There Are No Words

wordYesterday I learned that the wife of a friend of mine had passed away.  I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now.  After I watched the tribute he posted on Facebook for her, I sat there watching the blinking cursor in the comment box wondering what I could possibly say to him.  I typed one thing then deleted it. I typed something else.  I deleted that too.  I finally just typed that I had no words to express which was the truth.

It’s hard to know what to say to someone that has lost a loved one.  There is no words we can say that makes it any better for the person who is grieving.  We try though.  Somehow we all think we can say the words but words are so inadequate in a time like this but we feel like we HAVE to say something.

I’ll will just fess up and tell you that I fail miserably here.  I, too, feel that I have to say words.

Sure, there’s that old “my thoughts and prayers are with you” thing we like to say.  Although it is usually true, it’s a very worn-out phrase.  And don’t EVER make the mistake I made once when I told a mother who had tragically lost her daughter that “I know how you feel”.  Yeah, I know now.  I just opened my mouth and words came out.  It was a dumb thing to say.  She gave me a pretty sharp lecture I won’t forget.  Even if you have an IDEA of how someone feels, no two situations are exactly alike.  So, never, ever say that.  Trust me on this one.

I think the best thing, if possible, is just to be there.  Give the person a hug.  No words need to be said.  If you can’t be there, just do the best you can with your words.  Saying something is better than saying nothing.

I never like visitations either.  It becomes too much like a reunion for folks who want to laugh and catch-up.  Sorry, I’m not a fan.  That’s why I don’t want one for me or my wife.  I don’t want people showing up that haven’t been in my life and wanting to make it into some gathering.  I won’t have it.  Have the reunion while people are alive.  Don’t wait until someone passes to get together.  I had this ongoing thing with a relative once that we would see each other at the next funeral.  We were being funny but it was true and I saw him two more times…all funerals.

And the things people say at a visitation….the classic one is when they look at the one who has passed and say “they look good” or “they are in a better place”.   I’m sorry but I don’t want to hear that crap.  No, they don’t look good and if they are in a better place then I want to be there with them.  I know we mean well but words fail the situation.

Then you have the ones who want to quote the Bible.   I’m not even going to get into this except to say:  Save your sermons when I’m hurting.  We don’t need a preacher at that time.

We don’t like to feel helpless.  We all want to console our friends who are going through a loss.  We want to DO or SAY something to make them feel better.  We want to fix it but unfortunately this is something we can’t fix.  Communicating isn’t always needed in words.  There is no magic healing in words during this time in someone’s life.  We have to realize this and if we use words, just speak from your heart.  Sometimes just a simple “I am so sorry” may be all that is needed.

Here are some suggestions from etiquette experts on other things to say:

  • “There are no words to tell you how sorry I am.”
  • “I am so sad to hear about your loss.  If you feel like talking, please don’t hesitate to call me anytime.”
  • “(Deceased name) brought so much joy to everyone.  They will be missed.”
  • “My favorite memory of your (deceased name) was….”
  • “If there is anything I can do for you please let me know.”

It’s good that we all want to comfort the person who is hurting.  None of us likes to see others in pain.  Words can help but only if we use them wisely and if we’re really at a loss on what to say, give them a card.  In every situation, it is the thought that counts the most.

 

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Offending the Offender

pointingRecently a situation occured when I called out someone for doing something wrong. I hate to witness an injustice or someone who thinks they are above the rules. When I corrected this person, they proceeded to fuss me out about it.  The offender was offended that I called them out on their offense.

Confusing?  Yes, it is.

Sadly this is the time we live today. This is the time when you can’t enforce the rules or correct anyone. The strong wall of pride keeps people from owning up to their mistakes and move on. Instead they would rather turn it around on you and make you feel bad for making them accountable for their actions.

And then there’s the gun issue.

I’m not going to debate the gun issue because I know each side is adamant about their views and will attack you for believing the opposite of what they believe – however – you can’t hold people accountable anymore because they will think nothing of pulling out a gun and shooting you. It doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong. There are too many people out there who have little or no regard for lives. They will use a gun quicker than trying to reason out a difference. Regardless of how you stand on the gun issue you only have to watch the news to see how easily people resort to their guns to resolve their conflict.

