O is Orange Crush

I’m not talking about the classic REM song. Gamecock football fans know what I’m talking about. For years the schedule makers would have us ending the season against Tennessee, Florida and Clemson. All three school’s primary colors are orange. Nearly every season we’d get our skulls caved in by the Vols and the Gators. By the time we’d get to Clemson, our arch rival, we’d be battered and bruised. More times than not we’d lose to them too.

Every year we started well it was like Charlie Brown kicking the ball just to have Lucy pull it away again. We’d could start the year in pretty good shape and Gamecock fans would be excited at the possibility of a good bowl game.

It didn’t matter though after that dreaded 3 game stretch 5-3 or 6-2 starts would end with either sitting at home during bowl season or playing in some crap bowl after finish 5-6 or 6-5 again.

Thankfully about 10 years ago they started adding bye weeks or non-conference games before Clemson. It did a great job of breaking up that run of tough opponents.

Carolina joined the SEC in 1992 and in the 14 years prior to the change in 2005 Carolina went a combined 5-37 against the Orange Crush. With 4 wins coming against Clemson and the lone win against our orange clad SEC brothers coming against UT in 1992.

The change, amongst other things including Tennessee and Florida regressing, worked. Since 2005 Carolina is a combined 16-17 against those 3 and more importantly 6-5 against Clemson.

That might not be something to write home about, but it is leaps and bounds better than 5-37!

What are some of your not so fond sports memories?

N is for Naked Running Spells

I lived on campus my first year at Carolina and loved every minute of it. It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. I became close friends with some great people there including the 3Cs of Longcreek Drive. One evening while listening to Paul Simon’s Kodachrome I got jacked up and took off running down the dorm hallway full blast. Over the next few days upon hearing those magical words, “When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school..” I’d takeoff running. It kind of became a running joke and I’d do it a lot when drunk. It was a blast to run full blast down that hall. Later C #1 would call them running spells.

The story gets better.   Our suite was a popular hang out spot. We had a Sega Genesis and two of the four guys who lived there were seldom there so we had more space. One of my suite-mates, K, really didn’t like people in his room after 9. He was seldom there though as he spent most of his time at the library. He required 9-10 hours of sleep per night plus naps at the library so when he’d come back to his room he was ready for bed.

One night, K, steps out of the shower with towel around his waist. He sees about 4 guys sitting on his bed so he steps into the hall and removes the towel from around his waist. Ala Superman he hangs it over his shoulder as a makeshift cape and the Naked Running Spell was born. From that night on all it would take for folks to clear out of his room would be for K to step out of the shower with his towel around his waist and him casually mention it being a good night for a run. Occasionally he’d have to accidentally drop his towel by his bed, but eventually we all got the point and he got his peace and quiet by 9.

What are some of your dorm room stories?

M is for Mothers

A few days ago I shared with you my take on fathers. My take on mothers is a lot rosier. It of course comes from the two mothers in my life. Granted she’s made a lot of mistakes, but my mama is a very loving and caring mother. She’s very generous and is very helpful with BG and LM. E and I can always count on her and my step-dad to be there when we need them. I love them both dearly. They’re excellent parents and grandparents.

The other mother in my life is of course my infinitely better half, E. My children couldn’t ask for a better mama. As LM used to sing 

“I love my mama she’s the best. Oh my mama she’s the best. Oh my mama, oh my mama, she’s the really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really best.”

She really is great too! She’s not only good at the typical mom stuff like baking cookies, kissing boo boos and comforting them when they’re scared, but she is one of the most empathic people I’ve ever known. No matter what LM is going through she can get down on his level and be what ever he needs without even having to ask what he needs. It’s awe inspiring. We have a bit of a running joke that she speaks LM. He often gets wound up when trying to describe a situation and I sometimes have no idea what he’s talking about. I call for an interpreter and usually within moments she knows exactly what he is saying and the situation gets resolved. He loses things a lot. She’ll put herself in his world and finds it within seconds. It’s uncanny.

 BG thinks she is the sun and the moon. Wherever E us that is where she needs to be. Bathroom visits? Not without her watching. Making dinner? Not without her under her foot. I sometimes tell BG that E is my mommie and the if looks could kill I wouldn’t be here to share this story.

She truly is amazing with them both, but despite how awesome she is she seems to frequently doubt her parenting skills. If she could see the way I see her look at our children and the way they look at her maybe it would help. Maybe not, but I know she loves them dearly and she tries her very best and as LM says:

“I wouldn’t want any other mommie. If I could have any mommie in the world I’d want my mommie.”

Me too LM, me too.

