NWGA'S PREMIER FEATURE MAGAZINE JUNE 2018
What was once a general store is now a Mecca for old machines of the fourwheel variety given life by a local artist.
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june 2018 Columns 10
It is not often that a person gets the chance to fly across the pond and witness a royal union. HOLLY LYNCH decided to pack a bag and watch Harry and Meghan make history.
Before this year’s Boston Marathon, JIM ALRED thought that it would be a cold and rainy day in Hell before an American woman would cross the finish line first and a panda bear would cross it at all.
More manor than neighborhood mainstay, this boldly elegant HARDY HOME would be the perfect place for aspiring home owners to take the baton from a family who wanted more than a white picket fence.
Winning the 2017 GEORGIA GIRLS SELECT COACH OF THE YEAR FOR SOCCER, DAVE EDDINS feels that marks in the win column aren’t always the measure of his players’ success.
ONE OF ROME’S FAVORITE BOYS IN BLUE INVITES US INSIDE HIS LIFE OF OVERTHE-TOP-ANTICS, AND WE HAVE FOUND THAT THERE IS MORE TO THE BLUE BARRACUDA THAN MEETS THE EYE.
In the blink of an eye, you could miss the opportunity to see a collection folks come from near and far to see. If you are driving through White, Ga. be sure to pull in for a rest at OLD CAR CITY.
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JUNE 2018 V3 MAGAZINE www.RenaissanceMarquis.com
A little less than 13 years ago, a couple of buddies and I started V3 Magazine. While I was out and about on the sales trail I received an invitation to a networking group called Linc’s Club. I needed to make connections, so of course I accepted the invitation and after one meeting I joined the group. It was a good group of small business people. They understood the value of a personal referral and my dues paid off immediately through direct sales for the magazine. As most good things do, that club came to an OW N E R & C EO Ian Griffin end, and a group of members who wanted to continue the referral mission and add a civic obligation to the fold formed Connections Club. It wasn’t (and has never been) a huge group of people and that is by design, as only one business type is allowed in the group. Those members who have been (and still are) in the group are some of my favorite people, and from the start have carried out the mission to give back to the community through volunteer efforts and donations to various charities. From funding Christmas presents and Thanksgiving meals to families in need to large contributions from fundraisers put on by the club, we have managed to help each other grow our businesses while giving as much as a group of 15-25 businesses can muster. In 2012 I lost a good friend at the young age of 34 and in his honor a group of his friends and I started a charity golf tournament to benefit the daughter he left behind. The idea was to make sure she had the funds to go to college and the support for the first few years was amazing. But soon, attendance began to dwindle as the time went by. We wanted to keep it going and it had a strong enough base that if the right organization picked it up, it could be extremely successful. I immediately thought of my Connections Club and after receiving the blessing of the benefactor’s family, we opted to change the cause to sustain the tournament. On April 13, 2018 The Coker Classic was held for the sixth time, but the first under Connections Club. This would also be the first tournament to benefit high school seniors who excelled in the classroom, but were in need of financial aid to move on to college. The club rose to the occasion, helping format the application requirements, selection process and a rubric to avoid bias. All five finalists were awarded a minimum of $500 with the winner taking home $3000 and I had the pleasure of informing the guidance counselors and teachers who made the nominations. Each of them was so grateful, but when I called the counselor of the winning student and gave her the news, she couldn’t hold back the tears of joy. When a person sheds tears because they are overcome with happiness, you know you’ve done something good. I felt so blessed to have that conversation, and that wouldn’t have been possible without my Connections Club. My friends and I were allowed to continue to celebrate the memory of a dear friend through a shared mission of helping kids who have overcome the odds to succeed academically. Tears of joy are in order.
