Archive for October, 2005

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2005

Let me start by saying that I don’t like Halloween. It’s a silly night, designed by major corporations to separate me from my money under the guise of buying candy, costumes, pumpkins and such.

On the plus side, today’s the day where I get to eat candy that I deem too mature for my three-year-old’s digestive system. Of course, if this keeps up, he may be a teenager before he actually gets to try a Blow Pop.

But enough with the cheap candy references.

Good and evil

Is there a more Jekyll and Hyde act this year than the Crest Charger football team?
In their five wins over East Gaston, North Gaston, Forestview, Kings Mountain and Burns, they outscored their foes 162-42. In five losses to Hunter Huss, Charlotte Country Day, Ashbrook, Shelby and Freedom, Crest was outgunned 100-62.

So which team will get off the bus in Belmont Friday night?

Even though Crest is about as stable as a gallon of gasoline next to a campfire, the Chargers seem to play well in rivalry games.

South Point is that type of opponent, so don’t be shocked if Crest brings the right potion for this week’s clash with the Red Raiders.

A Goode-ie bag

We always pick a county player of the year here at The Star, and with a week to go in the regular season, there’s a clear front-runner for my vote.

Kings Mountain’s Sidney Goode is having quite a season. The senior running back has accounted for 1,635 all-purpose yards and a dozen touchdowns this season.

The Mountaineers are 4-6 with the talented running back. We can only imagine how scary their season would have been without him.

Trick or treat?

Thanks to a playoff system that rewards mediocrity and lines the pockets of the state association, it looks like all four area teams will make the postseason.

Kings Mountain may be sweating a little on Saturday if it loses to Burns, as it will have met only the minimum requirements for the playoffs. Without the ADM numbers to show me who’s big and who’s small, it’s hard to say if the Mounties are in or out.

Let’s assume they get in, and start with them. With Goode and receiver Nate Marable, Kings Mountain can match offensive firepower with just about anyone.
With that defense giving away points like most of you will be handing out candy, it’s hard to imagine the Mountaineers being anything more than a treat for a higher seeded first-round foe.

Crest and Burns can be lumped together as a mystery bag. Could be a Hershey bar, could be a licorice stick, you just don’t know.

Neither team has responded to adversity particularly well this season, but both squads are littered with playoff-tested veterans and led by coaches who know what it takes to win.

I don’t know if they’re title-worthy, but both squads will be tough outs.

Shelby, on the other hand, looks like the ultimate Halloween treat to me — money.

Sometimes, if you get lucky, the neighbors will be out of candy and start forking over bills. The Golden Lions, with their experience and talent, are my pick to win a state championship this season.

No pressure boys…and Happy Halloween.

Discovering sports bars

October 19, 2005

Every once in a while, I stumble across an idea that’s well known by most people, but a complete mystery to me.

The latest discovery? Sports bars.

I was in the midst of a working vacation — if covering your alma mater playing against a school that half your high school class attended 10 miles from Myrtle Beach, S.C., can truly be considered work.

After a depressing day Saturday — not only did Gardner-Webb lose in overtime, costing me a game on everyone in our pick’em contest, but covering the game caused me to miss one of the best days of college football in years — I was ready to unwind.

My wife, a lovely and accommodating woman, proposed the idea of spending Sunday in a sports bar, drinking adult beverages, eating junk food and watching every NFL game imaginable.

The week before the trip, I scoured the Internet looking for the best spots. I even made a list, which in my haste to put some mileage between myself and Cleveland County; I left unprinted on my computer desktop.

So, without a plan or a clue, we stopped at the one closest to where we were staying. It’s called Spencer’Z Sports Bar and Restaurant, and it’s on the corner of S.C. 544 and U.S. 17 in that gray area between Myrtle Beach and Surfside.