L is for Longcreek Drive

The first rule of Wrestling Club is that you don’t talk about wrestling club. The second rule of Wrestling club? Yeah you know the rundown. Fight Club was very popular when I was in college.

My roommates and I, we’ll call to them as the 3 Cs, loved the movie. In fact we loved it so much we staged our own Fight Club scenes, but instead of bare knuckle fighting we’d have Olympic style wrestling matches. 

C #1 wrestled in high school, and had a state champion older brother turned high school coach, so he was the reigning champion.

C #2 also wrestled in high school, but was 5’5″ and weighed 130 pounds soaking wet. He held his own, but was really too small to win very often.

C #3, like me didn’t know anything about wrestling, but was by far the biggest and strongest of the four of us.

I knew nothing about wrestling, but I am fairly athletic and was stronger than the first two Cs.

We had some epic battles that first year. We’d hold 3 or 4 matches a week. Entrance music and all. Wrestling club was was serious business. 

We lived on the 1st floor that first year, but due to maintenance issues we were forced to move upstairs shortly after our first lease expired. The very first night after we had new people move in below us Wrestling Club came to an end. Apparently, 4 21-22 year old men wrestling in an apartment is very noisy to people living below them.

I have lots of funny stories about living with those guys, but I’ll keep this post short as I am way behind on the challenge and need to write my M post as well tonight.

Remember the most important rule of Wrestling Club, if it’s your first night at Wrestling Club, you’ve gotta wrestle.

What Comes After G and just before I, H Is for……

Harold way up in the sky.

If you you know these words almost as well as you know your way home from work then your kid must have loved this video as much as LM did. E had this bookmarked in her phone for him when LM was a toddler.

You’lol have to forgive me as I’m reminiscing a bit tonight. We’re going through LMs old toys tonight that we pulled from storage. He’s already shared some of his favorites with her including his racey track and his Thomas chair.

That is one fine young man! He makes me proud to call him son every day. I’ll leave you with this exchange between the two of them as it says more than I’ll ever be able to.

LM: “Come here sweety heart. Let bubba show you how to play with the race cars. You put them there.”

He then her put the cars on the starting line.

LM: “Then you push this button. Yay baby girl you did it. Good job!”

Good job indeed.

F is for Fathers

I wish that I could say I learned everything I know about being a dad from my father, but I can’t do that. I only lived with my dad for the first 13 years of my life. He was a hard working man and a member of the National Guard and so he was seldom home. When he was there the only thing he really did other than fight with my mom was watch TV. I have little to no memories of any father son time spent fishing, playing catch, talking about life or really anything at all. In fairness he likely has Aspergers so he’s likely to be nearly incapable of those kinds of connections. It wasn’t all bad though, I had two older brothers, uncles and the best grandfather any boy could ever want. I cherish everything that each one of them taught me as a boy.

Today, my father and I rarely see each other and in fact he’s never met BG. It’s ok I’ve come to grips with that a long time ago. It helped that during my senior year in high school remarried my mom remarried. The man she married, RC, is a wonderful dad and love both me and my children as his own. 

I try to do my best to do right by LM and BG, but I often fail. I get distracted by outside things and waste valuable time that could be spent with them on unimportant things. I get angry when thet aren’t on thei best behavior. I sometimes tell myself that at least I’m doing better than my dad did, but I know that shouldn’t be the measuring stick. I need to be the best I can be for them. They deserve that and more.

  

E……

The summer of 2003 was a tough time for me. After college graduation in 2000 I took a job with an Internet based start up and they had failed miserably. I was let go in January of 2013. Despite applying for any and every job I was qualified, over qualified or under qualified for I was still unemployed in August. So at 25 years old I moved back home to deliver pizzas like I’d done most every summer during college. I was devastated and had almost given up hope.

Shortly after moving in with my parents I had started hanging out in the Yahoo Chat rooms and one evening I met a kindred spirit that I’d later learn went to the same high school as I did and actually lived less than five miles from me. We hit it off immediately and began talking on yahoo messenger shortly after. We’d spend hours talking to each other at night. This girl was amazing, we had so much in common and I wanted to pursue her, but she was just 19 and a sophomore in college. She was too young for me and I wa certain that she had no interest in some 25 year old loser who lived with his mama. After several months of talking on messenger I’d finally convinced myself that age was just a number and I was determined to ask her out. The problem then was that I had no idea how to do that and didn’t want to lose what we already had. As fate would have it in January 2004 I’d get my opening. A huge winter storm had hit South Carolina and had shut down the roads. She was snowed in and Dominos was closed due to the weather so I had the day off. She told me she was hungry and didn’t have a way to get out. So I offered to bring her something to eat, but she declined. Luckily for me I didn’t give up and 2 months later she was talking about her family going to see The Passion of The Christ, but she was working and couldn’t go or maybe didn’t want to go with them. Either way I took a chance and asked her to go with me and she accepted this time. So on March 8, 2004 I finally met E, the love of my life and we watched The Passion for our first date. I’d like to say I loved her at first sight, but the truth is that I probably loved her long before that. As Joe Fox said, “and if she’s turns out to be as good looking as a mailbox I’d be crazy not to turn my life upside for her.” Over the next several months we’d spend as much time together as possible. She lit a fire in me and I started looking for jobs again and thanks to her my career was back on track.

