Sunday, October 31, 2010

BONUS BLOG: Blacksburg High School 2010 Black v. Gold Alumni Game

It's coming up soon, and this is one of the places to get info about it. It's the 2010 Blacksburg High School Black v. Gold Alumni Game. The game will featured Blacksburg High School football alums squaring off against each other, reliving old glory days, albeit for one night. It will be Even year grads ('96, '98, '02, etc) versus Odd year grads ('91, '93', '97, etc). Some big names in Blacksburg High football lore are expected to play in the game. These include Daniel Farris, Nesbitt "Banky" Black, Brit Dawkins, Anthony Garrison, Mike Smith, Lamont Sutton, Stanley "Dunnie" Watts, and many more. Blacksburg, Cherokee County, and surrounding areas, you know you want to come out and see these old (no pun intended) stars strap it up and knock heads once again! The game will be on the Saturday after Blacksburg High School's varsity season ends. It will be at T.A. Campbell Stadium in Blacksburg, SC at 7pm. Admission will be $5 for everyone. It will be incorporate every high school varsity rule and regulation, except on punting and punt returns. These will be free kicks. This game has been in place for a while and myself, Shawn Corry (class of 1997, co-organizer) and Josh Batchler, (class of 2003, current BHS assistant coach) are very excited about the ordeal. Coach Mickey Moss, head coach at Blacksburg High School, Principal Jim Touchberry, and athletic director Robbie Blanton have been very good about working with us and giving us all the resources available to make this a quality event. Look out for the game on Saturday, November 13, 7pm at Dr. T.A. Campbell Stadium in Blacksburg, SC!!

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Why was there no date for the game yet?
A: Blacksburg High School's season was still going on and we are using their equipment. We needed to wait until the season is over to play the game so we can have access to their equipment, uniforms, etc.

Q: Who will be coaching?
A: Coach Mickey Moss and his current staff (minus Josh since he's playing for the Odd team) will be assisting. Also, Coach Moss has been talking to former Blacksburg High School coaches like Johnny Gibson, Danny Fulton, Steve Wilson, and Tommy Pruett to get them in on this deal. Unsure at present time which coaches are coaching which teams.

Q: How did you determine whom is eligible?
A: You have to be a graduate of Blacksburg High School first of all, playing at least one season of varsity football for BHS, and been out of school for at least 5 years. This means the class of 2005 is the last eligible class to be able to play in this year's game. Also, a waiver has been prepared by one of our classmates/teammates who is currently an attorney covering the school's behind in case of any injuries. EVERY player must sign the waiver before even practicing. Shawn, Josh, and I have worked diligently to get interested folks to sign the waivers in advance because we don't want folks just walking on the day of the game.

Q: What about having the cheerleaders and the band
A: That's a great idea but not something that Shawn, Josh or myself is dealing with. We're simply focusing on the players from each squad

Q: Where do the proceeds from the game go to?
A: Blacksburg High School athletics

Q: Why are you guys not partnering with Gaffney High like the Peach Festival used to do in the past?
A: We may do this in the future, depending on how well this game goes. We simply want to keep this a Blacksburg thing for now since it is our first year and we only need to focus on finding Blacksburg players.

Q: How and why did you guys decide to put this game on?
A: I was talking with a bunch of my former teammates (Shawn included) one night and we were reminiscencing about our old times playing for BHS. Shawn was talking about how Spartanburg and Dorman High School both do alumni games and that we should try to organize one. I told him I would be in and I would help out wherever I could. Since I know Josh Batchler, I went to him with the idea and he put Shawn and I in touch with all the people necessary to approve the game. Once the game was approved, we simply had to plan and get the most important part: the players. Many guys are excited about it as well and are ready to get back out there again.

Q: Who's black and who's gold?
A: Black and gold is simply the name of the game since Blacksburg's school colors are black and gold. Blacksburg High School simply has only black and white jerseys. There was a coin flip back in August, and the Odd team won. They chose to wear the black jerseys, and the Even team will be wearing the white jerseys.

