Five Minutes of Prayer: Wetumpka, Alabama, One Year Later

This time a year ago, i was unsure of what to expect, meteorologists had been talking all week about possible tornadoes in Central Alabama.

They mentioned that they could be life-threatening, so I was preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

That afternoon, the skies were covered in clouds that you would only see in a horror movie. I grabbed the dogs, my brother, and his girlfriend, and we sprinted to the hall bathroom.

My dad wasn’t home, he was eating at a local sports bar called “Coaches Corner” or just “Coaches” to the locals.

Just as the three of us and the dogs were able to get the bathroom door closed, the wind began to pick up, throwing things around outside.

It was at this time, that I was sure that the tornado would hit our house, so I did what any Christian would do, I closed my eyes and began to pray.

I prayed to God for about five minutes, I prayed for my hometown, my family, co-workers, and friends. But most of all I prayed that He would keep us all safe and unharmed.

After five minutes of praying, I opened my eyes, and everything was eerily silent and still.

The maximum wind speed just five minutes earlier was 135 miles-per-hour, the damage path length, 18.18 miles.

One historic church in the heart of downtown was, for the most part, completely destroyed.

Another church just a few yards away, had it’s steeple swallowed in the wind, the senior center was demolished, and so much more was destroyed, including homes.

But by the Grace of God, nobody was killed and only four people were injured.

Be thankful for what you have and the history that your hometown has. It can all be changed in just five minutes.

Picture: First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka built back in 1836.

Picture: God appears in the clouds above First Presbyterian as people pray. This was one of very few things left of this historic church.

And Then There Was One: Nate Oats, Alabama Crush Pearl, Auburn, 83-64

Alabama Basketball came into Wednesday night’s game vs. Auburn with a chip on its shoulder and almost all of the experts picking against them.

For Alabama, it was all about playing the role of dynasty destroyer as Auburn came into Wednesday night with an unblemished 15-0 record, ranked as the 4th-best team in the nation and as one of two remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I Basketball. Alongside Auburn, was San Diego State.

The Crimson Tide carried a nine-point lead into halftime, 36-27. Alabama rarely, if ever trailed in this game. Shooting 42.9% from field goal range, 28.6% from beyond the arc, and an unbelievable 78.4% from the charity stripe.

Led by Sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr., with 25 points the Crimson Tide was able to put things in cruise control due in large part to Lewis’ unconscious effort.

Auburn was led by Freshman forward Isaac Okoro, who tallied 13 points in the Tigers’ lone losing effort of the season.

What’s Next:

Auburn (15-1, 3-1 SEC), will head to Gainesville to take on the red-hot Florida Gators on Saturday.

Alabama (9-7, 2-2 SEC), will host Missouri in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.

Picture: Yahoo Sports.

‘Hank, Let’s Talk about Your Daddy’: A Day With The Lonesome Cowboy

It was a dreary and briskly cold December day in 2016, around 5 p.m., and I had known that Hank Williams Sr., was buried in Montgomery for years, but had never gotten the opportunity to pay a visit to the man who is quite possibly, the most famous country music singer still to this day.

So I got a hair of the dog, and decided to travel to Montgomery to visit the sacred gravesite of the legendary Hank Williams Sr.

As I rode to Montgomery, I listened to the lonesome-bluesy voice of The Drifter all the way to his grave.

When I arrived at his headstone, I stepped out of the car, I Saw The Light played on the radio, and suddenly, chills were sent spiraling down my spine.

For I knew just who was lying six feet below that cold, concrete slab, but I had never witnessed it first-hand before.

I looked up, gazing at the name on that tall, ghostly-grey headstone where the name of the country music pioneer is chiseled.

Then, I looked down at the base of his marker and noticed what looked like Hank’s famed cowboy hat.

I looked to my left, and there was Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Williams, the wife of The Drifting Cowboy.

Time seemed to stand still for just a moment as I was in the presence of a legend and his wife.

I was standing just feet away from the man that brought country music to life.

Hank, let’s talk about your daddy, tell me how your mama loved that man, we won’t talk about the habits, just the music and the man.

Second picture: New York Times.

Tua Tagovailoa Declares Entry into 2020 NFL Draft

The wait is over.

For months following Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury against Mississippi State on November 16, 2019, there have been hundreds of questions surrounding Tua’s future in Tuscaloosa, would he stay or would he take a chance at the NFL?

Monday morning at 11 a.m. the Ewa Beach, Hawaii native announced that he will not return for the 2020 college football season. Instead, he will take a shot on the biggest football stage in America.

