Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 9, 2011

Another Bad Day at Round Rock

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

The previous blog related the Bad Day at Round Rock when the shootout occurred between the Texas Rangers and the Sam Bass Gang.  There was to be another Bad Day at Round Rock.  It would occur some 50 years later.

My knowledge came as a result of a motivational time in preparation for Homecoming events at Baylor University.  There is a long tradition at Baylor in relating the story of the Immortal Ten –one of America’s first sports tragedies.

On January 22, 1927 the Baylor basketball team was travelling to Austin, Texas to play the University of Texas.  The weather was terrible.  There had been a blinding rain storm that had lasted the entire day.  There was even talk of not making the journey to Austin because of the weather.  By the time the old bus had made the journey as far as Round Rock, it seemed the weather had even become worse.  The darkness added to the difficulty to see.  The poor windshield wipers  did not help in the blowing rain.  Visibility was almost nil.

There were no signals in that day for railroad crossings.  The only warning was the whistle of the train.  As the bus approached the railroad crossing, the driver and others on the bus realized a train speeding toward the crossing.  The train was travelling about sixty miles per hour, attempting to make up time that had been lost.  The driver of the bus realized that he could not stop in time on the muddy road, nor could he get across the tracks before the train would reach the crossing.  His speed was only twenty miles per hour and he did not have the mechanical power to race across the tracks.

In a desperate attempt to avoid being hit, the driver turned the bus to the left to be parallel with the tracks.  But the slippery ground only changed  the angle of the bus and the train tore through the back and right side of the bus.

There were twenty-one on the bus.  There were players, coaches, and a few fans.  Ten of the twenty-one were killed.  It was the worst sports tragedy that America had known.  The stories and events that followed immediately, and for weeks to come, are heart wrenching.  Since that day, incoming freshman at Baylor hear the story in detail.  There is a memorial on campus to the Immortal Ten!

The result of this tragedy was state legislature mandated grade crossings of all railroad-highway intersections.  Texas built its first railroad overpass at this crossing.  School buses across America introduced new safety features for busses, and since that time all busses are required to stop at all railroad crossings.

There are many personal stories about those who survived and about those who died.  One such story is how one player began to move toward an open window in hopes to escape the possible collision.  As he got close to the window, his roommate simply shoved him through the window to the ground below.  The young student saved the life of his friend as he pushed him out the window –but at the cost of his own life!

Each time I hear the particulars of the action of this player, I am reminded of how my life was saved.  For more than being saved from a tragic accident, my life has been saved from the consequences of my sin and saved to an eternal life in heaven!  I have One who gave His life for me.  He died that I might live!  His name is Christ Jesus!

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)  “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men . . . .”  (1 Timothy 2:5, )

Lawson

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