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Bison Basketball Travel Log: Jacksonville

Tuesday, January 03, 2012
by Jonathan Seamon, "The Voice of the Bison"

Jonathan Seamon has served as the radio announcer for the Bison since his first days on the Lipscomb campus in 1973. After graduating in 1977, Jonathan returned to the Lipscomb campus in 1979 working as Director of Sports Information and Public Information. In 1987, Jonathan was appointed Assistant Athletic Director before becoming Assistant Vice President for Athletic Administration in 1989. In 1991, Jonathan assumed the daily operations of the Lipscomb Athletic Department, being named Director of Athletics, a position he would serve in until his retirement in 2000. In 2000 Jonathan was honored by the NAIA by being inducted into the NAIA National Hall of Fame. Since leaving Lipscomb Jonathan has served as the Family Life Minister at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ. He was inducted into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tuesday January 3, 2012 – 1:19 p.m.

Our travel log is going to be a mix of notes, blogs, emails and a journey that is going from Tennessee to Florida to North Carolina...as the Bison continue a seven-game road trip....

The original travel plans called for me to join the team on Monday...do the game Monday night...and then travel to a Youth Ministers Conference in Daytona for a day and a half and then come back to Jacksonville for the North Florida game, before returning to Nashville on Thursday.

However, those plans changed Sunday--when we learned of the news of the death of former athletic department employee, Bob Forrester.  I am schedule to help lead in his funeral on Wednesday.

Trevor began working on plans to bring both Benjamin and I to Jacksonville---so, I could return home for the funeral and Benjamin could do the North Florida broadcast.  However, before we had the flights booked---we learned of the death of my father (he had been in the hospital for about 2 1/2 months in North Carolina)--so we had to do some late night "punting" Sunday night.

When the dust all settled...both Benjamin and I were on a plane to Jacksonville to do the game Monday night at Swisher Gymnasium against the dolphins.  Tuesday (today--and I am writing while waiting on the plane) I would fly back to Nashville to participate in Bob's funeral on Wednesday.  Barbara and I will then leave for North Carolina after the funeral to join my family...and Benjamin will fly to NC after the game Wednesday night.

Our plans are incomplete, but we plan on celebrating my dad's victory this weekend.

I will miss the final game of the seven game road trip---as Trevor will put together another broadcast team to air the "Battle of the Boulevard" from the Curb Event Center on Friday night.

Thanks to everyone for your support...and for all the help in making these arrangements happen.

Meanwhile, the Bison team arrived in Jacksonville on Saturday (New Year's Eve) to get ahead of the New Year's travel and the "Gator Bowl" travel---since the Florida Gators and The Ohio State University met in the Gator Bowl yesterday afternoon....here in Jacksonville.

Due to the Gator Bowl, our game with Jacksonville was moved from Veterans Memorial Arena downtown---to the historic Swisher Gym on campus...a place were the Dolphins had won 11 out of 12 including their last four games!  And the Bison had not won here in four years!  The Bisons had also not won on the road trip and had lost 8 straight road games...but that all ended last night...as the Bison---took at tie game at the half (38-38) and moved it out to a 16 point lead...before holding on for a 77-71 victory to go 2-1 in the Atlantic Sun!

The team had breakfast at 10 am...and then lunch is planned for 1:00 pm (something they are enjoying as I write) and then they will have a team meeting at 4:45 and on to North Florida for a 6 pm practice.

Trevor dropped me off at the airport...Benjamin was busy preparing his notes for tomorrow's game (North Florida--airtime 6:45pm---opening tip at 6:50 and all the action on FM 102.5 THE GAME and www.lipscombsport.com.).  Check out the sound of the broadcast.  Trevor has us bypassing the phone and now broadcasting over the internet and it has really improved the quality!