Ian Griffin, Owner
OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin EDITORIAL MANAGER Oliver Robbins, Jr. MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo WRITERS Oliver Robbins, Jr., Holly Lynch, Jim Alred, Lauren Jones-Hillman, Abbie Smith, Jennifer Luitwieler, McKenzie Todd, Rachel Reiff EXECUTIVE PHOTOGRAPHER Cameron Flaisch CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Andy Calvert Kelly Moore AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS Chris Forino AD DESIGN Elizabeth Blount Ellie Borromeo PUBLISHER V3 Publications, LLC CONTACT 417 Broad Street Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 email@example.com CREATOR Neal Howard
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Meghan’s Big Day Trends&Traditions with Holly Lynch
or those of you not following on social media, you might not have known that I did, in fact, travel across the pond to be a spectator to the Royal Wedding. Prince Harry, the renegade royal and sixth in line to the throne, found his
mate in an American actress, Meghan Markle, a woman of biracial ethnicity and an ex-husband to boot. My, how times have changed from the days of Edward VIII. Back in February, my sweet husband cautiously hinted that it would be okay with him if I had been secretly planning to go (which he fully suspected I was already planning). I had checked some flight costs, just out of curiosity, but I really had not been planning to make the trip. But as the conversation continued, I realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The next big royal wedding (not counting those York girls) would be 20-plus years in the future, when young Master George or one of his siblings gets married, and who knows what could happen to the monarchy by then. So I dialed up my ready-for-adventure friend Cheryl and we booked flights and an Airbnb and started researching just how to watch the royal spectacle without arousing Scotland Yard. Through the magic of social media, I was allowed entry into a Windsor ‘neighborhood’ group and a group for those travelling to the wedding. Each group had insider information on how exactly to see the royals. As information came out from the official sources, those who lived in the area and those who have witnessed royal events in the past
shared additional hints and information. It boiled down to this: sleep would be sacrificed. So, on the big day, Cheryl and I got up at 2:30 a.m., found ourselves at the Waterloo Train Station at 4 a.m. (before it opened) to be able to get on the first train from London to Windsor at 5 a.m. and make our way to the Long Walk to find a good spot along the procession barricade. The Long Walk is basically a park with a paved, narrow road through it, not intended normally for automobiles. It leads to one of the entrances to Windsor Castle where the wedding took place. Windsor Castle is a series of buildings, which includes St. George’s Chapel. The castle dates back to the 11th century, long before the USA was even a glimmer in any settler’s eye. Windsor is a small town, similar to Rome in many ways, but larger (at least in population), though it felt smaller. Oh, and there’s a LEGOLAND in Windsor. The procession is basically a parade, but only included the bride and groom in a horse-drawn carriage. It would pass us for about one minute, for which we staked our spot for seven hours. It was totally worth it. Now that you have all the necessary background, here’s the key take-aways from this incredible experience. Family comes first. In the days leading up to Meghan’s big day, her father was creating a hailstorm of press with the will-he or won’t-he show up for the wedding. Maybe he had a heart problem. Maybe he was embarrassed. But all of it played out very publicly. Whatever the reason for his absence, his daughter should have been his priority. But enough about him – let’s give a cheer for the notalways-loveable Prince Charles. His tumultuous relationship with the beloved Princess Diana and subsequent marriage to the lukewarm Camilla,
his public persona has not always been popular. Well, Mr. Markle gave him a moment to shine and shine he did. He put his son’s happiness (and future daughter-in-law’s) ahead of any protocol or tradition. He also graciously included Meghan’s mother in many moments, offering her an arm for the recessional, along with Camilla. If ever there was a public “welcome to my family”, Prince Charles extended it. For anyone who has ever had a strained relationship with a parent, you know how warm it feels to be welcomed into a family. Well done, Charles. The second “deep thought” I came to was that plain is pretty. Meghan’s dress, the plainest wedding dress I’ve ever seen, was just perfect for her. It matched the medieval feel of the castle, suited her status as a future royal, but also as a woman who had been married before, and accented her best feature, her smile. I know many critics thought the dress too plain, but plain is pretty. Simple truly is elegant. Her poise and smile were showcased by the simplicity of the design on the gown, and she wasn’t competing with distractions like too much skin, or too much glitter, or too much anything. Lastly, and most importantly, was this lesson: love is way more important than race or nationality. Cheryl and I had the fortune of being interviewed for a BBC radio program about the wedding, and the conversation inevitably turned to race. While sitting in the park in Windsor, we met two ladies from the town itself, who came out to see Prince Harry and the American, whom they didn’t expect would make it in the royal marriage for more than three years. They good-naturedly teased me about having an American flag along with the UK flag to wave as the newlyweds passed, saying she was becoming a British citizen, so we only needed the UK flag (but