Q: Who all is playing?
A: I have posted rosters on my FB page, under my notes. If you wish to be tagged to the note for easier access, please let me know.

Q: Will there be EMS/emergency staff at the game?
A: This has been the 2nd most FAQ lately and yes we will have ambulances, EMTs, and plenty of volunteer fireman on staff at the game.

Q: Will Doug Bolin (arguably BHS's greatest player ever) be playing?
A: As of current, that answer is no. That could change though so stay tuned.

If there are any other questions or comments, hit me up on Facebook, I will personally answer further questions, and make sure I put you on the invite list when I send out the FB invite.

Hope to see as many people as possible there!

VOTE! But do it for the RIGHT reasons.

Election Day is on Tuesday, November 6th, and one of the most important presidential elections in recent history.  Our nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama, is vying with Republican and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to become only the second Democrat since the FDR administration  (Bill Clinton was the other) to serve a two term administration.  Many have been excited about it for months, watching and talking about the conventions, the debates, ads, and the overall hot button issues. 

However, voting for other offices is also important, especially in the non-presidential election years.   These years are where the Senate, House of Representative seats are being filled, as well as state and local office elections. These are the offices affect us more on a daily basis and the issues that we deal with and live under.

My hope is that many folks, especially the ones that have been voting since early voting opened a couple of weeks ago, are voting for the right reasons. Voting is not a fad or the cool thing to do. It's the right thing to do. Just like the old saying goes "If you don't vote, don't complain." I do understand that many black, Hispanic, and gay voters feel more of an obligation and confidence in the voting system now that President Obama is in office. However, I'm still not so keen on the idea on voting just because someone is running, or now that someone is running.

My beloved late grandmother, Myrtle Lanier, stressed voting and exercising constitutional rights to me at an early age. I still remember going with her to the polls when she voted in the 1988 presidential election. She was very active in watching the debates, the issues, and which candidates would do the most for her life and needs. She told and taught me not to vote based on popularity, looks, race, or often not even party affiliation. She stressed to stay on the issues and the type of character they are.

Let's not forget about voting for law changes, tax rates, etc. That's where stuff really matters, especially for issues such as gay marriage,  foreign policy, the economy, and even firearm laws.   You must make your voice known if you want improvements made in your voting district, and in our country.

Therefore, it doesn't matter if you voted on October 22 or November 2, just get out and vote. And continue to cast your ballot, even if your candidate doesn’t get into office.

Otherwise, keep quiet regarding certain issues. Silence can be golden.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Whoreish Halloween!

Halloween is this weekend and of course that can mean a variety of things. For children it means trick-or-treating, gathering up enough candy to last until Valentine's Day. For many grown-ups, that means haunted trails, and going to Halloween costume parties.

Halloween parties take on a different meaning for females. Males simply try to be creative and may dress as a ghoul, a superhero, or even a celebrity. For females, this is the one time/year where they get a pass to dress like a whore or slut without fear of judgment. Many women wear catsuits, tight leather, or simply lingerie. Some of the more popular female costumes are police officers, naughty nurses, devils, cats, rabbits, and superheroes such as Wonder Woman, Catwoman or Storm from the X-Men.

As a male, I personally enjoy looking at women dressed scantily clad. I usually attend at least one party that I pay admission to, and then go to a free party or bar/lounge to check out the eye candy. I then log onto Facebook and for two straight days look at the various pictures that have been uploaded it. It sounds perverted, but it's a joyous occasion.

I believe it enpowers many women to be able to express themselves sexually. Many women feel shy about showing off their bodies, especially for fear of judgment or folks (especially men) thinking they're easy and are saying "come and get it boy". Halloween, everyone is neutral.