I am going to share some rambling "journey notes" that I have written and posted on my Brentwood Hills "Journey blog"

Before that, let me mentioned it was good to see Jordan Burgason's dad in the hotel lobby today.  We had a great time at their home before Christmas as his parents provided some great "hospitality" for the Bison.  He mentioned they had a great holiday---including a trip to Charleston, South Carolina and then a little basketball trip to catch Jordan and the Bison in Jacksonville.

By the way, I am coming down with a "head cold" and athletic trainer Will Ness..is a good friend to have on a trip.  He not only takes care of the team--he is the "official athletic trainer" of the broadcast team!

At breakfast this morning, Will, Benjamin and Trevor got a kick out of the fact that I had trouble pulling my self to bar height tables...and I spilled coffee everywhere!  The told me they would get me a "wheel chair" for our next trip...as they feel my age is catching up with me!  By the way, they put me in a handicap hotel room this trip!

On the way to the airport...I saw a first.  A little drive by Hot Dog Stand!  Yes, you know, those downtown Hot Dog carts...this one was just outside our hotel...set-up where you could drive in..just like you were pulling in to McDonalds for a Hot Dog on the run!  If I had been driving, I am sure I would pulled right in...to check out the dogs!

Hope the Bison can pull off a sweep in Jacksonville...stay tune for updates...as the 2011-12 season journey continues...

Jonathan' Journey
Monday, January 2, 2012

Ernest Seamon--a hard working, loving husband, a Follower of Christ and my dad.... completed his journey to the SON last night.

My brother Michael called a little after 10 pm to tell me dad was resting peacefully...and he was going home---from Mocksville to High Point.  However shortly after he got home, he got a call from our cousin Verna Webb to tell him that dad had also gone home....this time for good!  No more pain!  No more sorrow!

A lot of mixed emotions on this first day of the new year.  Laughter, tears and the beginning of a celebration of dad's life---or should I say his VICTORY!

Sunday was hard on me...to see dad slipping away...and then to learn of Bob Forrester's death.  We arrived back in Nashville just in time to switch cars and head to our evening services at Brentwood Hills in two cars...so the kids could go home after services...while Barbara and I went over to Jane's to spend some time with her.

Rick and Cindy Betts were there ministering to the family...like many others had been doing through out the day.  Jane's sister Barbara and her husband Bill were working on getting pictures together for the slide show and the program.  Mark and girlfriend--Katie and Jane's mother---momma Ruth were also sitting around the kitchen table.

Rick Betts had gone to get some "blackeyed peas"--because it was New Year's day and we all needed to eat some "blackeyed peas"!!

Jane is a strong woman. She was holding up amazingly...and of course she was still in shock...as most of us were.

Jane asked me to lead the service...and we talked about others who could participate...and then I made some notes, a phone call and sent a couple of Text---before Barbara and I headed home.

I knew dad was going down...but I didn't know it would be this fast.  My older brother, Michael and I talked...and we said we would take it one day at a time...and then I got busy getting some flight information for Benjamin and I since...I was supposed to be in Jacksonville for two games this week.

Trevor Garrett was good to work out arrangements...for both Benjamin and I to fly to Jacksonville to do the game tonight (Lipscomb vs Jacksonville on 102.5 The Game www.lipscombsports.com ).  I am going to fly back to Nashville tomorrow...to lead in Bob's funeral...Benjamin will carry the torch for the game on Wednesday night...and then he will fly to NC to join us for the celebration of my dad's victory!

Justin, Benjamin and I were scheduled to do the BATTLE OF THE BOULEVARD on Friday night...but we will have to miss this one...since we will be in NC for dad's funeral.

It is hard for me to explain in my simple words the experience that our family had this past week in NC.  It is our last holiday trip as a family of five...wedding bells will bring a lot of changes to our family this year.

My boys have been so supportive.  Justin has really stepped up to be a leader...and Benjamin never flinched when I mentioned that he might need to travel and do the games for me this week.  Bethany has had to give up a lot this year...and she hates to see the traditions end with our family...but she is a trooper!  I couldn't ask for better children..who are close to each other...and close to our family.