if the marriage tanks, however, they said we could have her back). While all these conversations are true (Meghan is an American and she is mixed race), for me, none of it mattered. I knew her first as an actress in a television show that I loved (and still do). When her relationship with Prince Harry was announced, I was surprised but then delighted he had finally “settled down” with someone who seemed equal to the challenge of marrying into the royal family. In all photos and interviews, they seem genuinely in love. Like the business I find myself in, the wedding business, the celebration of love is a marriage created by ceremony and tradition. And so we went to celebrate that love – the love for Prince Harry, his love for Meghan, my love for the royal family, and all of our shared love for the pageantry. The streets of Windsor had a party for two people we truly don’t know but who we care for. Like Bishop Michael Curry said, “Two young people fell in love and we all showed up.” The magic of the day was the love felt all around – from security guards at an early-morning train station to the very drunken revelers who decided to go to Windsor in the wee hours of Saturday (after a Friday night of revelry). From the welcome ambassadors in Windsor to the kind shop-keepers opening early, there was an excited aura of love. On the park, with the Pimm’s double-decker bus to the people in the porta-loo line, we celebrated. And when the happy couple made their way through town, smiles abounded, tears flowed and cheers shouted because two people fell in love. Congratulations, Meghan and Harry! Thanks for the magic! *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
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The Boston Iced Tea Party For the Love of the Game with Jim Alred
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A guy in a panda suit, a nurse anesthetist and Mother Nature in a really bad mood walked into a bar in Boston. Except it wasn’t a bar but instead the 2018 Boston Marathon. If you paid attention then you’ll know the event this year was brutal. At start time, officials announced the temperature sitting at a balmy 38 degrees, making it the coldest start in Boston in 30 years. Add to that rain and a blustery, almost gale-like wind, which reached speeds of up to 30 mph and conditions were less than perfect. The winning times showed. Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win Boston in 40 years, posting the slowest winning time for a woman in 33 years in 2:39:54. On the men’s side things weren’t much better, as Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi finished in 2:15:58 for the slowest winning time for men in 42 years. The men’s wheelchair race winner, yes his time was super slow as well, crossed the finish line and then went straight to the medical tent. Afterwards, he claimed he never managed to warm up during the roughly two hours on the daunting 26.2-mile course. But something crazy happened on the course that day. As the conditions went from bad to worse, a few runners showed a lot of heart and grit. On the women’s side, American’s grabbed seven of the top 10 spots. The American men fell one shy of that, as runners
from the good ol’ US of A snatched six of the top 10 spots. In a race where American distance running fans typically are happy to have two or three USA runners place in the top 10, the daunting conditions did nothing to hamper the locals and actually provided us with some great stories. Take the words of the men’s winner Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, who took to social media claiming the race offered the best conditions for him. Some might think him crazy but wait a second on that judgment, because it only gets better. A lot of runners prepare for marathons by running races. Yuki, I’m using his first name because honestly I don’t want to try to spell his last name every time and I think someone like him deserves first name status, ran a half marathon as a warm-up for Boston in his hometown of Kuki. Yes you read that right. My new favorite living distance runner, sorry Yuki no one will ever take Pre from my top all-time spot, is Kuki from Yuki. What’s so awesome about Yuki placing second in the Kuki Half marathon you ask? Well my friends. The wunderkind did it while wearing a panda suit. Not a panda hat or panda gloves but a fullfledged panda suit. He covered the 13.1-mile course in just over an hour and 10 minutes. Did I mention Yuki wore a panda suit, because I really don’t want that to get lost in this article? By the way, Yuki holds the unofficial world record for running a half marathon in a three-piece suit. Just for fun Yuki also holds world records, these are official, for most sub 2:12 marathons and most sub 2:20 marathons with 25 and 79, respectively. And he takes his running seriously. When he placed 14th a few years back at the Tokyo Marathon failing to qualify for the Japanese Olympic team at the London Olympics, he apologized and shaved his head in penance. Yep. Yuki is a bad ass. So the gale force winds, record cold and driving rain deterred a lot of worldclass athletes. But it did nothing to our new friend Yuki. Heck, he probably found it easier running this race than his hometown half marathon. By the way, he works a regular job every day that doesn’t allow him to receive corporate sponsorship. He can claim his prize money, but Nike can’t throw a swoosh on his panda costume and pay him for it. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about the women and super kudos go out to Linden for grabbing the victory. But there is another runner who caught my attention. That’s runner-up Sarah Sellers, also from the US. When Sellers crossed the finish line, she had to ask race officials what place she finished. Male and females run at the same time, and I’m guessing it might have been hard to tell genders with everyone all bundled up. She thought she had maybe grabbed a top-20 finish.
