Damn the Blur – A Tribute to Coach Phil Danaher

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Carl D. Prewit

In the early 90s, while teaching and coaching (Head Tennis Coach) at Gregory-Portland High School, we were embroiled in a friendly rivalry that still exists today. Someone invented rivalry—The battle of big cats—Calallen Wildcats Vs. Gregory-Portland Wildcats.

I used football season to design, print and sell “Cat Fight” spirit shirts to raise money for the GP tennis team. It was always an easy and profitable fundraiser. One year, caught up in the spirit of competition, I wrote a somewhat pejorative poem addressed to the figurehead of the Cal-Cat dynasty… Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Phil Danaher. Thought it would be nice to poke fun at Coach Danaher a bit by playing a pun on his last name…Damn the blur. The pun was a poorly designed play on the idea that 13-year-old boys might want to temper certain teenage activities in order to protect and prolong their eyesight.

Over the next 30 years (Danaher coached at Calallen for a total of 37 years) I came to admire and respect Coach Danaher. Here is a man who put down his roots, called Callallen home, and made it a good home. Here is a man who has given love and a positive influence to thousands and thousands of young athletes, coaches and sports fans for thirty-seven years. Here is a man who taught us by his actions that the most honorable purpose in life is to pursue ultimate success and never shy away from what some might call failure. Year after year, Coach Danaher has brought his players to the highest level of competition.

Coach Danaher never won his state football championship…I pray he never felt”less than“because of this. In my opinion, trainer Phil Danaher is and always will be “more than” that final victory that he has given himself body and soul to try to obtain. This Wildcat from East-of-the -Harbor Bridge regards Coach Danaher as the standard to which all coaches should hope to aspire.

Until “To hell with blur“wisecrack goes… it’s tragically ironic that Coach Danaher’s health issues served to bring him down so low.” The loss of one’s own history is horrible. So, now, after thirty years, I want to say once again:Damn the blur, Coach… Damn the blurRest assured that our view of your legacy is in no way blurred. We see what you have accomplished…clearly, and we thank you for your legacy.

I used to tell my Professional communication students”…at the end of your speech… always fade out the music and other special effects very, very slowly until all that remains is silence. However, I have learned over the years that this is not the most desirable way to end the fourth trimester of life.

Carl D. Prewit was the head tennis coach at Gregory-Portland High School for 32 years and a teacher for 38. He recently retired.


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