Barbara leaned over to my dad several times during his illness and shared the words...that there couldn't have been a better father-in-law....he had three sons...but he loved his three daughter-in-laws!

Dad was a hard worker.  He worked a lot of overtime...so that we could enjoy and have a great life.  He not only coached my teams...he was also the ump for many of my baseball games!

He was instrumental in my love of athletics...and he loved the Bisons!  He traveled with us to a lot of games through the 80's and the 90's'...and when he was able he loved to listen to games on the computer.

His last month in the hospital...ESPN was on his TV 24-7 and he would focus on the games...I don't know how much he could hear or could comprehend...but I do know one of the first questions he asked me last week (and usually he just answered our questions...his questions were few and far between) was "How is Lipscomb doing?"

He loved basketball!  We spent many hours watching Carolina...and other teams!  Nothing better than Carolina or Lipscomb and some "Popcorn and Pepsi! (or Coke or Cheerwine!).

He loved mom.  They were high school sweethearts.  The graduated in 1944 and were married in 1945...66 years of marriage.  Dad was 18 and mom was 17 when they got married.  Mom turns 84 in February and dad would have been 85 in April.

I am the middle child...Michael is five years older and my younger brother Patrick is five years younger---so I am stuck in the middle.

I have been overwhelmed by the text, emails and calls that I have received today.  Thanks to everyone!

I am sure over the next few day, I will have a chance to write down more of my reflections about my dad.  He taught me a lot about life...and I think his work ethic...is why I will be behind the microphone tonight to broadcast a Bison game.  Benjamin and I will be doing this one for dad...The last few years he had trouble hearing the games on the internet and he got to where he couldn't travel with us to game...but tonight he will have a court side seat!

Jonathan's Journey
Tuesday January 3, 2012

Life goes on...

Death is never easy. You can prepare and prepare...and still not be ready. It doesn't matte how old your parent is or how sick they are...it is not easy to lose a parent or any relative or friend.

This week I lost both my dad and a friend. Last night, I tried to move forward with my life---as Benjamin and I did the broadcast for the Lipscomb Bison game with Jacksonville.

I made the decision...that I would come to Jacksonville to do the game (Lipscomb vs Jacksonville University)---and Trevor Garrett allowed Benjamin to also make the trip.  We were going to use a new piece of equipment for the broadcast---so that we could broadcast over the internet instead of a phone line!  This would be a new milestone for a Bison Broadcast...and I needed to learn the equipment---and since Benjamin has not been doing the games with me this year (due to being in Law School at the University of Memphis) I wanted to make sure he was comfortable with the format for doing a "solo" game on Wednesday night from North Florida.

Benjamin did great...the equipment work amazing well...as we now have improved our sound tremendously! (At least the quality of the sound of the broadcast---as for my performance--that is another story!)

When we arrive in Jacksonville on Monday...Trevor picked us up at the airport and we went straight to the Jacksonville University campus---to Swisher Gymnasium for "shoot around".

We arrived ahead of the team bus---but as soon as "Big Daddy Dave" parked the bus---the first person off the bus to greet me was Coach Sanderson.  His first question, "Are you sure you need to be here?"  I assured him, that this is where I needed to be.  We then talked about the passing of my dad and our friend Bob Forrester.

I was Athletic Director in the summer of 1999 when Lipscomb hired Scott Sanderson.  The initial contact, interviews and hiring  all took place during a busy summer---where I was traveling in and out of Nashville for NAIA and NCAA meetings--along with mission trips for Brentwood Hills.

Actually, we met with Coach Sanderson on a Friday---he verbally committed and then we got both sides working out the details on a contract--hoping that we could finalize the deal over the weekend.  Meanwhile, I had to leave town on Saturday to go to North Carolina to lead a VBS Mission trip (at least we had cell phones...it was really before smart phones and instant internet on our computers---but we stayed in touch!)

