INDIANA'S STATE BIRD
Indiana's state bird is the cardinal.
But I dare share if you speak the word bird to a lot of folks in Indiana and especially my home area of Terre Haute, Indiana you will not get the word cardinal. You will hear, "Larry," Larry Bird.
Near the time of my last year of teaching and coaching high school in Indiana was Larry Bird's last year in high school. I saw him play once in high school. Yes, he was good, but to be really honest no one had any idea how good he would go on and become. Larry Bird became great because of two words, "hard work."
Hanging in my home office is an autographed signed Larry Bird #33 jersey from his day's at Indiana State. When I retired from the United States Golf Association a number of friends from Indiana had this jersey signed, framed and given to me at my retirement. The jersey means much, the thought of the gift from my friends even more.
I dare say most people would not know that Larry Bird first enrolled at Indiana University. He stayed only a few weeks. He left for numerous reasons. The story is that one day he just walked off campus to the highway headed south to his hometown of French Lick, stuck out his thumb and his days as a future star at IU were over. Through the efforts of a man name Bob King and a few others he would later enroll at Indiana State. In 1979 Indiana State, through especially the efforts of Larry Bird, would have its most successful year ever in college basketball.
Along with the Larry Bird jersey I value, I also value the fact that my cousin Tom Montgomery, wrote and sang a song that I think helped with all the Larry Bird craze at that time and since. Especially in Indiana but also nation wide. Tom has been a local musician in the Terre Haute area for more years than I can count. Tom's mother and my dad were brother and sister.
The song has some classic lyrics especially if you grew up in the Terre Haute area. Only local knowledge will help one understand the line "Arley, Harley and Clyde." Arley and Harley Andrews were twin brothers (Gerstmeyer High School) who were outstanding basketball players. Clyde, that references Clyde Lovellett also a Terre Haute native who is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Give yourself a listen to my cousin's song....it is an interesting story how in such a short time it all came about. I am proud of the song, even more proud of my friend, my cousin Tom.
November 18, 2017