One of the places most of us deal with this is on the roads. Road rage incidents have increased and people will pull over and want to fight you if you call them out or blow your horn at their infraction. It’s a crazy world out there. How is it that the offending party refuses to take responsibility for anything?

This week I had to apologize for confronting a neighbor for blocking MY driveway. The confrontation got heated as I got fed up with the complete inconsiderate act by the neighbor while I reminded the neighbor that what they had done was in violation of community rules yet I had to apologize for my reaction to it. Did you follow that? Yeah it gets a little confusing.

I don’t get it.

Our society today seems to be too prideful to admit to doing anything wrong. Just say “I’m sorry” or a “my bad” and move on. None of us are perfect. Quit the fussing. It’s not worth it.

I have never seen it as bad as it is now. It’s an epidemic. The pride flu has spread like the plague.  So what can we do to handle these moments of injustice?  I know that the Bible says to “turn the other cheek” but when you’ve already done that then what?

The easy answer is to let it go.  That’s not easy.  We have to be wise in picking our battles.  I still think we should speak up when we need to do so.  Sometimes the situation calls for it but if things escalate beyond what it should be, we should also have the strength and ability to calm things down.  As the old country song goes:  “Know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em.”

Here are some things that might help in dealing with these situations:

  1. Ask yourself if it’s worth it to confront the offender.  It’s important to identify the situation and whether or not your confrontation is justified.
  2. Stay calm.  Keeping cool will keep the situation from turning on you.
  3. Avoid personal insults.  Stay on the subject of the offense.
  4. Know when to back down.  Sometimes you’re just not going to win.  Backing down isn’t weakness it is intelligence.
  5. Notify the appropriate authorities.  You don’t always have to resort to calling the police but you can address some situations through other authorities.

If you or I are the offender and someone calls us out on something, let’s remember that side of it too.  Either apologize and move on or try to calmly explain your situation if there was a reason you took the action you did.  A soft answer to when we have been called out usually turns out a whole lot better than flipping someone off or ignoring the offense.  We are all human and we all have these moments when we are either the offender or the victim of the offense.

Obscure Sports Report (7/13/18)

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Seattle Seawolves win MLR title, USA wins Quidditch World Cup and National Marbles Tournament crowns champions

American Arena League (AAL) – After shocking the Richmond Roughriders last week to win the championship, the Atlanta Havoc’s future appears to be in doubt.  The team is facing some uncertainty with ownership and arena issues.  The Havoc played in Buford, Georgia and may be looking for another location.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league enters into the final weekend of the regular season.  Teams will be fighting for playoff berths or positions this week.  The Midwest Division is the only division with all three spots secured as the Madison Radicals will win the division with the Indianapolis AlleyCats and Minnesota Wind Chill taking the 2nd and 3rd places.  The Los Angeles Aviators will be the top-seed in the West with the San Diego Growlers, San Francisco FlameThrowers and San Jose Spiders competing for the other two playoff spots.  The Toronto Rush is the top team in the East with the New York Empire and DC Breeze game this weekend determining who finishes second.  A loss by New York will force them to play a must-win game Sunday against the Philadelphia Phoenix as the Montreal Royal will be cheering for Philadelphia.  The Dallas Roughnecks and Raleigh Flyers have clinched the top spots in the South.  Austin and Atlanta will be fighting for the final spot.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The AFL will start their unique playoff format this weekend as all of its’ four teams will be in the playoffs as they will be a two-game series where the aggregate score will determine the winner.  If teams are tied after the two games, they will play overtime to determine the winner.  Strange but something different this year in the AFL.  The Albany Empire will play at the Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade will travel to Philadelphia to play the Soul.

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The teams will take the court in Detroit this weekend for Week 4 of the season.  Former Detroit Piston great Rick Mahorn will try to get his team, Triology in the win column for the first time this season.  Triology won the title in the league’s inaugural season last year but have struggled so far this season.  Tri-State and the 3-Headed Monsters are currently at the top of the league at 3-0.

