A Football Weekend in March

A Football Weekend in March.

It’s March. The college football champion has been crowned – Alabama as I recall. The Eagles upset the Patriots for the Super Bowl crown. Super Bowl parties — partied and done. What’s left for March?

The Montana Football Hall of Fame, that’s what! (click on the link)

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Sam Jankovich called me in January asking if I had any good “headshots” of him that he could send to the Montana Football Hall of Fame, as he was to be inducted in March. So I sent a few.

When Diana and I came to Helena in March I had no plans to attend the event in Billings. Diana kept telling me that I should go, but I really didn’t have much desire to go – expensive banquet ticket, car rental, hotel, and a long drive that I really didn’t look forward to. But after Diana once more got after me I called Sam’s son  and found he was going along with his wife, a son and a grandson. So I made a hotel reservation and then called  Billings to get a ticket. The fellow I talked to was the Chairman of the HoF committee, and as we talked I explained my interest and that I had edited and published Sam’s memoirs.  Rick asked if I had anything they could use in the program, and I sent him my Forward to the memoir and a few pictures. It turns out that they didn’t have much information on Sam, so Rick scurried around and made some minor edits in the forward and that’s what showed up in the program book, so this was a pleasant surprise for me. This was all at the last minute in terms of the publication of the program book. I met Rick at the event, and he was very appreciative of what I gave them. The punch line in my forward is this:

“How did this young man, a hard rock miner from Butte Montana, rise from the depths of a mine tunnel to one day stand beside two Presidents and among three National Championship college football teams? From a dirty and dangerous mine to stand beside Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testeverde and coaches of the caliber of Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson? How did this young man rise from that dark, cold mine shaft to become Chief executive Officer of the New England patriots? How did this man expand a football stadium in Pullman Washington from 24,000 to 39,000 seats – with no cost to the tax payer?

Sam Jankovich came to the surface of the Leonard mine and rose to the top of his chosen profession of athletics. From state championship teams in Butte — to assistant coaching at universities in Montana and Washington — to Athletic Director at Washington State and the University of Miami – to CEO of the Patriots. All along the way earning induction into the Halls of Fame of these institutions.

As the editor of Sam’s memoirs I learned the answers to these questions. Sentence by sentence – paragraph by paragraph – page by page – place to place. I found myself answering these questions with words like ‘character’, ‘loyalty’, ‘quality’ and ‘consistency’ deftly bubbling up from the pages. I began to see the character of the man as golden threads woven through the fabric of his life and career. Part of the fabric and yet distinctly visible.”

So I went to the event and am so glad I did. Sam has become such a dear friend in recent years and I feel so blessed that he has come into my live.

The event was very well done, and attended by 475 people. It was fun watching the interactions between old teammates and hearing their testimonies . Most of the 8 inductees had careers spanning high school through the NFL, including several who played in Super Bowls.

One particularly interesting story was that of Sam McCullum, the son of an Air force man, raised in segregated Mississippi. He told of that experience, and contrasted it with the good experience of living in Northwest Montana as a young high school student where he was treated with respect. When Sam started playing sports in Montana he had never played any sports at all – and he went on to a long career as an NFL player with the Seahawks and Vikings. In fact, Sam caught the very first touchdown pass for the new Seattle Seahawks team.

Sam Jankovich’s  speech was inspiring. He talked about such interpersonal relational things as honesty, loyalty, integrity and character. Hearing his speech I can see how he was successful in all he set out to do, and how he garnered such love and respect from many, including me.

On Sunday afternoon a group of about 30-40 gathered at the Butte Civic Center to honor Sam in front of many Butte people who have been part of Sam’s life. There were several of his players there from the state championship teams of 1961 and 1964, two of whom I recalled from those days. Again, Sam gave an inspiring speech centered on honoring those that did so much in launching his long professional career.

I was finally able to get pictures of me and Sam together. I didn’t have a copy of the book so I borrowed  one from Wayne, one of Sam’s 61 players.

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You can purchase your own copy of Sam’s story by clicking on the image just above — I hope you do!

