Tag Archives: Basketball

The Lafayette Expedition

17 Jun

Over the weekend, my wife and I visited her uncle in Lafayette, Tennessee. Before we go too far, you need to know that it is not pronounced in the French way. Around here, the emphasis is on the long A in the middle syllable.

I was looking forward to this visit because I had a few questions for her uncle. First, where is the Butler Cemetery? You may remember a few posts back when I wrote about John Washington Butler, the man who sponsored Tennessee’s anti-evolution bill in 1925. He is buried in Butler Cemetery, and I wanted to find it.

Her uncle had an idea where it was, and, after our visit, we went looking for it. Luckily, we found it not far from the main road. The small cemetery sits it a grove of trees between a small house and a cattle field.image-39

We found Representative Butler’s headstone and looked at some of the others. One was a Civil War veteran who fought for a Kentucky regiment. I would bet anything that he fought for the Union.

As we walked around the markers, I wondered how many people realized who was buried there. Butler’s bill sparked a debate in this country that continues 90 years later. Now, he lies in a shady cemetery on a country road.

That was interesting, but I also had some other questions for my wife’s uncle. Next, did he go to school with Rita Coolidge? She grew up in Lafayette before going on to marry Kris Kristofferson. She also broke up Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and sang the theme song for a James Bond movie.

While talking about her, my wife’s uncle said that Russell Smith grew up next door. He wrote “Third Rate Romance” and recorded it with The Amazing Rhythm Aces.

I had a third question for her uncle. Does he ever see Nera White? She farms and lives a reclusive life, but she is considered by many to be the best female basketball player of all time. One of the first women to be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, she led the Nashville Business College to 10 AAU national championships. In the late 1950s, the US National team won the world championship, and she was chosen the Best Woman Player in the World.

My wife’s uncle is younger than Rita Coolidge and did not know her. He never sees Nera White. However, he lives in an interesting town that has produced some interesting people. I still have the same thought that I had while walking through the Butler Cemetery. I wonder how many people know about those who came before.


Block Party

22 Feb

It finally happened. Somebody blocked me on Twitter. I guess that makes me an official Twitter person. To celebrate this achievement, we are throwing a block party. We are going to have hamburgers, hot dogs and games for all. Never fear. The libations will be flowing. We will also have all kinds of special guests.

This kind of block.Concrete Block

And, this kind of block.Basketball Block

And, who can have a party without this kind of block?Toy Block

It may get really crazy with the arrival of these blocks.Lego

Of course, we have to invite the blockers.Cumberland Football

And a Blocker.Dan Blocker

To keep out the riff raff, we need a roadblock.Road Block

A great time will be had by all. Except for the blockheads who are not invited.

Listeria – Greatest Athletes of All Time

22 Nov

Once again, I went to the magazine stand at the grocery store. That means we have another case of Listeria, and this one is all about sports. Beckett called together a panel of experts and compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Athletes of All Time. With a collection like this, there are always arguments of who does and doesn’t belong. There are also arguments about the order.

However, I did not buy the magazine to quibble over the details. I was curious to know how many of the athletes I have seen in person. That smaller list is as follows.

Peyton Manning (41) – I was at the Rose Bowl when Peyton Manning entered his first college game against UCLA. The starter was injured on the first play, and the backups were thrown into the fray. Todd Helton was one of those backups, but Manning turned into the quarterback of the future. I attended most of his college games and have seen him in the NFL several times.

Jerry Rice (36) and Joe Montana (19) – Super Bowl XXIII saw the San Francisco 49er’s against the Cincinnati Bengals. Both of these guys played in that game, and Montana led San Francisco on the game winning drive as time ran out. My dad took me to the game, and, admittedly, I was cheering for the Bengals because Time McGee, a former player at Tennessee, was on their team.Super Bowl

Walter Payton (30) – I grew up a Cowboys fan, and my dad took me to Dallas to watch them play against the Chicago Bears. It was my first NFL game and my first time on an airplane. I don’t remember what Walter Payton did, but I was happy because the Cowboys won. I was also happy because I saw the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

Deion Sanders (29) – Deion Sanders was a two-sport star, but I only saw him play baseball for the Atlanta Braves. Memories of the game are fuzzy, and I have no idea how he played. I just know that everyone was amazed that he could be one of the best players in two professional leagues.

