Nineteen years ago, five of my closest friends and I went to Panama City Beach, Florida – THE PROMISED LAND – to look for girls and live wild for a couple of days while we were on Spring Break. (Please keep in mind that I was 17 years old and being a Pastor was nowhere on my radar screen at the time).
We were all 17. We were just about to complete our junior year of high school.
I knew my parents would NEVER in a million years let me go to Panama City Beach with the guys for Spring Break. So, I did what most any teenage boy would probably do in that situation, I lied. I told my parents that the guys and I wanted to spend a couple of days in the north Georgia Mountains at my friend Jeff’s grandparents’ house. My parents bought it hook, line and sinker.
Now, before I go any further in telling you this story, I think it would be interesting for all of you to know what these high school boys now do for a living:
• Jeff Woods, a graduate of Southern Methodist University, has an athletic performance training company to help high school athletes get stronger and faster so they can have the ability to play college sports.
• Brad Register, a graduate of the University of Georgia and John Hopkins Medical School, is now a neurosurgeon in Boston, Mass.
• Bobby Scales, a graduate of the University of Michigan, was the 2nd baseman for the Chicago Cubs and now is a teacher in the Atlanta area.
• Ryan Duncan, a graduate of Dekalb Community College, is the Mattress King of North Georgia and does all those silly and cheesy TV commercials with him wearing a crown and a robe; after all, he is the Mattress King of North Georgia
• Last but not least, yours truly, Rev. Scott Murphy, a graduate of Louisville Bible College and a student in the M.Div program at Phillips Theological Seminary and a student in the Certificate in Theology program at Princeton Theological Seminary is now the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville.
All five of us loaded up in Ryan’s dad’s 1994 blue Ford Bronco, which the five of us took turns driving 117 miles per hour towards Panama City Beach (not the North Georgia Mountains to visit Jeff’s grandparents).
Like I said, we were there to look for girls and the best place to find girls, we were told, was Club LaVela which is where MTV was doing their Spring Break Special.
When you are eight and your parents take you to Panama City Beach, you go to play in the water, build sand castles and play jungle golf.
When you are seventeen you have put away such childish things. It’s girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls and lest we forget, the food of choice for young men on the prowl, hot wings.
The hot wings, incidentally, were easier to get than the girls.
We got hot wings the first night out in Panama City. It took me three days to find a girl.
After a late night out with my friends, we decided to go get pancakes at the IHOP in Panama City and that is where I saw the most beautiful woman in the world…… Jenny McCarthy, the host of MTV’s “Singled Out.” I had the biggest crush on Jenny McCarthy for the longest time and now I was actually seeing her in person. She was there with some of the MTV camera crew grabbing a bite to eat.
I thought to myself, “Scott…. You are the man”, “Scott….. You have game”, “Scott….. You are…. Scott Murphy”. I told my buddies that I was going to talk to Jenny McCarthy and they were all staring at me in awe and amazement of my courage but at the same time, I am sure they were ready to laugh as they thought that I would crash and burn.
As I was walking towards Jenny McCathy, I saw a jukebox and quickly turned towards the jukebox and put on some music to create some ambiance for this magical moment. You are probably reading this article at the edge of your seat wondering what song I chose…… The answer was none other than “Dream Weaver”. I might not know a lot about women, but I do know when that song is being played, women just melt. That song had never failed me before and I was banking my fate that it would not fail me now.
The music was playing, the mood had been set, it was now time for me to turn Jenny McCarthy into the future Mrs. Scott Murphy. I walked up to her and said, “Jenny, my name is Scott Murphy, I am from Roswell, Georgia. I am here on Spring Break with my buddies. I play high school football. I would like to take you out on a date tonight”. She smiled and said, “Awwwwww….. you are so sweet”, then she proceeds to let me down by saying she didn’t date high school boys. I think I was about ready to cry but just then in a flash, Jenny McCarthy kissed me on the cheek and all my friends saw it. “Dream Weaver” had come through after all.
Then I went to the beach and I walked on the water.
We had a great time, the five of us guys. That was the most fun I have ever had in my life.
I was free. I was young. I was experiencing experiences I hardly knew existed.
It couldn’t be 19 years ago, could it?
I didn’t have any concrete plans but I always thought I would get some guys and go back to Panama City Beach one of these days on a “guys” road trip.
I guess it’s way too late for that now. We would all drive the speed limit and Club Lavela is probably long gone by now anyway.
I’m a real full-fledged adult, too old for beach trips with the boys. Today’s music is too loud for me, and I am happily married with three children and I have given my life to the service of God in my role as a Pastor. I would have much more fun with my family at Chuck E. Cheese in Bowling Green than I would on the beach somewhere.
Deck Sellars, a famous song writer wrote this: “Time moves like molasses when you are children, but it rages like the river when you are grown.”
But now that I think about it, I think a guy’s roadtrip to Panama City Beach, Florida with the following guys would be more fun than my trip 19 years ago back in high school: Glenn Slack, Don Firchow, Tom Noe, OJ Stapleton, Jon Paul Stuart, Jim Chambers and me. Now that would be a group of wild and crazy guys!
God Bless and Go Cats!
Rev. Scott Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville.