Boomer Lane leads to football
Beloved Cougar fan honored with sign
by Chris Goltermann
The Max Bass Athletic Complex at Newnan High School tends to be much quieter during summer vacation, at least more so than during a full season schedule of games and matches.
But this summer, it’s been quieter than usual.
What’s been missing is the presence of Danny “Boomer” Bishop.
“Even in the summer Boomer would call up here looking for schedules, ask how the teams were doing,” said Newnan Director of Athletics Steve Allen. He’d call so often that secretary Rena Hudson could tell just from the caller ID that it was Bishop on the line. “She’d go, ‘It’s Boomer.’”
The phone, however, doesn’t ring as often in the Newnan High athletic office these days.
Tonight, when the Cougars take the field for their 2013 football season opener at Drake Stadium against Marietta at 7:30 p.m., it’ll be the program’s first game without its No. 1 fan, who passed away this spring following an extended illness. But “Boomer Lane” will lead the path to the field from now on.
On the eve of Newnan’s season debut, city workers installed a street sign in Bishop’s memory on the paved path that leads off Armory Road to Joe Pope Baseball Field and Drake Stadium.
“He’ll be missed,” said Allen, who along with school resource officer Lee Williamson helped brainstorm the initial idea. “We thought we could do something pretty cool with this. He always came up through here and then walk up the hill to the school.”
Typically, Bishop would arrive on game nights three to four hours ahead of kickoff.
“If a game started at 7:30, Boomer would be here by 3:30 and be sitting out here,” Allen said. “And that was in all sports.”
Being a regular at athletic events throughout the county had already earned Bishop a lifetime pass more than four years ago from both Allen and former East Coweta colleague Evan Horton to all their high school games.
“He was tickled,” said Allen of Bishop’s reaction.
This spring, though, Bishop’s health took a turn for a worse, limiting him to the first couple of home games during baseball season before passing away on April 22.
Allen, though, felt compelled to find a way to keep Bishop’s legacy alive at Drake Stadium, and he got some help from Williamson while the two were thinking of a tangible way to honor him.
“I was sitting around with our school resource officer, Lee Williamson, and we were thinking about what we could do [to honor Boomer]. We thought, well there’s the street that goes up to the stadium and there’s really no name on it. I said what about naming it Boomer Lane.”
Allen made an inquiry to the city and Newnan Mayor Keith Brady on the process of naming the street. The sign arrived Thursday morning, just in time to place it a few yards from the ticket booth window for fans to see as they arrive for tonight’s football game.
“I think the community will be real supportive of it,” Allen said. “I know we’ll miss him.”