I Could Have Won $278 Million, and Instead I Did This…

Where did January go? This month was at once 6.5 years and 30 seconds long – right? As we head into February, let me bring you up to date on my very eventful year-end. For years, I’ve been writing to you on Mondays and calling my musings “Just Another Mary Monday.”

But this one isn’t about just another day, it’s a story about a most extraordinary day – December 4th, 2021. Had I known, I would have purchased a lottery ticket because I had good fortune in more ways than one. It was a sports, party, and personal trifecta!

(And if that’s not enough to entice you to keep reading, you should also know I’m about to spill some behind-the-scenes details about the new HTL Freight team).


It’s no secret that I’m a huge sports fan. To date, over 40 of these posts have been devoted to the topic. I’ve written about football, gymnastics, championship pool tournaments, NASCAR, basketball, baseball, curling, high-jumping – and more. But the ones that are closest to my heart begin with my favorite battle cry: ROLL TIDE!

And so it was, that our last-ever annual Matchmaker Logistics Christmas party happened to fall on December 4th, the very same day as the SEC Championship game featuring Alabama vs. Georgia.

Despite being a diehard Alabama fan, even I was questioning whether my team could beat Georgia. You see, the game was taking place at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and Georgia was heading into the game undefeated with a 12-0 record.

Ranked #1 in the country and #1 on defense, and with a home turf advantage, things weren’t looking too promising for Alabama. Every sportscaster felt certain that Georgia would dominate, especially after a terrible game they had played the week prior against Auburn.


A friend and I parked ourselves in front of a screen at the Wilmington, NC Buffalo Wild Wings, ready to cheer for our beloved Crimson Tide. At the beginning of the second quarter, the score was Georgia 10, Alabama 0. I started to sweat, but Alabama scored a touchdown 40 seconds later, followed by another 4 minutes after that.

Brice Young, the quarterback for Alabama, was playing better than I have ever seen him play. By the end of the first half, Alabama had the lead, 24-17. Within the first two minutes of the second half, Alabama scored another touchdown. By the beginning of the 4th quarter, the score was Alabama 38, Georgia 17. The looks on the faces of the Georgia fans were priceless. I LOVED IT!!!

I won’t blame my Crimson Eleven for making me late to the office Christmas party. I also met a lady while watching the game whom I found fascinating. We got to talking and it turns out she is retired from a high-powered career in government logistics. We decided to stay connected, and she has since offered to serve as a personal mentor.

And the timing couldn’t be better, what with my role as one of the newest members of HTL Freight. Onu Okebie and Brian Boland, owners of HTL Freight, were at the office Christmas party with Bob, me, and the rest of the crew. (And, yes, they know how to have fun!)


Onu is a former wide receiver for Georgia Tech, so his Georgia roots run deep. And Brian, who hails from Ireland, doesn’t really keep up with American football. He is, however, a golfer who used to play with Shane Lowry. But since his wife is an alumna from the University of Georgia, and he wanted to stay out of the proverbial doghouse, Brian was also pulling for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Boy, did it feel great to walk into that party knowing that my team had shown the state of Georgia (and everyone else) that Alabama is a force to be reckoned with! Onu and Brian were great sports as I celebrated my win (and their loss). In fact, I’m happy to report that they’re great guys all around. They are both devoted family men with interesting professional backgrounds and MBAs from the same school, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.


Because they’re such great guys, it didn’t hurt quite so badly when it was my turn to congratulate Onu and Brian after the Georgia Bulldogs took the National Championship from my beloved Crimson Tide on January 10th. My heartbreak was eventually eased by the most unlikely of sources – Tom Brady. Knowing that I won’t have to see Brady play in the Superbowl was all it took to lift my sporting spirits.

But let’s get back to the real win here – I am so pumped to join forces with HTL Freight, and I believe wholeheartedly that it will be a win for everyone: our shippers, our carriers, me, and my co-workers who all see professional development opportunities within the group. Bob was looking out for everyone’s best interests, and he succeeded.


So, to recap: an SEC championship title for my beloved Crimson Tide; new career opportunities with a fantastic leadership team at HTL; a chance encounter with a lovely woman who wants to be my mentor – could that December day have been any better? Well, the NC Powerball Jackpot on 12/4 was $278 million. I really should have made the time to buy a ticket!

Want to chat about football, Brice Young, the upcoming Super Bowl, the new HTL team, or anything else? Reach out and let’s get 2022 rollin’!

Happy Monday,