What is it Like to Live in A House Full of Alabama Fans As a Tennessee Fan?

Growing up, I was thought of as the rebel between my brother and I, I loved to take risks that he didn’t want to or wouldn’t take. I’ve always been that way.

In fact, I’m considered the rebel of the family, as I am a Tennessee fan that grew up in a house full of Alabama fans, minus my brother, who really couldn’t care less about college football.

Some people claim that the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry is a ‘bigger’ rivalry than the Iron Bowl.

I just don’t see it, I seriously don’t see it. The Third Saturday in October has always raised tensions in my house. In fact, I remember running back to my room as a little boy, crying because Tennessee lost to Alabama.

I was eight years old, the last time Tennessee beat Alabama, the iPhone wasn’t invented, neither was Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Netflix.

Mike Shula was Alabama’s head coach the last time that happened and current Tennessee Athletic Director, Phillip Fulmer, was roaming the sidelines as the Vols’ head coach.

It’s been awhile since that happened and sadly, I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Moral of the story, if you want to be a rebel, be one. Just don’t make the decision that I made 21 years ago, you’ll regret it if you do.

With that being said, win or lose, at the end of the day I’ll still love my Volunteers, no matter how bad we are.

Nice to See You Again, Old Friend

About two weeks ago, I was heading to Alpharetta, Georgia and I passed the place where I spent a large amount of my time growing up, Turner Field, now known as Georgia State Stadium, since it is the home of the Georgia State Panthers football. I still call it Turner Field, though, because that’s what I’ve always known it as. I witnessed many victories inside those friendly confines and very few losses. In fact, a few months ago, I did the math, and I realized that I had been to 42 Braves games, 41 of which game at Turner Field. The Braves home record when I attend is 31-10. I like to think of myself as the Braves ‘good luck charm’. Because they almost never lose when I’m in attendance. As I passed the stadium, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, I felt the thrill that I felt as a little kid, I felt like a kid in a candy store all over again. I’ve seen so many Braves greats take the field there. I was taken back to when I was little and we would pull up to the stadium and I would blurt out the ESPN theme song, I could hear Crazy Train over the PA system in my head as I passed it. So many great memories were made there. I never visited the stadium when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. It was like I was a little kid again for that split-second. So many life-long friends were made inside those four walls. I haven’t been inside SunTrust Park yet, but I did pass it as I was headed home that weekend and I plan to visit in 2020. Nice to see you again, old friend.

A Man and A Cracker Barrel Microphone

I don’t often write pieces about myself, simply I try to keep things focused on sports, with an occasional twist in the middle. But today, I feel like writing about how a microphone that I bought from Cracker Barrel when I was eight-years-old, led to me being able live the dream that I’m living today. Almost my entire life, I’ve known that I wanted to be a broadcaster, but it didn’t begin to take shape until 15. When I was eight years old, my family and I were headed to Spanish Fort, Alabama to visit with my grandparents, as my grandad was in his last few months of life and we stopped by the Evergreen Cracker Barrel where I purchased a plastic microphone as we were leaving. My mom said “You don’t need that, it’s a waste of money.” But to me, it wasn’t a waste of money, so I convinced my mom to let me get it. As we rode down the road, I was talking into it constantly, I kept talking into it when we arrived at my grandparents’ house in Spanish Fort. I used it constantly after that, at that point just to prove to my mom that it wasn’t a ‘waste of money’. I picked up old media guides from various sporting events and began to practice, which was always several hours. Multiple times I was told to be quiet because somebody was watching TV, but I knew if I stopped, I would never reach my dream. So I continued to practice with the Cracker Barrel microphone for years until it broke. Then, I was given my first real microphone several years later and my brother had an electric guitar amp that he didn’t use much, so when he wasn’t using it, I would sneak it into my room and use it for hours. I’m often asked “How do you sound so much different when you’re not behind a microphone,” and “How does your voice get so deep on the microphone?” I’ve been asked this millions of times over the seven years that i’ve been a broadcaster, and I often reply with “One time, I went to Cracker Barrel when I was eight.” I know people are often left wondering what Cracker Barrel and broadcasting have to do with each other but it’s all about that plastic microphone from Cracker Barrel in 2006. If you want to be a broadcaster, go to Cracker Barrel and convince your mom to let you get a plastic microphone, they make dreams come true.

Battle in Ol’ Paul Snow: Tribe, Bucks Meet For Second Consecutive Season at Jacksonville State University

It’s been a long first four weeks of 2019 for the Wetumpka Indians (2-2) but thankfully, the long stretch of traveling is almost over, at least for a couple of weeks. Thursday night’s matchup at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Buckhorn (3-1) is led by third-year head coach, Keith Henderson. Henderson began his high school coaching career at Sparkman High School in 1999 and was the Senators coach until 2002. After leaving Sparkman, Henderson took eight years off and became the head coach of the Grissom Tigers in 2010, where his tenure was short and not-so-sweet as the Tigers went (1-9) in his only year at Grissom. Coach Henderson didn’t find his way to Buckhorn until 2017, when he took over as the Bucks head man, where he has been for three years since 2017. So far in 2019, the Bucks have a (3-1) record. They beat Madison County 35-21 in Week 1, lost to Florence 33-20 in Week 2, beat Hazel Green 36-35 in Week 3 and beat Albertville 24-7 a week ago. Wetumpka will look to halt the Bucks two-game win streak.

