FROM COURT TO FARM: Mary Dubose and Chanda Rigby participate in Farm City Job Swap
Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2016
The drumming of the basketball on the hardwood is music to the ears of Mary Dubose just as it is to Chanda Rigby.
The mooing of the mama cow is as familiar to Chanda Rigby as it is to Mary Dubose.
The Pike County Farm City Job Swap committee probably didn’t know that when they invited Dubose and Rigby to participate in the 2016 Farm-City Job Swap. The annual “swap” is designed for members of the rural and urban communities to swap jobs for a day. The purpose is for each to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for what the other does.
Dubose, who is at home on the farm in Banks, and Rigby, whose home court is Trojan Arena, seemed to be at odds, professionally. However, Dubose was a student of basketball. She played guard and point guard for the Dixie Academy Rebels and Rigby grew up on a dairy farm in Franklinton, Louisiana.
But the dye had been cast. The invitations had been issued and accepted. The show must go on and it could not have been a better show. From the minute they met, Dubose and Rigby “hit it off.” Even though each was familiar with the other’s profession, the Job Swap experience was a unique way to spend a girls’ day out.
Rigby is the women’s basketball coach at Troy University and she invited Dubose into the locker room prior to the team’s tune-up contest against a Brazilian professional team, Uninassau, on November 1 and then to be her “bench assistant” during the game.
Rigby thought she would give Mary a few minutes to give the team a pep talk before they went out on the court. She expected a “go team, win” kind of response from Dubose.
“But I was shocked,” Rigby said, laughing. “She knew basketball. She gave a great pep talk. I didn’t expect it. We could learn something from her.”
Dubose said just harkened back to her days on the court.
“Basketball was different for me. We didn’t have the three-point shot. I couldn’t have hit it anyway. But I knew about man-to-man defense and zone defense.”
Her advice to the team was “if you’re in the paint, don’t put the ball on the floor” and “watch the gut.” “A ball handler can fool you with head fakes,” Dubose said. “But watch the gut. It doesn’t lie.”
Dubose had been to Trojan Arena for a graduation ceremony but not for a basketball game.
“The arena has a different feel when it’s a basketball game,” she said. “I really enjoyed it and I’ll be back to see Chanda’s team and probably the men’s team, too.”
Rigby was at Dubose Farm in Banks early Thursday morning. She had her boots on and was ready to witness the birth of Paisley’s calf. She hopped in the truck with Dubose, riding shotgun.
“That means you have to get out and open the gates,” Dubose said, laughing.
The cow herd was grazing in a pasture just down the road. Dubose was the first out of the truck in an effort to located Paisley. But to the surprise of both Rigby and Dubose, Paisley had already given birth and had the calf hidden safely away.
“I was disappointed,” Rigby said. “But I enjoyed walking among the cows in the pasture. I even liked the way it smelled. Reminded me of home.” Back home in Louisiana, Husser Farms was home to 100 dairy cows and eight were milked each morning and night. Cows don’t go on vacation. Rigby, laughingly, said she didn’t have any plans to be a milkmaid.
“I didn’t like milking,” she said. “I think milking is why I started playing basketball. If I was at practice or at games, I didn’t have to milk.”
Rigby got a “turn” behind tractor wheel and Dubose taught her how to use a disc plow.
“Driving a tractor is more complex than I thought,” Rigby said. “Driving the tractor was a new experience and I loved being out in the fields. It was so quiet and peaceful.”
At the day’s end, Rigby and Dubose said their goodbyes having formed a friendship that probably would never have happened had they not “job swapped.”
They were both better for the experience. Although, Rigby’s at home in the gym, she knows where she can go to find peace and quiet. Dubose’s home is on the farm but, if things get too quiet on the farm, she knows where to go.