High school slowly but surely came to an end. I began receiving college recruitment letters for football junior year and continued throughout senior year. Recruitment letters from Brown, Princeton, Cornell, Northwestern, UCLA, I can’t recall the rest. However, my parents somehow talked me into going to Abilene Christian University where I had no scholarship (although they promised me one), and walked onto the football team. I knew a friend that was going there majoring in finance. That sounded good to me and so I majored in finance.
My roommate at ACU was my cousin. Three a day football practices sucked. Especially since the school made a habit out of recruiting gangsters from junior colleges. One of these gangsters was a receiver, same as me. Our receiver coach was a student coach and this junior college receiver disrespected him every chance he got. If the gangster didn’t want to run, he’d say “hell nah coach, I’m ain’t running shit”. Or sometimes “hey coach, you could run this dumbass play yourself”. This was the way he worked. This coach didn’t like me very much and so I paid the price for the gangster receiver’s attitude. When gangster didn’t run, Compton did. When gangster didn’t run a play, Compton did pushups. In short, I paid the price for this jerk (actually both jerks, the gangster and the receiver coach). Duh, I got tired super quick.
XBOX leads me to probation
The year was 2002 and Xbox 1 just came out. Notice I’m not talking about classes and learning – I didn’t care! Anyhow, the dorms quickly figured out that we could connect Ethernet cords to the network and play “linked up” Halo. We also figured out that invisibility and rocket launcher were beast – but not near as beast as the three-shot headshot with the pistol. My cousin and I played all day and into the wee hours of the morning – everyday. I skipped class, I skipped daily chapel, got kicked out of most my classes, got put on Chapel probation, and this all occurred my first semester. I also quit football due to reasons outlined above. Quit even though I was the fastest on the team as an 18-year-old.
I forgot to mention ACU required all students to go to chapel/church every day of the week. If a student didn’t make the required number of chapel credits, said student got put on probation. No questions asked. In addition, if a student got caught drinking, automatic probation. Get caught twice, said student would be suspended from school completely. First semester Freshman year I went to maybe 15 chapels which equaled probation for me.
Lovington High School visit ACU
For some weird reason, my high school back in Lovington planned a field trip to visit ACU and tour the campus. ACU agreed to the let guys stay in the dorms and some of them were allowed to stay with me. Hmmm, let’s think about this for a moment – some of my best friends were a grade under me – the same ones that were coming to “tour” ACU. What do you think happened? We drank and drank and then drank some more. Then after we were nice and liquored up, we roamed around campus terrorizing innocent students. A couple of guys may or may not have broken the football field goal posts down. I can’t recall.
I laid down in my disgusting dorm room and fell asleep. All I remember is about 3 am I felt some hands shaking the heck out of me saying “wake up James, wake up”. I woke up and it was someone I didn’t recognize. Must be some authority type figure from the dorm I thought. He asked me what I’d been up to that night – “I’ve been in here sleeping all night can’t you see that?” He told me to follow him downstairs to talk to him. I groggily got out of bed and followed him to a downstairs office where more authority figures were waiting on me. I walked in and proceeded to drunkenly answer more of their questions. The main question was “Mr. Compton have you had anything to drink tonight?” “No I have not had anything to drink. I’ve been asleep in my room since 10 o’clock.” “Ok Mr. Compton, we will talk to you tomorrow. You can go back to sleep.”
I walked back to my room. When I walked in everyone was laughing. “Why are you idiots laughing I said?” “Dude, you do realize you have throw up all over your shirt, right?” I looked in the mirror and saw my white shirt covered in throw up. I was in trouble! This was my first probation but not my last. In my guesstimation I was put on one form of probation or another seven or eight times over my college career.
And so, my college career began.
Somehow, I made it to Sophomore year even though I was on virtually every probation known to man. Sophomore year introduced me to hardcore partying – I discovered what staying out all night drinking involved. Of course, I liked it. What guy with a rogue bent wouldn’t have? Notice that I’m still not talking about class? It’s because I didn’t care about class. It’s also because class was boring and easy. I say easy but truth is I wasn’t making good grades. Remember what I said about middle school? I made all A’s both years in a row because I wanted to. I did the same over a couple semesters in college where the prior year I was at the bottom of my classes and the next semester I was on top of all my classes – not like this mattered.
