First Posted: 10/20/2009
Ask Bobby Timmons what sport he played while growing up and you will have to follow up with one more query: What season was it?
I just liked all sports, he said. I guess I learned to like all sports when I was in the grades. There was always a ball game in somebodys yard. We played things in the season, so we always had a game going on. Anything that came along, I just played and had lots of fun with it.
Timmons life-long love affair with sports will culminate Saturday when he is inducted into the Surry County Sports Hall of Fame.
A 1951 graduate of Flat Rock High School, Timmons earned varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. And like he had done his entire life before that, Timmons excelled as he picked up a new sport with each season. In track, he had epic battles against Franklins Carlos Surratt, who was two years his senior. Surratts record-setting race beat Timmons during the latters freshman year, but Timmons bounced back to win three straight races to end his high school career. Timmons sophomore year saw him beat Surratt and his record by 10 seconds, a race Timmons remembers vividly.
Every time he pulled up beside me it scared me to death, Timmons said. I was scared I was about to lose and that can give you extra energy.
The race was so difficult on both runners that Surratt was vomiting afterwards while Timmons had to be led around by the arm as he neared a blackout.
As good as he was running track, Timmons was a better basketball player. After a long pause, he had to declare basketball was his favorite sport. So Timmons took his roundball and headed to Wingate, a two-year school at the time, on a scholarship. He played there from 1951-53 and was two-year starter. Wingate won the conference, the conference tournament and regional tournament both years Timmons played.
In his first season, Wingate went 39-1, losing only to North Carolina States freshman team at a time when first-year players at four-year colleges were excluded form the varsity. After that loss, the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Timmons said one of his coaches told the team, Im gonna recruit some players who can win, after the its lone loss. The squad was nearly as good the next season, going 42-3. Timmons was dubbed Most Valuable Player during his second season at Wingate.
Timmons had several offers after his two years at Wingate and decided to move on to Elon. He was a starter there from 1953-55. After graduating with a degree in health and fitness, there was only one thing Timmons could imagine doing.
I always wanted to coach and teach, and I always wanted to go back to my high school, he said.
He took a year-long stint at Forsyth County before a job at Flat Rock opened up. He coached football basketball and baseball for the junior high and high school teams over a course of 36 years. When the high schools consolidated, many of Timmons basketball players moved on to play at North Surry. Coaches there always raved about the maturity and skills of players Timmons had coached.
During that time, Timmons somehow found the time and energy to play a year of semi-professional baseball for Flat Rock Granite Quarry and church league softball, where he didnt play his last game until he was 62 years old. He also kept up with basketball, playing for the Appalachian Bombers and the Flat Rock Fire Department.
If you play it keeps you young, he said. I truly believe that.
And Timmons is living proof of that philosophy.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.