Masquerade balls and parties are a happy medium. Women and men dress up, but often the women aren't looking extra sexy or whoreish. It's more of an alternative to the typical adult Halloween parties. I've attended these before, but I believe I prefer the Halloween parties where the women have it all hanging out. Don't judge me please.

Men and women will pay upwards to even $100 for that perfect, sexy outfit. They are getting together their outfits as I type this blog. Personally, I plan on having a clever, creative outfit, but well under my budget. I don't judge others, but I cannot see the purpose of paying more than $30 in this economy for an outfit you probably will only wear once or twice. Costume shops are making a killing around this time of year. I utilize my own clothing collection, Wal-Mart, thrift shops, Goodwill and Salvation Army to assemble a quality Halloween costume. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

So ladies, I'm looking forward to the Halloween fashion show. Of course I'm not expecting you to just be ready to sleep with any man based on your attire. It's Halloween weekend and you're exempt from the usual rules of society. That is, until November 1.

Until then, Happy Whoreish Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grieving: been there, done that, and what you shouldn't do

Losing a loved one can be devastating, even destroying your whole world and those in it around you. It's always toughest when you lose a best friend, sibling, parent, or the ultimate nightmare, one of your OWN children.

I've watched my mother suffer through the latter, ever since January 28, 2006, when my younger brother, Adam, passed away from an accidental drug overdose. That was the worst and toughest day of my life, and my toughest loss to date. It's like not only did I lose my only sibling, I lost a part of my mother. She's been strong (as I described in an earlier blog) but there's a part of her that can never be replaced, even with a future grandchild.

Along with my brother, I have lost best friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and even my own father (although I wasn't old enough to remember that one).

When someone you know suffers a tragic loss such as this, the natural instinct is to come to their rescue. Visit them, call them, bring money and food to their homes. Come around everyday until and during the wake, receiving of friends, and the funeral. I know folks that actually spend their weekends going to funerals. Morbid if you ask me.

Personally, I will comfort the grieving family during their loss and before the funeral. However, I'm not one to pretty much stay around the family unless they're extremely close to me. The grieving folks need their space, they're in extreme shock, tired from dealing with funeral arrangements, family, friends, etc, and often working on limited sleep.

The two main things I try to do (if possible) is make either one or all of the three: wake, receiving friends, and funeral. That's the least anyone can do. But that's when the grieving really begins and many folks fail to realize this. It's after all of the people have gone home, the body's in the ground or the urn is in safe keeping that one can truly begin the often-long process of moving on with that person they've grown accustomed to having in their lives.

Here are some basics dos and don'ts from a veteran griever and comforter on how to approach, talk to and even nurture the hurting loved ones.

Dos: Definitely keep in touch with the family, let them know you will be there for them. Although it's not my preference, call, visit with them prior to the funeral. Send money, food, peace lilies, etc, to show your good will. Show up for the funeral if at all possible. Most importantly, give the folks a few days to a week after the funeral. Then make arrangements to visit them and just talk with them, see how everything is going. Let them do most of the talking. Give kind comforting words, but only when necessary. Be comfortable as possible when dealing with these situations, especially for the mothers that have lost children

Don'ts: Call everyday, go to the house EVERY single day. You're only drawing attention to yourself, and honestly the grieving parties aren't going to remember you as well as you think. Make your visits few and far in between, and brief. Also, don't tell any false stories or memories about the deceased. If you two so much as never watch a TV show together, don't try and say "I remember how their laughter was. They loved to hang out". Silence can be golden also. Saying little to nothing is better than saying the wrong thing. Don't forget about the grieving family also. Stay in touch with them, especially in the early going, but again, don't call them or visit everyday. They need their space to be alone, think and grieve in their own, healthy manner. Also, be genuine and sincere in your comforting. As I mentioned earlier, do not feel the need to suddenly be in touch with them, try to take them out if you haven't really hung out with them. Lastly, do not try to force them into grieving a certain way, or into crying (or not crying). Unless you are their parent, sibling, child, bereavement counselor, or otherwise grief professional, that is not your place. It's best to stay out of it.

