I spoke to the good folks at the Clearwater Rotary Club on Wednesday. Here are the notes to my speech. In questions, they wanted to know about inflate-gate, whether it had any affect on the final score (no), who the Bucs should draft (Winston unless they're afraid of him).

Wednesday, 4:55 p.m.

Before there were deflated footballs, before there were rape allegations against the quarterback, the old man moved slowly down the corridor.

Bobby Bowden shook a hand here, embraced a fan there. He moved like a man who didn't want to leave. If you know Bowden, you know he didn't.

Some lady gave him a plate of cookies. He took them, greeted her warmly, then shuffled along, soaking the last memory of a coaching career.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Allan Yeates January 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm

So very glad you did not retire!
I started my career as a sports writer. So, I have always admired the flow of your words… the clarity of your vision… and the integrity of your views.
Please, please never go to pasture!

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Gary Shelton January 24, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I hope never to. Thank you, Allen.

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Rick January 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

add Warrick Dunn to that list – had the chance to meet him in Bagram, Afghanistan….really improved my morale talking to him, even though he was an Atlanta Falcons player at the time.

BTW, this ball-deflation scandal has reached the VEEP – Biden was talking about on the news the other day. Doesn’t our country have other issues for him to concern himself with?……..

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Gary Shelton January 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Ha. Probably not. He’s the VP. He has time.

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Cecil DeBald January 22, 2015 at 10:54 am

I’m sorry to hear the Times wanted you to retire, Gary, but I’m glad you’re alive, well, and doing what you do best. Thanks.

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Gary Shelton January 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

thank you

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Jack Airey January 22, 2015 at 8:40 am

GOD….I love your writing…your stories…please never retire.

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Rick Martin January 21, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Teams have always tried to gain an edge. Cubs saturated their infield to keep Lou Brock from stealing bases. I recall stories about Parcells having the stadium crew open up the doors to the stadium to draw in wind from the tunnel to keep opponents from making field goals. I’m not going to get all up in arms against the Patriots because of them leaking a few psi out of the footballs.

Thanks for the insight regarding your career. I always wanted to be a sportswriter as a kid becaue I was too small to play most sports. That never happened – but I did become a sports fan (been to my share of NFL, PGA, NBA MLB, NHL, college basketball/football, profesional tennis) —-but as I get older I’ve come to realize that many of people on the court/field/ball field aren’t really to be enamored. I’ve gotten tired of the Marshawn Lynches, the Aqib Talibs, the LaGarette Blounts, and the Richie Incognitos. I’ve learned that there is much more in life than chasing, hitting, fielding, catching a ball for a living. Sometimes I wonder how sports media can tolerate the people that they’re assigned to cover.

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Gary Shelton January 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

It can be a challenge. But there are lynch and brooks and Freddie Mitchell and Lee Roy, too. There are special people.

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