Tag Archives: Nashville Predators

Our Week With Eric Church, Carole King, the Bandit and the Nashville Predators

30 May

It has been an eventful week in the SBI World, and we have spent a lot of time in the city 30 miles to the west. For those not up on local geography, that city is Nashville.

On Monday night, we had tickets for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in the National Hockey League. The Nashville Predators have been on a magical run through the playoffs and have taken over the city. Long time Predator fans are not happy with the bandwagon people, but we felt that Game 6 was a must-see event. They clinched the championship, and I got to High Five the country music star who sat in front of us. I have no idea who he was, but my wife was not happy that I got to touch him and she did not.

On Tuesday night, I was back in Nashville for a fundraiser. Cumberland University, where I work, is the home of the Martin Van Buren Papers, and a Nashville attorney hosted an event to assist with that project. He has an amazing collection of historic artifacts and opened his office for tours. People paid to see documents signed by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Davy Crockett, King George III and various other people. It was interesting to see everything and to hear the stories of how the collection came together.

On Wednesday night, I went with my brother and my nephews to a truly cultural event. We went to the theater to see the 40th Anniversary screening of Smokey and the Bandit, a movie that I have seen a million times.

It was great to see the Bandit, Snowman and Buford T. Justice on the big screen, but it was also great to see people with their t-shirts. As bandit tells Snowman when they get to the warehouse full of Coors beer, it was “redneck heaven.” After it was over, I wanted to get a diablo sandwich and a Dr. Pepper.

On Friday night, it was back to Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators. However, we were not there for a hockey game. We were there to see Eric Church in concert.

I do not know much about the singer, but we had already seen him at a Kris Kristofferson tribute concert. This one was more rocking and raucous. Eric Church is known for wearing sunglasses, and it was funny to see all of the guys in the crowd wearing sunglasses. I reckon that thought some female would mistake them for the performer.

On Sunday night, we went to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. It was a great show about the life of a prolific songwriter who also creating on of the great albums of all time. Through professional success and personal tribulation, she wrote songs that became part of the soundtrack for a generation. Now, we have to see the real person in concert.

At some point, I made the statement that I was not going to go into the city for a while. However, I will it will happen because there is too much cool stuff there to do. This week was just a small sample of that.

Listeria – Greatest Athletes of All Time

22 Nov

Once again, I went to the magazine stand at the grocery store. That means we have another case of Listeria, and this one is all about sports. Beckett called together a panel of experts and compiled a list of the 50 Greatest Athletes of All Time. With a collection like this, there are always arguments of who does and doesn’t belong. There are also arguments about the order.

However, I did not buy the magazine to quibble over the details. I was curious to know how many of the athletes I have seen in person. That smaller list is as follows.

Peyton Manning (41) – I was at the Rose Bowl when Peyton Manning entered his first college game against UCLA. The starter was injured on the first play, and the backups were thrown into the fray. Todd Helton was one of those backups, but Manning turned into the quarterback of the future. I attended most of his college games and have seen him in the NFL several times.

Jerry Rice (36) and Joe Montana (19) – Super Bowl XXIII saw the San Francisco 49er’s against the Cincinnati Bengals. Both of these guys played in that game, and Montana led San Francisco on the game winning drive as time ran out. My dad took me to the game, and, admittedly, I was cheering for the Bengals because Time McGee, a former player at Tennessee, was on their team.Super Bowl

Walter Payton (30) – I grew up a Cowboys fan, and my dad took me to Dallas to watch them play against the Chicago Bears. It was my first NFL game and my first time on an airplane. I don’t remember what Walter Payton did, but I was happy because the Cowboys won. I was also happy because I saw the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

Deion Sanders (29) – Deion Sanders was a two-sport star, but I only saw him play baseball for the Atlanta Braves. Memories of the game are fuzzy, and I have no idea how he played. I just know that everyone was amazed that he could be one of the best players in two professional leagues.

Magic Johnson (17) – My dad and I saw the Los Angeles Lakers play the Detroit Pistons, and it was awesome in many ways. We stayed at the same hotel as the Lakers and stood outside as they boarded the team bus. At the game, we spent one half court side and another half in the owner’s box. The Lakers won, but the Pistons got revenge by beating them in the championship series. Oh yeah, Bob Seger was in the box with us.

Bo Jackson (12) – He is known for football, baseball and Nike Commercials, but I saw him before all of that. In 1985, Jackson and the Number 1 ranked Auburn Tigers came to Neyland Stadium to play Tennessee. Jackson would win the Heisman that year, but he didn’t win it during this game. He only got a few yards and eventually left the game. Tennessee won in a blowout, and Tony Robinson, Tennessee’s quarterback, made the cover of Sports Illustrated.Tony Robinson

Wayne Gretzky (4) – Late in his career, Wayne Gretzky came to town to play the Nashville Predators. Everyone wanted a ticket to that game, and I was lucky enough to get one. He didn’t score any goals but proved he was “The Greatest” by getting five assists. I remember that he set up behind the net and dominated.

Should these people be on the list or placed where they are? I don’t know. I am just glad have the opportunity to see them perform. In the first pages of the magazine, they list 10 athletes who are on their way to stardom. Luckily, I have also seen a couple of them – Andrew Luck and Landon Donovan. Now, it’s time to see if they make the next list.