Grieving is a tough process, but one that's smoother with the Good Lord, faith, family, and friends. If one basically gives the comfort and assurance of letting the grieving folks know that they are behind them, that is a huge step towards recovery and living out the remaining days in peace and harmony.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ZUMBA: One of the newest fitness crazes

I gotta admit, I'm a fitness buff, enthusiast and a gym rat. However, I've never gotten much into dancing, salsa or the like. I will, however, try anything that will help keep me in shape, improve my form and coordination, and just give me a good workout period.

A year and a half ago, a classmate of mine kept speaking of this ZUMBA class she teaches at the Y in Rock Hill. I asked her if I could come to one of these classes one Saturday since my gym (Your Best Body Fitness Center and Day Spa in Gaffney) didn't have them at the time. She said yes. When I saw some ZUMBA videos on YouTube, I was intimidated and concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up and may even get worn out. That was definitely not the case. One of the big slogans of ZUMBA is that it is "one big party". And that it is. It's a lot of fun, and arguably one of the more exciting ways to mix fitness, fun, and great music since Richard Simmons and "Sweatin to the Oldies".

I immediately went to David and Lisa Fink at YBB and asked them when would we be able to get ZUMBA at our gym. Lisa said they would work on it. Well, a year and a half later, it FINALLY happened. There are now 4 ZUMBA classes going on at YBB, and everyone is having a good time, even the few guys that decide to show up.

I attend 2 classes/week myself because it is good, fun fitness, plus the instructors, Carrie and Alleigh, each add their own style and personality to make it great. Carrie's a more traditional ZUMBA instructor, does a lot of the salsa, and is more step by step with her instructions. Alleigh mixes ZUMBA with some fast-paced, dancing moves and even some cheerleader dances, techniques and spins. It sounds intimidating and metrosexual, but trust me, it's a good workout.

I have REALLY improved my coordination, balance, and mobility in the past month. I'm still not a dancer persay, but again that's not the purpose of ZUMBA. The purpose is to get you moving to the music in a coordinated but fun and relaxed way.

The folks at YBB are really riding the ZUMBA wave currently. The classes average about 25-30, even on Wednesdays, and that's one of the slowest periods in the gym due to it being church night. It's a new craze not only for Gaffney, SC but for America. I don't see it slowing down anytime soon either.

Carrie and Alleigh are keeping the routines and music fresh though, as folks will catch on very quickly to most any fitness routine. I believe I will recommend "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie and "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean. I could see some good ZUMBA routines coregraphed from those songs.

I encourage anyone to contact your local gym and/or YMCA to see about getting into a ZUMBA class. It really is fun, a good workout, and it's cool to be able to move your body well, especially for your overall health and wellness. Join the craze and don't judge or knock it till you've tried it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The case for Chase Hames

Many sports pundits around the state of South Carolina and even the USA have heard about Blacksburg High School's star running back, Chase Hames. He's a 3 year starter, and also plays wide receiver, defensive back and a little linebacker. He has racked up phenomenal stats this season, and is currently one of South Carolina's leading rushers at over 1,400 yards currently with 4 games to go (and a possible playoff game). He even had an eye dropping 350 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns against Latta in week 3, following that up with 437 yards rushing against Liberty. He earned National Player of the Week honors for that performance. I haven't seen many RBs do that against many folks, in that capacity. And I've seen many, many great running backs. The question is now, will (or should) Chase be selected to play in this year's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas?