Gridiron Development Football League (GDFL) – It’s playoff time in the GDFL this weekend as 12 teams strive for Gridiron Bowl IX.  The Lexington Red Dragons host the Buffalo Spartans.  The winner will advance to play at the Erie Express in the second round.  The Huntsville Rockets play at the Georgia Crush in Macon, Georgia this weekend.  The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will host the winner next weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Alabama Sabers host the East Alabama Predators.  The Mississippi Road Warriors await the winner.  In the final first round matchup, the Oklahoma Thunder will try to defend their title when they travel to play the Tri-City Outlaws.  The Oklahoma Outlawz will host the winner.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – After a 14-9 home win over the Charlotte Hounds, the Dallas Rattlers became the first team to clinch a spot in the Major League Lacrosse playoffs.  The Rattlers are at 9-2 followed by the Chesapeake Bayhawks (8-2) and Denver Outlaws (7-4).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league and the Boise Grays have arrived at the mutual decision to disband the franchise for the remainder of the 2018 season. Following reports of both player and referee misconduct at the Boise Grays vs. Salt Lake City series on June 16, MLQ launched an investigation. In addition to collecting statements from various parties in attendance at the series, MLQ and Grays leadership engaged in a series of discussions to determine the fate of the squad. MLQ and the Grays leadership determined the best option for both parties would be to disband the Boise Grays for the remainder of the 2018 season.

[Also, you folks at MLQ need to do a better job of updating your website and standings.]

Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Seattle Seawolves defeated the Glendale Raptors, 23-19, to win the inaugural MLR Championship and claim America’s Championship Shield at Torero Stadium in San Diego.  Outside centre William Rasileka and eight-man Riekert Hattingh put together consecutive tries for a one-point lead, 20-19. A penalty kick for good measure was all the Seawolves needed to upset the top-ranked Raptors.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – The Atlanta United leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points while FC Dallas leads the Western Conference with 35 points.

National Arena League (NAL) – Their is a logjam at the top of the league’s standings with the Columbus Lions (8-3), Massachusetts Pirates (9-4), Carolina Cobras (7-4) and Jacksonville Sharks (8-5) with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

National Marbles Tournament – Madison Johnson of Allegheny County, PA and Joshua Johnston of Ambler, PA  are this year’s 2018 National Champions.

National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) – The Chicago Bandits scored 21 runs in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Beijing Eagles to break the franchise’s single-game record and polished off a six-game sweep with a comeback win in the nightcap Thursday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.  Emily Carosone, Gwen Svekis and Sammy Marshall launched home runs in the 21-0 rout as part of a 23-hit attack.  The Bandits maintained their lead in the standings at 36-12 and stayed two games ahead of USSSA Pride.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Thanks to goals by Debinha and Jessica McDonald, the NWSL North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Wednesday evening. The Courage have won all three meetings against the Spirit, with a 4-2 victory at Washington on April 14th and a 1-0 victory at home on May 12th. The Courage improved to 13-1-3 with 42 points on the National Women’s Soccer League season, 13 points ahead of second place Seattle Reign FC in the standings. The attendance was 3,409 for the midweek game.

Quidditch World Cup – The United States defeated Belgium 120-70 to win the 2018 World Cup played in Florence, Italy.  It was the fourth appearance in the final for the USA team and their first title since 2014.  The USA topped Britain in the semifinals while Belgium advanced to their first cup final after defeating Turkey in their semifinal match.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Atlanta Dream (10-9) return to action this weekend after a franchise record-setting 106-89 victory over the Washington Mystics Wednesday in D.C. Atlanta set a new WNBA Record when four players notched 20+ points and at least five assists in a game (Angel McCoughtry – 24 PTS, 6 AST, Jessica Breland – 23 PTS, 7 AST, Tiffany Hayes – 21 PTS, 5 AST, Renee Montgomery – 21 PTS, 5 AST).

World Team Tennis (WTT) – The six-time WTT champion Washington Kastles will open the 2018 season this weekend at the New York Empire.  The WTT will have six teams this season with the Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers joining Washington and New York.

 

 

Driving 101: Tie Your Crap Down

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A few months ago my wife and I were travelling on I-65 North from Nashville headed to Cincinnati when an orange cone blew out of a Nashville Electric Service truck.  The cone then blew across the road into my lane.  I resisted the tendency to swerve around it so as not to cause an accident to myself or others.  I ran over the cone.  Yes, it was a hard plastic cone but it resulted in $400 worth of repairs.  Fortunately, neither my wife or I were injured.

I see this happen too many times when people fail to take the necessary safety precautions in securing their cargo.  As far Nashville, the most common issue are ladders.  Contractors seem unable to hold on to their ladders.  It is NOT enough to simply throw a ladder on the back of the truck or put a tool box on it to hold it down.  Ladders need to be TIED DOWN.  In fact, any cargo needs to be secured.