What’s After This?

Next week Wetumpka will play their home opener vs. Prattville While Buckhorn will host Sparkman.

Inside the Series:

Wetumpka and Buckhorn have only met once before in 2018 with Wetumpka running away with things 23-7 on September 20, 2018 at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

Can they do it again? Kickoff is set for 7pm Thursday night at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium on the campus of Jacksonville State University.

It’s the Little Things in Life That Mean the Most

Lately, I’ve found myself writing off the topic of sports and a little bit more about personal stories. This one might be my favorite. Earlier today, I pulled up Google Earth and searched for 7 Yankee Trove, where my late grandparents lived during my childhood. You might ask ‘Why would you do that?‘ Or ‘Why would you do that?Well, I didn’t do it just because. I did it because I wanted to see if one special structure was still standing in the yard since the home has different occupants now. Many of my childhood memories were made here, from playing “waiter” to playing baseball in the backyard with Big Ken and my brother to hide and seek around every inch of the yard, including the ditch and picnics at the stone table located in the backyard. The structure I was looking for was a bridge that Big Ken built for my brother and I in the early 2000s. We spent many hours, days and years walking across that bridge during my childhood. So I typed in the address and panned over toward the house on my right hand side, as I glanced at the house, I looked down and low and behold, the wooden bridge that my grandaddy hand-built, was still standing, the bridge named after my brother and I was still standing in the middle of the yard in what looked to be perfect condition. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to my brother, my family, and myself, it means the world. It truly is life’s smallest things that hold the most weight and mean the most. Picture: Google Earth.

Big Ken: A Man Larger Than Life

The date was September 14, 1938, 81 years ago tomorrow my grandfather, whom I affectionately called ‘Big Ken’, due to his massive stature, was born. But his stature wasn’t the only thing that was big. His heart was even bigger than his stature. He would do anything for anybody, not because he wanted to brag, he wasn’t that type, but because he simply knew that it was the right thing to do. I can’t recall a time that he didn’t do what was right at any time. Growing up in Bascom, Florida, in the 30s and 40, he didn’t have much, but he was thankful for what he had and didn’t complain about what others had that he didn’t. My dad and aunt often talk about how mean Big Ken could be. But I never saw the mean side of him (thankfully). I think that is because as a person ages, they tend to mellow out. So by the time my brother and I were born 1997, he must’ve been pretty mellow. As we grew up, we would go down to Spanish Fort, Alabama, where Big Ken and Grandma Sherry lived while we grew up. Every time we saw them until Big Ken was in his last days with us in 2006, he and Grandma Sherry always had surprises for us in the back of their black Crown Victoria and my brother and I would run to the car anxiously awaiting the surprises that were inside. When our grandparents visited Wetumpka, we would often go to Fort Toulouse, a battleground which is famous for its history, including being the site where Creek Indian Chief, William Weatherford, known as “Red Eagle” to members of the tribe, surrendered to General Andrew Jackson on August 9, 1814, to have lunch. Well, there’s moss in the trees down at Fort Toulouse, which was built in 1714, but my brother wasn’t aware of that, so he often asked “Why is there ‘hair in the trees?'” Big Ken and I would often laugh and laugh. I also recall lots of time spent playing baseball in the back yard of their Spanish Fort home, the land that their home sat on was used as battleground in the days of the Civil War if I remember correctly. Big Ken even built a bridge for us in the front yard and named it ‘B & B Bridge’ in our honor. If I’m not mistaken he built the bridge somewhere around 2002. I often find myself wondering if the bridge is still standing since the house has since been handed to new owners. In his final days, he worried about us not remembering who he was, I’m sure he went to heaven worrying about that, but that’s far from the case. Almost 13 years after his death, we still talk about him and all of the good times we spent with him, while dad informs of some good times and some not so good times spent with Big Ken. At 6’4″, 200-plus pounds, he surely seemed larger than life and his impact on our lives is still felt today. Happy 81st Birthday, Big Ken, we haven’t forgotten you.

A Budding Rivalry: Wetumpka Travels East to Rival Opelika for Fourth-Consecutive Road Game

In recent years, this game has lived up to all of the hype surrounding it. Every single bit of the hype. Basically, if you attend this game, you’re almost guaranteed to witness an instant classic and we will talk about that later in this article.

Glancing At the Opponent:

Opelika is led by second-year head coach, Erik Speakman, who came to Opelika in 2018 and led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record. Through the first three games of 2019, Speakman’s Bulldogs are 3-0 with wins over Callaway High School (GA), 10-7, Auburn High School Tigers (AL), 21-13 and Selma High School Saints (AL) 23-7. 2018 marked Coach Speakman’s first year as a high school coach in Alabama.

Inside the Series:

Although this series dates back 81 years, to 1938, it didn’t become the budding rivalry that it is today until recent years, 2016, to be exact. Despite dating back 81 years, these two programs only have a handful of clashes, five to be exact. In the last three meetings since 2016, games between these budding rivals have been decided by a slim margin, in fact, the largest margin of victory over the last three meetings is a whopping two points which belongs to Wetumpka from their most-recent clash in 2018. Today, the 2018 meeting in Wetumpka stands as the Indians only win through the first five games of the series.

The 2019 renewal of the limited rivalry is set for 7pm at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika, Alabama, on the campus of Opelika High School.

Picture: Tiffany Singleton.