Thursday, August 23, 2012
Behind The Scoreboard
Football and a little more
Make no bones about it. This column is all about football this week; never mind the upcoming preamble which could be just a tad misleading.
Let’s admit it, we have been waiting for this time since Super Bowl Sunday. The lower echelon schools began their forays into glory or ignominy last weekend and the other levels have a couple of weeks left before they start throwing around the pigskin.
But first we have to pay tribute to what can be termed as no less than a momentous occasion. It matters not if you are a golf fan or not, chances are you have heard of the Augusta National Golf Club. For some eight decades, it has been the epitome of the ole boys club (emphasis on the boys). Well as of this morning (August 20, 2012), the male-only bastion has been infiltrated.
Two members of the fairer sex were admitted and now get to wear the famous crested jacket. Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, with whom I am sure all of you Republicans are familiar, and Darla Moore (with whom you might not be that familiar unless you are a millionaire) can now legally tee-off with all the men. Personally, this was not that big of a deal with me since I don’t think it should have taken 80 years to put out the welcome mat. However, I can remember that it stung a little when I tried to join the home ec class in high school and was told it was for girls only!
You have heard me remark on a couple of occasions that some NFL team should try to recruit Usain Bolt, the fastest human alive at this time. Well, I wondered just how many former Olympians had actually played pro football. I was aware of a few but had no idea that there were almost two dozen, with the vast majority of them earning medals. All you Dallas Cowboys fans really had something to cheer about when Bobby Hayes, then the fastest human, was toting the pigskin for America’s team. He went gold in the 100 and 4x100, twice all pro and thrice a Pro Bowler and in the Hall of Fame.
Your history books just might not have told you about Jim Thorpe, who was stripped of his medals and had them reinstated 30 years after his demise. The medals were taken in 1912 and returned in 1983. Others were Ollie Matson, Mike Bates, Milt Campbell, Mike Carter, Henry Carr, Willie Gault, Jim Hines, James Jett and Johnny “Lam” Jones. He was said to have “stone hands” as a receiver because of an inability to hold onto the ball. I have no idea where the “Lam” came from. There was Tommie Smith, who gained fame (or infamy) as one of two U.S. medalists who raised a gloved fist from atop the podium in Mexico after taking the gold.
There were Ron Brown, Clyde Scott, Sam Graddy, Glen Morris Glenn Davis, Bo Roberson, Ray Norton, Herschel Walker, Larry Burton, Randy Dean and now Jeff Dempsey, who put off signing until after he medaled in London. He is now a Patriot. They probably won’t be the last to take on a pro football career after being an Olympian.
Most of us have been scrambling to catch a glimpse of the teams we are going to favor in the upcoming season to try and estimate how they will fare. We have said over and over that the preseason does not present an accurate picture of the future progress. But, the defending champs have won one and lost one. The Pats and Eagles are 1-0, with five teams (Cincinnati, Bucs, Houston, Jaguars, Chargers), sporting 2-0 marks.
Now all I have to do is pick a new team.
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