How to Mexican your house up and get in trouble in front of the entire campus
Me, Caden, and a friend named (Spanish) who is actually an Indian and whose actual name is Andy all lived at this point in time on the corner of EN 23rd street. A block away from campus. And we had this funny routine of a thing we liked to call “Mexicaning our house out”. This entailed us pulling all our trucks into the front yard, right up next to our front door. From here we had options: (1) walk directly into the house, easy access, or (2) pull down the tail gate of the truck and drink beer. Let’s just say we made more than enough use of both of these.
So it happened that one bright, sunny day we all ended up in Chapel and we always sat in the same spot. The announcer for Chapel was Dean Barnard, and he opened up Chapel by making a comment more or less like this “Those guys living on the corner of EN23rd, you know you are (all the while he was looking directly toward us in the crowd), quit parking your trucks in your front yard! That is not the way Christian’s need to act and it gives the University a bad image.” The entire school turned and was looking at us – we just laughed! And we still talk about how funny it was to this day. And yes, sometimes I still Mexican out my own house!
Sophomore year saw the introduction of a fishing boat which Caden carried around and stored in the back of his truck. Classmates couldn’t quite wrap their head around him storing a boat in the bed of his truck…We’d routinely skip class and go fishing. There was one place in particular in the middle of Abilene where we liked to go fishing – it was a type of slow moving river that ran through a park. At the start, we fished the traditional way – with fishing poles and bait. But that was too slow paced for us and we weren’t having much luck. One day while rummaging around in Academy we came across an aisle full of cast nets and a great idea struck us – buy a big net and use it to fish! First, we decided it would be best to throw food in the water so as to draw fishes close and second, throw the net over the area where we threw food. Pretty plain and simple but devastatingly effective. Off to our fishing hole we went and the first day we had excellent luck. We caught probably 20 or 30 fish. Some of them we really big, but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come.
The next day Caden and I wanted to show off to our friends – John Barker, Tyler Hastings, Brandon Pope, P-Mode, amongst others, and show them our “fishing skills”. We probably skipped class again or not, but the end result is we all ended up on the fishing boat in the slow-moving river with cut up fish (shad), other fish food, and the cast net.
We all piled onto the small fishing boat, there was about 6 or 7 of us in total. So here we are in the little boat in the middle of a park, throwing cut up fish and other stuff into the water. Immediately after throwing the bait into the water, we’d throw the net over the top of where we threw the food. This produced some smaller fish in our net. And then we realized the problem – we needed to let all the food sink to the bottom of the river or at least wait a bit before throwing the net over where the food was in order to catch the big fish. So, this is exactly what we did. We threw more food in the water and this time waited for a bit before throwing the net into the water. I can’t remember who tried to pull the net back up but whoever it was started screaming “I can’t pull this $%^& back up – there’s something huge in it – it’s going to tip the boat over!” So, a couple more of us grabbed the net and began pulling, then the boat started to tip over.
Right before the boat completely capsized we caught a glimpse of what was in the net – a fish that looked at a shark! By the end of this endeavor all 6 or 7 of us were pulling on the net. Luckily the boat didn’t capsize when we hauled the gigantic catfish on board. You could easily fit four grown men’s arms inside of its mouth – that’s how big it was! None of us had ever caught a fish that big, much less seen one in real life.
All of us were super-duper proud of this amazing feat, so we decided we’d show it off to everyone on campus. We proceeded to the Sophomore dorm rooms where I ran inside and filled the bathtub up with water. The other guys brought the fish up to the room and unloaded the beast into the tub. Then the carnival started. News traveled quick and Seniors all the way down to Freshman came by our dorm room to marvel at the shark of a fish that didn’t quite fit into the bathtub! And we weren’t done.
Somehow or someway we got the idea to play a joke on one of our business professor’s, Doctor Pope, who lived directly across the street from our dorm. We loaded the beast back up and threw it in his front yard! We called one of our friends to go get the fish and skin it so we could eat it, but he never did. Thus, the fish rotted in the professor’s front yard.
Another cast net story
Another story dealing with the cast net. One of my buddies (who I won’t name) went fishing with a guy he just met. Ok cool. Caden and I went back to my dorm room to get the cast net, but it wasn’t to be found. What?!?! Anyhow, we put two and two together and realized this unnamed fellar had taken the cast net for himself and his new buddy. What should we do?
