246 years ago today, this nation that we call home was born the moment our Founding Fathers signed their names on that document historic document that we know as the Declaration of Independence.
For 246 incredible years, the flag that we call Old Glory has stood for everything that an American should embody. The morals, the values, and the ideas upon which this country was founded.
The colors on that blanket of freedom each have their own meanings. When I look at the red, I’m reminded of the blood of those patriots that has been shed over the centuries to protect the freedoms that she represents.
The white reminds me of the purity and honesty that was the idea for this great land. Then I look at the blue, and I am immediately reminded of the courage that it takes to see that the freedoms of this land never get taken away.
You see, Old Glory has flown high and proud above so many foreign lands and has stood starched in the paths of enemies over the to years. She’s been from Korea to Vietnam, Afghanistan, to the Islands of Iwo Jima. She almost fell at the Alamo, she got cut at Chancellorsville and Shiloh Hill, she turned red in World War II.
But you see, back here in her own land, she’s been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused. To the point where they’ve almost quit waving her back home.
She’s been through the fire before. She might be getting thread bare and wearing thin, but she’s in pretty good shape for the things that she has seen. As for us back home, we raise her up right, we take her down every night, we don’t letter touch the ground, and we fold her up right.
It seems these days, that the media only wants to tell us what’s wrong with our homeland. The media only wants to talk about the bad happening here at home. Turn off the news. Here lately it seems that the media wants to try to divide us as a nation and turn us as a nation away from God. A nation whose motto is, “In God We Trust and United We Stand.” Happy Independence Day!
I think it’s safe to say that November 2, 2021, is a date that I will never forget. Perhaps you’re not a sports fan and you’re thinking “Why November 2?” The answer to this question is simple yet complex.
It’s the night that the Atlanta Braves, my favorite baseball team, won the Major League Baseball World Series. I can recall sitting in the back of the house when I was little with my baby-sitter, an older lady, watching the games for hours on end.
I can remember the days of Turner Broadcasting System, more commonly known as TBS, listening to the voices of Skip and Chip Caray, Pete Van Weiren and occasionally, Ernie Johnson, describing the action.
I can remember going to Turner Field as a little kid, possibly three or four, and reciting the SportsCenter theme song as we pulled into the stadium parking lot. I’ve seen thousands of iconic moments in franchise history and I’ve definitely seen my fair share of some not-so-iconic moments.
I saw them in the middle of their unprecedented 14-straight division title run while under the direction of the legendary Bobby Cox. I’ve seen my favorite player retire and be immortalized in baseball history. I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly, but I never gave up on them. I’ve gone to sleep many a night feeling broken-hearted because of a one-run loss, and I’ve pulled adrenaline-filled all-nighters celebrating icon wins.
But the one thing that I hadn’t seen until November 2, 2021, was a World Series trophy head home to Atlanta. I’ve endured many years of postseason heartbreak, sleepless nights, and so much more and all of it paid off 24 hours ago.
It was a long wait, but it was worth the wait. It was the night that I had waited my entire life to see.
Often times, specifically this time of year, between mid-to-late February and mid-to-late April with a possibility of early May, depending on how the playoffs shake out, I’m the busiest I’ll be all year.
I’m away from home more times than not this time of year, whether it’s at my day-job or my night-job as a broadcaster, this time of year is always more hectic than any other time of year, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’d rather be busy anyway, it keeps my mind and hands busy, as a mentor of mine once told me, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement.
It’s so hard to believe that I’m a little over half way to my ninth year as a broadcaster, honestly it seems like just yesterday I was broadcasting my first game.
I guess the old saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun,” is true. Except for me, I’m not just having fun, I’m living my dream and embracing the chaos one pitch at a time.
Some musicians have to adapt to a certain genre and soak in the atmosphere for a little while. But for one Jackson, Mississippi-based artist, he didn’t have to adapt and soak in an atmosphere, for him, the Blues was a way of life. Born near the Mobile Bay, in the neighboring town of Fairhope, Alabama, Chad Wesley has that Southern-edged, lonesome feel to his music and his background just adds to the mellowed vibe.
Wesley and his family left the Mobile, Alabama suburb of Fairhope when he was an infant, they were only there for a handful of years while his father was working for a sub-contracting company, Alabama Dry Dock, who sub-contracted for Ingall’s Ship Yard and the sub-ship department of the U.S. Navy. He’s been picking the Blues since December 23, 1994, when he learned his first chord.
At the time, Chad’s father and brother were already several years into their musical careers playing professionally. However, the Forest, Mississippi-raised Blues picker never got the chance to travel around with them.
Wesley stated “My Dad had retired from performing years earlier and was managing a band my brother was playing lead guitar in. Once that fell through my brother hung it up and spent his only time on the guitar just teaching me.” Wesley went on to state that both his father and brother, now mechanical designers, have continued to stand firmly behind him on his almost three-decade journey.
He got his first taste of live performances in May of 1999. Going into his first public performance Chad stated “I was too excited to be nervous. Playing live for people had been my dream. The only time I felt normal was when I was doing something to entertain people.” So, in sense, you could say that this determined man that is driven for greatness has always been the life of the party.
