Last night, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a picture that really caught my eye, the picture was of a little kid touching the frame that protected the picture of Kavosiey Smoke, a former Wetumpka High School football standout, who is now flourishing in The Bluegrass State of Kentucky as a running back on the Kentucky Wildcats football team led by head coach, Mark Stoops. The kid in the picture is Tristan Jackson, the son of former WHS football player, OJ Jackson, however Gayle Henderson Coker Perry posted the picture with the message: “‘Just a reminder to all you “big boys” out there you have no idea how big your influence may be. Little eyes may be watching, and not only in football!!”‘I proceeded to comment: “‘In every sport and in every aspect of life.”‘ The point of this piece is, you never know who is watching, give your all in everything you do.
We’re now just 15 short days away from Auburn’s first football game of 2019 vs. Oregon in Jerry’s World and yet Auburn head football coach, Gus Malzahn, still hasn’t found the ‘perfect’ starting quarterback. Throughout the offseason, this battle has been one of, if not the most intriguing in the country. This quarterback battle features two high-profile quarterbacks in redshirt-freshman, Joey Gatewood, and true-freshman, Bo Nix, who was a 5-star dual-threat quarterback recruit upon signing with the Tigers and departing from the two-time defending state champion, Pinson Valley High School in December of 2018. Nix has won the last two state titles under his dad, former Auburn Tiger quarterback, Patrick Nix, while leading the Pinson Valley Indians, the first in 2017 vs. Wetumpka at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the second in 2018 vs. Saraland at Nix’s then-future home, Jordan-Hare Stadium. This race has gone back and forth constantly over the offseason, if I was Malzahn, I personally, would use both of them in a platoon, like Nick Saban used Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa in 2018. Who wins it? Will we have an answer soon? The world may never know.
Just after mid-day on Monday, the news broke around the State of Alabama that Andy Burcham, the longtime color analyst for the late Rod Bramblett had been named the new ‘Voice of the Auburn Tigers’. While I’m sure that this move had to be a tough one on Burcham, it just seems fitting. As Rod and Andy had just celebrated 25 years of broadcasting Auburn Baseball games alongside each other a few weeks before Rod and Paula Bramblett’s untimely and sudden death. Andy has been in the broadcasting industry since 1988. The 2019-2020 season will mark Burcham’s 32nd year in the industry. Personally, I don’t think I could’ve taken the job under these circumstances, but somebody has to do it and I know without a doubt, that Rod is smiling down from heaven knowing that his longtime friend and colleague, Andy Burcham, has been selected to assume the role that Bramblett held for so many years. While you will never be able to replace the silky, southern voice of Rod Bramblett, now is the time for Andy Burcham to cement his legacy alongside Bramblett and Jim Fyffe as ‘The Voice of the Auburn Tigers’ and Rod wouldn’t have it any other way. In a sense, Rod is simply passing the headset to his right-hand man, Andy Burcham.
It has been debated for years, just how many true outlaws are left in Country music and it’s without a doubt that when discussing this topic you’re going to mention an 86-year-old with long, braided, silver, silky hair from Abbott, Texas, named Willie Nelson. There’s a strong possibility that he just might be the only true outlaw left in the country music genre. You see, the rest of these people, mainly the newer self proclaimed ‘artists’ think they are outlaws and love to sing songs written and performed by people way before their time. But with Willie Nelson, he is an outlaw. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. Some of these new people write songs about stuff that didn’t actually live through or witness. With Nelson, there’s no doubt that he’s actually lived through or witnessed the things that he has written about in songs. Willie has lived through the Great Depression, both World Wars, the Vietnam War, Korean War and so much more. In fact, Willie Nelson served this country out of high school and then attended Baylor University after his time in the armed forces. I can’t even begin to imagine all of the things that Willie has seen over the past 86 years. When the news broke early Thursday morning of Willie Nelson cancelling all of his 2019 tour dates because of a breathing problem. I was literally speechless. It got me to thinking ‘Just how much more can this man take?’ ‘How many outlaws are left in country music?’ Willie has had his fair share of health problems in the past, including pneumonia, a few years back. People these days don’t take time to think about those who made country music what it used to be, what many people, like myself still consider real country music, like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck and so many more people. What this generation considers ‘country’ isn’t country at all. Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida-Georgia Line etc. are more of pop artists than country. You can get mad if you want, because I really don’t care what you think. That’s not what people like Willie intended it to be. You can say ‘Luke Bryan, Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Combs etc. are country’ all you want. But I along with so many others will quickly tell that it most definitely is not country music. It’s time we start paying attention to folks like Willie and appreciate their music like y’all do these pop artists that consider themselves ‘country artists’. We need to buy the old timers’ music, listen to it and appreciate it because we won’t have them much longer. I never have understood why people start buying the old music long after the artists have passed on. Why can’t we buy it while they’re still alive? Because as Willie says ‘the best I can tell the world’s gone to Hell.’ Folks, whether you like it or not, Willie Nelson really is the only true outlaw left in country music.
