Posted: September 2, 2007 in Family and Friends

The first day of September was quite a sports day!

* Boston Red Sox rookie, Clay Bucholz, pitched a no-hitter in Fenway Park in only his second big league game ever! He became the first Red Sox rookie ever to pitch a no-hitter, and only the third player in major league history to pitch a no-hitter in either his first or second start.

* In possibly the biggest college football upset of all time, tiny Appalachian State went to the Big House at Ann Arbor and took down the fifth-ranked, University of Michigan, on their home turf! What an exciting game and finish!

* My Cardinals won again to stay within two games of first place, and the unbelievable story of Rick Ankiel just keeps going…

* My Razorbacks won their opening game, and the running back tandem of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones got off to a great start.

* My oldest daughter’s Southern Miss Golden Eagles got off to a great start, too, with a whipping of East Carolina at The Rock in Hattiesburg.

* And in truly the best news of the day, our friends from church, Shannon and Jessica Lawler, delivered their third child yesterday (it’s a girl!). What’s that got to do with sports? Well, Shannon is the biggest Alabama fan I’ve ever met, and his newest addition arrived on the day the Nick Saban era began in Tuscaloosa!

But my family had a pretty neat sports experience of our own last night. We became University of South Alabama Jaguar Volleyball fans last year, late in their season. Not a ton of folks come out for their games, but that fact made it possible for Hillary to meet the players last year, and they were very sweet to her (autographs, touring the locker room, and all). Last night was their home opener, and my wife and I took Hillary over to watch the Lady Jags play Alabama State.

The Lady Jags have six returning players from last year (three impressive hitters in Lauren, Jenna, and Brittany, and three excellent defensive specialists in Shannon, Taylor, and Colleen), and they’ve added eight excellent players this year (highlighted by an awesome hitter/setter tandem from Bulgaria, Hristina and Maria, and a great hitter from Brazil, Juliana). They defeated Alabama State handily, in three straight, to go to two and one so far this season.

After the match, we went down by their locker room to wait for the ladies to come out so Hillary could get autographs from this season’s team. Right after we arrived, the coach came out of the locker room. Several people were milling around, but she looked over at me, and with a big smile came over to shake my hand and introduce herself.

Now at this point, I’m a little embarrassed because I’ve never met her (emailed her once last year to thank her team for how they treated Hillary), and I’m just convinced that she thinks I’m someone else.

But, no. She thanked us for coming and said the girls remembered us from last year! This was especially cool because there was an uncharacteristically large crowd last night, and they both noticed and remembered us!

Coach Keshock turned to Hillary and asked her if she wanted to go back to the locker room and get all the girls autographs. Hillary’s face lit up and she said she did, and Coach took her back to introduce her to the team. (My wife’s favorite part was when Coach told the other older girls hanging around outside the locker room that the team would be right out while she was taking Hillary back there!)

Hillary told us later that when she made it back to the locker room, Coach Nicole introduced her as possibly their biggest fan. She emerged with a poster full of autographs, and more important, another very special memory.

Go Jags!!!!!!!

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