During the press conference, Tua stated:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this opportunity to stand before you all with my decision. Without further or-due, with lots of prayers, thoughts, and guidance I have decided that I will be declaring and entering the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Who can blame him? It’s not often a 21-year-old from Hawaii gets this opportunity. What an incredible opportunity for such an incredible man.

I would like to take this time to wish Tua nothing but the very best in anything and everything that life brings his way.

College football fans will miss you but NFL fans have gained not only a great player, but also an amazing young man.

Best of luck, Tua!

Picture: Saturday Tradition.

If the Heisman Trophy was Awarded to the Most Courageous Player, Jalen Hurts Would Win by Unanimous Decision

Jalen Hurts, what a story, what a season, what a man. Some people still don’t understand why Jalen left Tuscaloosa, Alabama for Norman, Oklahoma.

He didn’t leave because of a coach, a teammate, or a circumstance, Jalen Hurts, the Oklahoma Sooners’ graduate- transfer-quarterback by way of the University of Alabama, who hails from Houston, Texas, left because he saw a better opportunity in Norman under Lincoln Riley’s direction.

Now, we all knew early on that LSU’s Joe Burrow, a transfer-quarterback by way of Ohio State University, was going to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

But if the most-prestigious award in college football was awarded to the most-courageous player in college football, Jalen Hurts would’ve won by unanimous decision.

Why, you ask? Well, you see, when Tua Tagovailoa beat out Jalen Hurts for the starting quarterback position in 2017, Jalen could’ve decided to transfer.

When Nick Saban pulled him out of the national title game in favor of Tua in 2017, Jalen could’ve throw in the proverbial towel, but yet he decided to stay.

Not because of Coach Saban or himself, but for his teammates. To show them that even though life may not always go as you plan, you can weather the storm and be rewarded in the end.

As was the case, when Saban pulled an injured Tua Tagovailoa out in favor of Jalen Hurts to win the 2018 SEC Championship.

Jalen Hurts is man of inexplainable character and courage. If only the Heisman Trophy went to college football’s most courageous player.

Deja Vu: An Iron Bowl for the Ages

Saturday night, felt like deja vu. I felt like I had seen it before. In fact, I had seen it before, six years to the date earlier when Auburn returned a last second field goal 109 yards to pay dirt.

Although this one was under different circumstances, it will still stand the test of time.

When Zakoby McClain took the football off of an Alabama receivers hands, and returned it 100 yards to the end zone, everything slowed down and I was taken back to 2013.

All I could think about was: “Wow, I wonder what Rod Bramblett is saying now. What would he say if he was still behind the microphone?”

It was absolutely insane. When I got home, I was discussing the game with my brother’s girlfriend, and we were talking about the pick-six. She said “I wonder how he caught that.” I replied, “He didn’t, Rod had a hand in this one.” Her voice got shaky and she replied “He was watching over us.”

Say what you want about the Iron Bowl but when it comes to historic moments, there is nothing like the Iron Bowl.

Picture: NBC Sports.

The Iron Bowl: A Rivalry Like None Other

We all know what the Iron Bowl is so there’s no need to explain it, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 83 years, I’ll explain what the Iron Bowl is.

It needs no introduction, it’s the one time a year where families can’t get along, friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

And it’s all because of one thing around the State of Alabama, bragging rights. People talk about this game 24/7, 365 and everybody across the state is tuned into the same game at the same time, every year.

It’s all the bad blood between these two bitter rivals that makes this game what it is. Not to mention the amount of memorable moments from this game that have stood the test of time.

Plays like, “The Kick Six”, “The Camback”, “Bo Over the Top” and Van Tiffin’s kick 34 years ago in 1985 among many, many others.

Teams often claim to have a better rivalry than Alabama, Auburn and the Iron Bowl, but the Iron Bowl is quite clearly the most-bitter, most-historic rivalry in the nation, and anybody from the South will tell you that same thing if you ask them.

Sure, there are rivalry games that have been played more than the Iron Bowl, but when it comes to historic moments, nothing comes close to touching the Iron Bowl.

These two teams simply hate each other, absolutely no love is lost, it’s the one game a year where you can throw everything including the kitchen sink out of the window as you travel down the road, so you can watch it shatter.

Over the past 83 years the Iron Bowl has emanated from several different places and cities around the state. Those places include, Birmingham’s Legion Field, Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

But something will be a little different this year, for the first time since 2002, the iconic golden voice of Rod Bramblett won’t be heard over the radio waves.

Instead, Rod’s best friend Andy Burcham will have the call alongside Stan White on the Auburn Sports Network.

This game is bound to have its own historic moments I’m sure, so prepare yourselves, we’ll have our hands full Saturday at 2:30pm CT in the 84th Iron Bowl. Picture: AL.com.