If you just got done reading the story in the Thursday section, congrats. I admit, it was a lengthy read. But I'm sure you're also glad you read it intro to outro. And not because of the author. The subject matter is simply awesome.
If you haven't read it yet, you might want to get your fingers inky before you read any more of this.
There are a couple of storylines (OK, lots of 'em) that I didn't finagle into the print version. First off, there's the relationship the LeMays forged with longtime NFL coach Jeff Fisher, just because they were shared a bloodline with the late, great, Mike Heimerdinger.
Luke LeMay calls a visit at the Fisher family's 250-acre property after the "Drive for Dinger" golf outing "one of the coolest experiences ever." Heck, even Kansas frontman Robby Steinhardt was there, and put on quite a show in the woods.
But that was just one example of Fisher insisting that anyone close to Heimerdinger be treated like royalty.
While Mike was still with us, he did everything he could to give his family the royal treatment. He would admit it was easier when his teams were on the road.
As Jeff put it, Mike was "worthless" during home game weekends. There's nothing negative intended in that statement, and that's a concept I totally get, having worked as the communications director/broadcaster for a hockey team. Our coaches and the bulk of our staff were downright inundated with tasks during home games, whereas being on the road was a lot easier. Just ask my wife. She'd tell you I was as absent during home weekends in Muskegon as I was when we were on the road in South Dakota and Nebraska.
Oh, also interesting: one of our sales directors saddled me with the nickname "Dinger," since my last name was so close to Heimerdinger.
Sorry. Tangent. I do that a lot. Back to the story.
The family described how Mike agonized over losses, and how much he was a perfectionist. He set them up with absolute primo tickets for the Titans-Ravens 2008 AFC division game, which Luke says was his favorite game to watch, his family enjoying some of the best seats in the house along the players' families.
It was far from Mike's favorite game. His stud running back Chris Johnson got dinged up, and the Ravens eked out a 13-10 victory.
While Mike was despondent, Fisher convinced him to bring the family out for dinner afterward, hoping the Lemay kids would spend time with his grandchildren, who were in town from California.
"I beat his grandkid in pool," Luke said with a huge smile.
"Not competitive, at all, right?" Susie joked.
That just scratches the tip of the iceberg of incredible stories the LeMays have to tell. But I'll share one more image with you. It's one that really stuck with me.
The family moved to Sterling about 25 years ago, and the oldest son, Mike, would sit in the front yard every day, waiting for Newman football player Kyle Ackman to get home from practice to ask him how it went.
Ackman indulged the youngster every day. Some 20 years later, Susie is beyond grateful.
"That game of football…" Susie said. "I have it to thank so much for what it's done for my boys."
With all the great stories the LeMays shared, I had to scramble back to the office before I could ask Mike why he left Newman, which so captured his heart as a little boy, for Sterling. As the years went by, he and his younger brother, John, loved giving young Luke pointers that helped them succeed on the defensive side of the ball at Ambrose.
Today, Mike is the Golden Warriors' defensive coordinator. This past summer, Mike Papoccia told me he'd hoped to someday turn over the keys to Mike. The subject visibly bummed him out.
Although I've also gathered that Coach Papoccia has many times alluded to relinquishing the reins. Our sports editor Dan Woessner seems to think it might never happen.
I should really see if I can't get Mike and Mike together and find out what happened. It feels like I'm missing part of the story. I hope it doesn't exclusively come down to cash.
I guess that's another story for another day. Stay tuned.