Scott accepted the position---and the media was working hard to get the story---and I was out of town---and several of the reporters couldn't reach me and you can imagine how things were going.  So, the decision was made that Scott would fly back into town--on Tuesday, we would meet with the President, sign the contract and then go to the old Hall of Fame room outside of McQuiddy Gym (this is pre-Allen Arena) and have a press conference.

That Tuesday morning I borrowed a car and drove from Thomasville, NC to Charlotte, NC---to catch a plane to Nashville.  Our friends at Tennessee Car and Van picked me up at the airport and took me over to their location on Donelson Pike.  I waited there for a couple of hours---until I returned to the airport to pick up Coach Sanderson.  (At least this time I knew what he looked liked...since we had spend some time together in his previous interviews...the first time we met at the airport I had never met him...just talked to him on the phone---so I had a picture that I used to pick him out of the crowd!)

I was able to pick up Coach, drive him to campus---we met with President Steve Flatt---signed the contract and then walked across campus for the press conference.  We came up the back steps to the Hall of Fame--to face newspaper and TV reporters...while Coach Meyer was conducting one of his final basketball camps in McQuiddy Gym---as the new era of Lipscomb Basketball was about to begin.

Now, where does Bob Forrester fit in.

Well, as soon as the press conference was over---I took Scott to my office---told him I was heading back to the airport to fly back to NC to finish the mission trip (I was back in Thomasville that evening for our VBS)--and that he could use my office to begin his work!

Coach wanted to begin immediately to meet with the present players to see who would be staying, to get on the recruiting trail, to get his assistant coaches in place, etc.

I then gave him Bob Forrester---and I told Bob give Scott whatever he needed and to be there to help him get settled in, etc.  Scott immediately brought in Jay Walton and Barry Sanderson (his brother) to help with the program.  Bob arranged cell phones, office space, rental cards, meal tickets, places to stay--whatever the coaches needed--Bob was there to provide their needs.

At shoot around yesterday--several of the players and coaches would stop by the media location...where I usually sit to watch practice and work on my game notes---to share their thought about the loss of my dad, etc.  I was moved by these young men---taking the time to come by and speak to me about dad.

Coach Jay came over...and we spent several minutes reflecting about Bob.  As Jay put it, "Whatever we needed during those first few weeks, month and even that first year--Bob Forrester provided!"  That was the kind of man Bob Forrester was---he was the type of friend and employee---that would do whatever it took to make sure that you had what you needed to be successful.  That is what Bob did for me at Lipscomb...a Brentwood Hills (especially at camp) and at my house.

I think it was last Spring (my events run together) we were having some event at our house...and Bob (who was not in condition to be outside working) showed up while we were away and he was picking up sticks and moving things in our back yard woods.  For you see, that was the kind of man Bob was...always serving others.

I know he left a lasting impact on the Bison Coaching staff during those early years!

Last night...as I began the broadcast from Jacksonville...I wanted to say a word or two...to let the listeners no about the pain and the emotion that I was feeling.  Those of you who know me...know that I tear up and become emotional at the drop of a hat...and over the past few days...a text, an email, a thought..have brought tears to my eyes...and even sometimes tears and emotions that I can't control.  Throughout the entire game last night...I had watering eyes...and you never know what will trigger the flow of tears.

I thought I would share with you...my script from last night:

Bison Basketball Opening for Jacksonville Game:

Christmas has come and gone...a new year is here...you are full of turkey...and ham...and looking for a break from football...so let's tip off the January and February run...for Lipscomb University and the Atlantic Sun Conference!

After an 11 day break the Bison are ready for game 5 of a 7 game road trip...with stop in Gator Bowl County...to take on the Jacksonville Dolphins...at the historic Swisher Gymnasium...

Hello Everyone...this is Jonathan Seamon...along with Benjamin Seamon for the Lyons Chevorlet , Buick, GMC Countdown to Tip-Off....

A losing streak will end tonight...for the Bison they are trying to keep from losing 5 straight for the first time since 2009 and Jacksonville is trying to stop an eight game skid...
######
Lead in the Break....

