Editor’s note: Tempe resident Guido Scarton, a retired
high school teacher, football coach and inductee in
the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, authored these
recollections of his dad. We thought the timing was perfect
for this issue of Wrangler News.
His name was Jim. He was born May 12, 1902
in Dagus Mines, a small coal mining town in
northwestern Pennsylvania. He quit school in
fourth grade to work in the mines. He raised my older
sister Eleanor and me alone. Our mom died of tuberculosis
when I was seven.
We were just getting by but we were rich in what
counts– humor, love and respect.
My dad taught me how to laugh and love; how to be
kind and take pride in all things I did. He always talked to
me about dreams—his dreams and the dreams he had for
Eleanor and me.
He told me that schooling and sports would be my
vehicle to a wider world. He didn’t know much about
schools, having gone for only four years, and he knew next
to nothing about football or basketball.
But he knew about dreams.
I can remember being embarrassed when people would
tell me about sitting near my dad at a high-school football
game. When I would get tackled, he would jump up and
yell, “Get up – they can’t stop you!”
Turning to others around him, he would say: “My boy
will score a touchdown the next time he gets the ball. He
can do anything.”
And for years, I believed it.
I believed all of what he said was possible. Even after I
was old enough or smart enough to balance hope against
evidence, his sense of possibility was too engrained to ever
My dad believed people needed dreams—needed them
not so much to come true, but simply to have. And so
because of his belief, my dad taught me about dreams.
Being a kid, I believed them, and still do to this day.
My dad taught us about human relations and to respect
the dignity of other people. He helped us realize that we
don’t have to put on an act to be accepted. He taught us not
to put price tags on ourselves or others, because we all have
I learned that success depends on other people sharing
your philosophy and dreams and working together toward
a common goal.
My dad, who dabbled in writing, had a special interest
in poetry. That’s no doubt why I had the same interest,
especially the works of Shel Silverstein. Thus, when I came
upon one of Silverstein’s untitled poems, it became my
As I looked back on my developing years, I realized that
my dad in his own way was writing that same poem for me
more than 75 years ago.
Although Silverstein’s poem was written for children,
there is a powerful message in it for every single one of us.
Listen to the MUST’NTS child
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES… the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me –
Anything can happen, child
Anything can be
In your mind, there is a kind of mental movie being run
constantly– and you are the star of the show. The type of
star that you are in the mental movie determines the type
of person you are in real life.
without them life
is too predictable,
too routine, too
Dreams give us
a reason to get
through this day,
and on to the next