Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief and Grandpa Steve Walk into a Bar...

Charles Tubbs, the Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief, has come under a lot of scrutiny during the recent protests in Madison in respect to his leadership. I surely don't know much about the inner workings of these events, so I haven't formed an opinion worth spit.

The small spotlight on Chief Tubbs brought back many memories of days long ago as he and I perpetrated a good deal of craziness together.

Charlie and I were basketall superstar teammates in college. It was he who nicknamed me Kurt Rambis.

Charlie was our center. He was only about 6'3" or so but weighed nearly 300 pounds so he could really carve out a space of his own in the lane for positioning to rebound or shoot. He got 29 rebounds in one game and was generally our highest scorer. He was not, however, famed as a passer. Gordon, the other forward, and I used to tailgate on the baseline, cooking and eating brats while drinking beer as Charlie worked to free up a shot against 2, 3, or even 4 defenders. Perhaps Charlie never saw us roaming unguarded under the basket.

Charlie was a pretty tough cookie. During one of our common game skirmishes the opposing coach grabbed Charlie from behind. Their center, a big rough dude himself, approached the subdued Tubbs as though to punch him. Charlie just plainly said, 'You ain't gonna hit me.' The other center slinked away.

After another rough game, I had gone into our locker room and began readying for a shower. Bob came running in and shouted, 'Steve, Charlie is pissed and went into their locker room.' We ran over there and saw Charlie berating the dirtiness of their play while their whole team just sat on the benches quietly looking at the floor. Not a peep.

One morning after a particularly hard night of partying Charlie took me to his parents' house for breakfast. His dad set a plate of something on the table that looked somewhat like scrambled eggs. 'Hog brains,' he said, 'Soul food.' It was the early 70's after all, but multiculturalism had not yet caught up to my badly hungover stomach.

There are many other stories about Chief Tubbs that could be told. I'm just not sure that the statute of limitations is up on some of them yet.

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