When she learned that she finished second, let’s say state of shock might be a huge understatement. Sellers was flying so low under the elite-runner radar that when she sat down at the post race press conference, the gathered media started off with a question not often heard – “Tell us who you are?” Maybe you don’t know how rare that is, but those words have never been uttered in any of the many, many post event press conferences I’ve attended. Can you imagine someone raising their hand and asking the same thing of say Nick Saban? Just think about the viral internet video that would follow. Sellers turns out to be a full-time nurse anesthetist in Arizona and either trains later in the evening or super early in the morning, say four in the morningish. She loves her job. She even said winning the $75,000 prize money wouldn’t mean she would leave it. It’s not like Sellers just walked to the starting line, borrowed a pair of running shoes and finished second, though. She was a top-notch distance runner in college but was only running her second marathon and not considered an elite competitor. And what about that word elite. There were lots of elite runners in Boston. Or in other words, really well-known distance runners or at least as well known as those athletes can be. Many dropped out. Some didn’t even start and a lot never finished.
That’s fine. Those runners will find another race probably with a lot better conditions and try their luck again. But I’ve got to say watching the race and watching the replays of Yuki and Sarah brave the elements and beat almost all comers brought a huge smile to my face. American distance running has come back into the limelight internationally over the past decade, but this year’s Boston Marathon showed what I love best about our runners and our new friend Yuki. Distance running isn’t just about being your best on a perfect day with no wind and rain and the sun smiling warmly back at you. My favorite runners and athletes are the ones who can toe the line in brutal conditions, with crazy wind and driving rain while Mother Nature beats on you like Rome whipped Buford in high school football. Let’s be honest. The conditions at the Boston Marathon stunk. But the race provided a glimpse into the heart of every runner. Two runners, who work regular, fulltime jobs and sometimes even race in panda suits, showed us that you don’t have to be considered elite to win. You just have to be willing to fight like hell and never give up even when the conditions stink. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.
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Countryside Elegance A long-time family property is ready for a new generation of memories. text RACHEL REIFF
anor seems the most apt term for the beautiful house that sits on more than 70 sprawling acres at 2836 Old Dalton Road in Rome, Georgia. This expansive and thoughtful property, recently listed for sale by Hardy Realty, captures you the minute you drive through its iron gate, winding through the trees and down the driveway. As the house itself comes into view and you pull into the circle drive, you are immediately struck by both its bold elegance and sweet charm. Ascend the brick staircase to the front entrance, and you’ll see that the wooden doors are grand not only in size but also in history: they were imported from France and boast ornate black detailing and antiqued gold doorknobs. Another treat awaits you in the front entry room. Dr. Rebekah Lowrey, who built and has lived for over 30 years in this house with her husband, Dr. Darrell Lowrey, chose a panoramic woodblock printed wallpaper by Zuber & Cie to be featured in this room.
photos KELLY MOORE
Rebekah explains that the space is one of her favorites in the house. “When the sunlight shines through the prisms of the chandelier, it casts rainbows on the walls and floor. It’s so beautiful; it reminds me of the Garden of Eden.” Each following room continues to perfectly blend thoughtful aesthetic with livable comfortability. Highlights of the house include: the large but homey living room with marble fireplace and handmade wooden mantle, the bookcase-turned-secret-door to the study, and the fire escape staircase that leads from the bedrooms upstairs to the first floor master (Specifically, the masters’ walk-in-closet.) It is clear that the Lowreys designed the house with such intention and care in every detail. And for Darrell, the property is more than just a house: the land has been in his family since 1946. He remembers his father tilling the land as a full-time farmer and remembers when the now-backyard was full of cows, pigs and all kinds of crops.
20 | HARDY REALTY | HOME FEATURE
After Darrell met and married his sweetheart, Rebekah, at medical school, they decided to settle back in Rome and raise their son and daughter on this family property. Darrell says the wonderful memories here with his children are endless. He remembers everything from playing baseball in the then-uncompleted living room and racing toy cars on the front door steps, to the hundreds of air hockey championships in the upstairs playroom. After they completed the spacious house (with five full baths, two half baths, four bedrooms and a sleeping porch with a Murphy bed, doubling as a fifth bedroom), they showed the same level of care in designing the grounds around the home. The formal gardens are a particular joy to stroll in, as they feature attractive florals, raised vegetable beds, an inside potting area and a lovely pergola in the center. The property also features an in-ground swimming pool, a workshop and garage area, two dog kennels, an outdoor pavilion, two outdoor grills, a full-sized playground and a playhouse for the kids. It is no wonder that the Lowrey family has easily hosted graduation parties, steeplechase events and even a wedding on site.
