Henning Named Boot Scooters Coach

The Nashville Boot Scooters introduced Kevin Henning as their coach for the X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) franchise.

Henning formerly coached the Boston Night Riders of Major League Qudditch (MLQ). He had led Boston to league titles in 2015 and 2016.  He has a record of 29-12 over four seasons.

“I am excited to be here and to be a part of this unique league. It will be fun putting this team together and giving the fans a team they can be proud of.”

Nashville team manager Ryan Cooper was happy to snag Henning as the franchises’ first coach.

“He is a well known coach in the quidditch community. He knows how to put together a competitive team. Nashvillans don’t know it now but they will see the results on the field later.”

So what’s the next step for the Boot Scooters?

“We need to fill the roster and start practicing,” said Henning. “It is very important to get players playing together and in sync. You can’t just throw people out there and expect them to play well. This isn’t a playground league.  It requires timing, stamina and you have to be able to take the contact.”

Henning is known for his blunt comments but is also a fun coach. After winning back-to-back titles with Boston, he took his players to Fenway Park to give Red Sox players a chance to try quidditch.

Henning was also asked about Nashville Mayor’s threat to ban electric scooters.

“I think the city has more pressing problems to worry about than scooters. I mean that’s my personal opinion. To be fair, I am just visiting Nashville for the first time so I really don’t know the frustration people are having with it. I just think the mayor needs to concentrate on other things.”

Henning plans to take advantage of the open tryouts as well as experienced players from MLQ to fill the Boot Scooters roster.

Cooper also announced that the XSQL has reached a deal with the SciFi Network to televise weekly league games this season.  The network will feature a game-of-the-week of one live game on a weekend night during the season.  More details will be released when the league reveals the regular season schedule.  The regular season will be played in October.  Each team will play 14 regular season games followed by the playoffs.

The Boot Scooters are also narrowing down locations for their “home” field with Centennial Park, Bicentennial Park and a location in the Gulch in consideration.


I’m Like, Nashville Scooters and Van Pooling

mondayWe were seated for lunch on Saturday and although I try to tune out talking around me, my annoyance meter detected the conversation at the table next to us as the word “like” was used repeatedly.  I don’t recall specifics but it was constantly “Yeah, and like” or “I’m like…”  Now I know there are worst words that could be repeated and profanity that would have made it worse but the constant use of the word “like” was – like – driving me crazy as if someone was running their fingernails down a chalkboard.  This isn’t the first time that I have heard the overly-incessant use of “like”.  I really don’t know where this is coming from.  Maybe it’s a throwback from the Valley Girl era or some deep dark place somewhere which also produces the words “uh” and “umm” which are – like – unwitting choices in my own conversations.   I guess actual dialogue is difficult when we aren’t texting or using emoticons.  It’s a pretty complicated task in this age of social media to actually have an intelligible conversation.

Nashville Mayor David Briley is on a mission to force electric scooter companies to clean up their act.  He was even on CNN talking about it.  I’m not a fan of Briley but I applaud his threat to ban scooters if they don’t make them safer and manageable.  Unless you have been a pedestrian or motorist in downtown Nashville, you can’t fully understand the frustration over the scooters whizzing by.  They are everywhere like pesky gnats buzzing around your head.  They litter the sidewalks when not in use and riders are not using them safely.  Scooter companies have made some attempts to address the issues but there is so much they can do.  I saw one scooter with a tag attached to remind riders of how to safely use the scooters (yeah, that will fix it), another had a free safety class and another requires riders to scan in their driver’s license to confirm they are legally old enough to ride the scooter.  The ONLY thing that will enforce the rules is to enforce the rules.  I know the police department is struggling with other things and wouldn’t have the resources to do it but maybe something can be done to have a day or two where there is a operation to crackdown on violations.

