If you saw Calvin Talford as a high school athlete, you would know.
You wouldn’t have to ask me what he was like in basketball, baseball, football and track and field.
I wouldn’t have to tell you that as an all-around high school athlete, he was the best I’ve ever seen.
That’s the truth and so is this.
On Wednesday, Calvin Talford, 51, suffered a massive heart attack.
Let that sink in for a minute.
The man who scored all five of his team’s touchdowns in a single playoff game as a senior at Castlewood High School in 1987, the guy who put up 59 points in a basketball game and outscored the opponent by himself, the human pogo stick who set three state track and field records on the same day including 7 feet in the high jump, the baseball star who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies … had a heart attack?
Shockingly, it happened while he was playing basketball.
He underwent double-bypass surgery. One artery was 100 percent blocked.
By Thursday afternoon, he was in stable condition and speaking to visitors.
Talford’s athleticism spoke for itself, particularly at the old VHSL Group A level.
But he took it to the next level and beyond, winning the college slam dunk championship in Minneapolis in 1992 after a brilliant career at East Tennessee State, where he played on four Southern Conference championship teams and just three weeks ago was inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame.
A country boy from the tiny Russell County community of Dante, he played professionally in so many countries that he dunked on five continents.
Sometime in the fall of 1987, the Bristol Herald Courier needed some photos for the cover of its preseason basketball edition. The plan was for a cutout picture of Talford soaring toward a rim against a bright blue sky.
Photographer Bill McKee and I drove to Castlewood and got Talford out of class at 9:30 a.m.
McKee got on a ladder and positioned his camera near the rim.
“Calvin, would you mind dunking about 20 or 30 for us,” we said.
“Sure,” he said.
The human pogo stick.
Bounce back, buddy.
SALEM 28, Patrick Henry 21. Salem goes against PH coach Alan Fiddler. Next week, the Spartans play a Martinsburg (W.Va.) team coached by Fiddler’s college roommate.
LORD BOTETOURT 38, William Byrd 13. Byrd’s Brad Lutz will be the second of three consecutive first-year coaches Botetourt will face in three weeks.
NORTHSIDE 24, William Fleming 14. The last time William Fleming defeated Northside, the Colonels’ head coach was Rob Senseney.
BLACKSBURG 35, Cave Spring 7. Blacksburg has two losses in 2019 but they have come to Timesland’s top two teams — unbeaten Lord Botetourt and Salem.
PULASKI COUNTY 21, Christiansburg 14. This is Pulaski’s final home game until the Cougars close the regular season against Salem.
FRANKLIN COUNTY 35, Staunton River 7. This is the third game in the brief series that began in 2017. Staunton River has not had the same head coach in any of them.
JEFFERSON FOREST 34, Liberty 12. The all-time record between these two Seminole District schools stands 24-23 in favor of Jefferson Forest.
ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY 36, Spotswood 34. Since rejoining the Valley District, Rockbridge is 0-3 against Spotswood including a playoff loss in 2017.
ROANOKE CATHOLIC 47, Hargrave Military 7. Last week’s VISAA coaches poll had Roanoke Catholic ranked behind Fuqua. No. Not kidding. Really.
RADFORD 35, James River 7. Norman Lineburg was Radford’s coach for 37 years, but during that time the Bobcats never played James River.
FLOYD COUNTY 26, Alleghany 7. Winfred Beale’s next victory would be the 225th of his distinguished career at Floyd County.
GILES 24, Carroll County 20. Giles owns a 12-game winning streak over Carroll County dating back to 1980.
BASSETT 32, Tunstall 6. A victory by the Bengals would equal the most wins (4) in a season for the program since 2008.
HALIFAX COUNTY 27, Martinsville 7. Remember the late Halifax star Don Testerman? He played at Virginia Tech, Ferrum and Clemson and was the first fullback for the Seattle Seahawks.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 54, Patrick County 18. It hasn’t been pretty for the Cougars since GW entered the Piedmont District. Try 84-0, 49-0, 78-0, 56-0, 70-7 and 59-0.
AUBURN 20, Grayson County 13. Grayson holds a 7-1 lead over Auburn in the lifetime series with the Eagles’ lone win in 1993.
GALAX 36, Fort Chiswell 20. Mark Dixon has established Galax as a consistent winner but the Maroon Tide went from 1987 to ‘91 with a different head coach each year.
EASTERN MONTGOMERY 33, Bath County 24. Both teams are 0-5. But in this day and time in the VHSL, the winner jumps squarely into the Region 1C playoff picture.
NARROWS 29, Covington 14. The list of undefeated teams in Timesland includes only Salem, Lord Botetourt and Narrows.
PARRY McCLUER 29, Craig County 20. Parry McCluer is one of three winless Pioneer District teams. Craig has two victories but one was a forfeit.
GATE CITY 21, Marion 14. If Marion defeats Gate City it would be the third in a row but just the fifth overall against the Blue Devils in 34 tries.
Last week: 17-6 .739
Overall: 116-34 .773