Rusty Haggard Blog

Sunshine State Holds Promise for One-Day Trip

When we take off for Tampa on Monday morning, Cherie and I will be hoping that a lot of good things will happen in the Sunshine State. It rains a lot there, you know. First up, we’re expecting a good launch for the Space Shuttle.

Then, as a finalist in the Tampa Writers Association writers contest, I’m vying for a first-place finish with my initial (an as yet unpublished) novel, “A Good Year for the Roses.” At the group’s twenty-fifth anniversary banquet on Monday night, we’re going to find out where I fit among the more than 60 entries that they had.

 “A Good Year for the Roses” gets its title from the country-western song made a classic by George Jones. It’s been sung, however, by the likes of Elvis Costello, Lorrie Morgan, Alan Jackson and others. In the book, a once-famous high school athlete is now a washed up, 43-year-old coach in the middle of nowhere with a history of losing teams, faded glory and a desire to stay out of the limelight fans still hold him in. He seems to have the perfect life: a loving wife he married in college, a 14-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, all who adore him, and a solid job as athletic director and head coach. Urging his players to make good decisions in life, he’s living a lie himself – embroiled in an affair that he can’t possibly keep under wraps. As his life unravels when the truth is known, he struggles to transform himself and regain his self-respect and hopefully his family. The team undergoes a transformation as well – inspired by their coach into winners. Even a winning streak and a turn for the better by the coach, we learn, are tough odds against the consequences of bad decisions.

We’re cleared for take-off. Next stop: Florida.


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