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Sam

White House Visit

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TRIP TO WHITE HOUSE ON MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2008

My wife, a friend and I received special invitations to the White House for the honoring of the LSU Fighting Tiger football team winning the National Championship from a friend in Washington, DC. Our host was President George W. Bush.

We left Richmond around 9:45 and had a peaceful trip up I-95 in the mist to DC, arriving around 11:30.  We parked the car; walked to the White House entrance gate to see where it was; and then went to a French caf é for some coffee and French pastries.

Around 12:20 we walked over to the White House gate and met a number of LSU fans that had already assembled.  We met friends from Dallas, Baton Rouge, DC and New Orleans plus other LSU fans and their families from all over the USA.

The three buses arrived with the team and coaches and we saw Les Miles and the team get off the bus and go through the gate. What was surprising was that there was no contingent of LSU Athletics Department, Alumni Association, TAF or high-ranking LSU executives or staff. Just the coaches, Mrs. Miles and the team were on the buses. I was looking forward to seeing Skip Bertman but he was in Tampa for tonight's NCAA basketball finals.

The gates opened at 12:45 and by that time there were at least 400 LSU fans at the gate. So we got in line and waited our turn to enter the White House grounds and to go through security, which was easier than at any airport.

We walked through one of the White House halls and into the South Lawn where chairs were set up and the camera crews were on a scaffold behind us.  The Marine Corps Band played some very nice music until the event started.

During this time we said hello to General Richard of TAF and a number of other nice people from all over the country who had flown into DC for the event.

The team and coaches were inside the White House and at 2:05 they were introduced as the LSU Tigers National Champions and the guys walked down the circular stairs leading to the lawn, about half the team and coaches on one side and the other half on the other side and the seniors and starters on the stage behind the President's podium.

The Marine Corps band played Touchdown and Hey Fighting Tigers for us and then The President and Les Miles walked out from the left and to the podium.

The President's speech was excellent; sprinklered with personal stories about some of the players and funny antidotes. When he was finished he said he was looking forward to receiving his LSU football jersey and Coach Miles also gave him an autographed football.

The President left and we got to mingle with the players and coaches.

I found Coach Sam Nadar and we said hello and were glad to see each other once again. Herman Johnson helped me find Sam, as Herman must be at least eight feet tall. I tried to locate Joe Maltempi from the Richmond area with the aid of a few of the players but when we finally saw him he was walking up the stairs to go back into the White House so we missed him.

All of the players and coaches were very nice. Miles was signing anything given to him and he was a gentleman with the rush of people around him getting photos and autographs.

The military ushers were gracious and really made you feel welcome. Security was all over the place and at the same time they were not there.  But you knew they were there, you just did not see them.

It was a dream come true as we were about 60 feet from the President who was an excellent host and he made some funny jokes about Louisiana politicians and other humorous remarks about our season, the players and Coach Miles.

One thing the President said to the team in his speech was to be sure to act in the proper manner and you are still expected to do your best off the field after your playing days are over.  The President's message was excellent and well delivered.  I hope Perry-Lou was listening.

On the way home we stopped at Olive Garden for a  late lunch and arrived back in Richmond around 6:00.

Great adventure and lots of wonderful memories.

Later,

Sam

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Very cool Sam!

Congrats to LSU and their fans.....when I was at the SEC championship I enjoyed the good natured bantering with the LSU fans and even though the outcome didn't go my way it was a great time and I have to say the LSU fans were alot of fun. Someday I'm going to get to a game in Baton Rouge, hopefully it will be against Florida so I can join in and be a Tiger Fan for a day!

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Risk Kid,

Be it LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and any other SEC team - there is nothing like an SEC football game.

I sincerely hope you can make a night game in Tiger Stadium.

It is electric, just like Knoxville.  Fantastic.  Nothing like it in the world.

86,000 drunk Coonasses and 6,000 guests going bonkers. The noise is so loud you cannot hear the person next to you.

I am so glad you know about SEC football.  It is a religion down south.  Great adventures and memories every year.

And being so close the president was a trip in itself.  My next visit will be as the Bassmaster Classic champion. ;D

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Wow!

Sam, what a wonderful experience. I am sure you are proud of your

team and this recognition. Congratulations to you, LSU and all their

fans.

Salute!

8-)

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