HARDY REALTY | HOME FEATURE | 21
22 | HARDY REALTY | HOME FEATURE
And while they have enjoyed every minute spent making these memories, they also feel that the time has come for a new generation to embrace the property and all it has to offer. Darrell says it is a perfect place to enjoy the country lifestyle, while only being a few miles out of town. He even thinks that it would make a great horse farm if the new owners are so inclined. Together, the Lowreys believe that the legacy of the rural setting will be to encourage the inhabitants to be stewards of the land. Whoever next lives at 2836 Dalton Road will undoubtedly find that a restoring, peaceful environment coupled with space for new adventure awaits them here. For additional information about the property or to schedule a showing, please contact Hardy Realty at 706-291-4321.
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dins ins kn ws best FROM PREVIOUS PLAYERS TO CURRENT COACHES, DAVE EDDINS FEELS THE IMPACT HE HAS MADE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS FAR OUTWEIGHS HIS PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS. BY JIM ALRED
gi ven his way, Dave Eddins prefers to stay on the sidelines, watching his charges and taking notes about ways to improve them. But the local soccer coach, who has helped develop a slew of players and taken both boys and girls travel teams to almost unprecedented heights, found himself in the spotlight earlier this year. An email came across congratulating him on being named the girls select coach of the year. Instead of basking in the glory, Eddins laughed and reached out to a couple of people thinking it had to be a joke.
PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERON FLAISCH
“I had no clue. No idea. I actually thought it was a joke when I first got the email,” Eddins says. “I texted Scott (McCreless) and asked if it was a joke.” It wasn’t. Georgia Soccer, the governing body for youth soccer in the state, selected Eddins as their 2017 Georgia Girls Select Coach of the Year. Some people might bask in the glory of such an honor, but not Eddins. “To be honest it was a little embarrassing. It does mean a lot and I got to read what the nominations said and really appreciate it, but it was also a little awkward,” he says. “But this isn’t about me. This is about the players.” Those five words succinctly sum up Eddins and his philosophy to soccer, which has been helping educate players in Rome for more than 20 years. Along the way Eddins has coached countless players and been involved with numerous teams from the youngest age groups in the YMCA’s Arsenal Recreation program to coaching U19 Classic and Athena squads. Eddins started playing soccer in the seventh grade and played at Indian Springs High School in Birmingham, Ala. when soccer was much more of an outsider sport. Eddins graduated high school and went to Berry for college where he also played soccer. During his time at Berry, he did some co-op work in Birmingham and helped coach the Indians Spring girls’ team. Eddins graduated and landed in Rome and decided to give coaching another try. “Around 1999, I went to the Y and told Scott that I wanted to get back into coaching and started coaching recreation,” Eddins says. “I coached three or four rec teams and loved it.” While coaching the rec teams another opportunity presented itself.
“They had a boy’s travel team that had really been struggling. They hadn’t won a game in two seasons. They were U12 and when I took over, they had lost 20 games in a row,” he says. As in all things new there was a transition period. The team got better, but the results on the field didn’t quite show it. “I think that team could serve as a great psychology study. We were much better than our record showed, but they were so used to losing that it took a while to break out of that mentality,” Eddins says. Eventually those old losing ways vanished, and with Eddins at the helm the team ran off an impressive array of victories. “The team went from losing 20 in a row to having a game ball where we won 21 in a row. Over the last three seasons, we won the division
three times and won a lot of games,” Eddins says. “Six players off of that squad went on to play in college. It was a blast. It was pretty amazing.” The team compiled an impressive 33-0-2 record over those three years. Eddins notes that several times the squad was tied or losing a game but always managed to battle back and get a victory or a tie. “When that was over I was pretty burned out. I took some time off and didn’t really think much about getting back into coaching,” he says. However, the love for the game runs deep in the Eddins family and his three daughters not only showed a love for the sport but also a natural affinity for it as well. Hannah, Tori and Maggie all proved to be great soccer players and have played key roles on Eddins’ teams. And the long-time coach has also gotten the pleasure of watching his crew compete and win state titles while playing for Unity Christian.