Twenty seconds after walking in the door, I knew I had found sporting heaven. There were TVs everywhere. The website said 44, the sign inside said 54 and the billboard outside claimed more than 50. I’m not sure how many there really were, but let’s just say there were more than enough.

My wife is an avid fantasy football player, and she ended up being the only patron in the bar with two TVs tuned to games of her choice, Atlanta/New Orleans and Tennessee/Cincinnati.

There were about a dozen TVs on the Pittsburgh/Jacksonville game. I had no idea that there were so many Steeler fans on the Grand Strand. There were jerseys, chants and, by the end of the game, enough jeers for backup quarterback Tommy Maddox to make it seem like you were at Heinz Field.

There were Jets’ jerseys, Redskins’ apparel and one guy in a Dallas jersey that had “Smoke Dog” on the back of it. He was sitting at a table with a guy in a Shockey jersey, making the Dallas/Giants game they were watching all the more interesting.

Our waitress, Colleen, was awesome, making sure we were well-stocked in beverages and some really tasty wings. The beef tips weren’t that great, but really, what was I thinking not getting a steak anyway?

The bathroom had truck tool box metal on the walls and a hand-dryer that could double as one of those jet blowers NASCAR uses.

The only problem I had was where to look. When faced with watching six or seven games at once, the urge is to jerk your head around from game to game with the dual effects of getting whiplash and not really knowing what’s going on in any of them.

The trick, I learned, is to watch one game and then, after you hears cheers, try to find the game where something cool just happened.

After a few hours of eating way too much and watching a month’s worth of games in one afternoon, we decided to head for a quieter place to watch games.

I don’t know if all sports bars are like that one, but I do know that it won’t be too long before I find out.

How I voted

October 11, 2005

Here are my votes in this week’s Associated Press High School Football poll:

4A
1. Independence
2. Richmond County
3. Greenville Rose
4. Fayetteville Britt
5. Southern Durham
6. New Bern
7. Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor
8. Raleigh Wakefield
9. Hope Mills South View
10. Charlotte Providence

3A
1. Asheville
2. West Rowan
3. Greensboro Dudley
4. Charlotte Catholic
5. Franklin
6. Rocky Mount
7. Northwest Cabarrus
8. Winston-Salem Parkland
9. Eastern Randolph
10. Western Alamance

2A
1. Brevard
2. Southwest Onslow
3. Shelby
4. Catawba Bandys
5. Whiteville
6. Lincolnton
7. South Columbus
8. East Duplin
9. South Lenoir
10. East Rutherford

1A
1. Wallace Rose Hill
2. Thomasville
3. Elkin
4. Choc. Southside
5. East Carteret
6. Manteo
7. Ayden-Grifton
8. East Surry
9. Polk County
10. Mount Airy

My votes – 10/3

October 3, 2005

Here’s how I voted in this week’s AP High School Football poll:

4A
1. Charlotte Independence (The streak will end this year)
2. Richmond County (Here’s who will end it)
3. Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor
4. Greenville Rose
5. Fayetteville Britt
6. Southern Durham
7. New Bern
8. Raleigh Wakefield
9. Hope Mills South View
10. Charlotte Providence

3A
1. Asheville
2. West Rowan
3. Greensboro Dudley
4. Charlotte Catholic
5. Wilson Beddingfield
6. Western Alamance
7. Franklin
8. Hickory
9. Rocky Mount
10. Northwest Cabarrus

2A
1. East Duplin
2. Brevard
3. Southwest Onslow
4. Shelby
5. South Lenoir (A win over Clinton brings credibility)
6. Canton Pisgah
7. Elizabeth City Northeastern
8. Catawba Bandys
9. Lincolnton
10. South Columbus

1A
1. Wallace-Rose Hill (Has drilled a pair of 2A schools in that top 10)
2. Thomasville
3. Elkin
4. Chocowinity Southside
5. East Carteret
6. Manteo
7. Ayden-Grifton
8. North Johnston
9. Polk County
10. Mt. Airy