The Inner-City Blues: Philadelphia Blazers still live in the novel Philly Style and Philly Profile!
Father’s Day is coming soon. If you don’t believe it, go to your Wal-Mart store or local grocery store and you will see balloons, cards and gifts lined up in neat rows on the shelves.
If you don’t have biological children, people give you a funny look…which is a look of ignorance.
A father is more than a person who has biological children. After a few years, I realized that God put me on this earth for different purposes and for different reasons.
The most enjoyable time in my life was as a community basketball coach in Philadelphia for my team called the Philadelphia Blazers. I wanted to help young people and when I see how successful they have become in life, it’s a wonderful feeling. The values and positive life lessons, worked on developing in the seventies, are being passed forward each and every day across the country.
One of my former Players, Thomas Gilbert, is doing a fantastic job with youth teams in Denver, Colorado
Over the years people have asked me why I coach.
Tarone Tee Thornton, Thomas, Nate Taylor and all the Philadelphia Blazers validate my decision. I wouldn’t trade the experiences or the close relationships for all the riches in the world.
Sometimes, I wondered what it would have felt like, the emotions flowing through my being, to have had biological children.
I’ve had many basketball sons and my players exemplify what I would want my biological sons to grow into…men of character who learn values and appreciate the people in their lives.
I want to thank my players for the wonderful comments about the impact I had on their lives!
Thomas Gilbert, point guard, Philadelphia Blazers, 1970s
“Hey Coach, hope all is well. My youngest son just finished his freshman season. He was named Most Outstanding Player on the JV team. He also played in every varsity game, and was a starter for the final 8 games of the season. His first start was against the #1 team in the state. He played very well the entire year. I want you know that his play is built on the foundation of the fundamentals that you helped to instill in us with the Blazers. I’m most proud that he is a really good student and a great young man. These are also qualities that I’m grateful that you stressed with us. Thanks Coach!”
Nate Taylor, forward, Philadelphia Blazers 1970s
“It was a great time in my life also I want to thank you for the experience of traveling and playing against people from all over the country. “
Tarone Tee Thornton, forward, Philadelphia Blazers 1970
Sent a few Father Day a few years ago.
“Happy belated Father’s Day coach, I know I’m a little late and you don’t have any biological kids, but you helped raise many. You showed us not only basketball, but life and how to conduct ourselves as young men and that there was a big world outside of Philadelphia and for that I will always be grateful. I wish you much success and happiness in your career as an author. Much love and respect to you always.”
As an author when I wrote Philly Style and Philly Profile, anovel centered on my experiences coaching the Philadelphia Blazers in the seventies; it was dedicated to all my Blazers. I wrote to remember the players and to put into words the feelings, emotions and experiences of seeing a group of young boys grow into productive MEN.
Now, with God’s Blessings, I’m still physically fit and still teaching, coaching and writing novels!
|Web Site: Philly Style and Philly Profile|
In 1995, a long, long time ago when Star Wars was the latest cinema rage, I started to pen my first novel called A Brownstone in Brooklyn. I wanted to write a novel and see could I actually put together a storyline that would interest readers…I wanted just one story published and see it in book form.
Well, I worked long and hard with a few disturbing ups and downs, including bad agents and negative comments and thoughtless critical people trying to keep a wonderful theme and book buried in the files of unpublished books.
I fought against the temptation of quitting.
I kept working and finally came up with a thesis or main idea for the book that was spawned out of my high school and early City College years in New York City: A Brownstone In Brooklyn chronicles the life-altering events that shape the future of Andy Michael Pilgrim, a young man growing up in the turbulent sixties.
Once I got the main idea, then it was many long nights writing. I remember one evening starting to write at 11:00 pm, I’m really a night writer, and working until 4:00 am. That would be good, but I’m a high school teacher and I had to be up at 5:30am and teach seventy juniors and senior high school English all day. That was a long, long day but I kept thinking about the 3,000 plus words I wrote and the wonderful character, Sister Love, that came into existence.
Tonight, I’m sitting at my typewriter on this rainy evening in Atlanta, Georgia, I mean computer (smile). I was using a typewriter in the early nineties, and thinking A Brownstone in Brooklyn will celebrate its’ 15th year of publication in late summer of 2016. That’s right, the book was published in 2001.
I started in 1995 and finished writing the book in late 1999. After editing and many disappoints, including finding a publisher, God Blessed me in 2001 to see the book in print. When the book arrived at my apartment, I ripped open the box and felt the smooth book cover and shed a tear.
One of the greatest thrills of my life was that my mother, Goldie Parks, read Brownstone and one of my greatest fans, Frances Grieff, an English teacher enjoyed my novels before leaving this earth.
I know I have two fans still pulling for me in heaven!
It’s been a long journey, but I’m still enthusiastic about writing and look forward writing many more novels.
Now, A Brownstone in Brooklyn, is on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles brick and mortar stores and on the shelves of public libraries from Chicago to Atlanta.
I want to share with you what has kept me going, from 1995 until today, as I pen my fifth novel, Stormy Winds:
And never give up on your dreams!”
Happy Writing and God Bless you!
J. E. Thompson