Tuesday morning, when the news broke of Mississippi State head football coach, Mike Leach’s passing. Just two days following a “personal health issue,” the college football world erupted with tributes to the late Air Raid offensive genius.
I’ve spent the last few hours just trying to accurately, or as accurate as I can, sum up just what Mike Leach meant to the college football world.
His press conferences, whether mid-week, pregame or post-game were always littered with humor. Why? Because that’s who Mike Leach was. Not only was he a great coach, but he was an even better person.
From telling newly-weds to “go elope,” to describing a win as “It’s like Woodstock except everybody’s got their clothes on,” to describing his offense as “one of the most constipated offenses on Earth,” when they just couldn’t seem to get going.
His coaching career much like his 61 years here on Earth led to a road less-traveled, and then to a path that didn’t exist until he created it. That path? Well, that path was none other than his patented Air Raid offense. His career saw him go from the California desert to the coast of Finland.
It saw him land jobs of obscurity to eventual head coaching jobs in Big XII, the Pac-12, and then the SEC. His offenses not only broke countless college football records, but they also broke the hearts of defensive coordinators. He once was recorded as saying “I think candy corn is awful, ya know; it’s like fruitcake,” in on-screen interview.
His career wasn’t defined by his numbers, but by his infectious personality. A personality that was, well, fit for a Pirate.
If you’re familiar with the sport of rodeo at all, whether it be as a fan, a participant, a stock contractor, an announcer, a music director or anything in between, you’ve heard of and are familiar with the name Lane Frost.
It was on this day 33 years ago, that the cowboy who hung his hat in La Junta, Otero County, Colorado, went to the big arena in the sky. Now, at the time of Lane’s birth, his parents were residing in Lapoint, Utah. But according to sources, Lane’s father Clyde was rodeoing at the time and his mother Elsie, went to stay with her parents in Kim, Colorado, not from the hospital in La Junta, where Lane was born.
He has an older sister, Robin and a younger brother, Cody. At a young age, young Lane took a liking to the sport of bull riding and when he was old enough to ride on his own, Lane’s mom Elsie made his first pair of chaps for him. Being a typical mom, when their does things they aren’t fond of, or don’t feel it’s safe for them do, Elsie was hoping that perhaps one day, Lane would grow out of this bull riding phase that entered his spirit at such a young age.
In his later years, Lane would win a number of titles in the rodeo world, one of those being the 1981 Bull Riding Championship in the National High School Finals Rodeo Association, which was held in Douglas, Wyoming, when he was a high school junior.
He graduated from Atoka High School in Atoka, Oklahoma in 1982. In 1983, he received a full membership in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association of more commonly referred to as simply the “PRCA” at age 19. He would finish 16th in the World Standings and the top 15 in each event advance to the National Finals Rodeo each year.
His traveling partner at the time, Jacky Gibbs, occupied the 15th spot in the standings that year. Frost was named 1983 runner-up for the “Rookie of the Year” that year also. He competed in the 1983 “Super Bull” competition in Del Rio, Texas. It was at this event that he received the “Tough Luck Award,” for his gritty effort.
Fast forward to 1989, in July of that year Lane and his wife, Kellie were going to try their hands at stunt doubles in the movie “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, which was about a bull rider that comes home to Oklahoma.
Lane was scheduled to have a small speaking role in the film. But first, Lane, not letting the stunt double opportunity get in the way of his love for rodeo and bull riding, took time to go to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to participate in the world-renowned “Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo” which is held in Cheyenne, Wyoming every July. Lane let Kellie stay behind to work on the movie.
After Lane made the right second requirement on his second bull of the rodeo, sportscaster George Michael, whom often interviewed the cowboy from Colorado and a friend of his, spoke with Frost, in what would unfortunately become Frost’s last interview.
George said to Lane, “But you just had to give the crowd a thrill with that dismount!” Lane had somersaulted over the tail of the bull at the end of his ride. Four days later, on July 30, 1989, Lane drew a bull named “Takin’ Care of Business,” after getting him ridden, Frost dismounted but was hit by the bull breaking ribs and severing a main artery and the Lane Clyde Frost died moments later at the age of 25 on the dirt of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
If you get a chance today, watch the Cheyenne Frontier Days and tip your hat to the man that died doing what he loved. I wasn’t alive in ‘89, but the way Lane lived and loved is evident with every rodeo I watch. He may not be here on Earth, but his legacy will never die. Rest In Peace, Cowboy! Good ride, good ride.