I THINK THE BIGGEST THING IS TO BE ABLE TO TEACH THEM JUST TO KEEP COMPETING AGAINST THEMSELVES. THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE SOMEONE, FASTER, TALLER AND STRONGER THAN YOU BUT IF YOU KEEP WORKING AND JUST GET A LITTLE BETTER EVERY DAY THOSE DAYS ADD UP. LEFT L to R: Maggie Eddins, Zoe Diehl
LEFT Perry Durden ABOVE Anna Ruth Parker 26
has moved up the ranks winning its league a couple of times before finishing in seventh place in A, the top level this past fall. “The thing I’m proudest about on this team is that we have those four ODP players. I feel like we are putting out a good product and we have kids who are responding to the challenge,” he says. “We push our kids and we are competing and beating teams that are bigger and stronger and sometimes technically better than us.” But don’t think it’s always easy or that every team wins every game. “I calculated it one day that I drove more than 370 miles and we gave up 22 goals and scored one. It was a bad day for all three teams, but I just laughed about it at the end,” he says. Because three games over a very long Saturday serve as nothing more than a blip on screen as the teams and players develop and become better athletes. As far as philosophy goes, Eddins keeps it simple. “I think the biggest thing is to be able to teach them just to keep competing against themselves. There is always going to be someone, faster, taller and stronger than you but if you keep working and just get a little better every day those days add up,” Eddins says. “If you’re always competing against yourself then you’re going to get better.” As for circumstances beyond h is players' control like injuries or weather or other things, Eddins has another simple philosophy. “I tell them to never become a victim and always work to turn something negative into a positive,” he says. Scott Akemon, who co-coaches the squads with Eddins and also has a daughter who plays on the U16 A squad is one of may who sings Eddins praise.
ABOVE Stephanie Castoneda
“Last year it was a lot of fun, because all three of them were on the field at the same time (for Unity Christian). It was the only time that all three will be on the competitive field together,” he says. “We took a lot of pictures and just sat back and enjoyed it.” The trio played a pivotal role in the Lions wining their second consecutive state title, while Tori and Maggie also helped the Lions win another state title just a few months ago. As Hannah approached her senior season, Eddins knew she had a chance to play collegiately. “You never want to pressure your kids. It was amazing because we didn’t know where she was
going to go and she ended up at Berry,” he says. “She got a concussion and missed a lot of the season and then comes back and in the last game of the season scores a goal.” This past fall, Eddins coached three girls travel teams- one U19 team and two U16 teams. Both the U19 and the U16 competed in Athena A or top travel division in the state. The U16 A team holds the distinction of being the first YMCA Arsenal girls team to reach A. The squad also won the Academy Cup a few years back and is comprised of several top players, including four players in the Georgia Olympic Development Program (ODP). Since becoming coach, the squad
ABOVE Dave Eddins
“Dave is a big picture guy. He is a very analytical and methodical person and is much more focused on the players’ development than just winning a game or a tournament,” Akemon says. “I’m thrilled that my daughter plays for him. If he quit coaching, I’m pretty sure she would stop playing soccer. That’s how much he means to her.” And taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see Eddins’ influence on the current crop of coaches with three or four of them coming from his former teams. “It’s great to see these players coming back and coaching. To see their heart and love for the kids is just amazing,” he says. It’s not an uncommon site to see one of Eddins’ former players come up and hug him eliciting a big smile from the usually reserved coach. “Coach Eddins is like part of my family. I learned so much from him and he helped me become a much better player,” Llaerton Huskins, who goes by Coach Michael to his U15 squad because it’s a bit easier to say, says. “Now I’m out here coaching and trying to teach these boys the same things he taught me.” Huskins is one of the members from the threeyear undefeated squad and one of the many local players Eddins has impacted over the years. As time rolls on, his current teams will move out of travel and into college leaving him with another question – what to do next.
