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Category Archives: Professional Athlete

They Forgot to Tell the Bumblebee!

Defying the odds. Don’t you just love to hear the stories of people who were put down, ridiculed, told they couldn’t make it, kicked to the curb and ignored….who got back up and proved everybody wrong. There’s no shortage of stories like that out there.

I immediately think of two Oklahoma boys with similar paths; Steve Largent and Wes Welker. *(You really should read their Wikipedia profile!) Both were standout wide receivers in high school but anybody will tell you that there’s a vast canyon between high school success and success at the college level. But these boys made it there, too. They made it, Largent at Tulsa University and Welker at Texas Tech *(only got a scholarship because another recruit dropped out!), despite all the experts telling them that they were both too small….and too slow. Of course, for any athlete, the next step from college to the NFL is an even greater stretch. Again, they were told, “No way”! (Welker-Undrafted free agent; Largent-4th round-117th pick!) If you’re even remotely a pro football fan you’ve heard, and probably watched these two. They both went on to, much more than, stellar careers, Welker with the Patriots and Largent with the Seahawks, all the while hearing the experts on Sports Center saying they couldn’t make it. When Steve Largent retired he held all major NFL receiving records including being the first player to record 100 touchdown receptions. Wes Welker led the NFL in receptions three years and was the first in NFL history to record five 100 reception seasons. He was selected to the All-Pro Team every season of his Patriots career. Largent was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and Welker surely will be. Not too bad for a couple of boys too small…..and too slow!

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s hundreds of stories like that out there not only in sports but in business, in music…and just life in general. Stories of people who believed in themselves and refused to believe what the, so-called, experts said about them. They found a way to be motivated by the negativity.

What about you? Who’s told you that you can’t make it? Who’s kicked you to the curb and ignored you? You’re created in the image of God; Created to succeed and destined for greatness, maybe not in the NFL….but more importantly in life!

Get back up, get your focus on the Lord and His plan for your life and let’s see what happens.

The laws of physics and aerodynamics say that there’s absolutely no way the bumblebee can fly! Body’s too big, wings are too short….there’s just no way!

They just forgot to tell the bumblebee!

*Tell me your stories of overcoming unsurmountable odds!

Audio Version:

Read these:

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

A “You Can Do It” Atmosphere

 

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“Cowboy Christmas”

It’s the term that professional rodeo cowboys call the week of the 4th of July. From this time through the end of August is about the busiest time for rodeo pros traveling all over the USA garnering points and dollars in their quest to move into the top fifteen in their particular events so they can compete for the BIG money at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. Cowboys can compete in 2 rodeos a day if everything works right and there’s even an opportunity to make 3 in the same day. Those 3  would be Cody, Wyoming, Red Lodge and Livingston, Montana. I made those 3 a time or two back in the ’70’s, and early ’80’s. Many cowboys in those days, and probably today as well, include the use of an airplane to make the rigorous travel schedule even more feasible. I also did that myself, being licensed private pilot, for a few years. There’s lots of money to be awarded through July and August. I always won good money over the 4th but never really had the kind of run that a guy dreams of. There’s alway a myriad of variables to deal with when you’re rodeoing at that pace; the draw, travel restrictions, the weather, injuries, scheduling conflicts, etc. But, in my 20’s, looking back I don’t guess I minded any of those things that much.

It’s been 35 years since that was my life but I still think about it often, and especially over the 4th of July holidays. I think about the travel, the rodeos, the challenges but most of all I think of the camaraderie amongst all my rodeo friends. It was, and still is, something very special! So, if you’re out there as a spectator at St. Paul, Prescott, Greeley, Pecos, Cody, Red Lodge, Livingston or any of the other dozen or so rodeos happening simultaneously, enjoy the show….and try to appreciate the truly, last individual professional sport in America!

Here’s a couple of ‘Cowboy Christmas’ memories: One from Pecos, Texas, one of the oldest rodeos in America. The big, black bull at Pecos, FH of Steiner’s, threw me off so hard there’s probably still a dent in the arena dirt where I landed. The other pic is from Springdale, Arkansas. Sure doesn’t seem like 35 years ago!

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If you like rodeo stories, check these out:

8378 Zulu ….. and the Flight That Was Almost the Last One!

First Trip to Calgary!

“The Best Straw Hat I Ever Had!”

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Did NOT See That Coming!

