A treasure chest of wonderful memories…
As I write my column for this week, the date is Friday, August 14, and for many, there isn’t much significance about this specific date on the calendar.
However, for me it holds a very special moment in time as 54 years ago today on the 14th of August, 1966 Ivan Sanders made an unheralded entrance into the world at Holston Valley Hospital in Kingsport.
And for the last 54 years, yours truly has done his best to love everyone, serve God, and hopefully be a blessing to someone along the way while learning from my mistakes, saying I’m sorry even in times that I know I might have been in the right, and saying yes ma’am and no sir to this day to my elders.
Also, over that time I became a great lover of sports which has led me to have the blessing of serving as the Sports Editor of the Elizabethton Star.
During the course of my years as I have said in the past, I have played sports such as baseball, basketball, football, tennis, and golf which I truly enjoyed.
But the greatest treasures were being able to watch some of the most historic athletes of all time participate in a wide array of sports from golf to swimming, basketball to football, and beyond.
To know that some of the younger generation today don’t even recognize the names of some of the athletes that I actually got to witness participate in their specific sports is amazing.
Sure, they can walk through the Hall of Fames and see a bust of these athletes but I actually got to see them first hand.
I thought it would be fun today since it’s my birthday to maybe share some of these athletes and see if any of them ring a bell with my loyal readers.
First of all, I will take a walk around the bases and automatically I think of watching Hank Aaron hitting the historic home run that broke Babe Ruth’s total and seeing the fans running around the bases with Aaron trying to give him a big hug.
Back in the day when I was growing up, we only had a television that the stations had to be selected by turning a knob and not with a remote and it was black and white and not color.
In saying that, Saturday baseball games seemed to mainly consist of the Dodgers, Reds, Yankees, and an occasion Braves game. My grandfather loved the Dodgers and my dad the Yankees.
The games were called by Curt Gowdy and Joe Garagiola with Vin Scully occasionally at the mike.
Players like Ron Cey, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Dale Murphy, Ozzie Smith, Steve Garvey, Ron Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Mr. October Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, Tommy John, Charlie Hough, Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion, Tony Perez, George Foster, Thurman Munson, Sparky Lyle, Felipe Alou, and the list could go on forever of the baseball players my eyes beheld.
Also who could forget baseball managers like Tommy Lasorda, Earl Weaver, and Billy Martin who made the game about as fun to watch as the game itself with their antics of covering up the home plate with dirt or flipping their hat backward and getting nose to nose with the umps.
In the game of football, names such as Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Merlin Olsen, Franco Harris, Mean Joe Greene, Roger Staubach, Harvey Martin, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Charlie Waters, Sonny Jurgensen, Deacon Jones, Billy Kilmer, Jack Snow, Jack Youngblood, Jack Reynolds, Joe Montana, Danny White, Dwight Clark, and again the list could go on forever.
Basketball brings back names like John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas, Paul Westphal, Pat Riley, Cazzie Russell, Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld, Clem Haskins, Jerry Sloan, Rick Barry, Robert Parrish, Jamaal Wilkes, Gus Williams, Downtown Freddie Brown, Jack Sikma, Dennis Johnson, Reggie Theus, Artis Gilmore, and again many too many to list.
Other sporting names that I have been able to add to my treasure chest of being blessed to watch play include Billy Jean King, Chrissy Everett, John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Lewis, Benny Parsons, Alan Kulwicki, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Jimmy Conners, Pele, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicholas, and so many more Hall of Famers.
Hopefully, just being able to see some of these names will help bring back a few memories of your own as well as let you know that if you were able to watch these athletes you are probably as old as I am or close.
But hey, growing old isn’t so bad once you start looking back at all the things that God has placed in your life and I now realize more than ever that it’s not always how much you have in your bank account or if you are CEO of a large company.
It’s the people that God has placed in your life like your parents, siblings, grandparents, extended family, spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, pastors, and other people of God.
I am thankful as always that I get to work in a profession that I love covering future greats like those I just mentioned that your children and grandchildren will grow up making memories with like I mentioned above.
And even going through COVID-19, there will be great stories that I hope to be able to share with my grandchildren’s children if God allows me a few more years to see that time come.
But in the meantime, I just say thank you God for another 365 days that He has allowed me to live and I pray that each day ahead I can give Him even more praise and glory than I did in the last 365 days that He just blessed me with!
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