Not too many people I know can say that they went to school with a guy that has played football for two Division I Southeastern Conference teams however, I am one of the few people that can say that. I watched Brandon Kennedy play for two years at the high school level for my alma mater, Wetumpka High School and like many people he was bigger than me, but unlike most people, he was 6’5″ and weighed somewhere close to 300 lbs. I watched him dominate at the ranks for those two years, I also watched him play at Alabama for a few years and I’ve watched him play for my favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers. All within the last few years. Kennedy left high school in December of 2014 to head to Tuscaloosa and be a part of the dynasty that Nick Saban has built for the past 11 years, going on 12. But prior to leaving school to enroll at The University of Alabama, he was scheduled to graduate in 2015, a year ahead of me. After he graduated from Alabama a few years back, Brandon decided to leave The Capstone and transfer elsewhere to play out his last two years of eligibility. During his time at Alabama, he won he won a national title. In 2016, my senior year of high school I had the pleasure of interview him for a promotion video project that I was a part of for the football team. Brandon is scheduled to be Tennessee’s starting center in 2019. Honestly, never in a million years did I think I would attend the same high school as a multi-Southeastern Conference football player but I did and I still can’t believe it to this day.
Normally, I write about Braves Baseball, but tonight I decided to write about football, a sport that I haven’t written about yet. We all love football season, the sights of traditions, the sounds of helmets colliding, whistles blowing, rowdy fans screaming at the referees from the stands and all of the things tied in with the sport of football, especially college football down here in the South, where it’s all about the Iron Bowl and Alabama and Auburn, it’s about bragging rights when it comes down to it. But for me, a Tennessee fan, I just hope we make it to a bowl game, sadly. In just a few weeks, Florida and Miami will kick off the football season on August 24th at 6pm. As for me, a multi-sport broadcaster of almost seven years, football season is without a doubt the busiest time of the year me. During football season, I take on the responsibilities as The Voice of Wetumpka High School JV games, Wetumpka Middle School games and Wetumpka 9th grade football games. Many of you may asked ‘what do you do during the time between multiple sports?’ Here’s your answer, get ready for the next sport. In the past, I have broadcasted sports ranging from baseball to basketball and everything in between, so I don’t get much down time, but, it’s what I was born to do, so I’m not complaining. This will mark my 4th year as a football broadcaster and 7th year overall and if it’s anything like the past six, it will be incredible. Needless to say, I’m ready for the busiest months of my year.
We all know that the Braves have had some struggles this year, very few of them, but they’ve still had them. Particularly with the Washington Nationals, who Atlanta will visit for three games beginning Monday night at 6:05pm CT. You might ask ‘What are we going to do with the absence of Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis?” I might have your answer. Granted it was a small sample-size during the weekend series in Philadelphia, Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall could play huge roles in the absence of these two stars. Your next question might be ‘How in the world did we avoid Scherzer for two series?’ Mad Max, as he is known is dealing with a mid-back strain and wasn’t healthy enough for his Tuesday start as of Sunday. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be back until then. His status for Tuesday is a toss-up. A lot of you have been asking me this: “What would a series sweep over Washington mean for the Braves?” It’s simple. Granted the Braves split their most recent series with Washington in Atlanta, the Nationals didn’t game any ground in the standings. Which is a good thing in the case of the Braves. Sweeping Washington would mean seven straight games against the Nationals gaining any ground in the standings, which would be both a big boost for the Braves and a big blow for Washington.