Since moving to another area, I have started taking a van pool to/from work during the week.  Over the years I have taken forms of transportation such as the bus in Tampa and the train when I first moved to Nashville.  The van pool isn’t the worst form of transportation I have taken.  I have had to adjust my work schedule to take advantage of it which gets me to work wayyy too early.  I get here about 37 minutes before the start of my work day.  When I questioned why we had to leave so early I got the explanation about how much worse traffic gets the later you leave and the window of opportunity.  Okay, I get that but it’s still stinking early.  The train was, by far, my favorite but in Nashville the train route only runs on the eastside.  Dumb.  Nashville NEEDS more trains.  Of course, I like the freedom of having my own car and spending time with my wife, but the traffic and parking rates downtown make it a bad idea.  So, I’m riding the van – for now.  On most days I tell myself that this won’t be forever.  Since riding the van, I have the opportunity of observing the driving habits of other drivers.  What amazes me is how many other drivers on the road are using their smart phones while driving.  I saw one driver using Facetime while driving.  Come on people!  Can’t we put the phones down?  No one is that good of a driver that they can safely drive and text.  Maybe they need to dive into the van pool.

I’m like going to try to avoid the scooters and take the van home this afternoon.



How My Father Became My Dad

This is a strange Father’s Day for me.img_4026

Last year at this time on Father’s Day I had no relationship with my father.  We were estranged.  We hadn’t spoken in eight years.  During those years, I sent him a card on Father’s Day card but never received a response.  That seemed to be the way it was going to be for us.  That had become the usual thing but things changed in September when I sent him a letter and he responded.

He was dying.

I’m a little bitter that it took that for him to finally reach out to me.  I was living out the movie “I Can Only Imagine” in my own life.  I’m sure the expectation that he had was that I would not be there for him yet I put everything aside and went to be with him during his final week.  I will be forever grateful for that time.  We resolved most (not all) of the issues between us in the end but now I wish I would have had more time with him and our new relationship.  Without the interference of the church and my mother, I think things would have been much different between us.

If I had a message for Dads out there for this Father’s Day it would be this:  If you have issues with your children, get things right with them NOW.  Don’t wait.  Don’t let the years stack up like another brick in the wall between you.  You will discover that all the drama and stupid things we thought were important won’t really matter in the end.  Stubbornness and pride aren’t worth it.

Now I will tell you that my Dad was a stubborn man.   He was a man who believed what he believed and was set in his ways.  There is no easy way to sugar coat it.  He was always excused with the explanation of “you know how he is”.  I’m sorry but that excuse is B.S.   People can change if they really want to and if it is important to them.  For most of my life, I hoped he would make an effort for me.  He never did until the end.  I went through the early years of my adult life feeling that I was never important enough for him to make an effort.  Here he was a minister and the person he couldn’t forgive or ask forgiveness was me.  It took a long time for me to work all of that out and rise above it.  I had to get to the place where I just had to be willing to let it all go if he ever responded to me.

Dad was a good man but his stubbornness really caused problems in our relationship along with my mother’s interference due to her own insecurities.  A father-son relationship was much more complicated than it needed to be and in the end, it was different.  I think we both saw what it was supposed to be.  We both saw each other without all the junk.  I saw the man he was and he saw the man I am.

He finally became my Dad in the end.

Today, I am mostly mad as hell that it took this long to reconcile with him and now he’s gone.  It isn’t fair.  Today I miss him.

We still didn’t agree on everything.  I wasn’t expecting that he would and I didn’t need his approval.  I have passed that expectation years ago.  My life didn’t need his approval but I still wanted my Dad.  I guess I could go on about what wasn’t right about me and my Dad but today I want to honor him with the good memories I have of him.

During his last week, he told me about the time he lost a toe nail pushing me around on a tricycle and how much I loved that tricycle.  He also tried to make time for me even if it was rare but I do remember him putting up a basketball goal at most every place we lived.  He and my mother would play a game called “Round-the-World” where you would attempt to make shots at different spots and try to beat other players back to the beginning.  He would always win.  I also remember the times he would throw the baseball with me.  Again, it wasn’t often but I do remember those times.

The church occupied most of his time.  In fact, he apologized for that in the end but I had long ago made peace with all that and I told him that although I hadn’t understood it at the time, I understood it a lot more now.  It was hard for him at times to separate the preacher from my father.  I can’t say that my Dad “led me to the Lord” as they say but he did his best to put me in the right direction.  Over the years I have had to re-learn a lot of things about being a believer and separating my relationship with the Lord from being a member of a church.  My dad was strict and rigid about the church teachings so we didn’t always agree on them but I still respected him I just resent it that the church stole much of my relationship with my Dad.