See this CBS News report on road debris accidents.

I’m a bit animated about this issue since a vehicle I was driving was struck by two semi-truck ties nearly 10 years ago.  I was lucky to escape serious injury as one of the tires nearly missed the driver’s side.  It is something I will never forget on that day returning from Columbia, South Carolina.  My vehicle was totaled.

Just this week a 25-year-old women was injured after being struck by road debris that crashed through her windshield on Florida’s Turnpike as a piece of metal flew up from the roadway.

According to AAA, two-thirds of crashes that involve objects on the roadway are the result of debris falling off a vehicle.  Between 2011-2014, debris on American roadways played a key role in more than 200,00 reported crashes and 500 deaths.  More than a third of all deaths in these crashes resulted from the driver swerving to avoid the object.

In 16 states, the person responsible for the debris can face some jail time.

Here are some tips for drivers on dealing with debris:

  • Drivers must ensure all parts are securely attached and maintained
  • Replace worn tires as this can result in blowouts and large pieces of rubber in the roadway
  • Replace rusted hardware
  • Tie down cargo securely with rope, nettings or straps directly to the truck or trailer bed.
  • Don’t overload the vehicle
  • When following vehicles with loads, be defensive and leave plenty of space.
  • Drivers should continually search the road ahead at least 12 to 15 seconds for debris
  • Don’t tailgate!
  • If you see you are about to make contact with debris, safely reduce your speed as much as possible before making contact
  • Always be aware of open space around your vehicle in case you need to make suddenly lane changes to avoid the debris

The mentality of “just throw in on the truck” is not good enough.  Tie it down.  Secure it as if someone from your family will be following behind you.  Don’t be lazy about it or try to push the limit.  Just this morning on the commute to work my wife and I ended up behind a truck hauling a trailer overloaded with wooden pallets.  Yes, they were strapped down but it was more than should have been loaded on the trailer.  It was a hazard.  I wasn’t very comfortable riding behind it and was relieved when they changed lanes (and in addition to the load, the rear lights didn’t work on their trailer either).

Don’t assume.  Be safe when it comes to securing your load.

 

 

@#$%! I Was Just Praying!

E15191-mug15oz_1024x1024This week I walked across the street during my lunch break to a church which was open for prayer.  I walked inside.  It was quiet, air-conditioned and no one else was around.  Perfect. It was the perfect setting for prayer.  I spent a while there praying and sitting quietly.

Wait before you think I’m bragging on myself here. Keep reading.

It was a nice break from the daily work routine.  I was at peace as I got up to leave.  I walked out of the church and was getting ready to cross the street when a driver blew through the red light and nearly mowed me down.  I waved my arms wildly and uttered some flowery language.  As I regained my composure, I looked back at the church and wondered if I should go back inside again.  The peace from my time of prayer barely lasted past the church doors.  I was more upset that I had lost my composure more than the stupid driver rolling through the intersection.

Yeah, this wasn’t a shining moment for me and certainly nothing to brag about.  Some Christian I am right?  Believe me I shake my head enough at myself in these moments more than you would think.  I honestly try not to give Christians a bad name but my human emotions get the best of me just like anyone else.  Hey, I’m human.  I am not one of those who thinks I walked out of that church perfect or that I had done something great by spending some time praying. If you are a believer, you aren’t going to be perfect.  Sorry to break that news to you.  You’re going to have moments of flowery language, you’re going to have a flat tire and stuff will happen to you just like it happens to everyone else.   If you are a believer, you are going to make a lot of spiritual boo boos along the way too.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have had to ask forgiveness to God for my emotions getting out of control.  It happens.  I grew up in a church which was a little crazy about perfection.  If someone from the church had witnessed my flowery moment in the crosswalk, they would have likely brought charges against me before the men of the church.  I would have been counseled by the brethren.  For sure I would have to repent all over again because I would have been viewed as a backslider.  I even heard some teaching that we are supposed to be perfect.  Really?  When do you stop becoming human?

How is it possible that someone could ever be perfect?  That thinking alone is totally flawed theology.  We all have weak moments.  In fact, the Bible says that we have ALL fallen short.  How can anyone think that believers should be perfect beings while having the same physical body in a world of pain and imperfection?  It’s just not possible.  I can tell you – and I think anyone with physical ailments can verify this – when you have illness or pain in your body, it certainly makes it difficult to be perfect.  Pain is humbling and as long as we have this human bodies, nothing will ever be perfect.

