There’s the old country western song that says “all good things must come to an end.”
With those lyrics in mind, I am closing out my Tiger Tales column with this final entry after 40 years writing it for the sports section of the Douglas CountySentinel.
We are moving next month to Fairhope, Ala., which is an unbelievably charming town on the Gulf of Mobile. We are relocating for health reasons which are affecting us and this move was necessary.
Fortunately we picked Baldwin County, one of Alabama’s fastest growing counties.
Thankfully it is about 100 percent Crimson Tide territory so that was another big plus for me.
Fairhope is about two hours west of Panama City Beach and one hour from Pensacola, so we are still in a tropical setting, just not as far south as we are now.
Cindie and I have loved living in Jensen Beach since 2001 and are leaving a great church and a great group of doctors. That’s the toughest part, believe me.
As I approach 70 years of ag,e and become farther and farther removed from my time around Douglas County High, I decided in August to close out my column.
Of course I want to thank all the past and present employees at the Sentinel for all their help in publishing my column, especially the late, great Red Harper who gave me my start in what seems light years ago.
I only wished I had saved all my columns since 1976, but little did I know I would still be writing it in 2017.
It would have made a good book about some very interesting folks and events which I had the privilege of witnessing and interviewing.
My favorite DCHS character I wrote about had to have been the late, iconic Jimmy Johnson.
The stories about that man could have filled a book itself.
My favorite student-athletes was actually a group called “The Four Horsemen”, Monte Lovelace, Tony Riley, Kevin Ellison and Michael Welch were absolutely the catalyst behind that great 1988 Tiger football team.
My favorite non-DCHS column had to have been without a doubt my 1985 interview and four-part Tiger Tales about “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. With his renewed popularity today in the pro wrestling and non-wrestling world, to think I met him at the old Omni and still have my ticket autographed by him are a source of pride.
My story about Steve Austin and Abdullah the Butcher were in the top five but nothing like meeting Flair.
Finally, I want to thank God for the love of writing he instilled in me a long time ago. Through some great teachers and sports journalists I have had 40 glorious years to hone and improve my writing skills.
Writing is just like any thing else, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.
And now I end this final column with my favorite saying, courtesy of pro wrestling legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “and that’s the bottom line because Coach Heavner said so.”
Thanks again for everything.