I see a lot of my Dad in me.  Like him, I hate to be late for anything.  I would rather be early than to be late.  I am also strict about following rules and having a good work ethic.  My Dad also loved his Clinch County Panthers high school football team.  He is the one that got me into following high school football.  That was something we always shared.  I will never forget sitting with him in the Georgia Dome in 2010 to watch his alma mater win the Georgia High School Football state championship.  He’s the one I credit with igniting my interest in Georgia High School football.


Dad and I watching Clinch County in the State Championship Game

It took a long time for me to miss my Dad but that’s what I am feeling today.  No, it wasn’t all good but it wasn’t totally bad either.  Honestly that might could be said about us all.  I am just thankful that I was with him at the end.  I am glad I was there when he said his final words “Beam me up Scotty” as the orderlies were moving him to the bed that would transport him to Hospice.  It was fitting for him because he always had that kind of sense of humor about him as well.

For a long time I didn’t want to see any part of him in me.  Today I am honored that I have a part of him with me.

Life has many twists and turns.  We can never predict how things are going to work out.  I never thought I was ever have a relationship with my Dad.  I hoped and I prayed about it but I never saw any results until I received his letter last September.  I was fortunate that my cousin and her husband were there for him during the years I was shut out of his life.  When you are estranged from your parents, you feel like the whole family is against you.  You think that no one understands nor do they have the guts to support you or just simply tell you that they know what you are going through.  I spent many years furious about that but no more.  It is what it is.  Can’t change it now.

My Dad was a good man.  He did the best he could.  I can’t fault him for that.  None of us are perfect and we go through life trying to figure it out too.







First Time Champs

firstThis week the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Raptors won their first championship titles in their franchise histories.  The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League (NHL) to win their first Stanley Cup.   It took the Blues 52 years to bring home the Cup to St. Louis.  The Toronto Raptors claimed their first National Basketball Association (NBA) title by defeating the Golden State Warriors.  Raptor fans didn’t have to wait as long as the Blues.  It only took them 24 years to bring it to Canada.

So what other franchises are still looking for their first title in each sport? (Number of seasons without a title).  Franchises with longest droughts in each sport are in BOLD.

Major League Baseball

  • Colorado Rockies (26)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (50)
  • San Diego Padres (50)
  • Seattle Mariners (42)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (21)
  • Texas Rangers (58)
  • Washington Nationals (50)

National Basketball Association

  • Brooklyn Nets (43)
  • Charlotte Hornets (29)
  • Denver Nuggets (43)
  • Indiana Pacers (43)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (49)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (24)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (30)
  • New Orleans Pelicans (17)
  • Orlando Magic (30)
  • Phoenix Suns (51)
  • Utah Jazz (45)

National Football League

  • Atlanta Falcons (53)
  • Carolina Panthers (24)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (51)
  • Houston Texans (17)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (24)

National Hockey League

  • Arizona Coyotes (39)
  • Buffalo Sabres (48)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (18)
  • Florida Panthers (25)
  • Minnesota Wild (18)
  • Nashville Predators (20)
  • Ottawa Senators (26)
  • San Jose Sharks (27)
  • Vancouver Canucks (48)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (2)
  • Winnipeg Jets (19)

If you are a fan of the Texas Rangers, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Falcons (ouch), Buffalo Sabres or Vancouver Canucks, I salute you.  It is difficult to always “wait for next season” but with Toronto and St. Louis winning this week, at least it gives you some hope that it is possible.

At this time in each league, the following teams look to be closer to winning their first titles based on their latest finishes:  Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Houston Texans (NFL) and San Jose Sharks (NHL).

There’s always next season.



Hugh Jackman To Join XSQL?


Hugh Jackman showing off his scooter skills

The new X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) has gotten the attention of sports fans and riders of electric scooters and now some celebrities are taking notice of the new league.  Celebrity Hugh Jackman is often seen riding a scooter in New York City and was asked if the XSQL would become the next “Greatest Show on Earth”.

“I don’t know if I would go that far,” Jackman said.  “I think it will be different and appeal to the younger crowd.  I really hope the league makes it.  I can’t wait to see the first game.”

Jackman laughed when asked if he was interested in playing on the New York team.

“I’m pretty good on the scooter but not like that.  I’d like to make a few more movies,” he added.

