Rotary officials hope “The Sunrise Sunset Gala” will become an annual affair. The event was warmly embraced by a capacity crowd at the Museum Center at Five Points Saturday evening and Rotary President Bob Anderson assisted with the auction of a number of memorabilia items.
This auction raised funds for the three organizations listed above.
The Dooleys are the parents of new University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley ... and his ears probably burned a bit during the program. He would also have heard some welcomed words from his proud parents if he had attended.
“I’m coming out of the closet tonight,” said Barbara Dooley ... all dressed in white and orange. She is an accomplished author and breast cancer survivor.
“I never thought we’d ever be coming to Knoxville as much as we have,” she said of their new family connection with the University of Tennessee.
Coach Dooley opened the program by saying, “I never thought I’d ever say it’s great to be in Vol Country. I guess this is Vol Country.”
He received a loud response when he followed with, “Of course, I realize there’s also some Bulldog fans here.” Dooley then received a “Roll Tide” to show it was a very mixed football audience.
The old Georgia coach said that when Tennessee travels to play the Bulldogs this fall, he’ll watch the game in his den at home.
Dooley said the Southeastern Conference has a number of beautiful mascots, a lead-in to a story about Georgia’s bulldog mascot UGA. “The ugliest college mascot is Texas Christian University’s purple horned frog,” he emphasized.
This year’s Georgia mascot is UGA 8, and you can tell all eight of the UGAs are close to Dooley’s heart. He said UGA 4 was having a photo session when the weather was about as hot as it’s been lately. During the shoot, UGA collapsed from the heat and rushed to a veterinarian.
Late that night the bells tolled, to signal that UGA had made a recovery. The only thing was that the bulldog had lost his hearing from the ordeal.
Later the football team played LSU in Baton Rouge and Mike the Tiger, the Bengals’ mascot was rolled onto the field. Dooley said the LSU cheerleaders punched Mike in the side with a stick and he reared up in his cage and roared.
“And, there sat UGA in front of the cage,” Dooley said. “They didn’t know he couldn’t hear. So, when UGA stepped up to the cage and barked, Mike ran to the back of his cage and used the bathroom. Right then, I knew we had them,” the old Georgia coach said.
Coach Dooley briefly discussed his wife’s book, “Put Me In Coach.”
“Just don’t believe all you read,” he said of the book, emphasizing that he and his wife have different versions of the same stories.
Coach Dooley also has a published book on plants and trees, something he got interested in after taking a course at the University of Georgia.
The Dooleys have four children, Danny, Danielle, Denise and their youngest, Derek.
She said “a fifth would have been named ‘Dammit’”.
Georgia’s First Lady of football told a story on her youngest, who now carries the hopes of Tennessee football program.
“We had a policy that the children could not go down on the football field (during a game) until they were 12,” she said. “Well, the baby (Derek) asked if he could go down on the football for a game with Georgia Tech when he was only five. His father told him he could come down on the field at the end of the third quarter if Georgia was substantially ahead. But, he couldn’t bother his father or the team.
The night before the game there was a family prayer for a Georgia victory, and Derek prayed to Jesus to let the Bulldogs be ahead so he could go on the field.
“Georgia was ahead 42-0 at the end of the first quarter and led 42-7 at the end of the third quarter,” Barbara remembered. “So I took him down to the field.”
“About that time Tech scored to make it 42-14, and minutes later scored another touchdown to cut the score to 42-21,” she continued. “They then recovered an onsides kick and were marching toward the goal again. I looked around and Derek was pulling on his father’s pants, and Vince was trying to shake him off. They were walking along the sideline, pulling and shaking. As Tech scored its 28th point, she saw the father and son exchange words.
She said Georgia won the game, but she anticipated a reprimand for Derek and herself.
She said nothing was said until she and her husband lay down in bed that night. “Vince turned to me and said, ‘Barbara, did you see Derek talking to me during the game? Do you know what he said?’”
Saying she did not know what he had said, he husband filled her in. “He said, ‘Dad, don’t worry about a thing. Jesus is just out here having a little fun!’”
Barbara Dooley also told Saturday night’s crowd about her experiences with breast cancer, and how she made it through the ordeala with a list the “advantages” of this horrid disease.
The list includes:
No. 10 — “You don’t have to cook,” she said. “People bring you the best things.”
No. 9 — “You don’t have to do your hair or shave your legs.”
No. 8 — “If you’re lucky and have as masectomy, you get a boob job and a tummy tuck, and your insurance pays for it.”
No. 7 — “Your brain is so fried from chemotherapy and radiation, you don’t remember anything or anybody. I now have an excuse for not remembering things.”
No. 6 — “You learn how dark and lonely 3 a.m. really is and you’re brain goes places you don’t want to go. I didn’t want to die, but I thought to myself that if I die I get to be with Jesus, and if I don’t I stay with Vince.”
No. 5 — “You learn how much the little things mean.”
No. 4 — “You learn how much you’re loved. Your family and friends take such good care of you when they think you’re going to die.”
No. 3 — “You learn how important a card can be. It means so much that people take the time to send one.”
No. 2 — “You also learn how important prayer really is.”
No. 1 — “For the rest of your life you don’t have to do one ... thing. You can just say I’ve had cancer.”
In the close of Saturday night’s program, Barbara Dooley (with a little help from her husband) sang her favorite song from Stevie Wonder ... “I Just Want to Say I Love You.”
“It’s important to remember how much it means to be loved,” she said. “We can make every single day special with how we love.”