Woke up yesterday, 4th of July, anticipating the announcement from Kevin Durant that he was staying with the Thunder. He became a free-agent just a few days ago and there was at least a half dozen NBA teams that he visited prior to the 4th.

We’ve been Thunder season ticket holders since we first had the chance six or seven years ago. I quit watching the NBA 15 years ago. It got boring for me to see both teams fiddle around for three quarters, play absolutely no defense, then try to win in the fourth quarter. The Thunder were just a so-so team for a year or two but began to make their way into the upper echelon in the NBA West. KD, was the marquis player for the Thunder earning all kinds of league accolades including the prestigious MVP of the NBA. He’s been a great asset to Oklahoma…and not just the OKC Thunder. He displayed  a level of character that is not often seen with multi-million dollar sports celebrities these days. He came from very humble beginnings and I believe he is a genuinely good kid.

I really wasn’t worried that he wouldn’t re-sign with the Thunder. I was a little nervous when ESPN reported that he was ‘blown away’ by the presentation by the LA Clippers. But, still I figured he’d stay in OKC considering that we were just one game away from making the NBA Finals. All it’d take is the right trade for the right guy and we’re right back in the same spot next season. It seemed that everything was shaping up for a great run next year.

But mid morning on the 4th of July the announcement was made that he would sign with the Golden State Warriors. I was stunned! Anyplace but Golden State! I cycled through several emotions throughout the day; total shock at first, then sadness….then about half mad, but then just kinda settled in to, “Well it is, what it is.”.

We, here in Oklahoma, have never had a sports figure that received the national attention as KD did, at least not in the modern era. Heck, it’s our only Pro Sports team. KD and the Thunder brought OU and OSU fans together under one roof. It brought Oklahoma City national sports recognition and had an uncanny way of unifying a whole state, something that maybe no other sports franchise has ever done. 

All in all I’d have to say that Kevin Durant has been good for Oklahoma…but no more good than Oklahoma has been for him. He’s been supported, defended and loved by just about everyone in the whole state. But it is, what it is! I wish him the best. I hope this move turns out for him what he’s wishing for. And for us diehard Thunder fans, I guess we’re getting to experience what every other fan of every other professional sports franchise has already experienced before. 

But, I ain’t gonna lie…..I hope we kick the _ _ _ _ (you fill in the blank!) out of Golden State!

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It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

Never before in the history of the UIL, (the University Scholastic League is the organization that creates rules for and administers almost all athletic, music, and academic contests for public primary and secondary schools in the state of Texas. It is the largest organization of its type in the world.) has any Texas high school’s athletic teams won back to back State Championship Titles in two separate sports. Never before, that is, until this past weekend in San Antonio when the Canadian Wildcats  won their second consecutive State 2-A Championship in basketball…..to go along with their two consecutive State Championships in football!

Consider the fact that every public school in the state of Texas competing in a variety of sports for no less than 106 years….this feat has not been accomplished. A few others came close, but just couldn’t close the deal. Understandable!!

■ Dumas: Class 3A 1961-62
■ Duncanville: Class 5A 1990-91
■ Southlake Carroll: Class 3A 1992-93
■ Everman: Class 3A 2002-03
■ Cayuga: Class 1A 2009-10
■ Idalou: Class 2A 2010-11

Last year when Canadian won their State Championship in football, and then followed that with their basketball championship, they became only the 7th team in 105 years to accomplish that feat. In the past two years they have amassed a 24-0 (Football & basketball combined!) playoff record on the way to their titles. 

The highly regarded Harris Ratings System that has been ranking every football team in Texas since 1963, tagged the 2015 Canadian team as the greatest in small school football history. In sharp contrast their basketball team got off to somewhat of a slow start this season losing two games to district rival Stratford. But they peaked at just the right moment to do what’s never been done before!

“It Takes a Village”, a book written by a certain current presidential candidate, focuses on the impact individuals, and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being, and advocates a society which meets all of a child’s needs. And while I disagree with the book’s premise that a ‘village’, or community, has more of a responsibility to raise up a child than a family (totally disagree!). I would agree that in the case of the Canadian Wildcats….it has literally taken a village to produce this amazing group of young men!

Canadian has been behind their young people (not just the athletes) maybe more than any town I’ve ever seen. That didn’t recently just start happening….It’s been going on for awhile! And while it takes a high-level of athleticism to accomplish what they’ve accomplished….it can’t do anything but help when you know you’re not just competing for a trophy….but an entire community.