Yeah, I felt bad for losing it for a moment and giving that driver a piece of my mind but I also didn’t let that moment erase the time I had just spent in prayer.  An emotional lapse isn’t going to cancel out a solid time of prayer.  I just said a prayer of forgiveness to God and asked Him to help me to do better in that situation next time.  Maybe I blew it then but maybe I learned a lesson from it.

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those “cussing Christians”.  I’m just a believer who strives to do better.  The worst thing I could have done – which I have done in the past – was to just throw up my hands and just wallow in my frustration.  Believe me, it is a lot easier to do that than to just acknowledge my imperfections, ask forgiveness and move on.  I think it is difficult for people to understand that we are all human – even people who come out of the church after praying.  There have been churches where people are flipping each other off in the parking lot after church.

So what can you do if you are a believer and you slip up – maybe cuss a little?

  1. Recognize you are human and ask forgiveness immediately.
  2. Try to avoid being in the situation next time if possible.
  3. If there are witnesses, apologize.  Don’t let pride defeat you too.
  4. Pray for that *special* (insert your city here) driver.  Bless their hearts.

Hey, it’s a crazy world out there.  Let’s not be surprised when this kind of thing happens.  It’s not the end of the world.  Yeah, I know, people will be quick to judge you but you just have to let it go.  if not, that people will find something else anyway.  And if you’re in a church that tries to say you can be perfect – RUN.  Get away from that church.

My grandfather was preaching one time and a man in attendance walked up to adjust a fan and accidentally got a finger stuck and was clipped by the fan.  He uttered a cuss word.  My grandfather didn’t miss a beat.  He said, “Well, it looks like we’ll have one in the altar at the end of the service tonight.”

Stuff happens.

I have seen a bumper sticker that reads:  “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”   Some folks look at that as a cop out for bad behavior but it is truthful.  No one – not even people rolling in and out of church buildings on Sunday mornings.  We all have our flaws and we all have things we need to work on.

Don’t let those imperfect moments knock you down.  If anything, it should humble you and show you that you have something to work on.  God isn’t going to smite you for it.  He already knows we aren’t always going to get it right.  I have seen people walk around and all they ever do is quote Bible verses and use King James English all the time as if that will make them perfect and a part of God’s disciples club.  God doesn’t fall for that.

Nope, we’re not perfect.  We blow it sometimes but we can use those times as a lesson and learn from them.

Friday Flashback: The Best Job I Ever Had

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I have had many interesting jobs throughout my life.  I have been in the military, worked as a private investigator and my current job as a litigation technology specialist but there was one job experience I will never forget.

I couldn’t believe it when I received the rejection letter for the job I had applied for.  I just knew I was the right fit for the job when I saw the ad in the Macon Telegraph Newspaper for a part-time clerk for the Sports Department.  I couldn’t believe they weren’t even going to interview me for the job.  Instead of tossing the rejection letter, I did something rather unorthodox – I wrote them back and told them it was a mistake for them not to hire me.  I would find out later that this impressed the Assistant Sports Editor so much that he called me for an interview.  I was hired for the position.

I didn’t start out doing the exciting stuff – far from it.  In fact, it was rather boring in the beginning.  I worked my shift taking phone calls from coaches and stat people on their baseball, softball, golf and whatever sports was being played in the spring.  I would take the information and type it into their antiquated computer system.  It was some form of a Macintosh system which was quite the learning curve for me. I was also trained to do the scoreboard section of the newspaper.  This involved me making some important decisions on what to cut or what to add to fill in the space that was available in the sports section of the newspaper.  I would do my best to measure the section and then send it downstairs where they would print it out and position it.  Before the deadline of each edition, I went downstairs and told the press operators what to cut and how to fit the scoreboard in.  I’m sure they probably do that a lot different now.

Remember this was a part-time job for me.  I was already working a full-time job at the time and I worked three nights a week at the newspaper.  My shift would run anywhere from 6 p.m. to Midnight including some weekends as well.  During the week I would go straight from work to the newspaper.  It was a hectic schedule at times and, although I liked getting paid, I enjoyed what I was doing.

