Who do you think of when someone mentions legends in sports? Michael Jordan? Cal Ripken? Wayne Gretzky? Joe Montana? What about local legends...not as easy is it? Well Juwann Holmes, owner of Legen's Bar and Lounge in Charles Town, WV, is trying to change that and so far he is off to a great start.
On February 22, 2014 the first Hall of Fame class at Legend's Bar and Lounge was inducted in front of family, friends, and former players of a great man. John Lowery Sr. was honored, along with Jefferson High School alum and former NFL Wide Receiver James Jett, as inaugural members into what Juwann Holmes and his Legend's staff hope to consider an exclusive and sought after club. Jett was not able to attend the ceremony due to a family emergency, but his plaque will be on the wall and if you take a trip to Keyes Ferry Road on any given night, you may be lucky enough to bump into this living legend.
James Jett was an easy choice for this honor thanks to record setting numbers that still stand to this day. As a member of the Cougar track team he set the current state record for the 100 meter dash at 10.34 seconds in 1989. He was a 7-time All-American at WVU and was elected into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Oh he also garnished a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics next to the great Carl Lewis and the 4x100 meter team.
In 1993 he was signed by the Los Angeles Raiders and led the NFL in average yards per reception as a rookie (23.4). Then the aptly named Jett sparked a pun-fest when he won the 1996 NFL Fastest Man Competition after the silver and black moved north to Oakland. In 10 years Jett totaled 30 touchdowns and 4,417 yards, which Jefferson alum Paul Gessler pointed out, is the distance in miles from Legend's Bar and Lounge to Jett's farm in Jefferson County. Although it isn't necessary to note, but to say James Jett deserves this honor is an understatement.
It only got better from there. When you think of coaching excellence in the Eastern Panhandle many think of Denny Price at Musselman, Dave Rogers, and Dave Walker at Martinsburg. However, one man trumps them all and that would be John Lowery Sr., the 41 year head coach for the Jefferson Cougar baseball program. He won 2 WVIAC Championships as a player with Fairmont State in 1967 and 1968, and only came home to rack up a West Virginia state record 9 state titles and 13 state title appearances in Shenandoah Junction. In 2009 Lowery became just the 10th coach in high school history (according to the NFHS) to win 1,000 games. Heading into the 2014 season that number has been increased by 141. He was named the WV High School Baseball Coach of the year in 1971 and 1991 and bestowed the honor of National High School Coach of the Year a total of four times and included in three Hallowed Halls.
Now he can make that four and perhaps this will mean the most to the firm but fair ball coach because the honor was given by a former player and players from various years past showed up to show their respect to a man who taught them more in four years than they could even wrap their heads around at the time, but began to realize as life went on.
Legends aren't just made from stats and wins and losses, but rather something extra, something that can't be taught. Legends in sports have the talent, but they possess an added trait that makes them relevant for many years after their careers are over. I can't tell you what it is, and most of us will never know what it's like to possess that trait, but if there were ever two men to look to when trying to become or be admired as one in the Eastern Panhandle, John Lowery Sr., and James Jett wouldn't be a bad place to start.
Through the ages we have been told that in any business or organization, the success of that organization begins at the top. The Roman Empire, at its most powerful, lasted for over 430 years thanks to the likes of Julius and Augustus Caesar. Microsoft continues to reign supreme by changing with the times thanks to a man like Bill Gates, who recognizes that in order to survive, the likes of Apple, you have to be willing to change with the times. I'm thinking Mr. Gates should meet with his billionaire friend Dan Snyder to talk about that particular fact, and then trickle down from there. Should only take a couple days tops.
Keep in mind, I am not a Redskins fan, but I am a football fan and I cannot stand what I see out of this historic franchise that boasts some of the greatest players from league history. So, allow me to use this blog as a podium and fill you in on a few things.
Dan Snyder is a business man first and foremost and is worth a net of $1.2 billion. When he was just 20 years old, he dropped out of the University of Maryland to run his own business of leasing jets to fly college students to Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale and the Caribbean. He claims to have cleared $1 million running the business out of his parent's bedroom and using several telephone lines. As someone that just graduated from college recently, I can attest to those spots being huge Spring Break destinations, so that wouldn't surprise me. Over the next 16 years, Snyder would be co-founder of Snyder Communications, which saw revenue rise $7 million dollars in 2 years. When he was 32, he became the youngest CEO of a New York Stock Exchange listed company. He sold the company for $2 billion, marking the last smart move he ever made.
In May of 1999, Snyder purchased the Washington Redskins and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium for $800 million and the rest is history that every Redskins fan would love to forget. Through 14 seasons, the Redskins have ammassed a record of 104-145, I know, I couldn't believe they reached the century mark either. Snyder's most recent hire as head coach, the unfortunate soul that is Jay Gruden, makes for head coach number 8 in the Dan Snyder era. In the prior 62 seasons before Snyder took over, the Washington Redskins only had 20 head coaches, that is not counting the first 6 years of the franchise when they were in Boston. At that rate, over the next 48 years, the Redskins will hire 24 more head coaches! We won't go into every coaches era, but let's put it this way, none of the previous 7 coaches have left with a winning record, not even Terry Robiskie who held the HC title for 3 games! In fact, in 14 seasons, the Redskins have had a winning season 3 times, no more than 10 wins in a season, and 3 playoff losses.
This is where I let you interpret your own opinion on this matter because I have made mine clear. In every business organization, the employees take on the personality of their employer. When it comes to football, Dan Snyder is a loser, therefore, his employers feel that way, and consequently, play that way.