In addition to Jackman, Ashton Kutcher has also taken notice of the new league.  There has been talk of Kutcher becoming part-owner of the Los Angeles team.

“We’re all for the support,” said Mark Rockwell, commissioner of the XSQL.  “Their support gives us some credibility and with any new league that’s something any sport needs.”

Rockwell was not aware of any celebrities who are seriously interested in playing on a team.

Nashville Boot Scooters are another team benefiting from celebrities recognizing the new league.

“We’ve had a lot of country stars who have called me about the league and wanting to support us,” said Ryan Cooper, team manager.  “We have a few that actually want to become part-owners of the team.  I am not allowed to name them but I think the Boot Scooters will have a solid backing.”

The Boot Scooters hope to name their head coach this week as XSQL teams need to fill the coaching positions by July 1st.

“It’s hard because you really don’t have a lot to choose from,” said Cooper.  “You don’t have college teams or minor leagues.”

Cooper did say that a lot of XSQL teams a looking at Major League Quidditch (MLQ) which is an amateur league played during the summer to find their coaches and fill some of their roster positions.

The XSQL has set a deadline of August 1 to fill their rosters with players.  The league will release the first regular season schedule soon as team’s get ready to put their scooters in play.



Wedding Officiants Outlawed in Tennessee

officiant1Thinking about becoming a wedding officiant to marry your friends in Tennessee?

Think again.

The State of Tennessee is going to ban the practice beginning July 1st when House Bill 0213 prohibits people receiving online ordinations from solemnizing the rite of matrimony.

Unless you have a church or religious group that meets regularly, you can’t legally marry people by becoming a wedding officiant online.

Elvis can’t even marry people now – unless he has a building or religious organization.

A few years ago I became a wedding officiant by applying for a license with the American Marriage Ministries (AMM) based out of Seattle.  I will tell you that there was no official training only an application and paying the fee.  About a week later I received my certificate and a box full of “training” materials about being an officiant but mostly as reference and not mandatory training.

Okay, I get it that maybe Tennessee doesn’t want just anyone going online and getting license to officiate weddings but I also think it is wrong to only limit officiants to ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, rabbis or other spiritual leaders from a church, temple or other religious group.  After I was licensed by this AMM group, it took about a year before I got a call to officiate a wedding.  When I checked to make sure it would be legal, I called to find out that the Tennessee Attorney General had added an opinion to the code in 2015 that “other than the click of a mouse” to the code.  I called the AMM about this issue and they fired back a rather curt response to me about it and how it was legal but I did not go through with it at the time and now, this amendment has gotten their attention.

The AMM is now planning to work with members of Tennessee’s legislature to resolve this issue.

I can tell you how to “resolve” this issue so that both sides are satisfied.

If you want to get a license to perform a wedding, it absolutely needs to be more than just paying a fee and getting a license online.  It needs to be more than just a click of a mouse.  Marriage is a serious thing and needs to be done properly.   I think that the AMM and these other online wedding officiant organizations need to work with the states perform actual training and not just sit back and collect the fees.  Officiants need to know what they are doing and how important their role is- not only in performing the ceremony – but also in counseling the parties who want to be married.  When a wedding officiant is properly trained and licensed, they should be on the state’s list as officially recognized wedding officiants.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

So why this and why now?

That’s a good question.  Why has this become an issue now?  Well, you can draw your own conclusions about that.  Some say it is Tennessee’s underhanded way to stop same-sex marriages in the state.   Regardless, Tennessee is excluding people who want to officiant the marriage of their friends or family members.  The AMM says about half of weddings in the United States are performed by family or friends.   The exact proportion of couples being married by a friend varies depending on the data you look at, but the numbers are clearly growing. The wedding site The Knot has been conducting a survey on wedding trends for the past 11 years. In 2009, 29 percent used a friend officiant, and by 2015, that number jumped to 40 percent. A different study by the Wedding Report, a data-tracking company, found that 25.7 of polled couples were wed by a friend or family member in 2017, a jump from 16.4 percent in 2010.

So what do you do now in Tennessee if you don’t attend a church or part of religious organization?   The current law allows the following to perform marriage ceremonies:

  • Current county clerks and former clerks who were in office after July 1, 2014
  • Ordained religious leaders
  • Current and former county commissioners
  • City mayors
  • Current and former county mayors
  • Current and former judges
  • Governor
  • Current and former speakers of state and house of representatives

Any of these people your friends?