So that’s my story of football in March.

  

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Yearning for Liberty–A New Book

A Yearning for Publius

Click http://www.blurb.com/b/8546463-yearning-for-liberty to get your copy of this new book.

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In Yearning for Liberty, the author explores various facets of Liberty. Relying heavily on first person accounts, history and some of his own personal experiences and friendships, Johnson examines a broad sweep of time and geography beginning with the Biblical Exodus; through the American Revolution; the American Civil War and the aftermath of the long struggle in gaining liberty for the freed slaves. Then modern-day events and nations are examined such as the Normandy invasion of World War II; the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; the fall of South Vietnam to the communist North, and the subsequent mass evacuation from Saigon. The stunning contrast between the two Koreas is highlighted.

Combining first person accounts with plenty of pictures, Johnson weaves an eye-opening story of what having liberty looks like – its value, as well as the grim reality of what the lack…

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Yearning for Liberty–A New Book and on Amazon

NOTE: I am transitioning some of my books to Amazon at amazon.com/author/donjohnsonbooks.  To get your copy of my books, click on the preceding link, or the book cover images to the left side of this blog. With Amazon I am able to continue to provide quality writing in paperback form as well as publishing to ebook readers – both at reduced cost to you, my reader.

Let me introduce you to my latest book

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In Yearning for Liberty, the author explores various facets of Liberty. Relying heavily on first person accounts, history and some of his own personal experiences and friendships, Johnson examines a broad sweep of time and geography beginning with the Biblical Exodus; through the American Revolution; the American Civil War and the aftermath of the long struggle in gaining liberty for the freed slaves. Then modern-day events and nations are examined such as the Normandy invasion of World War II; the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; the fall of South Vietnam to the communist North, and the subsequent mass evacuation from Saigon. The stunning contrast between the two Koreas is highlighted.

Combining first person accounts with plenty of pictures, Johnson weaves an eye-opening story of what having liberty looks like – its value, as well as the grim reality of what the lack of liberty brings to nations, individuals and the world at large – its cost.

These first-person accounts are taken from sources such as: memoirs and diaries of French citizens experiencing the brutal Nazi occupation and the liberation at Normandy France; the story of a personal friend and US Navy shipmate – a World War II veteran at age 7 followed by years of oppression under communism, a twice wounded freedom fighter from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, a refugee to the US, and a Navy Vietnam veteran; soldiers and marines regaining freedom for captive Europeans; the story of a small Navy warship rescuing tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees.

Click amazon.com/author/donjohnsonbooks to get your copy of this book.

The state of free speech on the American university campus.

A conservative author and filmmaker  spoke at Yale last night and I went to here him speak. I expected a large crowd, and I expected some amount of disruption, if not outright violence.

The crowd was rather small – maybe 75 of us, and there were no demonstrations of any kind.

Aa very good lecture, but painful to hear because of the subject matter dealing with the history of racism and fascism in America .

I sat in the second row so I had a good seat, and I had a copy of a picture of myself and the speaker’s brother who we had met last year in St. Petersburg Russia. I had hopes of giving him the picture should the occasion arise. Standing in the doorway at the front of the small lecture hall, and just to the left of the speaker was an obvious plain clothes body guard. I don’t know how many others there were, but there was a New Haven or Yale Police officer close by as well.

As he was closing out the QA session, and I was anticipating the next question, the speaker abruptly said “thank you all for coming” and then very quickly exited the hall along with the guard who covered his exit. As quickly as I could I exited the same door in hopes of catching him and giving him the picture of me and his brother – he was nowhere to be found.

So I went outside to wait for my wife to pick me up. Out front was a armored Suburban obviously waiting for the speaker, so I decided to hang around for awhile. The young Yale student who was the MC was there, so I showed him my card and the picture, and explained to him a bit and asked if he could give the picture to the speaker . He told he would see what he could do and asked me to wait outside and took the picture back inside.

