Friday, September 8, 2017
OK,OK, I’ve been a little behind on blogging the football season so far, but I promise I’ll get caught up. I have a lot of things I want to get down on paper. But first things first…
We won our opener last week against Franklin College 47-37. It was a big game for us for several reasons: they beat us last year; they are very good and probably will win their conference; and there is a chance we will play then again in the playoffs.
I had a good crowd of family and friends at the game including both of my sisters, my brother in law Bob, and my good friends Dave Hostetler and Bob Thomas. Bob is a Franklin grad, and came up from Florida for the game (and a week or so of partying in both Indiana and northern Ohio). Check out the official game story on the TMC athletic department website at www.tmcsaints.com/football.
The weather was shaky and a lot of our students were off celebrating the Labor Day weekend, but we still had a great crowd for the game. Franklin isn’t that far away and travels well, and Thomas More is one of the best, if not the best, tailgate venues in DIII. I’ve coached in four different DIII conferences and have not seen a tailgate atmosphere like we have at TMC. Our stadium is down in a bowl and we have a tiered parking lot that over looks a portion of the field. There are 300 spots that sell out each year, and fans can tailgate and watch the game from the same spot. And our fans come early with tents and RVs and grills and, of course, coolers of adult beverages. And we get a great mix of alums, parents, students, faculty, and people from the area at our games. Northern Kentucky really supports TMC sports.
In their tailgating revelries my family had a major snafu, they forgot a cooler of cold ones. When I got up to our tailgating spot I had to go across the aisle to one of my coaching colleague’s tailgate to find a cold one. This was the first game without my dear departed Mom, and she was definitely missed. And I know there would’ve been a cooler of beverages if she were still around…
Saturday, August 19, 2017
For the last several years I’ve been taking notes and snapping photographs with the idea that I’d one day write my coaching book. Not sure if it would be fiction or nonfiction, I always knew that there was some sort of book in my coaching adventures.
So to start me on the path to hopefully one day will be a book about coaching football on the small college level I am going to write weekly blog essays about a variety of related topics, mostly about how our season is going, my memories of past seasons, current topics in football (like concussions). But mostly I want it to be about coaches more so than players, and how our lives are dictated by football and how it has affected our lives, both our football lives and our lives away from football.
Everyone sees on the internet or on ESPN the millions of dollars and glamorous lives the coaches at schools like Ohio State and Alabama make. That does not pertain to most of us who coach football.
I’m writing this at the end of our third week of practices. We have a scrimmage this Saturday then our first game the following week against Franklin College. Time wise summer practices have been a week longer than in the past, something that has really made time drags a bit. The reason for the extra week is we no longer have two a day practices. That is because of the Concussion prevention that the NCAA has implemented, only having one practice a day keeps the players from banging their heads too often. And it’s a good rule in principle; however, it has had its negative effect. Because we had to be here a week earlier to still get in the same amount of practices as we had in the past, we had to feed our players and staff for a extra eight days. An extra eight days at $3600 a day. Up in Columbus with the Buckeyes that type of cash is peanuts, but to the hundreds of DIII schools around the country it’s a lot of cash. But the NCAA often doesn’t think about the little guys too often, we aren’t on ESPN on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
Survived the worst week for coaches. Although the NCAA has outlawed two sessions a day for players they haven’t done it for coaches. For teams like ours that start the season with 160 players, we spent the first week with the kids coming out in two waves, First the older kids for two and a half hours, then the freshmen and transfers for two and half hours. That’s five hours straight for the coaches, standing on the hot and hard artificial turf in the sun. Ouch! We only had to do it for a week this season, but it seemed like a lot lounger. For us older coaches it was a handful of Advils or Aleves before going out to the field. I’m too old for this shit! But as my old friend and fellow coach John Perse always said, it is the life we have chosen.
A few notes about my photographing skills…there are a lot of pictures on this blog from the last several seasons of Thomas More football. My friend Dave Hostetler, who once was a pretty good football coach himself, shot most of the better ones. Digital cameras were made for people like me, who take a hundred pictures and maybe six of them turn out to be good. I think you will be able to distinguish between the pictures Dave has taken and those I have taken.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Sometime in the early to mid 80’s, Columbus’s McGuffey Lane became a national touring band, leaving behind, for the most part, their days playing bars, clubs, and college campuses. By the time that had happened their concert sets were mostly filled with their own self penned songs, songs found on their four national releases for Atlantic Records and currently available on CD from Collector’s Choice. What got left behind at that time were all of the wonderful covers they did of rock, country, and bluegrass standards, many of which would go on and influence their own compositions, and that were very popular with their earliest audiences. And even some of their own early compositions that were crowd favorites got lost over the years.
The bands recent release “Legend of the Red Eye” harkens back to those saloon-playing days, with seven covers of classic country and rock gems and three original tunes from those days that have yet to make it on a McGuffey Lane release. The album’s title is homage to Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon, ground zero of central Ohio’s live music scene at the time, and the place that McGuffey Lane was considered for a time the house band.
The covers on the CD are mostly on the countryside, and touch every decade from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. The disk opens with what has been the band’s most popular cover over the years, their rendition of the New Riders of the Purple Sage classic “Panama Red.” They then go back to the days when members of the band performed solo or in pairs in the various Holiday Inns and Ground Rounds of central Ohio with an almost perfect version of the John Hartford penned Glen Campbell classic “Gentle on My Mind.” The most recent of the country standards is next with Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road,” the mid 1980’s classic about a Vietnam era veteran who is the son of a moonshiner who decides to harvest marijuana instead of running moonshine.
The three oldest covers come next, going back to the days when the band members listened to the Beatles and Rolling Stones with their friends all week, but then on Saturday night sat down with their parents and grandparents and tuned in to the Grand Old Opry. Bassist Steve Reis channels George Jones with a fine rendition of the classic “She Thinks I Still Care.” Then they cover the great Texas songwriter Guy Clark with “Baton Rouge.” Then go all the way back to the early 50’s with a version of “There Stands the Glass” that Webb Pierce would appreciate.
The last cover on the CD is another long time live favorite of the band and their audiences, the blue grass standard “Fox on the Run.” Bassist Steve Reis’s vocals are perfect for this song, and the background harmonies are pretty damn good too.
Intertwined amongst these classic covers are three original ‘Lane songs that go back to the late 70’s, have been played live on and off for years, but have never made a studio release; including Steve Reis’s “Cowboys Like What Cowgirls Do”; and two John Schwab penned songs “Sing a Song” and “Cowboy in the City.” All three will sound familiar to long time McGuffey Lane fans.
Like most bands going back forty years McGuffey Lane has had some personnel changes. However, this current lineup has been together longer than any other version including the original one, and with three original members and four long time additions, is loyal to the true McGuffey Lane sound of rock, country, along with just enough bluegrass. For more about McGuffey Lane and “Legend of the Red Eye” visit www.mcguffeylane.com.