We decided to try and find him to see what he was up to – we also had a fairly good idea of where to find him and his cohort – Fort Phantom Lake. A few days prior we had discovered a little river that ran into Fort Phantom that was teaming with fish. And as with all fishing holes, it’s best not to tell anyone. But we did – and we told this fellar! So we pulled up about a mile away and pulled out the binoculars and weren’t surprised when we saw our friend and the other guy throwing the cast net plus a cooler full of fish. What to do, what to do? Caden and I thought we’d scare them a bit and call the game warden, so that’s exactly what we did. We spied on them from a distance through the binoculars, laughing uncontrollably, while the Game Warden questioned them for what seemed like forever.
Dating immature girls
Notice I still haven’t said anything about class. It’s no mistake. It was and still is my belief that you learn from doing not from sitting in a class theorizing about accounting principles, education principles, or human resource principles. And economics – that’s got to be the biggest quack in the history of education! Hmmm lemme see, I’m going to predict the future. Give me a break.
Yes, I dated immature girls. Yes, I got rid of them. Yes, it was a good learning experience about what not to marry and what not to date.
Sinking car in brand new ACU lake
One night I was in my cabin (a single room house where I lived by myself) when another of my buddies came over to hangout. He was engaged to a girl he had been dating for a while. Me? I was “with” the immature girl. Anyhow, drinking beer sounded like a good idea to us, so we sat back, watched tv and drank a ton of beer. But then we got hungry and we quickly discovered that I had zero food in the house, so we decided to drive over to Walmart and get some food. Upon walking into Walmart, my friend (unnamed) began to bite holes in boxed food (cereal, cookies, cheese, meat) for no reason! I couldn’t take this – it was totally unexpected and I doubled over and fell to the ground laughing uncontrollably. We got some food and left and on the way back to my house, we had to pass the main entrance to the University. The main entrance complete with circle drive, manicured flowers and grass, and hilly berms, hiding the brand new law and bridge (which the fraternity I was in paid for).
As we were passing, this crazy friend of mine, said “hey man, you wanna see something cool?” “Of course, I do” I said. “Alright, hold on.” He proceeded to turn in the main entrance and hop the curb, and began doing doughnuts in the manicured flowers and grass, completely eliminating them all. But he wasn’t done. He hopped the curb and went back down onto the road and for some reason or another didn’t go back down the road. He popped across the other way towards the hilly berms of grass. I don’t think he realized on the other side of the berm was the new lake they had built – too late now! And with that, we piled over the berm and dove head first into the lake and the car began sinking. At that same time, we noted what looked like an ACU cop car, flip its lights and began coming our direction. We both rolled the windows down and swam out of the car and went and hid on top of the berm, watching to see if that was a cop. It got closer and it was in fact a cop. I told my friend I wasn’t about to get in trouble for this and he agreed. He said he’d stay and take the blame. I took off under the cover of darkness on a several mile trip back to my house.
The next morning, I woke up to all a million voicemails from his fiancée. I had some texts from the immature girl. Before I could even get out of bed, she knocked on my door, marched in, and said she was never going to talk to me again. Great things do happen in weird ways. My friend’s fiancée also broke up with him. After all, it was her car that we sank!
How to take college finals (The Compton Way)
Finals week. It sucks. You’ve got to stay up studying day and night with the hopes of making a good grade so that you pass the class. I remember these nights all too well. And then I got really sick and tired of it. I devised a better method. The method goes like this – study and do your work all semester, when it’s really easy, and get your “A” as high as you can in the class. Do this in all your classes – because let’s face it- unless you’re going to school to be a Dr., college classes are a complete joke and are more than easy. Once you have your grade up to a high level “A” guess what? Don’t go take any of your finals. Why? Because even if you get a zero on the final, you’ll still pass the class. Go on a week-long vacation. Go have fun. Go live. Employers don’t look at your grades because they don’t care.
Transfer and graduation
So I had quite a bit of trouble at ACU – nagging ex-girlfriend that made it impossible for me to do anything, I was in a lot of trouble (academic, alcohol, and otherwise), so I decided to transfer to West Texas A&M. After all, I only had a semester left to graduate. I entered WTAMU, proceeded with the above plan I laid out for skipping finals, got placed on all kinds of committees, investment planner for the University etc, and then got kicked off of them all because they didn’t like me taking C’s in favor of skipping finals. To each their own – I don’t regret it at all! I graduated and real life began. The rogue story that started forming years earlier when I was a little kid in New Mexico was beginning to come full circle. I only had to wait a few more years.