“It’s an internal sense of purpose that I’ve felt since childhood to bring joy to those around me.” Chad Wesley does just that and more. His bone-chilling guitar riffs not only make you understand where he’s coming from, but they also allow you to literally feel the vibrations of the guitar.
He has won multiple awards during his time in the music industry, but he doesn’t want to be known or remembered for his awards, Wesley wants to be remembered as an entertainer that touched the lives of his listeners.
He stated that the awards “have given me a strong sense of accomplishment. But what it’s done the most for me is it has let me know that what I’ve continued to pour my heart and soul into for so many years is finally paying off.”
Wesley listed some of his greatest influences coming from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, and John Mayer, noting that, “he’s kept ‘the guitar’ alive in a world gone digital.”
While enjoying much success, Chad acknowledged that he has faced his fair share of letdowns in the music business. Stating “But the more I turned my trust towards God, the more I saw what success truly was, instead of what I had always dreamt it to be.” He attributed a great amount of that success to his family, stating “I have a beautiful family and a wonderful home, I’ve met legends, performed for thousands, but nothing can compare to coming home to the ones I love the most.”
Wesley can often be seen on stages across the country picking a 1996 Fender Stratocaster American Standard, 50th Anniversary Edition, which he dubbed “Josephine” after his late friend, Joey Thrash, whom handed the guitar down to Chad after seeing him play it for one set during a show which Thrash attended.
Chad Wesley wants to get the message out to aspiring musicians that haven’t yet gotten the determination to make happen. Stating “Every dream deserves a shot. But once you decide to ‘shoot’, aim as high as you can and sever settle for less than what you feel you deserve. You’ll only get out of something what you put in it. If it were easy, everyone would do, invest in yourself.”
Wesley would like to invite to his upcoming shows at Martin’s Downtown in Jackson, MS and Blue Canoe in Tupelo, Mississippi, January 22 and 23, 2021, respectively.
It’s hard to believe that in just over a month, I will begin my eighth season as a baseball broadcaster. Honestly, it seems like just the other day, I was standing against the of the home dugout at Bazemore Field when I got the opportunity to broadcast my first game, but we’ll dig back into the vault and pull that out later.
In these eight seasons, I’ve been on hand for 315 games, had you asked me eight years ago if I would be fortunate enough to still be living out my dream 315 games later, I would’ve probably told you, “This is probably just a one time deal.”
But here I am, eight years later and I haven’t been kicked out of the press box yet. And I couldn’t think of a better school to serve as a broadcaster for. I’ve been a member of this program in some capacity, for nine years.
With every passing season, every passing game, every passing minute and second, this program becomes more and more etched into my heart.
When I look back on the previous 315 games of my career, I realize just how blessed I am to live out my dream as a broadcaster. But not just any broadcaster, but the “Voice” of Wetumpka High School Baseball. Over the course of my time as a broadcaster, I’ve seen highs and I’ve seen lows, but I’ll always be thankful for everything that has come my way.
No matter where this industry takes me, I’ll always be proud to say that it all started at Bazemore Field in the small town of Wetumpka, Alabama.
Here’s to the next 315 games of my career. 315 more games worth of memories. I’ll be back home in a little over a month.
Heading into the Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation on Tuesday night, the Heisman Trophy had eluded wide receivers for 29 years. The last wide receiver to win college football’s most prestigious award was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Over the past decade, the award has primarily gone to running backs and quarterbacks.
In addition to becoming the newest member of the Heisman fraternity, Smith also further etched his name into Crimson Tide lore as one of the best players to ever pass-through Tuscaloosa. He also joined the short, but talent-filled list of Crimson Tide players to win it in the past that includes current Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, whom lifted the stiff-arming hardware in 2009, and current Tennessee Titans running back, Derrick Henry, whom took home the prestigious bronze bust in 2015.
Tuesday night, DeVonta Smith, an Amite, Louisiana native wasn’t the only member of the Tide on hand for the unprecedented virtual presentation, quarterback Mac Jones was also nominated for the award. Ironically, the trifecta of other finalists were all quarterbacks: the aforementioned Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and Florida’s Kyle Trask.
From the start of the season, it looked as if the Gators’ Kyle Trask might be the one lifting the hardware at the end, but DeVonta’s miraculous one-handed catch against LSU in Death Valley was seemingly was jolted Smith to the top of the ballot.
He has brushed off questions by the media concerning the Heisman Memorial Trophy, and his class and composure that was shown throughout the 2020 regular season was mirrored Tuesday evening, when Smith, whom has a plethora of nicknames such as “Tay-Tay”, “Smitty”, and “Slim Reaper” took time to thank those who helped him get to this point in his life.
The Louisiana native also took the time to offer a few words of encouragement for kids that might’ve been told that they can’t live out their dreams of being a college football player because of their size by saying, “To all the young kids out there that’s not the biggest, not the strongest, just keep pushing, because I’m not the biggest,” He later went on to say “Really, it just comes down to you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big.”