It all began 70 years ago in southeastern Texas town of Poteet, Texas, when George Harvey Strait Sr., was born to John Byron Strait and Doris Couser Strait.
He didn’t listen to much country music at all growing up in Pearsall, Texas, which is southwest of San Antonio, and his parents divorced while he was still in school, and George and his older brother Buddy were raised by their father, a junior high math teacher.
During high school, Strait was left speechless by seemingly matchless beauty of Norma Voss, with whom he would elope shortly after graduation, before signing for a stint in the United States Army.
He discovered his love for country music while stationed on the islands of Hawaii in 1971 and broke into the country scene a decade later in 1981. He wrote the song “Check Yes or No,” for his wife Norma. In the song he recalls the first time he laid eyes on her on the playground in third grade.
Over the course of his storied and highly-touted country music career, the Texas native has more than 60 number one hits. Those hits include “Amarillo By Morning,” “How Bout Them Cowgirls,” “The Fireman,” “Cowboys Like Us,” “The Cowboy Rides Away,” and “Write This Down”. Happy 70th Birthday, George. We love you brother.
There are no words to adequately describe the man that was Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron. I don’t say that lightly. You see, it was nearly a year ago, that we lost a great man, a noble man, a man of the highest character, integrity, tenacity, and fortitude.
When Hank Aaron, a black man from Mobile, Alabama, passed away on January 22, 2021, we lost a man whom, so bravely stood face-to-face with social injustice in the Deep South in the 1950s and 60s.
We lost a legend, but Hank Aaron didn’t care about his statistics, his fame, or what people thought of his career, he was more concerned with seeing that people were treated with the same amount of respect. He was an advocate, a servant, a legend, and an icon in every sense of his being.
He was and is highly revered in the baseball world, just as he deserves to be. Now, I never had the distinct honor of talking to Mr. Aaron during his 86 years of life here on Earth, but from what I’ve read in articles and books, he never wanted to discuss his historic 23-year Major League Baseball career that saw him break Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 714 home runs by sending a ball into the left-center field bullpen at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium at 9:07 p.m., eastern time on April 8, 1974.
He was more concerned with discussing how you were, discussing your needs, and wants. He never was self-centered at all. Hall of Fame third baseman, Chipper Jones once said “When Mr. Aaron walked into a room, the crowd got quiet, when he spoke, you listened. But when he made himself available for conversation, you approached him, shook his massive hand, and heeded any advice he offered.”
The baseball world definitely hasn’t been the same since Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron passed away just shy of a year ago because we’ve all felt the void that the absence of such a noble human has left in our hearts. I never got the chance to speak with Mr. Aaron here on Earth, but when my name is called one day to head to that big baseball stadium made of gold in Heaven, you can rest assured that I will approach Mr. Aaron and tell him just how much he means to not only me but to the baseball world in general.
Afterwards, if Mr. Aaron has any advice on how to hit 755 home runs, I will sit back and enjoy his company. Rest In Peace, Hammer. I l love you, brother.
Paying tribute. It’s something I’ve always liked to do. Whether it’s having one of the person’s favorites, whether it be candy or food. To physically visiting their grave and having a chat with them for a bit.
Yes, I know that the actual person isn’t lying beneath that cold hard stone, only their Earthly body, but their soul, the part of a person that actually makes a human who they are, resides in Heaven.
Last Sunday, my girlfriend and I exchanged gifts at my house a day after Christmas because we were both busy with family on Christmas Day, which is completely and totally understandable.
After we exchanged gifts, we went to eat sushi at Rock N Roll Sushi in Montgomery, because it’d been a while since we had both had sushi and we like it, so why not?
Soon, after we had finished eating sushi, we headed to Oakwood Annex Cemetery in Montgomery to visit with believe it or not, not just one but two country music legends.
One who is considered by many to be the Father of Country Music, Hank Williams Sr., and his wife, Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams.