The first five months breezed by and I thought I had a handle on the job until the first night of high school football hit the sports department.  I was warned but hardly prepared for the chaos which occurred in the newsroom on a Friday night in the fall.  It was madness.  Phones were ringing off the hook.  People were scampering everywhere.  Stress levels were on DEFCON status.  It was quite an experience which has caused others to quit with little or no notice.  The phone calls were called in at a frantic pace.  It was just for the scores of the games but statistics and short details of each contest.  One of the things that was required was to get the stats for BOTH teams in a game.  At times, most people calling in where giving the stats just for their team.  I got a little experience writing a short paragraph on a few games from the reports that came in.  One of my hidden talents which often amazed folks in the newsroom was that I knew the mascots for every public school sports team in the state of Georgia.  My memory isn’t as good now but back then I could tell you every nickname from the Villa Rica Wildcats to the Johnson Atom Smashers.  I loved being involved with sports.

Writing those short blurbs got something started inside of me.  I soon felt the desire to do more.  I approached the Sports Editor one day about letting me cover a sports event and write about it.  He obviously thought I could do it because one day he gave me an assignment to cover an American Legion baseball game in Cochran, Georgia.  It wasn’t the major leagues or even the minor leagues but I didn’t care.  It was a start.  In the game I wrote that Post 3 dented the scoreboard – literally – when Mark Johnson hit a homerun off the outfield scoreboard.  Johnson would later be drafted by the Chicago White Sox.  The team also had other future major league players such as John Rocker and Russ Branyan.  It started another phase for me in the job for me and I loved it. You can’t imagine the thrill of seeing your name in the byline of a sports article.  The Sports Editor eventually promoted me to another part-time position which allowed me to cover more sporting events.  I wasn’t the best writer but I learned a lot about it and enjoyed covering the games.

Here were a few of the experiences that come to mind:

  • Spending an entire Saturday covering the midget football Super Bowl games.
  • Covering four high school football games in three days at one stadium.  When the public address announcer failed to show for one of the games, I decided to give it a try.  I have never done that again.
  • Covering the Flag City Shootout which was one of the world’s largest softball tournaments at the time.
  • Being forced to climb on the roof of the press box at West Laurens High School to cover a high school football playoff game.
  • Covering the first game played when Middle Georgia College resurrected their football program again.
  • Witnessing sports writers from Nassau, New York get kicked out of the press box at Georgia Military College for criticizing the officiating at a junior college football game.
  • Packed like a sardine in small private school gyms during holiday basketball tournaments.
  • The time I had my story finished and scrambling to change it when the losing team came back to win.
  • Locking my keys in the car when at a private school football game and an FBI agent helping me get it unlocked.
  • The girls’ basketball coach who wanted to read what I was going to write and got mad at me when I wouldn’t let her.  Sorry but her team stunk so it was a challenge to write a positive article anyway.
  • Using that darn Tandy Radio Shack portable computer.
  • Driving all over Gray, Georgia looking for a phone line to send my story back to the newsroom.
  • Wade Moore – the best stat man ever.
  • Learning how to do scoring in baseball.  I could have done better with college level algebra.  Believe it or not, the easiest sport for me was basketball.
  • My first ever trip to Sanford Stadium and meeting the legendary Larry Munson.
  • My first experience writing a story on an Atlanta Falcons game.
  • Going into the Falcons’ locker room to interview players.
  • Doing my best to keep from being one of those sports writers asking dumb questions.
  • Standing at the locker for Andre Rison with other reporters waiting to interview him and being told that he had ducked out to avoid being interviewed.

I was also given the opportunity to write sports columns which also produced my first “hate mail” when I was critical of the United States hosting the World Cup and how boring soccer was to Americans at the time.   At least they were reading it right?

I had never dreamed that I would want to be any kind of writer but being a sports writer lit the fuse inside.  I can assure you that it isn’t as glamorous as you might think.  It is a LOT of work and very stressful but I loved it.

So why didn’t I do this job full-time?

I tried.  When openings came up in the sports department I applied but was turned away for various reasons.  One time I was told that although I was talented, the newspaper wanted to hire a minority for the position.  Yeah, that one threw me a curve ball.  Another time I was told I just didn’t have enough daily experience although, at the time, I was doing more work than some others.  I also assumed that the absence of a college degree in journalism hurt my chances as well but sometimes you just don’t know what you want to do until you are doing it.  That’s kinda how this happened for me.

