you canexpect and a more typical class setting Ian. How did you get into art in Peni? One of the things I wrote about in thebook is the fact that I grew up in a house where there was no art. There wasno music, it was all about competition. Okayand intellect and part of that wasbecause my dad was color blode. Okay. I realized that he yit Ow heas colord,blind and tone death and all of our life just revolts aroundsport, but I always like art, o'kay and I always sort of dabbled and en butnever felt like. I wanted to have that to have to make a living at it and thenFalwey came and then, when I turned fifty one of the thingit happened. Ifmy brother inlaw died very quickly...

...about avlekemia and I thought to myself,my life is passing up fifty years old. You know what, if iomy have five moreyears to live. Am I doing what I want to do and the answer that was no, so I basically you know, had a life ofdiffting and quite my job and and said Ki. My Chair, you know I quit. I had abig administrative job, Duke I'm not going to Leav it high and dry, but Ijust can't I don't want to do it anymore and maybe you'll convert meback to fulltime teaching, maybe not, but I still quit. My partner was greatfor me and they did do that and I took o sebatical and took a painting class,and that was when I was fifty and that was sort of the beginning of it. I meanI always been doing it, but that was when I said: Okay, I've Don adel a time at this. I've been a doin on at it because I didn't want to be fofailure. That's cowardly! I'm going to dedicate myself to painting and I'm going to have a strategy thatwithin five years, I'm going to have a show with my work, and I made thatwithin two years and I've been doing it ever since. That's a story I like that.So last one do you have any other projects that you're working on now?Well, I'me, just finished: U Painting series and I Hav really productive, Yuy,an August beautiful series, I'm doing- and I most say so myself and I'mworking on getting a show for that in the Spring Hen I'm in Durham and then I have outlines of two books. But I'monly do one thing well at a time and so right now it's all about this book andwith some painting on the side in the spring I'll be teaching, and so it willbe all about teaching and trying to...

...keep this book in play and it'll reallybe next year before I start to turn and think about writing another book or starting a newpaying series. But those would be you know the two things on the agenda: I'mno longer doing activity con research ofv just that's all part of my life ofPisana asifty situation, Gotyou. Well, I appreciate your coming on and couldyou want the listeners knowwhere to find your book and how to contact youif they want to reach out for questions Rightmy Book on Amazonrbarnsandnob?Again, it's the King of Alowna missarreker plan, Lori Leechman. It'salso available at Walmart target, particularly through all the onlineoutlets, and you can reach me by emailing me: APORIOORIDOD beachmanldacman, a Duke Stuti to you or Blulo Lulu to Leachman Leacahan, a CANROCOM,perfect appreciat you coming on! Thank you! So Much Pa have a great day you to.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (150)