To be fair, paying $100 to get a certificate online doesn’t mean you are an ordained minister.  It should take a little more than that to be a wedding officiant.

When my wife and I were planning to get married one of the obstacles we faced was finding someone to perform the ceremony.  At the time we were living in Georgia and with neither of us attending a church or member of any religious organizations, we asked a couple of ordained ministers that we knew but for some reason it didn’t work out.  We ended up asking a wedding officiant who had performed our commitment ceremony.

Both the State of Tennessee and online ordination services need to make some concessions.  They should work together to ensure that proper training and licensing are done.  Simply “offering” online training to potential wedding officiants, training should be more involved and responsible for such an important role.



Environmentally Friendly Lawn Mowing

img_4025I’m all for using products and services which are friendly to our environment.  One of the things that I love to see is a move from gas-powered equipment.  Unfortunately it is difficult to find an adequate environmentally friendly alternative.  Lawn mowers have been one of those.  Years ago I purchased a battery powered lawn mower which I used for a small yard but it seriously lacked in power.  When we moved to our new house, I decided to try another one.  After some research, I decided on the Ryobi 20 inch, 40-Volt Brushless Lithium-Ion Cordless Battery Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower.

I have not been disappointed.

The mower works very well for our .4 acre lot which is pretty flat.  If you had a larger lot I would recommend another model.  For me, this mower is the perfect one for my lawn mowing.  I also made the decision to buy an extra battery which was about $150 but very helpful to have it ready to switch out to complete my mowing.  I can almost finish my yard on one charge so it’s good to have another one ready.

What do I like about the mower?

  • No gas.  I don’t like having to worrying about keeping gas around.  Never liked the fumes from a gas-powered mower.
  • Quieter.  It still sounds like a lawnmower but it’s still quieter.
  • Battery storage.  There is a place to store the extra battery onboard if you need to switch it out.
  • Safety features.  A key helps to ensure that the mower is on or off.
  • Run time.  One fully charged battery will give you about 45 minutes of mowing time.
  • Height adjustment.  The mower has seven positions from 1.5 inches to 4 inches to choose from.

The cost for this model was about $279.00.  That’s not a bad price for an alternative mower.  It’s also not the cheapest one but it’s a good idea to spend a little money to get what will fit your need.   Also, if you get one of these, it comes with a battery and charger are compatible with any RYOBI 40-Volt tools.


A battery-powered lawn mower isn’t for everyone.  Obviously, if you have multiple acres of land this isn’t for you.  If you have a small yard, maybe less than an acre, I would highly recommend it.  They also have a self-propelled model if you need help with hills or inclines in your yard.

Where do you get one of these?  Home Depot, Lowes or just go on Amazon and order you one.   I was thrilled when mine was delivered.  I was like a kid with a toy on Christmas morning.  So far, it has worked well and has been functional for me.   Compared to my previous experience, Ryobi got it right this time.




It Ain’t My Fault

no faultWe backed out of our parking spot at the grocery store when a woman in a large monster truck pulled into the aisle facing us.  She motioned for us to go around her on the other side which created a hazardous situation for us and potentially head-on into other traffic.  We backed up and she furiously did the wide-swing maneuver to that the spot.

Then I saw it.

She had a smartphone in one hand while trying to drive her beast of a truck with the other.

We both pointed out to the woman that she might have better success driving if she would put the phone down.

Words were exchanged before she suggested we “something” off.

A contractor was scheduled to meet us at 5 p.m. to give us estimates on a project.  Never showed up.  Never called.  Nothing.  Then at 6:15 p.m. we get a call they were in our drive way.  We told them goodbye.  They then tried to push the blame that they “thought” they were told it was 6 p.m.

Again, not their fault.

My friends, we live in a world where you can never call out or correct anyone for anything.  Somehow they will turn it around to blame you for calling them out for their mistake.

What is wrong with people?

One word comes to mind:  Pride.

We live in a world where people are too prideful to admit their mistakes or apologize.  Even worse, some are more apt to pull out a gun and shoot you rather than taking responsibility for their actions.

