A hero's welcome
It's been one hell of a week for Jim Ross. When the week started, J.R. was sitting at home waiting for his next "special assignment" from the WWE. Things quickly changed though, because on Wednesday, J.R. received the news that he will be returning to the RAW announcing team. In addition to returning to RAW, this Friday will kick off a series of events in J.R.'s hometown of Westville, Okla. to honor him.
J.R. attributes his work ethic and successes to his Westville upbringings, claiming success doesn't come without sacrifice. A grueling schedule, the stress of being on the road and not being home when both of his parents passed away are just a few of the obstacles that J.R. has had to overcome throughout the years.
"Every year my hometown sponsors what they call a loyalty weekend and instead of inviting individual classes for their 10th year reunion or their 20th year reunion, they invite all the classes that have graduated there to come back and be involved in the school reunion and various other activities."
Friday, J.R. will be at the John F. Henderson Public Library for a luncheon and book signing.
Afterwards J.R. will be heading over to his alma mater, Westville High School, for the official retiring of his high school football number, 75. J.R. will also be speaking to the student body. "They're having an all-school assembly in my high school auditorium where I received my diploma, and I'm gonna speak to the classes and the school about setting your goals."
Ross is looking forward to speaking to the students about following their dreams. "I'm living proof that no matter where you come from, what your background is, what your heritage is, you can do whatever you want as long as you get up and do it. If you want something bad enough, you have to be the one that will get up and go for it."
Later that evening, the Westville Chamber of Commerce will host a community-wide barbecue dinner at the Westville Park featuring a selection of J.R.'s recipes from his popular cookbook series.
Saturday morning the town will dedicate and rename a street in honor of the hometown hero. "They are renaming one of the main streets of my hometown, which is only about four (chuckles), I don't think my hometown even has any stop lights. I certainly don't feel like I deserve all this. I'm humbled, but I am extremely proud and honored."
Immediately after the street dedication, the 2006 Miss Loyalty will be crowned by J.R. The 2006 Loyalty Day Parade will follow with Ross as the Parade Marshall.
"I'm going to go back and ride the parade and visit some old buddies, guys I played high school football with, old coaches and teachers and it's been years since I've been there so I'm going to go down there this weekend and we're gonna have a J.R.'s barbeque and I'm gonna sign some cookbooks."
"I graduated with 50 guys and I had dreams. I keep dreaming. I still have dreams. I think that everyone should have dreams and if I can make it, and find my dream job and have fun and meet good people and travel the world, there is absolutely no reason that any kid who grows up in my hometown can't do the same in their chosen field.
I think we make a conscious decision more often than not to be either a success or a failure, and in today's generation I think people blame failure on others instead of looking in the mirror, and I'm gonna talk about the Age of Entitlement. We're not entitled to really anything but a fair shake. Hopefully you get that opportunity, which is what you're entitled to in this country, so I'm gonna go back there and ride the parade and wave and see a lot of my buddies from football and baseball, eat some barbeque and then hustle back on Saturday night to catch a plane to go to Anaheim on Sunday and be ready to go back to work Monday night."
In J.R.'s 30 plus years of experience he has commentated for WWE, WCW and Mid-South / UWF. He has penned numerous columns and articles for WWE publications and WWE.com and wrote two cook books. J.R. also co-authored the best seller, "The Stone Cold Truth" and developed J.R.'s Slobber Knocker BBQ sauce / Roasted Hot Pepper Sauce.
While the festivities honoring J.R. will come to a close by the end of the weekend, a new chapter in J.R.'s storied career begins on Monday when he returns to the broadcast booth on RAW.