Not many people know this, but Hank and Mrs. Audrey met in Andalusia late summer of 1943, but didn’t marry until December 1944. It’s also believed that by the time they both passed away, Hank of course long before Audrey, the couple was actually divorced.
Of course, Hank Williams is best known as the father of Hank Williams Jr., but he also had an adopted daughter named Lycrecia.
Lycrecia is the daughter of Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams and James Erskine Guy, her full name is Lycrecia Ann Guy Williams.
She was born August 13, 1941, but not long thereafter, Mrs. Audrey and Erskine divorced that same year and Hank adopted Lycrecia some time between 1943 and 1953, so she refers to old drifter as “daddy”.
As my girlfriend arrived at the final resting place of the two legends, I felt the wind die down and I approached the graves.
Now, these aren’t your usual small, intimate graves. These graves feature large headstones and raised concrete slabs.
I sat down on a bench next to Hank’s resting place and listened to his hit song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” after the song ended I heard a train whistle off in the distance. It was as if Hank could hear his music being played.
Nearly 68 years after his untimely death, the spirit of old Hiram King “Hank” Williams is still searching for a way to get to that New Year’s Day 1953 show that he never made it to.
Rest In Peace, Hank and Mrs. Audrey Mae Sheppard Guy Williams, we miss you both.
I’ve always had a love for cemetery. There’s just something peaceful about them. Most people see them as a place where one only goes when they die.
They see cemeteries as cold, dark, gloomy places of mourning and sadness. But to me, cemeteries aren’t all cold, dark, gloomy places of mourning and sadness. They aren’t places where one should only go when they die.
In fact, you can learn a lot just by going and walking through a cemetery and looking at the dates on the headstones, thinking about what all the people lived through and what they saw during their time here on Earth.
I’ve lived across the road from a cemetery all of my life. The graves in that cemetery range from 1863 up until 2010.
When I was a young boy, about 9 or 10, my brother and I, along with our friends would go up to the cemetery at night and play hide and seek with flashlights so that we could see and avoid disrespecting those that were peacefully sleeping at our feet.
So, I’ve always loved the history that cemeteries hold and the stories that are told by the dates on the headstone.
Stories of heart-ache, heartbreak, loneliness, illness, wellness, happiness and sadness. But above all, stories that in a way, make you feel a certain connection to the people that have walked the land before your time. The rich and poor, the old and the young, the famous and the ordinary, their stories all differ, but they’re all the same in a way. They’re all human just like you and I.
I say all of that to say this on January 1, 2022, the Virtual Grave Tour will return to a cemetery near you, wherever you may be, the Virtual Grave Tour travels all over this great land, from California to Florida and anywhere in between.
Come along won’t you? Relive and remember history one grave at a time.
Early on in the season, if you’d have told me that the Braves were going to comeback at the end of the season and win a fourth-consecutive National League East title, even as a life-long diehard fan of the Braves, I probably would’ve called you crazy.
I was born in the middle of the Atlanta Braves glory days, when they won an unprecedented 14-consecutive division crowns. Plus I have relatives from the Atlanta-area and so it was easy for me to delve into the red and blue of the Atlanta Braves. I’ve also seen the Braves at some of their worst times in franchise history such as that 2016 season when we won less than 68 games.
Yet, I’ve stood solidly behind them through the storms of the times. I’ve seen them at their peak and at rock bottom and right now, I’ve got to believe the glory days are returning. We won the East without Ronald Acuña Jr for half of the season, Marcell Ozuna, who was arrested in May missed 80% of the season and pitcher Mike Soroka missed the entire season with a torn Achilles.
The 2021 division title stands as our 21st division title in franchise, the most in Major League Baseball history, two more than the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers
Here’s to October baseball returning to Atlanta in 2021 and our 21st division title! Break out the champagne Braves fans!
I went to my very first Braves game at Turner Field in either 2000 or 2001, back when the Braves had that daunting starting rotation that included three then-future Hall of Famers in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, who was often used in a closing role back then. Perhaps you’ve heard of them.
Those were the days of Rafael Furcal at shortstop, Matt Franco at first, Julio Franco at second, Vinny Castilla at third or catching, Chipper Jones at third or in left, Eddie Perez catching, Andruw Jones in center, Marcus Giles at second, and Wilson Bettimit in right, Javy Lopez catching, and of course the skipper, Bobby Cox.