The man that began his career by catching the national title-winning pass from current Miami Dolphins’ quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is now a Heisman Trophy winner, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving, humble young man to have the honor.
Congratulations, DeVonta Smith, your name is now a part of not just Alabama Football history, but also college football history, forever.
I think the one thing that we can all agree on is the fact that 2020 was everything that you see in a horror movie and then some. But now, it’s a new year.
This year will be a year of prosperity for all of us. Sure there will be moments where we think the weight of the world is on our shoulders, but that’s when you go further than you’ve ever gone before.
This year some of us will dream new dreams, set new goals, and if we have what it takes, we will follow through with those dreams and goals and achieve them and so much more.
Be prepared to wait, success has never happened overnight. Hank Aaron didn’t hit 755 home runs over night, Jackie Robinson didn’t break baseball’s color barrier overnight, each of them went through trials and tribulations, times of hardship, and times where they felt like giving in.
But then, something inside them told them to keep to pushing forward. You see, we will all fail from time to time, we’ll all fall at times but if we fall forward we’ve still made progress.
If we learn from the failures of life, we haven’t really failed. If you can fail and learn from it you’ve succeeded in the end. You don’t really fail until you give up.
2020 may have brought us all unforeseen circumstances, but that did nothing but set us up for a greater comeback story in 2021, you can dwell on the past or you can embrace the present and work for the future.
You can start writing your comeback story now or you can procrastinate until you have no choice but to get busy writing. Life doesn’t wait for us, why wait for it?
It’s all up to you, do you want to write your comeback story or have life write it for you?
On the afternoon of December 12, 1997, at 1:50 p.m. I saw this world for the very first time, and some thought I wouldn’t live to see life outside of the four cold walls of that dark hospital.
The first few months and years of my life were spent with trips to and from hospitals. I spent most of my early childhood traveling anywhere from Montgomery, Alabama, to Birmingham, Alabama, all the way to Greenville, South Carolina.
At six weeks old, I was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. Not long afterwards, my small intestines ruptured, I was diagnosed with gangrene, and had suffered a stroke.
Seeing everything that I had been through having just been born, the medical staff basically said I wouldn’t live much longer.
I knew that if I wanted to see the light of day outside of the four walls of that Birmingham, Alabama hospital, I had to put up a fight.
I knew that my life was at stake. I knew I had to prove the medical staff wrong. I just knew I had to fight. Nobody in that hospital had given me even the slightest chance to make it, so it was all up to me.
Thankfully, God had greater plans for my life and saw me through those early horrors. Throughout the nearly 23 years of my life, I’ve survived multiple surgeries.
Through the years, I’ve seen my fair share of tragedy and triumph. At age 16, I lost four of my friends in the same year. With one of them being my lifelong best friend.
Even though I have faced many trials and tribulations in my short time, the one thing that has remained constant is the great and power mercy of God.
He has seen me on my best and worst days and has always remained at my side. Even though I will face much more adversity in the coming years of my life, I have no doubt that God, along with my guardian angels will see that I make it through the hard times safely.
I share my testimony not as a pity on me, but in hopes that my story will touch the hearts and lives of its readers. May it serve as a source of hope and inspiration.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about something, I’ve been thinking about how many times people fail once and never get back to their feet try again.
I have failed a lot in my life. In fact, I’ve failed more times than I care to count. But the difference between failure and success is the willingness to get back on your feet and try the same task that you have failed multiple times.
Try the task until you have conquered it. You can try it and fail 1,000 times but get up 1,001 times.
Reggie Jackson struck out 26-hundred times in his career, the most in the history of baseball, but people only remember the home runs. Thomas Edison attempted 1,000 failed experiments but his 1,0001st experiment was the light bulb.
But do you know why they succeeded? Because they refused to let failure get the best of them.
At some point in your life, you will fail, it’s a part of life.
Sure, you can win 1,000 times, but you will lose more than once. If we succeeded in everything we do every time we did it, success wouldn’t be worth celebrating because we would be used to it.
They say run towards your dream, but if you run towards it, you will be winded once you get there. Walk towards your dream and youwill have enough energy to execute your dream to fullest extent.
Hank Aaron failed more than once, Babe Ruth failed more than once.
You see, failure is inevitable. You will fail, but do you have what it takes to succeed one time and change your life? Fall 1,000 times but get up 1,001.
The 2020 MLB Draft is scheduled to begin tonight and end tomorrow, but it won’t be a normal draft by any means. So what do we need to expect?
For starters, potential draftees will be at a disadvantage, having been unable to show their ultimate potential before high school and college seasons were halted in the heart of the season.
Secondly, teams will be at a disadvantage having not been able to scout the draft prospects at full potential.
Lastly, this year’s draft will only have five rounds, as apposed to the normal 40 rounds. This means instead of the 30 clubs being able to draft 30 prospects, the 30 teams will only be able to draft 5 prospects due to restrictions.
The 2020 MLB Draft will begin tonight at 6pm CT on ESPN and the MLB Network.