I decided to leave the Macon Telegraph but it wasn’t because I was never hired for a full-time position.  Actually, I was promoted at my full-time job and I needed to cut back on the part-time work.  I attempted to work for a newspaper closer to where I lived at the time in Warner Robins, Georgia but the place was badly mismanaged and headed toward going out of business anyway so my time there was very short.

At some point later a new newspaper was launched in the county and I went to work with the sports editor there.  I covered a lot of high school football and basketball in our county which was different than coverage in the larger Middle Georgia region.  I had some good relationships with most of the coaches.  I got to know the coaches at Warner Robins, Westfield, Perry, Northside and Houston County.  I even accompanied one of the coaches and his girls’ basketball team on their trip to play in the state championship game.  I had hoped for a better outcome but unfortunately I had to write a different story.  Covering that girls basketball team that season was magical and something I have never forgotten.

This part-time job which started out as being a “stringer” led to many other writing opportunities for me.  Although I have had some success with writing for magazines and self-publishing a few books, I think back to those days in the sports department at the Macon Telegraph.  I will be honest with you and admit that I am tempted when I see an ad for a part-time sports writer now, especially when football season approaches.  I won’t say that I won’t come out of retirement and do it again but it is not very likely that I will.

Looking back on it now, I am glad I was never hired for a full-time position.  It all worked out the way it should and I have had success with my current job but I still feel that twinge on Friday nights in the fall.

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Havoc, Duke City Gladiators Win Indoor Titles

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AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE:  ATLANTA HAVOC 58, RICHMOND ROUGHRIDERS 50

Unlike their NFL neighbors in Super Bowl 50, the Atlanta Havoc put up 32 unanswered points, thanks in part to five second-half interceptions that proved costly as the Havoc stunned the Richmond Roughriders 58-50 in the American Arena League championship game.

The Roughriders, who won the Arena Pro Football League title last season, went into the half with a 43-26 lead.

Havoc QB Darren Daniel found Thyron Lewis Sr. for a 26-yard touchdown to open the second half and make it a 43-33 game, as the Havoc began closing in.

Richmond sent former Virginia Tech standout Bryan Randall out at quarterback in the second half. On the Roughriders’ first possession of the half, Randall was picked off by Micheaux Robinson, who ran in for a score to cut the Richmond lead to three, 43-40, with 10:46 to play in the third quarter.

Randall was intercepted by Robinson again on the next Richmond possession. And the Havoc went on to score on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Daniel to Lewis to take its first lead, 47-43, with 6:07 left in the third quarter.

Richmond added a 30-yard touchdown from Kent to Rashaad Carter with two minutes to play, to cut the Atlanta lead to 58-50.

Richmond was set to have one final possession, but the Roughriders were penalized for an illegal defense on a play where Atlanta took an intentional safety to run additional clock. The Havoc got the ball back and were able to run out the clock and claim the title.

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Duke City QB Caleb Holbrook Leads Gladiators to Champions Bowl IV title

 

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL:  DUKE CITY GLADIATORS 31, SIOUX CITY BANDITS 27

Caleb Holbrook completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns as the Duke City Gladiators defeated the Sioux City Bandits 31-27 in the Champions Bowl IV at Tingley Coliseum here Saturday.

Duke City, who sported the top passing offense and the best rushing defense in the CIF, held the Bandits to 65 yards rushing on the evening. Sioux City, tops in the league in rushing offense and passing defense, ends its season at 11-4.

Duke City outscored the Bandits 17-3 in the third quarter. The Gladiators took the lead for good on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Holbrook to Sedrick Johnson, giving Duke City a 24-20 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter.

After Duke City extended its lead to 31-20 with 1:02 left in the third quarter on a Clifton Rhodes touchdown run, the Bandits responded with a touchdown drive of their own. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Bandits a third and 21 situation from their own 8, Liam Nadler completed a screen pass to Darren Miller that went for 39 yards and gave Sioux City first and goal from the Duke City three.

Miller scored on a 3-yard run on the next play to trim the Duke City lead to 31-27 with 12:42 left in the game.

This is Duke City’s first title in their four-year history.  They defeated Wichita (44-39) and Texas (41-28) in the playoffs.