ABOVE Front: Rhiannon Simpson, Ashley Medrano, Stephanie Castoneda, Lauren Akemon, Emma Couch, Haley Guerrero, Zoe Diehl, Maggie Eddins Back: David Eddins, Sydni Hazelwood, Allison Loveman, Leilani Rojas, Micah Vance, Perry Durden, Janet Hartman, Anna Ruth Parker, Roger Hartman
“I will probably take some time off.” How long he can’t quite say, but his next words show the heart he has for coaching. “You want to have an impact somewhere and I can’t see me not doing this in the future,” he says. “Maybe I’ll go back to coaching boys but I want to start over, because I like to see the long term impact versus the short term.”
That’s how Coach Eddins measures success. It’s not the trophies and the wins, but the impacts on the players and how they can grow and be better players and better people. And although he looked a bit embarrassed when they read the platitudes about him and handed him the coach of the year trophy, Eddins more than earned the award. Even if he thought it was a joke at first.
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I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT
the Blues FROM HIS FANATICAL EXPLOITS ON THE DIAMOND, TO HIS ENDLESS LOVE FOR THE ROME BRAVES AND THEIR FANS, ROMEY SHOWS THE WORLD WHY IT’S SO COOL TO BE BLUE. BY JIM ALRED
PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERON FLAISCH
ermit the Frog once sang about how it’s not easy being green. While Kermit might not love the shade of his amphibian skin, his river-dwelling cohort Romey has no issues being blue. In fact, Romey embraces his deep shade of blue as he does all things he does each and every day in and around State Mutual Stadium and Rome. During a typical Rome Braves game, fans can find the fun-loving soul dancing on dugouts, throwing hot dogs from the back of vehicles, hugging kids and high fiving fans before during and after games. Many fans know the Braves drafted Romey in 2003 in time for the Rome Braves’ inaugural season, which also was a championship season, but few are aware of the mascot’s exploits on the diamond.
That is exploits involved in the game of baseball instead of chucking t-shirts or hot dogs and showing of a slew of amazing dance moves. In fact, Romey’s time on the diamond in uniform proved so stellar that the South Atlantic League and even the Braves instituted rules to ensure visiting teams could have a fair shake. ROMEY FACTOID: The only time Romey took the mound; he struck out the opposing batter with one pitch. The pitch was so fast that the radar gun being held by a scout displayed the word, “ouch” and promptly blew up. To save radar guns, scouts and batters everywhere, the Sally League immediately instituted a ban on Romey taking the mound. ROMEY FACTOID: Romey loves playing third base but it turned into quite a dilemma for the
HomeLoan_KeyinHands_2May18.indd 1 Braves, because of the power Romey delivered with every throw to first base. First basemen had to don full hockey goalie gear to keep them safe from the thrown balls. Needless to say, the Braves decided not to leave Romey at third base to save cost on gear and to keep their first baseman from passing out during the hot summer months. ROMEY FACTOID: Romey once hit a gamewinning, grand slam home run with the bases empty in the first inning of the game. ROMEY FACTOID: Romey is the Sally career leader in stealing first base. ROMEY FACTOID: Romey once hit a home run so far that the ball was never found. A few years later, NASA discovered it orbiting the sun and named it Neptune. ROMEY FACTOID: When Romey retired from playing baseball, he ended his career with a 2.000 batting average.
5/21/18 12:32 PM
Romey’s exploits on the baseball diamond are so powerful that while he loved the game, he felt it was time to focus on another part of the game. A part he loves as much if not more so than the game itself – the fans. Since then the Big Blue Barracuda (yes Romey originates from a freshwater river, but anyone who has ever seen him tear around the bases knows he moves with fluidity and vigilance of a barracuda) decided to move away from the field, he’s managed to help thousands of fans cheer on the Braves each season. 34
When the Braves have a 10-run lead or trail late, Romey brings the same zeal and enthusiasm to his antics as if it were game seven of the World Series. ROMEY FACTOID: The Sally League banned the Rome Braves from putting Romey’s face on their bats, because it terrified opposing pitchers and players and was deemed unfair for the sport. As far as the Big Blue Barracuda himself, well Romey takes it all in stride and wakes up each day ready to root for the Rome Braves. Opposing players, managers and fans can breath easy knowing the Rome Braves’ original all-star is content to cheer from the sidelines.
