I remember not too long ago, I went to the theater and I saw the Kool and the Gang show. “I always wanted to fit a band, yes I did to sing my songs, sing my songs; And become a bad piano playing man. So here I am, here I am in this Hollywood city. The city of the stars, movies, women and cars. Well I guess, I guess I have to stay.” (From the Kool and the Gang hit song “Hollywood Swingin”)
Hey, all of you “Hollywood swingers” out there, I sincerely hope that yinz don’t mind me improvising and writing a new musical arrangement of Kool and the Gang’s classic hit in honor of the late Pittsburgh Steelers defensive legend L.C. Henderson Greenwood.
See boys and girls I too remember, not too long ago. I went to Three Rivers and I saw the Pittsburgh Steelers show. I always wanted to be like L.C, yes I did; to be BMOC (big man on campus). So here I am, in this big steel city. The city of bars, cars and cigars. Well I know I’m gonna stay.
BLACK COLLEGE, PRO FOOTBALL GREATS—File photos from the Black College All Stars Banquet, Feb. 13, 2009, James Harris, LC Greenwood and Doug Williams. (File Photos by William McBride)
L.C. Greenwood, Four-Time Super Bowl Champion, Six-Time Pro Bowler, “Hollywood Bags” as Greenwood was affectionately known to his teammates was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969 in the 10th round. In 1971, he became the starting left defensive end. One of the four members of Pittsburgh’s famous or infamous Steel Curtain, he performed on six winning AFC Division Championship teams and won four Super Bowls with the team before retiring a in 1981.
Greenwood, who was 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 245 pounds, was a six-time Pro Bowl player and was named to NFL All-Pro teams in 1974 and 1975. He was named All-AFC five times.
He also led the Steelers in sacks six times with a career total of 73? according to records kept by the Steelers.
His long legs (he was 6’ 6” tall) accounted for his 4.7 time in the 40-yard dash and he used that speed to torture opposing offensive linemen.
He was nicknamed “Hollywood Bags” because he claimed he kept his bags packed and ready so he could leave for Hollywood at a moment’s notice.
The politics of professional football have become sickening because L.C. has not been a finalist since the 2005 Pro Football Hall of Fame voting but did not get in. Today Greenwood is still not enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Steelers Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene who was inducted in 1987 once said: “I don’t know what my career would have been without him.”
“He should absolutely be in the Hall of Fame. Bottom line, he’s being cheated.”
In 1991, Greenwood was named to the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team and in 2007 he was named to the Steelers All-Time team.
I have covered many professional athletes but few were more personable or approachable than Mr. Greenwood. I wonder if he is up in the heavens saving the world from his friend and colleague the late Steelers defensive tackle Ernie Holmes.
Maybe he is up there trying to convince the late great defensive end Dwight White not to label folks with funny nicknames. I want to go to Hollywood and “swing” too like L.C but if I don’t get the nod; I will keep my bags packed and ready even if I never receive the casting call. I, along with the rest of the Steelers Nation have to keep reminding ourselves; he’s gone but not forgotten, gone but not forgotten, gone but not…
DEFENSIVE LEGEND—Steelers legend LC Greenwood at Steelers-Ravens game on Nov. 5, 2007, when former Steelers were honored at halftime. Greenwood died recently. See story on front page.
The Latino Connection. I am ready for some baseball in the autumn. I remember over forty years ago my school chum the late Anthony “Tony” Manno heavyweight pugilist from the Strip District used to sneak into Forbes Field to see the Pirates after we played “hookey” from school but the face of baseball has changed dramatically.
One day, a couple of seasons ago the Pirates were lost in a bad in a very hideous and ugly fashion. However, after a miserable night sleep on the following day after witnessing that nightmare of a game my peaceful sleep was interrupted by the bam, bam, bam of my neighbors son bouncing his basketball on the makeshift basketball court on their asphalt driveway.
I wondered why I wasn’t hearing the crack of a bat instead. Oiling your glove, finding a plot of ground, anywhere just to get a pickup game of baseball started was always the rule. Now it is the exception.
Playstation number whatever model is popular nowadays is what the “culture of youth” seem to prefer as the sounds of burgers and fries are being prepared in the kitchen as they sit on their oversized “bums” with oversized remotes at the ready as they prepare to play electronic baseball on a 50 inch flat screen monitor as opposed to hearing a vendor scream “hot dogs here” at the top of his lungs.
Well I have a bit of news for you. there is a part of the Americas where baseball continues to be King and that is Latin America. This is a place where baseball remains the economic and social savior.
The youth of these economically challenged cultures still revere the communal and some would even argue the spiritual impact that the game has on youth and adults.
The urban landscape is blotted basketball hoops, hopes and yes even hopelessness with LeBron James wannabees flying around all the worst for it.
Baseball is defined by many of Black American youth as being slow and boring but it is family if it is restored to its former status; it may again be the beacon at the end of the drive-by shooting, video games tunnel in urban America.
We just have to pick up a bat, ball and glove and allow it to be.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at abruce@new?pittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)
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