In the last few weeks we have introduced you to several staff members of the Shawnee Senior Center, Kate Joyce, known to us as the Cruise Director, Tai Chi instructor Sharon Autrey, and Bobbie Doss, known around here as the Craft and General Fun Specialist. All this was done to get you curious about what exactly goes on here in the hopes you will come wandering in and check us out. Some of you have done that, great.

In the last few weeks we have introduced you to several staff members of the Shawnee Senior Center, Kate Joyce, known to us as the Cruise Director, Tai Chi instructor Sharon Autrey, and Bobbie Doss, known around here as the Craft and General Fun Specialist. All this was done to get you curious about what exactly goes on here in the hopes you will come wandering in and check us out. Some of you have done that, great.

If you haven’t found the time yet, we’re still here and waiting for you to join the fun.

This week we decided to tell you about some of the people who already come here to the Center.. Sooooo, this is a little about one of the people who visits.

There are many who come and one of the amazing things to me is that our Cruise Director knows at least 95% of them by name. When it came to picking someone for this first piece on one of our “members” we picked one that I had only referred to by his nickname for months and had no clue who he was.

So let me introduce you to the gentleman known as “Coach”. You probably know exactly who he is but bear with me for a minute while I explain to those, like me, who were unaware. The Coach here at the Center is Jim Walling. He is an Okie with roots in Shawnee and tentacles in Asher the Earlsboro. He has been married for 60 years to Janet and they met while they were both going to East Central University. They have two sons, neither of which is a coach. After a varied career start, Coach ended up the Basketball and Baseball coach at Asher and in his 6 year career both his basketball and baseball teams were Oklahoma State Champs in 1981.

He mentioned that he was coaching in Asher when he decided that it was cooler to coach basketball in the gym than to swelter in the Oklahoma sun on the baseball field. From Asher he went to Earlsboro where, in his 24 years there as Basketball Coach, he had an impressive coaching record (his total career stats are 649 wins and 240 losses). State Champion, State finalists and winning seasons were the norm for Earlsboro during Coach’s reign. Coach Walling was inducted to the High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007 and was inducted in the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Coach retired from his day job and, as he put it, after watching the complete series of Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Mayberry’s own Andy Griffith several times, he decided it was time to get out of the chair and try something new. He convinced several of his church friends to find out what was going on at the Center and the Domino camaraderie was formed.

As time went on the three church friends were unable to continue playing but by then Coach had found other friends to join his group. Now there is a regular bunch playing and/or watching daily up in the pool room (hopefully you remember that’s the room in the Center with the cue sticks and tables not a hole and water place). Anyone interested in playing dominos will find the players happy to have new faces to join the fun. There are 3 tables and usually at least one is empty to start a domino game or cards if you are so inclined.

Remember we are open every day Monday thru Friday (except for holidays) from 8 in the morning until 5 in the evening.

Drop by any day and pick up a calendar or take a tour and see what we are doing in this old middle school building. I can almost promise you will find something that will peak your interest so come join the Seniors who play dominos or pool or dance or create or just sit and visit. We’ll be looking for you…..