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Mr. Joseph Anthony Sanches
2102 Sunshine Point Dr.
Kingwood, TX 77345
|Chip submitted two Living Memorials - one for the Coach Russ Faulkinberry Tribute 6/19/2017 and one for the Coach Banna Tribute on 4/4/17. Both were posted by Dr. Ed Dugas the day they were submitted.
Below his two living memorials is the documentation of his military service.
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Russ Faulkinberry’s Living Memorial, Chip Sanches – Baseball 1970-72, Manager 1970 & 71
(This LM is taken in part from “Lucky 2”, the second of 22 chapters from a book currently being written by Chip Sanches.)
In the fall of 1969 Ed Doyle and I roomed together in the dorm. We were both "sitting out" a year to regain our eligibility - he for football and me for baseball.
We decided on a Friday afternoon to hitchhike to Little Rock, Arkansas, to attend a noon Saturday game between the Ragin' Cajuns and Arkansas State. The plan was ill-conceived and resulted in a memorable hitchhiking experience which is detailed in Lucky 2, the second chapter of my book.
This LM for Coach Faulkinberry’s Tribute picks up with us arriving in Little Rock and now for “the rest of the story.”
Figuring that we probably had been battered into complete submission, the god of hitchhiking smiled on us a bit.
We quickly caught a ride into downtown Little Rock. War Memorial Stadium was easy to find once we got into the city.
As we approached, we could hear the crowd cheering in the massive venue. Most of the stadiums USL played in were miniscule by today’s standards, but not War Memorial. The University of Arkansas played several games there every year back then and our opponent, Arkansas State University, booked a few of their games there as well.
The folks at the gate let us in for free after we showed our student ID’s – thank goodness, because we probably didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket.
We walked up the ramp and went through the portal into the stadium. The stadium was not full but the crowd was raucous. Most of the fans were dressed in red, but not because they were Ragin’ Cajun fans. Red was also the color theme for the Arkansas State Indians and their fans. And they were in a great mood. A glance at the scoreboard told us why. It was halftime and the Indians were walloping the Cajuns.
I can’t remember the exact score, but it was something like 20 to 0. My heart sunk. We had hitchhiked all the way to Little Rock to see a football game that was basically over when we walked in at halftime! And now we were going to get to hitchhike back to Lafayette. Boy, this was really turning out to be a fun idea!
The thought crossed my mind that next time I would just beat my fingers with a hammer instead of hitchhiking to an out of state football game.
The Indians took it easy on the Cajuns in the second half so the final score was only 26 – 0. But my thoughts were not about losing the football game. I was thinking with dread about the long trip back to Lafayette.
After the game ended we went under the stands and stood outside the visitors’ locker room. My hitchhiking buddy’s big brother, Jim, was a junior on the football team and we hoped to see him before the team left for Lafayette.
As we stood outside, one of the team equipment managers happened to see us. He walked over and said hello. He knew Ed because of his transfer status and as the younger brother of Jim, the current team player.
When Ed said that we had hitchhiked to the game, the manager told us that he would tell Jim we were outside. About three minutes later Jim walked out of the locker room door wet from the shower, eyes wide and mouth agape.
He said “Did you two really hitchhike to the game?” Ed sheepishly replied that we had done just that. His big brother said that we looked like hell. We hadn’t shaved or showered and 24 hours of hitchhiking had apparently taken its toll on us.
When the subject of money came up, Ed confessed that we only had about fifteen dollars between us. Jim said “Wait right here, I’ll be back with some money.” You gotta love big brothers! Five minutes later, Jim walked back out accompanied by one of the biggest, meanest looking guys I had ever seen.
The big guy walked right up to us with fire in his eyes. I just about messed my pants and the man hadn’t said a word yet. He looked both of us over carefully. Then he said “You two look like shit and if what I just heard is true, you’re both dumbasses to boot! Did you two REALLY hitchhike up here to see this game?”
