Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Funny (?) Story
I had an English teacher in the 7th grade who went the extra distance to try to get through to his students. The memorable journals he had us keep- I still have mine to this day. Mr. Winterton, now Jim Winterton, to me. He was like the teachers in all the "Great Teacher" movies: To Sir With Love, Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers.... Okay you get my drift... Sometime in my mid-thirties, I located him in Syracuse, NY and gave him a call just to let him know that his efforts were not wasted- that even now some of his life lessons continued to guide me. I thought at the time he might think I was a crackpot, but no, he remembered me, we caught up on each others' lives, and he expressed how cool it was to get a phone call like that after 25 years or so. He was still very actively playing and coaching racquetball, and an upcoming clinic would bring him to my fitness club in Rochester so we even had a chance to see each othere again around that time.
Years later, we still keep in touch, although sporadically. Yesterday, as I was driving home from work, my phone rings and his name is on the display. When I answer, he asks, "Are you a Hang Glider, or a Paraglider?" I say I am a hang glider pilot. Then he says, "You'll never guess where I am...." and he proceeds to tell me that he is at the USHPA office in Colorado. It seems the National Racquetball Headquarters shares the same building and he happens to notice the flying theme on the adjacent door as he goes in to do whatever business he has there. Wow, how cool that he stumbled into part of my world! So he says he's going upstairs to USHPA to check it out and say, "Hey, I was Linda Salamone's 7th grade English teacher, how about that????" So that's what he does while he has me on the phone.
He asks loudly, "Who's in charge here?" and he tells me some skinny guy answers, "Me", and Jim tells him proudly, "Hey, I was Linda Salamone's 7th grade English teacher......" and the few people that were in the office give him .....a completely blank stare.
Then he asks me, "Hey, didn't you tell me you were a fairly high ranking female pilot in the US?"
And I answer, "Yes, I am the highest ranking female pilot in the country and I was the 2006 and 2007 Women's National Champion, and since no US female pilot competed in the Nationals this year, I guess I sort of still am...." He asks if ANYONE in the office ever heard of me and of course no one has. But they all knew Paul Voight's name (yay Paul!) and I told Jim to ask if any of them were actually pilots. Nope. Well, that explains that, I figured. But then Jim leaves the USHPA office somewhat disgusted and goes into his own National Headquarters, the USAR, and tells me that his picture is all over the walls and they all greet him loudly (I can hear it...) and he didn't say this but I am assuming it's his first time there because he only just noticed the USHPA stuff.
We got into a discussion that I don't want to repeat in total here but basically he was wondering why USHPA was so out of touch with the pilots who represent this country on an international level. I know that I am small potatoes but I AM ONE OF THE ONLY FEMALE POTATOES. Maybe there would be more female potatoes if somebody GAVE A SHIT!!!!
Okay, so that's my story. And I will end it here by quoting the USAR website when Jim Winterton was inducted into the Racquetball Hall of Fame...
Jim Winterton Syracuse, New York(Contributor, Inducted 2000) Jim Winterton has gained renown as one of the best racquetball coaches in the world, after service to the U.S. National Team for a full decade, during which time his squads brought home the World Cup from every International Racquetball Federation World Championship played in the period. He also led national teams to five Tournament of the Americas team crowns and a clean sweep of the 1995 Pan Am Games, where the USA brought home six gold and two silver medals. For his last hurrah as U.S. National Team Head Coach at the 1999 Pan Am Games, Winterton’s team nearly repeated that clean sweep of the medals, claiming six gold, a silver and a bronze medal.


  • Linda:

    What a great sense of humor you have. I have never seen you fly but you are a born writer. Obviously the flying is pretty awesome as well. Thank you for shining a metaphoric light on a sadly lacking organization.

    With great respect,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 AM  

  • What a very sweet comment- about the writing, that is. I had to make sure it was grammatically correct- my 7th grade English teacher would never forgive me for making him look like bad! But seriously, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and make my day.(...since my ego has taken such a beating just recently...)

    By Blogger Linda Salamone, at 9:09 PM  

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