Remembering David Bailey ‘84
By Mark Barnes ‘83
(from The Diaspora Potrezebie, Alumni Newsletter of the American Community School of Beirut, Lebanon, Vol. XXXII, No. 4, Dec. 2010)
David Bailey was a good guy. He was a grade behind me. I first remember being aware of him when we got back to ACS (American Community School, Beirut, Lebanon) in 1977 after “the” war. I was in 7th grade and he was a lowly 6th grader. As I progressed through the grades, he, strangely, was always a year behind me. And while my class was known for feats such as . . . not having very many people, the year behind us always seemed to have a lot of character. David was one of those character-y people.
There are many stories to tell about David. Such as the fact that he was one of many that took Paul Frantz’s guitar class, but as far as I know the only one to stick with it and become a professional guitarist. He and Vaira Harik ’83 always won the badminton tournament. He could sing and play guitar at the same time. He played first base on the softball team. He was good at the long jump but not at the high jump. But I will talk about basketball.
David may have been a good guitarist, but while he was learning guitar he was an even better basketball player. I started playing basketball in 8th grade, and so I started playing with a team consisting primarily of David’s class. The school was small. Basketball try-outs basically consisted of raising your hand. That first year, I don’t think anyone on the tem had played organized basketball before. Technically, we were the Junior Varsity team because there was a team of older players called the Varsity team. I am sure we played several games that year but I believe the first game was against IC (International College), the dreaded rivals across the street. At the time, IC was approximately 10 times the size of ACS, and so their JV team was the second string of the varsity team. I believe I saw some of them in the locker room shaving before the game, but then my memory may be a bit fuzzy. The fuzziness is probably a psychological defense mechanism because David scored the first points for ACS, in the second half. David was high scorer for the team with four of our ten total points. I am proud to say that I scored two points. I have managed to forget how many points IC scored. (By the way, we did beat IC my senior year by one point, with the nail-biting conclusion hinging on the foul shot shooting prowess of Anthony Ibrahim ’83.)
Between 7th and 8th grade, the rumor was that David went to basketball camp somewhere in the US. When the season started the next year, he was much better than everyone else. At the time, my brother was the resident geometry teacher/history teacher/band director/JV basketball coach. He huddled with the Varsity coach and a compromise established a rule that David had to play on JV instead of on Varsity. I think technically the rule stipulated that you had to be in 9th grade to play on Varisty. I can’t remember what the Varsity coach got in the trade, but I am sure he was short-changed. That year, JV had many promising players, but this was before mike learned to hold onto the ball, before William perfected his outside shot, before Steve had his growth spurt, and before Nadim learned how to dribble. There were many “plays” but I believe most of them ended with “. . . and then throw the ball to Bailey.” Needless to say, the team did much better that year.
David was my friend, and a very good basketball player.