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Saturday, April 26, 2014


       I entered entered law school forty-five years ago hoping to solve a few of the world's problems. I quickly learned much of it was about competition, winning and losing, especially on the softball field.
       The school's intramural sports program was very popular and I wanted to be a part of it.  Problem was, I wasn't such a good athlete  No one wanted "average" on their team so I started one of my own. I put up flyers saying, "Anyone can play for The Checkered Demons".  
A similar situation got me starting Coconut Grove's King Mango Strut Parade.

       The University of Florida's school of law was filled with white jocks who wanted to win in court and on the softball field.  There were a few of us on the fringe who didn't take life so seriously.   There were also our school's "six percent", the twelve women and two African Americans who were never invited to play. I reached out to them and soon had the school's first coed, interracial team.
       The Demons played a season of softball in 1970.  We lost every game and had a great time doing it. The only bad day we had was when we played a team that was almost as awful as us.  They stunk so bad we got close to winning and tried to win. When we lost we felt lousy, like every other losing law school team.  
    We realized we'd made a huge mistake and had lost our Demon Spirit.  We tried to win instead of enjoying the process.

     The Demons soon graduated and rarely saw each other again. In 1991 I noticed Steve Lerman  was representing Rodney King when he was awarded $4 million after getting beat up by Los Angeles police. 
     Mitch Dasher became the directer of the Congressional Black Caucus and now is a leader the nation's low-income housing movement. 
Terry "Demon" Demeo moved to the Grove years ago and we are neighbors. Sometimes I kid her about being too good for the team we once had.
     I had forgotten most of this until I heard from Tampa attorney, Wayne Thomas, last week.  When we crossed paths after forty years he told me how much he had enjoyed playing for the Checkered Demons.  
      Everybody should get a chance to play ball. This was one of those memories that puts a smile on your face.  Those are the ones you want to hang on to.

PS:  The Checkered Demon was a 60's underground comic character created by S. Clay Wilson.

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