How and why did “Whatever Happen, Happen” happen?

Almost all student-athletes are asked by their university’s sports information departments to answer a “personality profile” or “get-to-know-you” questionnaire. The questions are universal:

Who was your favorite athlete as a kid? What do you want to be when you leave college? What is your favorite food? Where did you vacation with your family as a child? Bulls or Bears? Country or rap? Ginger?…or Mary Ann?

And on like that, (although not usually that sexist).

When I was a graduate assistant in the sports information department at Louisiana Tech 147 years ago, one of these mind-probing questions we young sages of psychology, sports, and baloney asked was, “What is your life philosophy?” The answers were all the same: Golden Rule. Put team before self. Work hard and all will be right in the end.

But this one wonderful player, who to this day has no idea how much joy he’s brought me through the years and though his answer, wrote the three greatest words since the first time Ernie Banks ever uttered, “Let’s play two!” or Grandma Inez said, “Let’s fry chicken!”

With not particularly handy penmanship, he penciled in this most original of philosophies: “Whatever happen, happen.”

Did I imagine it, or did some mighty choir and orchestra in the unassuming SID office in the bowels of the Thomas Assembly Center actually begin playing “Hallelujah Chorus,” at jet-engine full-throttle decibels?

Remember the cartoon characters who go from standing still to warp speed? Grabbing that questionnaire with parental care but haste, as one would rush a baby from a burning building, it took me about 30 seconds to make a copy, two minutes to get to a store that sold cheap frames, then another five minutes to locate a hammer and a nail and my bedroom wall. That framed philosophy has hung with me since, a cautious reminder that makes the smiles last longer and the days seem shorter. It insists I remember, in barely legible No. 2 lead, that no matter the cards I hold or how wisely I play them, the joke will always, more likely than not, be on me.

Because whatever happen, happen.