I don’t remember if we won or lost that day due to my young age at the time, but I do know that Tom Glavine was the starting pitcher that day.
Fast forward 20 or so years and I’ve finally made it to my first game at Truist Park, the new home of the Braves that opened back in 2017.
Usually, we get there early enough to watch the Braves take batting practice, but we had trouble with the mobile ticketing deal going on nowadays due to COVID, so we had missed them by the time we entered the stadium, which I was kinda upset by, but it was okay, I was more concerned about the game anyway.
Before the game, I went to the Braves Clubhouse Store to get another hat (shocking, I know, but I just have to get a new hat at every game).
Afterwards, we walked over to Monument Garden near section 125, where I had my picture taken with Hank Aaron’s 1969 jersey, Tom Glavine’s 1995 jersey, Dale Murphy’s 1982 jersey, the Hank Aaron Award, a champagne bottle that was used after the Braves won the 1995 World Series Championship, in front of a picture of Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox, in front of all of the hats Hank Aaron hit a home run with, the 1995 World Series trophy and even a time capsule that will be opened in April 2042.
The Braves shutout Tampa Bay 9-0, to improve to 44-10 in games I attend. 43-10 at home and 1-0 on the road. If you haven’t been to Truist Park, you need to go. Trust me when I tell you, there’s something there for literally everyone.
See you in 2022, Truist Park! It was nice meeting you!
He’s got 109 hit singles, 99 of which could be found on Billboard Hot Country chart at one time. He’s the son of arguably the greatest Country Music artist to ever live.
He’s an outlaw in every sense of the word, all you have to do is look at his family tree to see that the outlaw lifestyle comes to him naturally. I mean after all, his daddy is Hank Williams Sr, it doesn’t get more outlaw than that.
On this day in 1949, Hank Williams Sr and his wife Audrey Mae Sheppard Williams welcomed little Randall Hank Williams into this world in Shreveport, Louisiana. Hank Sr nicknamed Randall Hank “Bocephus” after Grand Ole Opry comedian Rod Brasfield’s ventriloquist dummy. Now, Hank Sr died in 1953, when young Bocephus was around three or four. So after that, he was raised by his mother Audrey.
When Hank Jr was a child, you could say that a Taj Mahal of musicians visited him and his family, given his father’s status before he passed away on New Year’s Day of 1953.
When I say a Taj Mahal of artists visited his home in his younger days, I don’t mean just one or two famous “regular” artists like you may think. I mean the likes of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Earl Scruggs, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis among others.
Williams first stepped on stage and performed his father’s songs at the age of eight and this was just the beginning of what would become what is today a very successful musical career.
In fact, to date, Hank Williams Jr. has 109 hit singles and is by far the most sought after concert ticket in the country music industry.
His career has seen him honored and awarded many times over the years of sitting somewhere between raisin’ hell and amazing grace. He was the 2006 Johnny Cash Visionary Award recipient and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2020.
He’s won countless Grammy Awards for his musical talents but it’s not about the accolades for Bocephus. He says “I’m tryin’ to keep my daddy’s legacy alive in a world that’s becoming more and more blind to those trailblazers as time rolls on.” I guess you could say, it really is a “Family Tradition” in more than one way. Not only is Bocephus keeping the Drifter’s legacy alive, he’s also paving the way for the future of outlaw country.
Happy 72nd Birthday to the Icon himself, Hank Williams Jr.
It’s no secret that the Atlanta Braves have one of the most talented and hungry teams in the entire MLB. After all, they were just one win shy of earning their first berth in the World Series since that Commissioner’s Trophy made the glorious trip back to Atlanta in 1995.
This team has so much talent, quite possibly the most talent that I’ve seen return to one team since the mid-2000s, when we were in the in the midst of an unprecedented 14-consecutive division titles under the legendary Bobby Cox.
I truly believe that this team has every capability of bringing another Commissioner’s Trophy home to Atlanta. Tomorrow, the road to the World Series begins at 2:05 p.m CT in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Citizens Bank Park.
Aaron Nola will make his fourth-consecutive Opening Day start in the red pinstripes, while Brian Snitker will hand the rock to Max Fried, who will be making his first-career Opening Day start.