By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
I received a phone call about a few weeks ago from a woman who requested a photo of Allen Doan, or Mr. Greyhound for those who remember our September 2009 article featuring the San Benito super fan. But before she was able to explain why she needed the picture, I couldn’t help but remember that story fondly and proceeded to carry on a conversation with her about it.
The piece was written leading up to our Battle of the Arroyo coverage, which that year was to be played on Sept. 11 at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen. We at the News were already very well-acquainted with Mr. Doan, or “The Encyclopedia” as we refer to him in the office. You see, Mr. Greyhound has kept personal record of every single football game the San Benito Greyhounds ever played. He has the scores for most, and has paid especial attention – obviously – to the rivalry against the Harlingen Cardinals.
He often called our office and requested to speak to me, sometimes to ask about an upcoming game, other times to inquire about his subscription, but mostly just to chat. The now 80-year-old man lived in a nursing home and simply longed for conversation.
When the story hit newsstands, many were touched by Mr. Greyhound’s inability to attend the big game as he did not own a vehicle nor was he physically able to drive. What came next was classic San Benito. A fellow fan read his story and felt inclined to drive him to the game himself, and so he did. Mr. Greyhound had fun that night with his new friend, even though the team lost (sorry to remind you).
These memories and more resurfaced when I took that phone call, it’s just a shame that the conversation took a more serious tone.
As it turned out, the woman who called was his sister, Elizabeth Doan McAdams, and she wanted his picture because the family was preparing his obituary; apparently Mr. Greyhound was very ill and clinging to life at a local hospital. After I obliged, I offered my condolences and prayers to the family on behalf of the News staff. I then hung up the phone and announced to the office that Mr. Greyhound was dying. Those who’ve been here long enough to know him expressed sadness over the news. While I remained optimistic of his recovery, Elizabeth did not sound as hopeful, and it eventually went back to business as usual that day.
That is until this Thursday, when Elizabeth walked into the office, fulfilling a promise she made when I asked that she please inform us of any change in his condition. She came smiling, and greeted me with a handshake and news that an obituary wasn’t going to be necessary after all. Mr. Greyhound, in true die-hard Greyhound spirit, is winning his own battle.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to root for him as he so vigorously rooted for San Benito.