A Chiropractor, an Insurance Agent, and a Private Eye Walk into a Bar…

7 Jun

Actually, they were sitting at my Rotary table. I have written previously about the deep, dark secrets of Rotary meetings and have returned to this topic because I found this week’s grouping kind of interesting. Like most civic organizations, Rotary is designed to bring together people from different walks of life. At times, it succeeds in that endeavor, and this week provided a good example of that.

Sitting around the table were:

“The Body Shop Owner” – A long time business owner in the community, he fancies himself an amateur historian. He is a nice guy and a friend of my family, but when you talk about history for a living you don’t always want to talk about it in during leisure time. With that being said, there is a bright side to wrecking your car in my town. It gives you an excuse to go to his shop and look at his vast collection of historic photographs.

“The Convenience Store Owner” – This one is a huge hockey fan and follows the Nashville Predators religiously. However, the season came to an abrupt end, so I asked him about business. His store sits close to campus, and I asked if he sees reduced sales during the summer, when most students are away.

“Absolutely! Beer sales drop off, but dip sales are the worst. Baseball players buy a lot of dip from me. You’d be surprised how many softball players (which are women) buy dip from me, too.”

“The Private Eye” – This one is an interesting character because he tells tales of following wayward spouses and sitting at stakeouts for hours on end. I asked if he drove a red Ferrari back then, and he admitted that he had a silver Corvette. Of course, those were the old days when being a detective meant a lot of legwork. Guess where he does most of his work now. Yep, on Facebook.

“The Retired Cook” – This lady used to run the kitchen at the country club where our meetings are held. I have heard that the meals were great back then. By far, she is the most respectable person at my table and is filled with stories of humor and wisdom. I always ask her questions about her time at the club and her best dishes. People say that her fried chicken is the best around.

“The Chiropractor” – Honestly, there is not much to write because he never says much. He just looks around the table and studies us. Maybe, he thinks we are all crooked. Get it. Crooked. Chiropractor. Well, you get the point.

“The Insurance Agent” – He seems like a nice guy, but I am not sure about insurance agents. I was always told that if you can’t do anything else then sell insurance. Anyway, he kept complaining about business. A few weeks ago we had a hail storm and people are getting work done on their roofs. He was going on and on about how people needed to get their roofs fixed and waited until after the hail storm to do it. Well, hell…I mean hail. Who’s not going to do that? I’m doing it.

Then, there was me – taking it all in and thinking about a blog post.

Brought to You By the Number 99

26 Apr

The 99th post. Wait a minute. Scratch that. This is not really the 99th post. I have deleted a few along the way that I deemed a little unfair to the subject matter. Despite that small issue, this is the official 99th post of the Surrounded by Imbeciles blog, and I can’t believe that it has gone this far. When I wrote the first post, I couldn’t imagine writing this many. I really couldn’t imagine it as I slogged through the first month with a total of 49 hits. But, here I am a few months later with words on the Internet; people I have met cyberly; and the satisfaction of knowing that I am still typing away.

Reaching 99 deserves a bit of celebration and recognition, and I know the perfect person…vampire…puppet…muppet to tell help out. Without further delay, here is Count von Count and the importance of the number 99 HA! HA! HA! HA!

99 Luftballoons – In 1984, Nena, a German band, recorded this song as a protest of the Cold War. It tells the story of kids who release balloons that are mistaken as weapons by the East Germans, who launch the world into a nuclear war. An English version, “99 Red Balloons” was recorded later. I always liked the German version better even though the only words I understood were balloons and Captain Kirk. Check out the video. It may bring back old memories or introduce you to something new.

99 – The number of Wayne Gretzky, the greatest scorer professional hockey has ever seen. I never knew much about hockey, but I, like everyone else, knew about “The Great One”. I was lucky enough to see Gretzky play against the Nashville Predators during his last year in the league. He did not score a goal that night, but I believe he had five assists (or some crazy number like that).

Agent 99 – I must admit that “Get Smart” was never one of my favorite shows. After school, the local stations always played reruns of old comedies. I liked Gilligan. I had a crush on Marcia. I wanted a pet dragon named Spot and a robot named Robot. But, I hated Maxwell Smart and his slapstick comedy. The only redeeming quality of that show was the hotness of Barbara Feldon as Agent 99. I only wish she would have used her skills to kill Maxwell. Then, it could have been “Get 99”.

January 4, 1999 – One of the great nights of my existence. You know what people say when something great happens. They say that it is the best thing that ever happened – except their wedding day and when they had kids. Well, I’ve never been married and don’t have kids, so I don’t have to tell that lie. Being in the stadium when my team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, defeated the Florida State University Seminoles to win the first BCS National Championship is one of my top events. I don’t even know how to describe the 23-16 victory.

99 Bottles of Beer – A traditional song that everyone knows, I have no idea where it came from or who first sung it. I just know that when it is over I (A) feel like I have drunk 99 bottles of beer, or (B) wish I had drunk 99 bottles of beer.

99 Years Old – The age of Eddie Albert when he passed away. Don’t know who Eddie Albert is? Well, he most famously played Oliver Wendell Douglas in “Green Acres”, but he had a long and successful career in television and films. I liked him best as Warden Hazen in “The Longest Yard”. That is the original one starring Burt Reynolds and not the dumb one starring Adam Sandler. Why do they keep remaking great films? It’s difficult to improve on greatness.

That’s it for the celebration of 99. There were a few other important items to list, but the Count needs to get back into his coffin in the subway system below Sesame Street. If you have any other 99 ideas, then shoot them my way in the comments.