Category: Huntsville Times Columns

Good Tidings


You never know whether Good Bama or Bad Bama is going to show up for a game. We lucked out Saturday night as we watched Good Bama, who had been on vacation against Tulane last week, thrash Western Kentucky 41-7 from our nosebleed seats atop the north end zone. We learned that if you just close your eyes and think cool thoughts, it feels just like you’re sitting in one of those fancy-pants air-conditioned skyboxes.

We saw lots of Tide touchdowns from a very balanced run/pass attack (freshman running back Mark Ingram, by the way, is the real deal), and the lone Hilltopper touchdown was the first scored on the defense this year.… Read the rest

Hairy Mascots and Hurricanes

I’ll be headed down to T-town with Number Three Son tomorrow to watch the Crimson Tide take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. My parents-in-law lived in Bowling Green, KY from 1997-2004, so I had the opportunity to watch WKU play many different sports over the years, and I even saw one of their football playoff games in 2002, the year they won the I-AA national championship. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of progress they’re making as they continue the transition to big boy ball.

I’m all for progress as long as it’s not at the Crimson Tide’s expense. It shouldn’t be that close, but with our still relatively young crew, you never know.… Read the rest

A Million Little Lies?

A reader writes:

This sounds like a reprise of your April Fools post.

He’s referring to my most recent HT community column sounding like my 4/01/08 “We’re moving to Durham, NC–Gotcha!” post.

I get his point–“if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”

And I will admit that on occasion I do use a little “artistic license” when telling a story. What writer–or preacher–doesn’t?

But I can assure him, and you, that when it comes to this particular story, I’m no James Frey.Read the rest

Old Olympic Dreams Never Die–They Just Go Slower

Ah yes, the ol’ missing first paragraph is back:

My Olympic dream died sometime around 1978. The reality was that I could barely crack the top 10 of an average high school cross country race, so there was little hope of me ever mounting the winner’s platform and hearing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in my lifetime.

And here’s the rest.

Here’s some footage of me running the last lap in that charity fundraiser at Harding University in 1983.

And here I am today with my Sunday morning running buddies, “Team Wannabe” (that’s actual speed, not slow-mo).

Old Olympic dreams never die–they just go slower.… Read the rest

My Olympic Dream Dead? Not So Fast!

For Jim Ryun, his Olympic dream of winning a gold medal went unfulfilled. He failed to qualify for the 1500 meter final in 1964 (he was still in high school, though) and then finished second to Kip Keino in the high altitude air at Mexico City in 1968.

But the most bitter disappointment came in 1972 when he was tripped by another runner in a qualifying heat. Although the judges ruled that he was fouled, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for reasons still not understood, didn’t reinstate him. Dream over.

Still, an Olympic Silver Medal, a world record in the mile and a high school mile record (3:55.3) set in 1965 that stood for 36 years–not too shabby if you ask me.… Read the rest

Where Were You In ’72?

In a few minutes, I’ll lace up my Nike Vomero running shoes (black and gold swoosh for Harding–Hail, alma mater!) and once again hit the pavement for an early morning 5-miler. It’s a habit with roots from the early 1970s, more specifically, the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

I’ve been reminiscing some about that time these past few days as I’ve been writing my next Huntsville Times community column which will appear on August 10th, the opening weekend of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

Here’s a sneak preview:

During the 1972 Munich Games, American runners like Jim Ryun, Steve Prefontaine, Dave Wottle and Frank Shorter captured my elementary schoolboy imagination and launched my own much less stellar running career…

…I fashioned a makeshift running singlet by cutting off the sleeves of a white t-shirt and stenciling a crude “U.S.A.”

Read the rest

“We the People” Are a Motley and Colorful Crew

My Huntsville Times community column this month is dedicated to Chris and Suzanne, Jane, Father Ray, Marquez, Maricela and many others (e.g., Nic and Diane, Uncle Dick, M.C., Mike and Jeanette and their three fine sons and, of course, Elsie) who made our recent Washington D.C. trip one to remember but whose names I didn’t mention because they limit me to only 680 words.

But I mention them now because it’s my blog and I can if I want to!

Let freedom ring, baby.… Read the rest

Color Me Audacious

Recently, during a Bible class at my church, the teacher, a man in his early 30s, said something to this effect: I wish we could return to our 1950s morality.

I immediately thought: Which 1950s morality are you talking about? The black and white, warm and fuzzy, cut and dry predictability of Ozzie and Harriet or the black and white Jim Crow laws and state-supported racism which consigned a significant portion of our Southern population to second-class citizenship, public lynchings and other various and sundry travesties of justice?

And what year were you born in? 1975? What could you possibly know about “1950s morality?”Read the rest

All American Plans

Sorry, but this one was just too sweet not to post again.

I have big, big plans for the 4th:

  • Put up a blog post (check)
  • Water my new sod in the front yard (working on it as I write)
  • Run 5 miles
  • Watch a little Wimbledon (but where have all the McEnroes gone? Thank goodness for the Williams sisters)
  • Go see a movie (I’m open to suggestions, but I’m leaning toward WALL-E)
  • Cookout with the parents-in-law (FIL grills the best burger in Huntsville-seriously)
  • Go see the Huntsville Stars play the Birmingham Barons and watch fireworks afterwards
  • Catch a little of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon (no cooler T&F venue in the universe)
  • Fall blissfully asleep on the couch
  • Wake up at 1:00 AM and stumble to bed

If those aren’t All American plans, I don’t know what is.… Read the rest

How to Do D.C.

Eyegal and I have been in Washington, D.C. since Wednesday for a little getaway plus a friend’s wedding, and we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to “do D.C.” I’ll probably have more to say about my impressions of this wonderful city and the wedding later in the week, but since we’re traveling back today this will have to do for now:

  • For outdoor touring, pick the one day in the summer when the temperature tops out at a mere 75 degrees with only a trace of humidity and a few scattered clouds. Oh wait–that was last Thursday and probably won’t happen again anytime soon.
Read the rest

Good News, Bad News

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that the Huntsville Times finally managed to get my entire column, including the all-important opening paragraph, into the online edition this month. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, I guess.

The bad news is that the title, “Even Menial Summer Jobs Can Elevate One’s Stature” is not what I had chosen at all. It’s not horrible, but I don’t think it has quite the punch as my choice, “Looking for Job Fulfillment? Try Cleaning a Floor.” I’m really not concerned as much about “raising one’s stature” in this piece as I am “lowering it,” and finding meaning in humility and service.… Read the rest

Speaking of Bloodletting…

I recently reduced my nostalgia series on work (here, here and here) from a whopping and totally-out-of-control 3,645 words to a slim and trim 672 for my upcoming Huntsville Times community column this Sunday.

Yes, politicians and preachers, it is possible to keep it “short and sweet.” You just have to work at it.

My disdain for “verbal sprawl” goes back quite a ways. Over the years, I’ve served as a reviewer for several professional journals and have edited a large number of manuscripts to prepare them for publication. I gained a reputation as a reviewer who “bled red.”… Read the rest

Not “Mom,” But Something Close

I’m going to go ahead and lower expectations for my community column which will appear in this Sunday’s Huntsville Times. I know that many will be expecting a Mother’s Day Special, but it ain’t happening. Sorry.

Here’s the truth: When I was coming up with a topic for this month, I completely forgot that my column would appear on Mother’s Day. In fact, I didn’t realize it was this Sunday until, oh, about 3 days ago (and my deadline was a week ago Thursday).

If you’re looking for an ode to get you in the mood for honoring your favorite mama, then you’re barking up the wrong tree, my precious coon dogs.… Read the rest