It’s a sad state that we are in.

I see examples of the no-fault world every day.  Too many people act as if they are the only one in the world and they do not have to wait or be mindful that other people could be around.  I have simply walked down the main hallway in my building and have had people busting out of a side door never looking or thinking that someone might be in the main hallway then giving me the stink eye for being in their way.

The only right-of-way is THEIR way.

And don’t get me started about the traffic.  That’s the subject for another blog.

People are selfish and have no patience today.  The moment the light changes to green, vehicles behind the first car are already moving forward as if trying to push their way through or blowing their horns at the first hint of green.

And why can’t people stay off the phones when driving?  With all the laws that are passed and deaths caused by distracted drives, why can’t people simply DRIVE their vehicles?

The world doesn’t want people who obey the rules anymore.  We are a dying breed.  We hold everyone else back and when we call them out about their infraction they are ready to fight.  People what to do whatever they want to do without regard to others.

So why is it so bad?  Why are people never to blame for their actions?

The smartphone has made us dumb.  We stare at them all the time.  We are slaves to them.  We are spoiled with instant news, instant data and moving faster.  People who aren’t in our circle aren’t important.

“Move out of my way!”

“I want to get ahead of you!”

“You are insignificant!”

I dread becoming a senior citizen.  I’m already slow and I know I won’t be able to keep up with how the world is getting faster and more impatient.

So what’s the answer?  Should we still call people out for their infractions?

I think there are times you have to do it but in the same situation how do WE respond when we are called out when WE are in the wrong?  Yep, that one stings doesn’t it?  There will be times when we are the offenders and we have to make the instant decision on how to respond.

A simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way to helping the situation.

I know there are people who go around saying “life is good” and singing songs to the Lord who will poo-poo this blog as they clean their rose-colored glasses.  They obviously don’t live in the real world – or maybe they are the no-faulters themselves.

The Golden Rule has tarnished.  Not many people out there think of others.  It’s more like “I will do unto others what I want to do but they had better no do unto me.”

I don’t have six ways to deal with this subject or any easy answers.  The only thing we can do is do what we can do and respond the best we can.  It’s just a fact that we are outnumbered by a-holes out there.

Offended by this blog?  It’s not my fault.



Pro Scooter League Reveals Rules

XSQL_photoThe new X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) has hinted about the rules of this new hybrid sport since announcing their launch in the Spring. League officials have stated that the new sport would feature rules which are a variation of the fictional sport of quidditch. The most obvious difference, of course, is that the players will ride electric scooters instead of flying on broom sticks.

The use of electric scooters will add a twist to the game but fans should expect the same excitement as the game that was shown in the Harry Potter movies with the exception of the aerial maneuvers.  XSQL Commissioner Mark Rockwell says that the scooters will be the key component to make it work.

“We are currently working with a company to design special scooters for the league,” he said.

Rockwell would not reveal the company name at this time.

“The main difference will be the steering so that players will not need to keep both hands on the scooter if they are in possession of quaffle, bludgers or snitch.”

Yes, all those terms will be a challenge for anyone not familiar with quidditch.

The field will be SportCourt which is a form of artificial turf used by some college field hockey teams.  The surface is flat and will not impede scooters like natural grass fields would.  The field is rectangular with rounded corners (60 yards by 36 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at each end.  The ultimate goal is to score more points than the other team by the time the snitch is caught.  The snitch is a tennis ball placed at the bottom of a yellow long pouch which is attached to the back of the player’s shorts as if it were a tail.

XSQL Rules“We still have some work to do on the rules but we will do our best to stick to the original quidditch game.  Obviously some variations are needed with using electric scooters,” Rockwell added.

The game will be shorter with four 10-minute quarters rather than traditional quidditch so that players can keep their scooters charged.  Quick chargers will be available between quarters to allow players to keep sufficient charge.

In response to Mayor Briley’s threat to ban scooters, the Nashville Boot Scooters conducted their first educational party last weekend.  Thousands attended the party as the XSQL gave out hundreds of helmets to scooter riders in an attempt to help with safety issues raised by the mayor.  The party also included scenes from Harry Potter of quidditch as a way to attract attention to safety tips for riding scooters downtown.