I’ve written a couple other blogs about the Wildcats and each time I’ve deliberately left out the names of individuals who are the ‘standout’ athletes in terms of yards gained, or points made. I’m stickin’ with that here, too. You can look ’em up and make them heroes if you want to. Nothing wrong with that, in fact. But in my opinion, if you’re going to start recognizing individuals….you’re going to have to recognize several thousand who have had a profound effect on the success of these teams. 

So, I’m congratulating the whole Village! The athletes, of course, coaches, all the support staff, but also parents, grandparents, pastors, churches, school board, school administration, teachers, student body, merchants….and an innumerable number of fans, many of which don’t live in Canadian and never even went to school there!

The whole ‘Village’ has made an incredible investment in these teams,(if nothing more than their sheer support)…..to the degree that we all consider them “Our Team”

Click here to read Amarillo Globe News Report

You’ll want to check out my other blogs @ the Wildcats, too:

Fist Fightin’, Pool Shootin’, Gun Fightin’…and Bull Ridin’! …….and I Guess, Now, High School Football!

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

Canadian Wildcat Update

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Canadian Wildcat Update

*If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, “All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise”,….do it now!

If you did read yesterday’s post you’re probably wondering how the Canadian Wildcats fared in Friday night’s game in Wichita Falls, Texas against undefeated Crawford in the Class 2-A State Semi-Finals. The Wildcats came in a 24 pt. favorite and….you think, “How can you be this deep in this, extremely competitive, state championship race, against yet another undefeated team and be favored by that much?”. Well, again, they proved to me that maybe, just maybe they really are good enough to be ranked #2 in the nation! *(In the playoffs Canadian has outscored opponents in the first half, 214-8!!) The game was ‘virtually’ over at the end of the first quarter! (21-0) Final Score – 61-14! *Click here for game recap….or a Panhandle perspective, here.

It’s obvious that this is a team on a mission, with one thing in mind, and that’s to be the ‘repeat’ Texas 2-A State Champs! They’ll line up against a really tough Refugio team next Thursday at 10 am in Houston’s NRG Arena. It oughta be a great game. I’ll be there if at all possible. You can catch the game “LIVE” on FOXSW. Check ’em out….it could be a long, long time before you get to see another team like this one!

*Oh yeah, I almost forgot; in my opinion the ‘Game Ball’ goes to: 1) The Players, of course! Unbelievable game! 2) The Coaching Staff! Flawless! 3) The Parents! Incredible Support! 4) Canadian School Administration and Faculty! Un-doable without you! 5) The Student Body! Always doing your part, and more! 6) The entire city of Canadian, Texas! Best I’ve ever seen in getting behind a team! 7) And then all the other fans, like me, from all over who consider the Wildcats….Our Team!!

#ALLIN

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All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

I guess I’m like most American males, I like sports. Something about the competition that appeals to me. On a personal note, I’m a very competitive person. I have learned over time to kind of keep it in check, if you know what I mean. And, with what I do now….there’s just not much room for competition.

I like a lot of different sports; college football and basketball (in fact college basketball is the only sport that it doesn’t really matter who’s playing…I can watch, enjoy and really ‘get into’ the game). I watch the NBA quite a bit more now since the OKC Thunder are in town. Down through the years I’ve been a fan of: The Minnesota Vikings during the ‘Purple Gang’ era; the LA Lakers when Magic and James Worthy were there; Celtics in their glory days with Bird, McHale, Ainge and others. I’ve been an OU Football and Dallas Cowboy fan forever…..but they’ve both broke my heart so many times, it don’t even hurt anymore. lol; Anytime my kids or grandkids are competing, and it doesn’t matter what sport it is, I’m all in! I enjoy that, sports wise, as much as anything.

