For over 50 years, I can remember many highlights of Yellow Jacket sports that included various people. There are many vivid memories, mostly of coaches and players. However, there is one person who stands out that takes me back to my childhood that was not a player or a coach. That person is Rayburn Anderson.
If ever a person bled purple and gold it would be Rayburn. He has literally walked hundreds of miles to see his beloved Jackets perform in all sports. Whether he was dancing to “Wipeout” being played by the GCHS pep band at basketball games in the old gym or leading the Jacket football team onto the field, no one has shown more school spirit and love for Yellow Jacket sports than he has.
In the early years, he did not have a great distance to walk to games, although it was probably at least a mile one way. However, that changed in October of 1997, when the new school opened, and when basketball season rolled around that walk went from one mile to 10 miles.
This did not stop Rayburn from getting to a home game. If he was unable to secure a ride, there was not anyone that knows him shocked to see him walking along Highway 56 decked out in his purple and gold attire to go see his favorite teams play.
I caught up with Rayburn last Friday. Yes, you guessed it; he was walking down the road. I stopped and congratulated him on his honor and asked him what was his fondest memory of Yellow Jacket sports was. Rayburn quick response was this, “My greatest memory was the year the Jacket football team in Ken Colquette’s third year (2003) went undefeated in the district and went to the second round of the playoffs.”
We discussed the fact of that season ending on a long field goal attempt by Macon County to edge the Jackets.
What a wonderful seventieth birthday present for Rayburn! Yes, 70 years young as of July 23. You couldn’t ever tell it by his youthful enthusiasm he shows, not only when the Jackets are playing, but in everything he does.
Nevertheless, “Happy Birthday,” and congratulations once again on your selection as the Yellow Jacket “Superfan” to the 2016 GCHS Sports Hall of Fame.
Local Sports Notes
The dead period has come and gone and as my great dear departed friend James “Duper” Ladd used to say, “It’s football time on the mountain.”
The Yellow Jacket football team resumed its preparation for the 2016 football season. Jacket head coach Casey Tate enters his second season at the helm after a tough 2015 campaign that had a roster dominated with freshmen and sophomores. After a competitive and productive spring, the Jackets have worked hard this summer. With a roster of approximately 35 players, these young men have been dedicated in attending summer workouts.
Last week, the Jackets entertained Huntland and Bledsoe County in 7 on 7 competitions. The Jackets swept both competitions. Coming up tomorrow, the Jackets will host a four-way scrimmage at Crisp Field on the GCHS campus starting at 6 p.m. Eagleville, Moore County, and Lookout Valley will join the Jackets in the scrimmage.
Next Friday, August 5, the Jackets will travel to Chattanooga and to the campus of Grace Baptist Academy for a three way scrimmage. They will go against the host Golden Eagles as well as the Green Wave of Midway High School.
Finally, the Sequatchie Valley Jamboree has been set. The longest running jamboree in Tennessee will be held at South Pittsburg High School on Friday, August 12, beginning at 6 p.m. The Jackets will open the event playing in the first quarter against Silverdale Baptist Academy. Later, in the sixth quarter, the Jackets will square off with Lookout Valley High School.