The Holidays have been bitter sweet for many Bisons....Lady Bison coach Frank Bennett lost his dad just before Christmas...yesterday former athletic department employee Bob Forrester passed away after over 3 months in the hospital...Bob was instrumental in helping Scott Sanderson...make the tradition to Lipscomb when he was the name the Lipscomb Coach in the summer of 1999.  And late last night, my dad scored his final victory...after 2 1/2 months in the hospital...dad was an avid Bison fan...and just this past week during our Christmas visit to North Carolina...one of the few questions he asked...was How is Lipscomb doing?  He loved athletics...and he loved traveling to Bison games with me...and tonight he has the best seat in the house!  The work ethic he instilled in me...motivated me to be behind the mike for tonights game...tomorrow I will fly back to Nashville to participate in my friend Bob Forrester's funeral and then on to North Carolina to prepared for my dads funeral.....Benjamin will carry the load for Wednesday night.s game at North FLorida...BUT TONIGHT...this broadcast is for dad...

Back with a conversation with the coach...Head Coach Scott Sanderson joins me as the Lyons Chevrolet, Buick, GMC Countdown to Tip-Off continues as you listen to Bison Basketball on the Lipscomb Sports Network presented by Jackson on 102-5 THE GAME.

Last night I got several text and emails and even facebook post about the opening...here is one email from Anna (Fisher) Luther:

Jonathan~I just know the Bisons' win tonight was for Bob and your dad!  Loved hearing/reading your thoughts about them both on the broadcast and your online Journey.  Still hard to believe they died on the same day....even though they both were in poor health, their deaths came sooner than expected.  Just proves that we are not in charge, huh?  And what a good thing that we are not!  I am praying for you for strength for this week.  I know your heart is breaking.  Hugs, Anna

This morning...I got this message from Craig Hartline...one of my radio buddies:

Jonathan,

I just saw where your father has finished his race.  I am both joyful for his accomplishment and saddened by your loss.  I know that he and my father are getting to know each other and bragging on their boys.  I pray for peace and comfort for both you and your family.  There is nothing anyone can say or do, that will lessen the emptiness that we feel, but I am comforted in the knowledge that we have the promise of God the Father that through the sacrifice of the Son, we will soon be reunited with them and bask in the glow of the glory of heaven.  "The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace."

Craig

Another radio and preaching buddy---Dale Jenkins posted this message today...it is not about dad or Bob...it is about adoption and Bison Basketball, so I thought I would share this post:

Hey Middle Tennessee preacher types:

One of our families at Spring Meadows is adopting an orphan from Bulgaria.  It's a very expensive process but will be life-changing for this child.  On January 14th Lipscomb basketball is having an Adoption Rally for this family, the Estabrooks.  HERE is what they are doing - ALL ticket sales (that's 100%) that night will go to this families efforts!!!  (Editor's Note: You can click here to purchase tickets to the game)

Thanks so much for all you do.

--
In His Care,

dale

This morning (Tuesday) we have breakfast at 10 am...then I am heading to the airport to catch my flight home.  The team will then have lunch at 1pm...a team meeting at 4:45---Then they head to practice at 6 pm with dinner after practice.  A typical day on the road with the Bisons.

Bob's visitation will be at the Hickory Chapel on Nolensville Road -- today from 4pm until 7 pm...and then at the Brentwood Hills building from 9:30 until 11:00 tomorrow (Wednesday) with the service to follow at 11:00 am.

My brother, Michael is working on my dad's arrangements...we should have them finalized later today.

Words can't express how much I appreciate all the text, emails, facebook messages, phone calls, etc---the out pouring of love has over flowed my cup!  Thanks a million to the Brentwood Hills and the Lipscomb Nations---that have been a vital part of my life for nearly 40 years!

Our Journey...continues this week as a lot of emotions, memories and events..will take place to allow us to, "Put it in the Book"!