After the death of his son Will in the 2001 airplane crash that took the lives of nine additional members of the Oklahoma State basketball team and support staff, survival became a common word in Bill Hancock's vocabulary. For Hancock, the former director of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, survival meant discovering a path back to a near normal life. That path took him on his dream journey, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic - by bicycle, and the 2,747-mile journey from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast became more than just a distraction. It became a pilgrimage, even if Hancock did not realize it upon dipping his rear tire in the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach, California, in the wee hours of a July morning.
On his two-wheel trip, Hancock battled searing heat and humidity, curious dogs, unforgiving motorists, and the occasional speed bump - usually a dead armadillo. His thoughts returned to common themes: memories of his son Will, the prospect of life without Will for him and his wife, and the "blue moth" of grief and depression. That pesky moth fluttered around Hancock as if he were a beaming lamp pole in an empty parking lot. Some people suggested he cope with medication; others advised him to get back to his job as coordinator of the NCAA men's basketball tournament as soon as possible. He found himself a glutton for his own punishment, however, unable to shake that blue moth from shadowing him on each step of his everyday routine.
So Hancock chose to battle the beast one-on-one, taking the moth on the ride of its life across America in the hopes of shaking free of its constraints. Maybe he could lose it around a corner in one of the small towns through which he would traverse, like Hope, Arizona; Chickasha, Oklahoma; Onward, Mississippi; or Pleasant Hill, Georgia. Finally, on a muggy August morning, he dipped his front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean along the Georgia coastline of Tybee Island. The bothersome blue moth was still loitering nearby, but by completion of the trek the pest had taken on a new role for Hancock. It would not be drowned in either ocean, or in the buckets of perspiration he shed along the highways of this country. At last the weary cyclist was ready to accept that the moth would be with him for the longer haul.
|Publisher:||Sports Publishing LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.32(w) x 9.58(h) x 0.96(d)|
About the Author
Bill served for 13 years as director of the NCAA's Division I Men's Basketball Championship-the three-week "March Madness," event that culminates with the Final Four Basketball Championship Tournament.
Bill is a 1972 journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma. In the fall of 1971, he joined the staff of the university's athletics department as assistant sports information director. After his newspaper-publisher father died in 1974, Bill spent four years as editor of his family's daily newspaper, the Hobart, OK Democrat-Chief.
He has been inducted into the halls of fame of the College Sports Information Directors and the All-College Basketball Classic. In 2010, the Kansas City Sports Commission honored him with its "Outstanding People in Sports" award. He was a 2012 winner of the Regents Alumni Award at the University of Oklahoma.
Bill has served on the United States Olympic Committee staff at 11 Olympic Games and two Pan American games. His hobbies include grand-parenting, cycling, running, classical music and American history.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was thoroughly absorbed in Hancock's journey through the U.S. He pours out his soul in the pages of his book and I know he has and will touch many who read it. The loss of many young lives in the OSU plane crash was a horrible tragedy and it is inspiring to see that Hancock uses his pain to try to help others navigate through grief.
This is a courageous, compelling story of survival of Bill Hancock and his family after the tragic loss of their son/brother (Will) in the 2001 airplane crash that also took the lives of nine other members of the Oklahoma State basketball family. At that time, Bill Hancock was the director of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. This story has a message for everyone, especially those who have lost those they have loved. I especially enjoyed Bill's missives to his grandaughter, who lost her father at such a young age. I'll never forget this book.
WoW! I¿ve just completed, Riding with the Blue Moth for the second time. Let me just say, I've cried, I've laughed, I now count Fritos, but I cannot bring myself to do the Vienna Sausages! God bless you all. I believe, Riding with the Blue Moth, is the ¿something¿ that will help guide others on their journey. You have brought honor to Will and to the life you have yet to live. I, too, believe Will knows about this book and was along for the bike ride. What beautiful life lessons you¿ve given to Andie and all of us! Were's the CD for the daily songs that get stuck in your head? :-) Broadcast Journalist Nance Guilmartin states, ¿Grief isn¿t something that you ¿get over.¿ It is a feeling you learn to let carry you wherever it is you need to go to feel the love, once more, of the person you miss so much. God Bless! tish
Bill Hancock's book about recovering from the trauma of his son's untimely and tragic death in a plane crash is amazing. It is one of the best pieces of personal writing I've ever read. You don't have to know Bill, or his late son, Will, personally to relate to this story. You'll weep along the way, but celebrate with Bill as he completes his special journey.