“We hope it will be effective,” said team manager Ryan Cooper.  “I have seen a few riders whiz by me this morning wearing the helmets and abiding by the rules but there are many more who are not.  I’m not sure if we are going to be able to meet the mayor’s demands or not but we are doing what we can.”

The Boot Scooters are planning to hold another open tryout this weekend as they will be in Centennial Park on Saturday from 1-5.



Battle of the PKs

In-Ground-Basketball-HoopsIn the late spring of 1981, there was an epic basketball clash which took place that you may have not known about.  While the Boston Celtics with Larry Bird were facing the Houston Rockets led by Moses Malone in the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals, the unofficial Preacher’s Kid Basketball Association championship was being played out in the backyard of my house on Ogeechee Road in Savannah, Georgia.

My dad was the pastor of a church in Savannah.  During one week in late May, he scheduled a revival with a traveling evangelist at our church.  The evangelist arrived with his camper in tow along with his wife and son.  They were a big-time husband and wife team back then and my dad had snagged a revival.

The son – who I will call “Harold” – was a brat.  I don’t know any nice way to put it.  I tried to get along with him but he would kick and punch me when our parents weren’t looking.  When I would try to retaliate or defend myself,  he would curl up in a ball and call out for his mommy.  Yep, I knew it was gonna be a long week.

During this time, I was a junior in high school.  Harold was two years younger than me and was home schooled by his mommy in their little camper.

Harold was annoying and I was warned to play nice.

I had basketball goal that I had in the backyard and thought this might be a good distraction for him so we started with shooting some hoops and talking about the NBA finals.  He was good at trash talking and making fun of the fact that I liked Moses Malone and the Rockets.  I think he would have picked the opposite of whatever I had said anyway.   Did I mention he was annoying?

Finally, he threw down a challenge.

“I bet I can beat you in a game,” he said.

“Oh really,” I looked at him sideways.  There was no way this brat could beat me.

Although he was big for his age, I knew I could beat him and I wanted to shut his mouth.

“You’re on.  Let’s make it a best-0f-seven series like the NBA,” I proposed.  “We will play every day when I get home from school.”

The battle was on.

Each game was played to 21.  I thoroughly trounced him in the first two games.  He was no competition.   His trash talking grew silent as I was dribbled around him on the dirt court and cut to the basket like Moses Malone would have.  He couldn’t block any of my shots unless he fouled me.  I relished in the way I was easily scoring on him.

Midway through the third game of our championship series, I could see the light leave his face and the arrogance was being drained from him.

This is when I made a crucial mistake.  I felt sorry for the brat.

It wasn’t much fun beating the crap out of him and I wanted some kind of competition so I did the unthinkable – I let him score a few baskets to make the game close.

Then I let him win the next game – huge mistake.  I now led the series 3-1.

In game 5, he resorted to fouling – a lot.  I still let him stay close and he hit some impossible shots with his awkward style – if you can call it that – and he pulled out a stunning win to pull the series back within 3-2.

The light was back in his face and the trash talking returned.  I was intent on ending the series in game 6.  Dispose of him and be done with it.

He played the best game of our series and I couldn’t hit anything.  He won another close game and now the series was tied 3-3.

Our game 7 was played on a Saturday so I didn’t have school and had all day to get ready.  I felt some nerves and felt the pressure of the do-or-die finale with the bratty preacher’s kid.  The nerves showed in my game.  My usual moves failed me and my shooting percentage was way off.  I couldn’t hit the side of a barn.  Meanwhile, everything was falling for Harold.  He got more vocal with each score.  The game went back and forth.  I wasn’t going to show any mercy or let him score anything.  My game failed me.  Harold hit the game winning basket.

Harold won.  I dropped my head in defeat while Harold jumped around me and yelled in my face something about being the best and beating me.

To make matters worse, he bragged about it to the entire church that night – the final night of the revival.

Everyone looked at me, then looked at him.  They were puzzled.

How was this possible?

I didn’t bother with the “I let him win” explanation.   That would certainly be the loser’s claim in any defeat.

I never saw Harold again.  I never wanted to.

A rematch?  What good would that do?

Boston defeated Houston in six games to win the NBA title in 1981.

I lost to a bratty P.K. in seven games.

The agony of defeat still stings as much as the stupidity over the decision to let him win a few games.