A bit of time passed and I could look back up into the building exit and I saw the speaker’s entourage ready to exit to the street. It seemed they had waited until the crowd dissipated,  then my guess is they did a security sweep of the hallways on their way outside. They paused at the door and eyes were going everywhere sweeping the street scene and accessing the threat.

My young guy, the master of ceremonies at the event,  had the picture, and I could see he was trying to get the attention of the speaker, but they scurried across to the limo  as quickly as they could and got him out of the area very quickly.

The man is obviously a target. It was refreshing to hear him speak so much truth about Fascism & racism in this country, but it was sad to see that speaking such truth puts such speakers in mortal danger.

Such is the state of free speech on the American university campus.

Don Johnson – March 2018

On Mocking President Trump’s Remarks About Confronting A Shooter

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You may have seen the movie Hacksaw Ridge about this medic who refused to carry a gun into battle. Saved many lives.

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And you recall those firemen who rushed into the threat with no regard for their own safety or lives.

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This rich New Yorker fled the safety of his limo to intervene in a beating on the sidewalk. Recognize him?

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And how will I react?

How Should I React as an Adult In an Active Shooter Situation?

With or without a gun, we may very well find ourselves confronted with someone with a gun and the intent to inflict  much mayhem. Teachers, students and school adults seem to be in the front lines these days, but many of us attend large events such as church, concerts, sporting events and even large block parties. We are not immune to attack.

Maybe we should rehearse in our own mind what we would do in these situations.

What I intend to do if confronted with a shooter is to charge the shooter with as much noise and hollering as possible – with or without a gun. Charge and create a bit of confusion and uncertainty in the shooter and hopefully save lives in the process.

Is this not what our young soldiers , sailors and Marines are trained and expected to do, and in fact do? Reading military award citations, this is what typically happens when a soldier charges an enemy position and often times turns the tide of battle. School shootings are a battle and take place in a war zone – they don’t take place in a gun free area … there is no such thing as a gun-free area.

So that’s my plan – run to the shooter. If I have a gun, shoot him first, but at least cause him to shoot in my direction.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13

Don Johnson – February 2018

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Have you given any thought on how you might react?



How Should I React as an Adult In an Active Shooter Situation?

With or without a gun, we may very well find ourselves confronted with someone with a gun and the intent to inflict  much mayhem. Teachers, students and school adults seem to be in the front lines these days, but many of us attend large events such as church, concerts, sporting events and even large block parties. We are not immune to attack.

Maybe we should rehearse in our own mind what we would do in these situations.

What I intend to do if confronted with a shooter is to charge the shooter with as much noise and hollering as possible – with or without a gun. Charge and create a bit of confusion and uncertainty in the shooter and hopefully save lives in the process.

Is this not what our young soldiers , sailors and Marines are trained and expected to do, and in fact do? Reading military award citations, this is what typically happens when a soldier charges an enemy position and often times turns the tide of battle. School shootings are a battle and take place in a war zone – they don’t take place in a gun free area … there is no such thing as a gun-free area.

So that’s my plan – run to the shooter. If I have a gun, shoot him first, but at least cause him to shoot in my direction.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13

 

A eulogy of Billy Graham from atheist/evolutionist Jerry Coyne

“In all honesty (but I’m always honest, of course), I didn’t know Billy Graham was still alive. It turns out he was 99, and died today at his home in North Carolina.  He was known as the “Pastor to Presidents”, and was there for every American President from Harry Truman through Barack Obama. One of the first televangelists, he was a Southern Baptist estimated to have preached to more humans than anyone in the history of Christianity.  Through his “crusades” (400 of them in 185 countries), he’s said to have persuaded over 3 million people to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior.”

What a waste of a life—preaching fiction and delusion to the masses. My sympathies go to his family and friends, but at least one of his sons is continuing the charade.”

This from a man who spent a career fiddling with fruit flies trying to “evolve” them to something else, better and higher on the tree of life.

He failed!

Read the story of Louis Zamperini and the influence of Billy Graham on this WW-II veteran and Japanese POW, then tell me whose life was consequential.

Don Johnson – February 2018