I could write for hours about how special and important she is, but I’ll save some for another day. She’s given me everything. Love, support, guidance, two beautiful children and more than I could ever have imagined. She is now and will always be the OBG, my love, my E.

D is for Dwight Yoakham

Let me start out by saying that I think country music is the greatest genre in music history. However, the gap between what’s good and what Nasheville wants you to hear is, IMHO, wider than any other musical genre. Artists like Chris Knight, Jason Isbel, Jill Andrews, The Secret Sisters, Townes Van Earle and so many more extremely talented people get overlooked and we’re left with generic, polished, bland crap.

This of course isn’t new to country music, but for a brief time Dwight stood above the crowd. He was playing real life, heartbreaking grown ass people music. And the world ate it up. He set the music world on fire in 86 with Guitars and Cadillacs. He showed the world that country can be cool, country can kick ass and most importantly country doesn’t have to be perfect and polished. Now, 30 years later he’s still making records, but Nashville doesn’t care anymore. It’s their loss, but I’m still listening.

I’ll leave you with this touching moment from Buck’s funeral. Enjoy and grab some tissues.

Dwight’s Tribute

C is for Charleston

Situated on a peninsula created by the Ashley and Cooper rivers lies one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston, SC. Known as the Holy City, Charleston was once largest city in the America, not called NYC, Philadelphia or Boston.

I could go on for hours about her history and her charm, but I’ll let you go there and discover that for your self. Instead I’ll focus on what Charleston means to me.

In the spring of 2004 I met a girl. Some call her E, I’ll call her the OBG. Barely a month in and I knew she was the one. Later that spring/summer we took our first trip together. We spent 3 days in Charleston and it became our city.

Over the next year or so we’d come back for visits, but in June of 2005 while strolling along The Battery I asked her to be my wife.

Flash forward 2 years and we’re staying in a colonial mansion on the battery that had been converted to a B&B. This was the place where we found out LM was on his way.
Twelve glorious years later E and I will be back in our city, staying at our mansion for our ten year wedding anniversary Memorial Day weekend.

I can’t wait to see what this trip will bring.

Let’s Call Him B

Let me take you to rural South Carolina circa October 1983, before my beloved E was even born. I was in kindergarten, yeah I know I’m a cradle robber, and my buddies and I were on the playground having a good time. We were doing our best impersonations our favorite wrestlers. I of course was The Nature Boy. Call me lame, but I was always a sucker for a good heel and there’s never been one better than Ric Flair. My best friend B loved Ricky Steamboat. Everything was going great until the girls showed up. B upped it a notch to either impress or run them off I’m still not sure which. Either way he knocks me down and climbs up on the climbing toy, aka the top rope, and delivers Steamboat’s signature finishing move. Too bad he landed boot heel first on my shoulder and snapped my collar bone like a twig.

Flash forward 30+ years and we’re still great friends, brothers is more accurate. His wife, J, and E are best friends as well. He’s been a constant influence on my life for over 30 years. He’s an incredibly talented artist, photographer, athlete and just about anything he ever tries. He’s taught me that blood isn’t the only thing that creates family. Bonds grown out of love and mutual respect are just as strong if not stronger than any bond created by shared DNA.

We shared great times and unbelievable sad times. I was a groomsmen in his wedding and he blessed us with the wonderful gift of donating his photography skills at our wedding.

Probably the greatest joy we’ve shared was finding out that after years of trying J was pregnant, unfortunately less than a month later it was followed up with one of the lowest points of my life when they found out she had miscarried. That loss shook my entire foundation. I was angry at myself for having a kid and them not and I was pissed at God for pulling the rug out from under them. Later I would be torn between the joy that BG was on the way and this wonderful couple had nothing but this tragic loss. 

Their baby would be just a few months older than BG. I often imagine what those two kids would grow to be. Best friends? Husband and wife? Would they even like each other? The thing is I’ll never know, but what I do know is that he’s my brother and he deserves better.