The Top 10 Football Games in History (Of Our Family)

30 Oct
A goalpost keepsake from a rare Wake win over the Tigers.

A goalpost keepsake from a rare Wake win over the Tigers.

10. Front-yard Football (1980 something): It was destined to be just another hot, sweaty but fun neighborhood game at 120 Waverly Hall Close in Roswell until I tried to tackle the hulking Jay Scoggins, his power and my momentum swinging me over the sideline into a waiting rock. Diagnosis: fractured leg.

9. Wake Forest vs. North Carolina (2006): Not only was it a clutch win over the Deacs’ archrival and critical to keeping our conference title and Orange Bowl hopes alive, but the victory was also sealed by a last second end zone interception by LB Jon Abbate, who had lost his younger brother in a tragic car accident earlier in the year.

8. Westminster vs. North Springs High School (1989): I got my first (and only) career interception. In perhaps another decade or so, embellishment will be called for, e.g., that the pick came during a critical varsity playoff run, not mop-up duty on the JV.

7. Falcons vs. Vikings (1999 NFC Title Game): We were flying back from Vegas, and the score updates from the cockpit were not so encouraging. Right after we, um, touched down in Atlanta, the Dirty Birds started getting some big breaks leading to Morten Andersen putting it through the uprights in OT and Super Bowl fever spreading instantly throughout the city.

6. Westminster vs. Dalton High School (1991): Our “small but slow” Wildcat team trekked up to North Georgia to face a Dalton powerhouse program that had amassed a 97-20-4 record in the prior decade. Sparked by the kickoff return TD of my first cousin Thomas (who, as you can see here, was accustomed to dramatic performances), we returned to Atlanta with a huge W.

5. “The Choke in Doak,” aka Florida vs. Florida State (1994): Seated in special, overflow-crowd end-zone bleachers, my family and I soaked up an amazing chapter in the best football rivalry of the ‘90s and witnessed an historic comeback by the hometown ‘Noles, which somehow forced a tie after trailing 31-3 in the 4th quarter. You know it’s quite another level of football intensity when the whole marching band enters the field chanting an obscenity toward the visitors.

4. Westminster vs. St. Pius (1988): My brother had his career rushing game (154 yards) during a torrential downpour in Atlanta. “I remember Dad and [Uncle] Bud walking out on the field to congratulate me [and] worrying about getting Bud dirty with a hand shake,” Greg said. “I started fumbling around for a nonexistent dry spot on my uni, when suddenly I’m enveloped by a Bubby bear hug!”

3. Clemson vs. Wake Forest (1992): My Deacs beat Clemson on the gridiron about once every two blue moons, but this college freshman didn’t have to wait long for the special occasion. Finding ourselves with extra, unexpected motivation to celebrate on that Halloween, we stormed the field and later I got a piece of the goalpost as a memento (see photo).

2. Ga. Tech vs. Wake Forest (2006): The weather and the final score (9-6) were pretty ugly, but the result was so beautiful: my Deacons’ first conference title in 36 years! (Believe it or not, my wife got to slip on an Orange Bowl committee member’s blazer back at the post-game tailgate.)

1. Ga. Tech vs. UVa. (1990): Never has a family football clash held so much significance and offered so much drama — my brother’s #1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers hosting my father’s (and childhood) team, Ga. Tech, which would finish that season #1. The Yellow Jackets prevailed in an epic, back-and-forth 41-38 game with a last minute Scott Sisson field goal.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Are Georgians getting the business?

26 Sep

Are Georgia laborers getting worked? Jobbed? They’re certainly not getting enough work/jobs, at least according to employment figures released last week. The Peach State ranked worst nationally in unemployment for the month of August at 8.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the state has been ranked No. 1 for business climate three times since 4th quarter 2013 — by Site Selection magazine, CNBC and Area Development Online.

Into the Wild and Today Into Canada

25 Aug Going up the Chilkoot Pass in 1995

If all goes well and according to plan, today my brother, brother-in-law, friend and I will be going over the Chilkoot Pass from Alaska into Canada. This will be my fourth time scaling the “Golden Stairs,” which is the most difficult part of the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail that offered quite a demanding deliverance to gold rushers of 1898 attempting to reach the Yukon Territory to stake their claims.

Just four Georgia boys enjoying the wilderness, the history, the camaraderie and a healthy resetting of the senses!

Going up the Chilkoot Pass in 1995

Going up the Chilkoot Pass in 1995

 

My Top 5 Favorite Mistakes

31 Jul

I’m the king of mistakes. Just ask my wife! [cue rimshot]

Not sure if it was a country song, a Sunday sermon or perhaps just a routine counting of my blessings, but I recently got to thinking about the missteps along life’s road and the good that can come from them — luck, character, patience, unanswered prayers, etc.

5. DOUBLE BREAKER: I was hitting my approach to the 3rd green at my father’s golf club and was quite sure I’d be trying again with a new ball as my shot was destined for the middle of the creek fronting the putting surface. Except luck, usually a stranger to my golf game, intervened. I watched in pleasant disbelief as my ball bounced off the bridge spanning the water hazard and then proceeded to carom off a pine toward the green.