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ONE MANâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S JUNK THIS morning doodler HAS EXTENDED HIS LOVE FOR CREATIVITY TO CLASSIC CARS, AND HE HAS INVITED THE WORLD TO SEE HIS FIELD OF DREAM CARS. BY MCKENZIE TODD PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERON FLAISCH
BELOW Dean Lewis
unassuming store front on an isolated road in White, Georgia, that could be missed completely if you aren’t careful, marks the foundation of the of what one man calls the “world’s largest classic car junkyard.” Owner and overseer, Dean Lewis calls Old Car City USA his junkyard gallery full of over 4,500 old cars, (most of which are model year 1972 or older) spread out over three separate lots and totaling a massive 34 acres. As easy as it is to drive right past the initial structure, one would be surprised at how well known this 34 acres of nature’s art is around the world. “As far as I know, someone from every single continent has visited us here at Old Car City. From Belgium, Germany, London and Denmark, to Sweden, the Netherlands and South Korea people come. It’s crazy. You ain’t gonna believe the folks who come to see a rusty car and broken glass junkyard,” Lewis smiles. When thinking of major media outlets, art magazines and travel guides, you can almost bet that they’ve traveled to White, Georgia to interview Lewis and his crew. Old Car City hasn’t always been a media sensation, as it originated as a general store owned and operated by his parents in the 1930’s. With no electricity, gas running at 19 cents a gallon and apples only one cent each, the Lewis’ decision to turn the store into a junkyard proved profitable as the Depression Era made scrap metal, steel and tires as good as currency. Throughout the years, the auto salvage yard flourished, but Lewis had a different image for the business; rather than benefit from the destruction of cars, he wanted to preserve their heritages. 40
FROM BELGIUM, GERMANY, LONDON AND DENMARK, TO SWEDEN, THE NETHERLANDS AND SOUTH KOREA PEOPLE COME. IT’S CRAZY. YOU AIN’T GONNA BELIEVE THE FOLKS WHO COME TO SEE A RUSTY CAR AND BROKEN GLASS JUNKYARD. 42
“I was born and raised in the junkyard, and knew this was where I wanted to invest my money once I graduated from high school. I got a loan one day and opened the junkyard with around 4,000 more cars,” Lewis recalls. Lewis remembers the times when people wouldn’t even look Old Car City’s way, much less stop and take a tour of the grounds. However, Lewis did not realize the marketing capital that rest in his treasures until a few years ago when local photographers took interest in the rust and roots of Old Car City. That sparked an idea in Lewis, which is essentially what made this business what it is today, a place he calls a “photographer’s paradise.” “Back when we were selling parts, I had 21 Yellow Page ads for Old Car City. I paid a lot of money to promote the junkyard which worked out okay, but nothing like the traffic we see today. Now, I don’t have to do anything because so many people advertise for me. The internet created an even bigger draw for Old Car City than anything I could have done to advertise the business,” said Lewis. Today, Lewis sees his collection as more of a museum than a salvage yard, and refers to the compilation of old historic cars as a combination of art, nature and history. “It’s completely different,” Lewis says, “as there are hardly any more junkyards, and some people are just crazy about junkyards.” You can see this interest displayed in Old Car City’s junkyard circle called, “Make Your Mark.” Lewis allows visitors to choose a fender, door or quarter panel of any car of their choice, and paints a message on it. “We like for our guests to
get personal with the art, because it means a lot to us and I know it does to them too,” said Lewis. Lewis’s passion for his cars runs just about as deep as his passion for the arts. When stepping into the preliminary shop, you are immediately hit with thousands of collectible oddities, as well as other knick-knacks which help to create the vintage atmosphere throughout the grounds. Old Car City is annotated with hundreds of Dean's handlettered signs, which he also hangs upstairs from the entrance to the building. There, you will find between 3,500 and 4,000 Styrofoam cups displayed with Dean Lewis’ doodles. He has been collecting these for around 39 years, as that is about how long Lewis has been drinking coffee every single
morning. Along with the cups, Lewis has also been framing and painting for around five years. “I practice subliminal art, because I like my art to be congested along the walls of my studio. That appeals to me, and is how I intend for my art when I am creating it,” says Lewis. “But I am not an artist. I just like to doodle and make marks,” says Lewis. Dean Lewis and his crew at Old Car City are around most days, as Lewis enjoys the time that he spends at his gallery. “Oh, I stay busy. But that’s how I like it,” says Lewis, which is what makes Old Car City perhaps one of the greatest hidden jewels of Northwest Georgia.
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413 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161
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