Sport Memories can take you back, back, back, WAY BACK:Looking back today at an old friend that lost his bout/battle with Cancer(One last trip with ‘ole Trip Ellington)

Posted by Andy Durham on June 21, 2019 at 1:16 pm under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

Caught this news during my nightly roundup reading late night Thursday/early Friday morning, as I did my scan of the News and Record obituaries, to make sure my name wasn’t posted in the most recent edition…

I did not make the list, but there was one name on there, that really caught my eye/attention…

James Milton Ellington III, better known over the years as, Trip Ellington….

Here is the word from the N&R online obit:
GREENSBORO James Milton “Trip” Ellington, 61, of Greensboro, died Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at his home from cancer. Plans for a celebration of his life are pending at this time. The family appreciates memorials to Heartstrings Inc., 1250 Revolution Mill Drive, Suite 120, Greensboro, NC 27405; or to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262.

Trip had been battling cancer for several years and at times from I was hearing and often times reading, he had success in his fight, but last night we learned that Cancer had taken another victim…

Trip Ellington was a good guy…Sort of crazy at times, but who isn’t???

I knew this character all the way since back in the second grade, at the old Guilford Elementary School, and had not seen him in the past 40 years, but had come across some of his photos on Facebook, and that was still him…

Sure he had probably changed some over the years, but I will remember him from back in the day, when we played baseball and football on some of the same teams, and we went against each other too on occasion, in baseball….

Trip in his later years, may not have been remembered as being some kind of star athlete, he found a love of motorcycles and people mainly more than sports, but in his younger days, he was one heck of a baseball catcher and a very talented football player….

James Milton Ellington III was a catcher on those old Stumpy Brown coached teams, in the Guilford College Little League Baseball program, that played their games at Guilford Elementary School….Trip caught Tommy Waynick and if you could catch Tommy Waynick’s pitching you should be a member of the Guilford County Youth Baseball Hall of Fame…Tommy Waynick threw the baseball so hard, he could blow the opposing batters back into their own dugout….And if you caught one of Tommy Waynick’s pitches, you better have a large well-padded catcher’s mitt…

Man, I tell you, Trip Ellington could take it and I admire him to this day, for what he was able to do back there behind that plate….Trip Ellington got it done and I tried catching Tommy Waynick a few times, and nearly lost two teeth and five fingernails….

Trip Ellington caught Tommy Waynick on those Stumpy Brown coached Red Sox teams, and then they moved up together to the Guilford Optimist PONY baseball teams, and were not coached by Don ‘Doc’ Lineberry, but were coached by the man that came before him….

Trip Ellington was not only a very good baseball player, he was an outstanding baseball player when he wanted to be….

And how about his football prowess?????

That kid could play some football…..

We were on the same teams with the Guilford Optimist, Guilford Junior High, Western Guilford JV’s and the Western Guilford varsity…

Trip Ellington had some height, and he started on the offensive line as a sophomore, for the Western Guilford Varsity football team….He was even getting some looks from East Carolina University, as a 10th-grader in high school, and that says something right there….

But here is my fondest, if not craziest memory of football/playing football with Trip Ellington, and it came one night when we were both in the 9th grade and playing JV football for Coach Allen/Hoyt Jones, and we both were starting down there as high school freshman and if my memory serves me correctly, and most of the time it does, Trip was playing defensive end and I was at defensive tackle…

Well, we were on the road for a Thursday night game down at Siler City/Jordan Matthews High School, and it was pouring down rain that night and we were playing in what was almost a blinding rain storm…

We had a decent lead over the Jordan Matthews Jets and late in the second half, we were on defense and wanting more….

I rushed in from my defensive tackle position and blocked a JM Jets punt and the ball was lose back around the Jets’ 10-yard line….All of the sudden there was a mad scramble on the ground in what was now a mud-laddin surface/field and all of our Western Guilford Hornets on defense, were fighting for that lose football, as the ball slithered into the end zone…

In the mass battle for the lose ball, as I was battling my own teammates for that pigskin, Trip Ellington had his hands on that ball and I had my paws on it too, and so did about 8-9 other Western Guilford Hornet football players….

I can still hear Trip Ellington hollering above the crowd/above the noise, as we all settled into that end zone, Trip kept on yelling, “I got it, I got it, I got it”….

But in the end, you know who came out of that mass of mud with that pigskin, and you know who, was me……

I had stole the ball from all of my teammates and Trip was left holding a mud ball instead of the football, and I got my only touchdown of my long-labored football career and I got it that night down in Siler City, where Trip Ellington thought he had it and man, I guess I just stole six points from the Siler City Jets, and from my good friend, Trip Ellington….

I am here today to give those six points back to Trip, and to give him a strong and solid six-gun/six-bell salute…

Trip did not finish his football career at Western Guilford, but if that young man had continued playing, he would for sure have made some college team a great offensive lineman…The kid could play some football and he had football smarts…

I will miss this guy James Milton Ellington III, but the memories are not missing, they will last a lifetime and hopefully someday, I can meet him again in heaven and hand him that football I stole from him that Thursday night, down in Siler City….

Oh the sport memories, they are the best of all and that is what keeps old jocks going…

Saying goodbye to Trip Ellington on this Friday June 21, 2019 and Rest in Peace my friend….We will someday see you again…..

The Ellington Brothers were a fine group, you had Trip, Johnny and Jay(Turtle)…..I think two of them are now gone and one is left to carry on…..

RIP James Milton Ellington III and thanks for the sports memories……..

(Wow, you never know how BIG these sports memories are, until you let your mind do some digging.)


  • Andy Durham said,

    Trip Ellington’s backup catcher back in the day with the Red Sox was a kid by the name of Mark Freeman…

    Johnny Bench’s backup was Bill Plummer(Reds)
    Steve Yeager’s backup was Joe Ferguson(Dodgers)
    Andy Etchebarran’s backup was Elrod Hendricks(Orioles)