Ed and I lowered our eyes and nodded yes. He then said “Stay right where you are.” He walked down the concourse to a couple of men I had never seen before. They talked for about two minutes and then the big guy turned and walked back to us.
He said “Neither one of you has the brains that God gave to a crawfish, but you’ve got more guts and spirit than anyone on my football team. Get your asses in that locker room and grab a quick shower. I’m gonna find you a couple of team travel blazers. You are not gonna get on the airplane back to Lafayette looking like hobos!”
Ed and I were stunned speechless. Were we really going to get to fly back with the team? No hitchhiking? How could we be so lucky? Who was this guy who offered a ride to us?
Barely an hour later we were strapped into our seats on a chartered DC9. We ate a great steak dinner and were back in Lafayette in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
The big, mean guy who turned out to be our savior was none other than the head coach, Russ Faulkinberry.
He had arranged to have two of the team members fly back to Lafayette with a wealthy alum on his private jet, freeing up two seats for Ed and me.
Ed started on the varsity the following year and I ended up being a football water boy for two years. As an equipment manager, I worked for Coach Faulkinberry and found him to be intelligent, passionate and a deeply caring man.
He could scare the bejesus out of just about anyone, but he truly had a heart of gold. He also provided me with my first ride in an airplane.
Looking out at the sunset from my seat on that football charter, with no inkling that I would spend 33 years flying airplanes, I thought “This is a heck of a lot better than hitchhiking!”
* * * * *
Bobby Banna's Living Memorial, Chip Sanches – Baseball 1970-72, Manager 1970 & 1971
I transferred to USL from Tulane in the fall of 1969. Because I had played baseball at Tulane, I was required by NCAA rules to sit out a year to regain my eligibility.
During the fall semester, I roomed with my brother, Dave, who was starting his freshman year. I got to know the other baseball team members pretty well since we all lived in the dorm together.
I went and watched some of the fall workouts and realized there were some very talented players on the team.
Once the spring semester began, I spent more time at the field. Initially, I began chasing foul balls during batting practice, but progressed to helping Blackjack Landry gather up equipment and helping him haul it across the street to the locker room after practice.
I eventually realized that Blackjack would do anything to help the team, but he was a one-man show. I began helping him do other things that were a part of his equipment manager’s job.
Just after the season started, Coach Banna called me in for a talk. He had apparently noticed me helping Bill and found out from the team members who I was and why I was hanging around.
He introduced himself and made a generous and unexpected offer. He said that if I would agree to continue to help Blackjack, he would allow me to eat at the training table – for FREE!
Since I was already doing what he asked, I jumped at the offer. I couldn’t play baseball that spring, but I felt that I got very connected to the team.
At the end of the season, Coach Banna called me in and said that Russ Faulkinberry wanted to meet me. I knew that Russ was the head football coach, but that was it.
Coach Faulkinberry, being a man of few words, sat me down in his office and after a very brief “interview,” offered me an unexpected deal. If I agreed to be an equipment manager in the fall during football season, I could play baseball in the spring and he would put me on FULL SCHOLARSHIP. After quickly catching my breath, I agreed.
I truly enjoyed playing baseball at USL, but, to be completely honest, I really enjoyed my football manager’s work as well. Working with Blackjack and the football coaches and staff and getting to know the football players was special.
Years later, two realizations hit me. First, my scholarship was not half football and half baseball as Coach Faulkinberry and Coach Banna led me to believe. I wasn’t that good as a baseball player. Certainly, I was not as good as a lot of my teammates. My scholarship was for football equipment manager work.
Secondly, Coach Faulkinberry didn’t give me a scholarship because he knew what I was doing to help Blackjack that first spring at USL. Coach Bobby Banna got me that full scholarship. Thanks Coach!
Chip's Military Service submitted and posted May 31, 2018.
I served in the US Air Force from 1972 until 1978. Stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, as a student, T-38 Instructor Pilot and then Flight Examiner. Honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.
|Baseball:|| 1970, 1971, 1972|
|Managers:|| 1970, 1971|
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