WOW! That’s the first word I can think of when expressing my feelings towards last night’s special screening of “Season of a Lifetime.” The sneak preview/charity event in association with the ALS Foundation of Georgia was a HUGE success. Not only did we raise money and awareness for this debilitating disease but also we had fun doing it!
The evening started around 6:00 PM at the Rialto Theater when Alive 11 and Fox 5 set up camp in front of the theater to do a live feed from inside. I did two very brief interviews for the networks before the festivities began. The wonderful set up of sports memorabilia not only given to me by various sports dignitaries and rock legends in their respective businesses, but as an added bonus Jason Bowen from Heritage brought his own collection of memorabilia to sell as well.
The yellow school buses arrived around 6:30 and out came the real co-stars of the evening, the football players on the 2010 Greenville Patriots, donned in their blue home jerseys and the Greenville marching band in their traditional red collared shirts carrying their instruments from drums to trumpets.
With the smell of fresh barbeque emanating from underneath the Pig n’ Chik canopy, the band struck up familiar renditions from the season that would make the movie “Drumline” green with envy.
The lobby started to quickly fill with attendees and the flash of bulbs could be seen from all over the place, specifically near the Endorphin Entertainment/FishEye Media Productions step and repeat banner. Soon the place was littered with glamorous people looking to make a great night out of this as if they were at a real Hollywood premiere.
Once the real stars of the movie showed up, Coach Jeremy Williams and his family, Jennifer, Josie, & Jacob, a brand new vibe permeated the room. JW appeared to have rock star status…but I will say that little Jacob Williams might have taken some of that fanfare away from Coach. As CNN reporter Holly Firfer, who hosted the show, remarked, “That kid’s so cute I may take him home with me.”
Once 7:45 hit, we followed the precession of people into the main theater led by the Marching Band who continued to play onstage as everyone found their seats.
Holly Firfer started the evening with a few words about her personal attachment to the disease. She then introduced myself where I read my “thank you” list off a scrip sheet and proceeded to forget several key names involved in the entire production! Actually, I only forgot three but they were three too many! I then introduced Ed Walls, head of the local GA Foundation who happens to be General Manager of the Westin Hotel where the Williams family and myself were staying gratis the hotel. He had many kind words for our team and the film. Last was Dr. Jonathan Glass, the renowned researcher for a cure for ALS at Emory University who stressed the fact that ALS needs to be on the country’s radar as much as cancer or any other disease out there that effects families significantly.
As the movie played the crowd got deeper and deeper into the emotional storylines. There were humorous moments mixed in with serious overtones. The crowd even cheered during some of the game footage even though the outcomes were already well established months ago.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to Coach Williams and occasionally he would put his hand on my arm when he liked a part significantly. This was HIS moment, and the pleasure I received from being able to witness Jeremy and his family react to watching their life unfold onscreen was pure magic. I will never forget when the credits rolled and Jeremy turned to me and said, “Amazing.”
I want to thank everyone who attended the event for making this night one we will all never forget. The comments I received from people ranged from phenomenal to emotionally draining to spiritually uplifting to eye opening. The most consistent comment I received was how much we all need to appreciate the time we have on earth, and how we utilize that time to affect other people. The cliché’ “live life to its fullest every day” applies here…because we never know how long we have to live.
Only God knows our plan. We can only “do what we do” each day. Love your family. Have faith. Commit to “SOMETHING” and see it all the way through. Faith, Family and Friends are what get us through hard times. It’s up to us to utilize the three in times of trouble.
As someone once said to me, “You want to here God laugh, tell him you’ve got a plan.” And as Jeremy would say, “WE DO WHAT WE DO,” because we can’t control our fate.