Synovus Chief Risk Officer Kevin Howard can always tell people he threw the first pitch of a Major League no-hitter.
Columbus-based Synovus has begun advertising on Atlanta Braves baseball telecasts, and Howard was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of Monday's afternoon game with the Philadelphia Phillies.
But Howard was not the scheduled starter for Synovus, that was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kessel Stelling.
"He had a pretty big conflict and my office is right next to his, so he asked me," Howard said.
It helps that Howard, who played at Glenwood and briefly at the University of Alabama, had pitched a little in the past.
Howard's pitch was a little high, but he claimed it was a strike.
Howard opted of more of a toss to the plate than a full-blown pitch.
"Being the chief risk officer, I weighed the odds of throwing it hard and becoming a YouTube sensation," Howard joked.
What followed was four Phillies pitchers, including starter Cole Hamels, combining to no-hit Atlanta in a 7-0 win.
A Muscogee County School District teacher's appeal of the termination of her employment included some tense and sad moments during Friday's hearing. But there also was some humor sprinkled among the eight hours of testimony and arguments.
For example, as the clock ticked near 12:30 p.m., Columbus lawyer Houser Pugh, presiding as the hearing officer, asked, "What do y'all want to do about lunch?"
Melanie Slaton, of the Columbus law firm Hatcher, Stubbs, Land, Hollis & Rothschild LLP, was representing the district's administration and launched laughter around the room when she replied, "I'd like to eat."
Charlie Cox, the Macon lawyer representing laid-off Rothschild Middle School teacher LaQuita Buckner, whose appeal the tribunal denied, continued the levity when he noted, "For the record, I do agree with you on at least one issue today."
We'll finish out this Chatter with a feel-good story about a local man
It's a behind-the-scenes job in the music business, the person who makes sure performers and bands make it safely from one show, and one city, to the next.
That would be tour bus drivers, who put in hours and hours on the road, often driving overnight with their celebrity musician cargo sound asleep in the back.
The September edition of Relix magazine shines a bit of light on one such individual, none other than Columbus native Frank Huebscher. It appears, aptly enough, in the "Behind the Scenes" feature of Relix, a publication for fans of rock, blues and jam band music.
Huebscher, a 1984 graduate of Baker High School who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., discusses his transition from long-haul trucker to a tour bus driver for entertainers starting in 1997. An early job was with heavy-metal band Dokken, but about six years ago he landed a consistent client in Grateful Dead founding member and singer-songwriter-guitarist Bob Weir.
Huebscher has been across the U.S. with Weir, occasionally with the performer's wife, Natascha, and their children. He recalls a memorable experience a couple of years ago after a tour, when he carted Weir and his family on a vacation across the country. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland was the first stop.
"The coolest thing was that we had a private tour of the Grateful Dead exhibit," Huebscher says in the Relix interview. "To be there and hear the stories -- it was really, really special. The rest of the vacation didn't feel like work to me. We'd go through Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone -- stuff like that. It felt like a real family vacation. I was just the driver."
Is that a cool gig or what?
Huebscher says a typical overnight drive to the next concert venue is 300 to 400 miles, which he calls "a drop of the hat to me."
For those who've never enjoyed Relix, a CD of new music is tucked into each magazine, exposing readers and listeners to great bands they might never hear otherwise.