4. SUMMERTIME BLUES: For the summer of ’94 all this college student wanted was to leave Georgia and Hotlanta behind for independence, adventure and a resort job out West. Instead I found myself working a poorly planned concessions stand at Tank Top Golf Club in Bremen, Ga., which was a brutal hour or so commute west of the city. I also had a hydroplaning accident and an interstate breakdown trying to get out to the job! The good man upstairs took pity and rewarded me with an Alaskan summer the next year and a Europe-Olympics-Bahamas season after that.

3. THE ROAD MORE TRAVELED: After getting my master’s degree in ’03 the last thing I wanted to do is return to Atlanta, but a job brought me back to town. And the new gig was where I met my beautiful wife.

1-2. SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE: Hard to believe that for both of our beautiful babies I was rooting for a boy (Full Disclosure: the Lee name is still in doubt for the next generation). Now that I’ve learned to think pink and play princess there’s no going back!

 

Say What?

13 Jun

I speak, therefore I am… entertainment.

So my boss likened himself to Michael Jordan last week. Yep…

After a good bit of head scratchin’, said noggin got to thinking of funny and far-out quotes down through the years. I love quotables and that’s not just the former/sometimes journalist in me talking. We hold up the legendary “quotesmiths” in politics (Churchill), literature (Twain) and sports (from Yogi Berra to Valvano and Bowden), but to me it’s really about anybody letting their guard down or giving us a look into their mind – beautiful or innocent, comical and/or off kilter – a sampling of their soul.

Not surprisingly, the following quotes fall into the funny category:

“Goin’ crazy don’t make no sense at all.”

My father to a good family friend as we rode a Colorado ski lift up the mountain and plotted the path of, well, most resistance down it. In other words, they wanted nothing of black & blue runs or physical toll. My dad, who still recites this one today given the proper context, has thanked me for catching it before the moment and comment slipped off into oblivion.

“I want my burger cooked well done. Red meat is bad for you.”

A fellow junior golf student had a precocious grasp of nutrition.

“Your car has strange breath.”

My 5-year-old commenting recently in her own very unique way on the aroma in my Saturn, a special blend of old gym towel, still-not-deposited recyclables, empty but unrinsed beer growler and other things not so savory.

“You are slow. I leave you now.”

A college classmate friend and I were hiking from Alaska into Canada in 2001 when we intermittently would come into contact with a lone, foreign male adventurer, who in all of his awesome German bluntness offered this one up when we Americans were deemed not up to his hiking standards. Later on that day, in classic tortoise-and-the-hare fashion we passed “Helmut” who had decided to set up camp a few miles short of our stopping point.

“Did you impregnate my card?”

Did my Uncle Bud mean swipe his credit card when he said this to a hotel front desk clerk? Or did he want his room key card activated? All I know is that Miller Lite was likely a factor.

“We apologize for any incontinence this may cause you.”

The close of a building-wide yet very personal memo from the facility maintenance team announcing a parking lot remediation project at my old office.

STAT OF THE WEEK: A for Advancement

23 May Atlanta

Young and looking to start your career? Look no further than Atlanta, GA.

The Big A takes the top spot in a ranking of best U.S. cities for recent college graduates. The ranking released this week by MarketWatch.com took into account starting salary levels, rent affordability and the presence of major employers (e.g., Coke, The Home Depot and Delta).

If your entrepreneurial spirit decides to stay, it’s good to know your home has staying power.

Biz2Credit recently named Atlanta No. 8 on its list of the 25 best small business cities in America. Ranking criteria included annual revenue, credit score, age of business (in months), cash flow, debt-to-income ratio, incorporation (C-Corp or LLC versus sole proprietorship) and business owners’ personal credit scores.

Just be careful if moving up in your profession or industry requires a lot of moving around town. Atlanta ranked behind only Houston for having the least courteous drivers in the U.S.

Atlanta From Piedmont Park

 

 

 

 

Honey, We Shrunk the House!

30 Apr

To reduce your living space, start with a small house. Add more and more stuff, another baby and winter. Mix in a family virus every other week and stir — crazy.

Welcome to our winter. To say the walls were closing in is like saying a trash compactor is a tad stifling.

With spring has come a brighter outlook and a clearer picture of our house renovation plans, i.e., we’re close to wrapping up the architectural drawings for our home expansion and starting the bidding process.

There should be a word that combines a euphoric, hallelujah-like expectation with the pre-exhaustion of facing a mountain of a major project. I bet the Germans have one…

My mother-in-law recently wondered aloud how we have managed to cope in this jam, cram and scram existence (the latter part mostly pertains to my daily thoughts about our dog, whose 19 lbs. or so really shouldn’t take up that much space). And she grew up in a smaller house with three to four more inhabitants!

We all have heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder. What happens when you go the opposite route, when your living space is akin to a can of sardines?! Despite the cabin fever, the lines for the bathroom, near-crippling injuries from stepping on kiddy toys, the ever-present fear of a single floor creak waking up the baby, bumping into bathroom doors and ducking cabinet ones, our family has almost emerged with love intact and good spatial values.

Just ask my real estate agent Leonardo Da Vinci about the latter: “Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.”

I’m certainly not aiming for weakening of the mind with our house expansion, just the easing of it. Really looking forward to that… after living out of a suitcase/apartment for 4 to 6 months!

Our house is not for sale, but you might say the family is more than a bit antsy for an upgrade.

Our house is not for sale, but you might say the family is more than a bit antsy for an upgrade.

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