Let's talk about very small degrees of separation.
In 1979 I was beginning my first season of cross-country as a high-school freshman in TN. My brother, Joe, was playing football at the University of Memphis, playing his guitar for fun and perfecting the art of fraternity life. Jeff McMahon was a high school freshman in TX playing piano, tennis and running with his dad. Tim McGraw was probably playing junior high baseball in rural Louisiana.
Fast forward 6 years... Jeff and I are fraternity brothers at Baylor. Jeff's musical talents are obvious. I am majoring in fraternity and Slacker 101 but still running. Joe is in the early years of a successful investment banking career and still playing his guitar. Tim is a high school athlete and musician in Louisiana.
Jump another 10 years to 1995. Jeff and I reconnect as he tours the country with a rising country singer, Tim McGraw. Joe is still banking but he is playing in a local band in his spare time and his songwriting begins to flourish from a hobby to a passion. He starts making the trek up I-40 to Nashville to play and pitch songs.
Ten years later, in 2006, during one of Jeff's regular Tour stops through town we meet for lunch. He is closely involved with the Tug McGraw Foundation (Tug, Tim's father and former baseball star had died of a brain tumor). They are thinking of starting a charity running team, Team McGraw. Jeff knew of my running and endurance background and asked if I would help him get it started. I jumped at the chance. By this time my brother's songwriting was a "career", he was a staff writer for Curb Records and he would soon have songs recorded by many acts including Craig Morgan, Trace Adkins and Jason Michael Carroll. Tim, of course, was one of the biggest country music stars around.
January 2010... Tim is still a huge country music superstar and Jeff is still recording and touring with him. Joe has become a prolific, award-winning songwriter. Jeff is the National Program Director and I am the National Coach for Team McGraw. Over 300 Team McGraw runners have raised nearly $1 million for brain tumor research! The latest hit off of Tim's (and Jeff's) new CD "Southern Voice" is a song called "Still". I am proud to say that "Still" was written by... you guessed it... my brother, Joe. Go request it on the radio and buy it on iTunes!
Four paths over so many years that converge in the most serendipitous way with four guys doing what they love... life is good.