Moments

Home Moments

The pursuit of belonging

0
Photo of Augusta College courtesy of Derek May

Part One …

The bus had only been on the road for a few miles when the singing started.

It likely began quietly at first, with the group first settling on a song and testing out the harmonies. It would grow a little louder as more and more people heard the faint tunes passing by them like a breeze, recognizing the melody and then joining in for the chorus.

Who started it? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Pete May remembers that the Butlers often kicked things off. They were a musical family, you see. Now, Scott Butler doesn’t deny these outbursts of singing, but he remembers Derek May, Pete’s son, bringing along a guitar. Derek, for what it’s worth, is a bit murky on all of it.

Still, it’s the early 1990s, and there aren’t iPads or Netflix to occupy your time on a long drive.

Get bored? Well, it’s time to sing. That’ll kill an hour or so.

By the way, have you ever driven to Detroit? From Augusta, Georgia? 

Do you know what that’s like?

One week from tryouts to titles

0
Photo courtesy of College Disc Golf Association

In 2007 and 2008, the University of Georgia won back-to-back national championships.

Did you know that?

It seems worth mentioning, right?

Now, it didn’t have title-starved fans pouring out of the stands at the New Orleans Superdome. There was no sugar falling from the sky to celebrate this title. It wasn’t even a scrappy basketball team playing three games in 30 hours to win a conference tournament no one thought they could.

Instead, it was greeted with little fanfare on campus, even from those who were actually on the title-winning team.

It was just four guys who hung out at Sandy Creek Park in Athens who decided to snag some Georgia shirts at a Walmart and head down to Augusta to play some disc golf.

“I can’t even stress to you how casual this whole thing was,” said Pete McPherson, an All-American on Georgia’s national champion disc golf teams of 2007 and 2008. “Laid back is the positive term for it I guess, but it was just not a big deal for anyone involved.”

One night in Athens

0
Photo by Rick O'Quinn, University of Georgia Photographic Services

You remember Brandi Chastain, euphoric in the Southern California sun. Sliding to her knees on the grass, biceps flexed, screaming in joy right along with the 90,000 people surrounding her in the Rose Bowl. The sports bra. The Sports Illustrated cover. The moment that will forever serve as a touchstone for women’s sports. 

A moment that would not have happened if not for the groundwork laid three years earlier at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. 

FIFA, the governing body for international soccer, awarded the 1999 Women’s World Cup to the United States on May 31, 1996. There were no other bidders for the event, the third of its kind. The previous edition had been held in 1995 in Sweden, with an average attendance of 4,316 fans at each match. 

That number set the baseline for FIFA’s thinking on how the ‘99 tournament should be staged. FIFA officials told U.S. Soccer they wanted the event held entirely in the Eastern time zone, to cut down on travel costs, and the stadiums to be small  — able to accommodate 5,000-10,000 fans. They did acquiesce to U.S. officials’ request to hold the final at Washington’s RFK Stadium, but that old 55,000-seat warhorse was the exception. 

The other nine venues submitted as possible hosts in the official bid presented to FIFA in February 1996 included college football stadiums at Rutgers and the University of Richmond, Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut, and a series of smaller college venues: the University of Buffalo, Davidson College, the University of Delaware, Lehigh University, UNC-Greensboro, and Tufts University. 

Considering what we know now about how the tournament ultimately played out, it’s mind-boggling to consider what might have been. Davidson. Lehigh. Tufts. 

The best game that some saw

0
Westside's Ricky Moore guards Thomson's Vonteego Cummings.
Westside's Ricky Moore guards Thomson's Vonteego Cummings. Photo by Eric Olig.

In Augusta, it’s simply known as “The Game.”

Attendance is a badge of honor for the town’s old guard.

To say you were there means something. It separates you from the embellishers and fibbers who cobbled together an incomplete retelling from newspaper reports and secondhand recaps.

Given the technology at our fingertips today, it’s hard to process that there isn’t readily available footage of it out there. In 1995, there were no iPhones, no YouTube, no Twitter. If you weren’t there, you didn’t see it. Simple as that.

Popular Posts