Magic Johnson (17) – My dad and I saw the Los Angeles Lakers play the Detroit Pistons, and it was awesome in many ways. We stayed at the same hotel as the Lakers and stood outside as they boarded the team bus. At the game, we spent one half court side and another half in the owner’s box. The Lakers won, but the Pistons got revenge by beating them in the championship series. Oh yeah, Bob Seger was in the box with us.

Bo Jackson (12) – He is known for football, baseball and Nike Commercials, but I saw him before all of that. In 1985, Jackson and the Number 1 ranked Auburn Tigers came to Neyland Stadium to play Tennessee. Jackson would win the Heisman that year, but he didn’t win it during this game. He only got a few yards and eventually left the game. Tennessee won in a blowout, and Tony Robinson, Tennessee’s quarterback, made the cover of Sports Illustrated.Tony Robinson

Wayne Gretzky (4) – Late in his career, Wayne Gretzky came to town to play the Nashville Predators. Everyone wanted a ticket to that game, and I was lucky enough to get one. He didn’t score any goals but proved he was “The Greatest” by getting five assists. I remember that he set up behind the net and dominated.

Should these people be on the list or placed where they are? I don’t know. I am just glad have the opportunity to see them perform. In the first pages of the magazine, they list 10 athletes who are on their way to stardom. Luckily, I have also seen a couple of them – Andrew Luck and Landon Donovan. Now, it’s time to see if they make the next list.

Let’s Go Peay!

3 Sep

College football season has begun, and it was a rousing start for the University of Tennessee. With a 45-0 victory over Austin Peay State University, they got an easy but much-needed win. Instead of boring you with the details of the game, I have decided to share some information about the opposing school.

Austin Peay State University is in Clarksville, Tennessee, which is not too far from Nashville. Clarksville is known for a few things other than the university. It is the largest city around Fort Campbell, a major military installation and home of the 101st Airborne. Legend states that it is the Clarksville mentioned in “The Last Train to Clarksville” by The Monkees. In another musical connection, Jimi Hendrix was stationed at Fort Campbell when he was in the army.

Wilma Rudolph is probably Clarksville’s most famous native. During the 1960 Olympics, she was the first woman to win three gold medals in track and field.Wilma Rudolph

Rudolph did not compete for Austin Peay. Instead, she took her talents to Tennessee State University and its famous track and field team.

Athletically, Austin Peay State University is known more for a chant by the fans than by what happens on the field. To spur their teams to victory, the fans yell, “Let’s Go Peay!” Obviously, that has a double meaning and gets laughs from other fans. However, it was better in the 1970s when Fly Williams played basketball for APSU. A New York City playground legend, Williams managed to find his way to Clarksville.Fly Williams

When Williams was on the court, the fans chanted, “The Fly is Open! Let’s Go Peay!” It could be the greatest chant in college fandom history.

You may be wondering how a school can get a name like Austin Peay that leads to such chants. Austin Peay was the governor of Tennessee in the 1920s, when the university received its charter. Austin Peay

He signed into law the Butler Act, which outlawed the teaching of evolution in Tennessee Schools. This led to the Scopes Monkey Trial, one of the most famous trials in the history of the United States. Ironically, Peay stated that the law should never be put into effect. While it has been stricken from the books, the debate over the theory of evolution and creation continues well into the 21st Century.

I wonder if the evolution folks chanted “Let’s Go Peay!” when he signed the law.

Hey, Duck! You Should Have Ducked!

30 Aug

A student dropped by my office, and I told him this story. I may as well put in on here, too.

The first rounds of the NCAA Tournament are played in Nashville on a regular basis. We try to get tickets because it is a fun event to attend. You see some great basketball games, and you get to interact with different fan bases. We have seen great upsets and a lot of blowouts. However, one event sticks out that didn’t involve the players.

Several years ago, the University of Oregon played the University of Utah in a first round game. I can’t tell you anything about the game. I don’t know who won, and I have no idea if it was close. I can tell you what happened during one of the breaks in play.

The Oregon cheerleaders were performing a routine in the middle of the floor. Before I go any further, I must say that Oregon has the best cheerleading squad that I have ever seen. I have been to countless sporting events, and no one is better than them.Oregon

That’s also what my buddy was saying as they performed. “Oh!” But, it was followed by a “my!”

Anyway, they were going through their performance when the Utah mascot, some kind of bird, starting walking around on stilts. Apparently, the Oregon mascot, a duck, thought he was getting too close to the cheerleaders. That’s when the duck confronted the bird and motioned for him to get off the court. The bird didn’t budge, so the duck did what any good mascot would do. He grabbed the stilts and started shaking them.