My answer is a resounding YES! Take away the fact that I'm a Blacksburg High alum and former football player myself, I know himself, his family and his brothers, and that his head coach, Mickey Moss, is this year's head coach of the Shrine Bowl. Chase has earned this honor not only this year, but throughout his 3-year varsity career at Blacksburg. His sophomore year, his offensive numbers weren't stealing the show, it was his prowess as a cornerback. He was All-Region and had the difficult task of covering current University of South Carolina receiver Alston Jeffery when Blacksburg played Calhoun County in the 2008 Class A playoffs. While Jeffery posted huge numbers himself (200 yards, 2 touchdowns), Chase didn't back down, even intercepting a pass in the end zone. Junior year, Chase had another All-Region year on both offense and defense. His offensive numbers were slightly better, 618 rushing yards, but again it was his defense that sealed the deal. This year so far, it has been all offense. He has been doing it up, gaining yards, touchdowns, and leading Blacksburg to victory. Mickey Moss and the rest of the Shrine Bowl coaching staff, take note. Put this guy on your roster!!!

Now here's some other drawbacks for Hames. He is very smallish, 5'7'', 170, plus he doesn't have blazing speed. However, if you watch him in practice and games, not many players on any level leave it on the field like he does. Plus this year he's gained big time yards against a much softer-schedule (one school, St. Joe's High School, is in its 1st year of varsity football). Also, Coach Moss apparently REALLY wants him on the roster as well. As head coach, he can take one of his own players by default. By matching him up against teams that can't tackle as well as other teams or have proper depth/experience, it allows young Chase to gain big numbers easier. The old formula SKILL + OPPORTUNITY = SUCCESS also comes into effect. Mickey Moss's offense is basically built around Chase as he runs the ball 25-40 times a game. Now anybody that knows football knows that if you have a decent offensive line and unless the defensive isn't the 1985 Chicago Bears, a back with good skill should average 150 yards/game at least. And Chase is definitely doing that, and then some.

I can't say I completely blame Moss for what he's doing to justify possibly choosing Chase for the game, and for his collegiate resume'. He has huge tests coming up in the next couple of weeks: this Friday at undefeated Christ Church, homecoming against Landrum, and a potential first-round playoff game. I'm not sure he will gain 200, 300 yards rushing, but he will do well as long as the line blocks and the team passes some (to his younger brother Nick possibly) to allow him to be a factor.

Given all of this, the kid deserves to be in the game as much as anyone I've ever known, and everything's in place for his selection. National Player of the Week. 1,300 rushing through a 4 week stretch. On pace for a 2,000 rushing season. Defensive stalwart as well. Hard worker, tough player. Irregardless of the schedule and other players, he has EARNED it.

There are several, DOZENS of former Blacksburg High School players that have make equal and greater accomplishments than Chase and were snubbed from the Shrine Bowl. These include: Shon Dawkins, Mike Smith, Mark Striewing, Joe Patterson, Stanley Watts, Randy Huskey, Fred Parker, Matthew Hale, Daniel Farris, and Nesbitt Black. The Shrine Bowl game is a game of politics, where mostly 3A/4A players make it merely off of competition, ability to perform in the big stage/games, and the ability to play many positions. This appears to be the year that Chase Hames and Blacksburg High School beats these politics and variables. There have been only 2 Shrine Bowlers in BHS history: Danny Fulton in 1972 (my former offensive line coach), and Doug Bolin in 1986 (arguably the BEST player ever to wear the Black and Gold of Blacksburg). Doug was also the last BHS back to rush for 2,000 yards. That has been 26 years since a Blacksburg player has accomplished the latter or the former (2,000 yards or the Shrine Bowl). Chase, all of Blacksburg is rooting for you, if nothing else for all the other players throughout the years that were omitted.

I like to watch these "once in a lifetime" athletes. Chase is not only one of these, but a once in a lifetime person. He will be successful at whatever he does in life. I just hope and pray that when the Shrine Bowl is played the 3rd weekend in December, he will be suiting up for that game. I've made my case. Does anyone else think he shouldn't play? If so, that's fine. However, he may be Blacksburg's best shot at a Shrine Bowler at least for two more years when Nick is eligible for the game. The time is now, Blacksburg, and anyone that knows high school football), let's stand behind this young man now, and not after he earns more hype.