But when I think of my favorite team to watch, (‘franchise’ might be too strong a word for HS Football) and especially at this time of year, it’s an easy choice…it’s the Canadian, Texas Wildcats Football Team. If you’re not familiar with Canadian, it’s up in the Texas Panhandle. It’s a small ranching/oilfield town. I was born in Canadian and lived in Hemphill County for 25 years. Some of my good friends have sons and grandsons playing on the team. And the team,….well it’s just about the funnest team to watch of any team, any sport, any era that I’ve ever seen. I make a regular season game or two each year and I’ve rarely missed a playoff game in the last 6 or 7 years. The Wildcats are the current 2A State Champs (basketball, too!). They’ve been ranked #1 statewide all year long and ranked #2 nationally! This season’s games have been lopsided and the starters have rarely been on the field in the 2nd half. And this is in one of the toughest districts in all of Texas with at least 4 State Champs in the past 5-6 years. (Canadian-2; Stratford-1; Wellington-1) They have overwhelmed State Ranked 3-A and 4-A teams this year as well. Example: The Texas State 2-A Game of the Week pitted #1 Canadian against #5 Albany (Runner-up State Champs last season and playing in Semi-Finals again this year!) Canadian won that game 49-0, and Albany never advanced the ball beyond the 50 yd line! They’re currently on a 29-0 run and will play Crawford  (click for info) in Wichita Falls Friday night in the State Semi-Finals. They’re a 24 pt favorite!

There are plenty of individual stars to talk about on the team (several being recruited by D-1 NCAA Teams)  but even they would be quick to tell you, “It’s not about them”. It’s the best ‘actual team effort’, any sport, that I’ve ever witnessed. As you’d guess, they’re extremely well-coached but there’s more to it than that. When I say, ‘team effort’, I don’t just think about the players and coaching staff, I think about the whole town! I’ve never seen a town get behind a team like Canadian has over the past 10-12 years. Canadian will consistently have more fans in the stands on an ‘away’ game than the other team. In their most recent playoff game with district rival, Stratford, in Amarillo…there were 6000-8000 fans in the stands. (Canadian Population: 2937; Stratford: 2073!) This is a high-school program that might just be among the very best in the nation. A program that’s produced an All Big-12 First Team & Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American, Auston English, and currently has alumni in starting positions at Army, Ryan Alexander; and at Missouri, Taylor Chappel, along with several others at smaller institutions. And it’s not just another high school focused on sports they’re way toward the top when it comes to academics with at least one student accepted at Harvard.

As fun as it is to have a team like the Wildcats to cheer for, it’d be diminished in my opinion if there wasn’t a high premium placed on character. It appears they’ve done a great job in emphasizing that, too! So, you can kind of see why I like the Wildcats. You’d like ’em too if you get the chance to watch them play. But, you better hurry….they play Friday night in Wichita Falls….and then hopefully in Houston for the State Championship next Thursday.  #ALLIN

*Check this one out, too:

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

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It Still Ain’t Over!

“It Ain’t Over Til’ It’s Over”; Nearly all of us have heard that quote. We know it’s from Yogi! Yogi Berra  (click on the highlighted link for full biography) died yesterday at age 90. To youngsters today he’s mostly known for his ingenious  and witty quotes….like the one above. But for a ’53 model like myself he stands for a whole lot more. As a kid I was an avid New York Yankees fan. I knew all the players names for the Yankees in those days. I’d call those the “Golden Years of Baseball’. That’s just my own opinion of course but I’ve never been as enthused about the sport since those days. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were in a race for the most home runs. Two great athletes on the same ball club. For me, it was unforgettable. It was an era marked by….if you started with a ball club, in most cases you finished with the same club. Not a lot of trading around like there is these days. I liked it better.

Yogi was the catcher in all those great years for the Yanks. Not only was he a great catcher, he was a slugger as well. Five different times in his career he had more home runs than strikeouts (Thanks R Bea). Stop and think about that one for a minute! And get this: Besides being a Professional Baseball Hall of Famer, Yogi was a 3-time American League MVP…..and 10 times World Series Winner (played in 14)! At 5′ 7″ and 185 lbs Yogi hit 358 home runs and drove in 1430 runs in his stellar 18 year career! 

I thought it would be especially fitting on this day to post some of Yogi’s quotes:

“Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical”

“All pitchers are liars, or crybabies”IMG_0668

“He hits from both sides of the plate, he’s amphibious”

“Everybody pair up in threes”

“It gets late early out here”

“I usually take a 2 hour nap from 1 to 4”

“You can’t think and hit at the same time”

“It’s deja vu all over again”

“You can observe a lot by just watching”

“Even Napolean had his Watergate”

“Cut my pizza in 4 pieces, I don’t think I can eat 8”

“Never answer an anonymous letter”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it”

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else”

“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”

“The future ain’t what it used to be”“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore”

“I never said most of the things I said”

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours'”

………and…….“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”

And in your case, Yogi…..it’ll never be over! A few of us’ll never forget!

Well done!

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