That’s when the Utah bird came off the stilts and decked the duck. The duck retaliated, and, before we knew it, they had each knocked off the other one’s head. The fight was on. A duck with a human head and a bird with a human head were duking it out. This wasn’t some tiddlywinks fight, either. There were some good punches thrown before they started wrestling on the floor.

In the meantime, the male cheerleaders from both squads were bumping chests and about to brawl. (Editorial comment: Male cheerleaders get a bad rap. It looks like a pretty good job to me. On top of that, they have to be pretty strong.)

Before things got too out of hand, security came over and broke up the mascots and the male cheerleaders. But, here’s the thing. The cheerleaders who were performing never broke their routine. It was just like nothing was happening. Maybe, they see this kind of thing all of the time.

In a couple of weeks, I am traveling to Oregon to watch my team, Tennessee, play football against them. I am not sure how good the game will be, so I hope there will be another mascot fight. I think Smokey can take him.

That Senator in the Headlights Look

30 Apr

This afternoon, my brother sent a picture of my nephew with Lamar Alexander, two-time governor and current U.S. senator from Tennessee. Alexander has been a major part of this state’s political scene since the 1970s and ran in the presidential primary in the 1990s. In short, he has long been one of the most powerful politicians in Tennessee.Lamar Alexander

This post is not about Alexander’s political career or about my nephew having his picture made with him. It is about a night that my friends and I had a “run in” with him.

Several years ago, we were driving to Knoxville to watch the University of Tennessee play basketball. My friend Jeff was driving, which is always a little adventurous. He was the one driving when we encountered “The Terror on the Plateau“.

Anyway, we were running late and pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before the game was going to begin. Jeff was whipping through the aisles trying to find a parking place. He rounded a corner at what felt like a blazing speed when his headlights fell upon a man walking from his car. The man turned with that “deer in the headlights” look and raised his hands for protection. Honestly, he looked like the one-armed man in The Fugitive.One Armed Man

Jeff slammed on his brakes and skidded to a stop. The man stood there. We sat there. That’s when I said, ” Jeff, you almost ran over Senator Lamar Alexander.”

When the shock wore off, the senator walked away as fast as possible. We found a parking spot and made it to our seats, where we could see Alexander sitting across the court. A few minutes before the game was over, we noticed that he had left. We assumed that he wanted to get out of there before that madman got back behind the wheel.

Thinking back on that night, I have often wondered how history would have been changed if Jeff had plowed into a senator.

What Is This Post About?

17 Mar

There’s not much going on in my head tonight. No words of wisdom. No original blogging ideas. Heck, I’m not even sure why I turned on the computer and logged into WordPress. It could be that I got tired of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on BBC America. The episode that just ended saw Geordi turn into an alien. The next episode has Barkley turning into a superhuman. It seems that everyone is always turning into something on that show.

I went to a couple of sessions of the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament this week. My team lost, and the other games weren’t very exciting, either. Probably, the most exciting part about the week was finding myself behind a Fisker Karma. Don’t worry. I also didn’t know what it was, but I looked up the price. Base: $94,000.

The Karma

The Karma

I hope the driver remembers that Karma is a bitch sometimes.

For some reason, Eric Cartman just entered my head.Eric CartmanI haven’t seen Southpark in a long time. Unlike Star Trek: The Next Generation, they don’t turn into different things on that show. They do a lot of funny crap, though.

Oh, there’s this other thing that popped into my head. The Moody Blues recorded an album called Days of Future Past that I have always been fascinated with.Moody Blues

It’s a concept album that takes the listener through the day from morning until night. Each song is about a certain time of day. The album includes Nights in White Satin and other songs, but it begins and ends with poetry. Those poems are what has fascinated me.

The Day Begins

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

Pinprick holes in a colourless sky
Let insipid figures of light pass by
The mighty light of ten thousand suns
Challenges infinity and is soon gone
Night time, to some a brief interlude
To others the fear of solitude

Brave Helios, wake up your steeds
Bring the warmth the countryside needs

Late Lament

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day’s useless energy spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is grey and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

So, what is this post about?

It’s about a car that is a bitch to pay for and could be a bitch to drive.

It’s about Eric Cartman, one of the great authority figures of our time.

It’s about the poetry of the Moody Blues.

It’s about needing to write something and just letting stuff pour onto the screen.