Archive for January, 2006

Technology adds spice to the sporting life

January 29, 2006

My column from Monday’s Star:

I have to be careful when I start listing my greatest gifts ever received.

You could easily count my wife and son as gifts from God, so I guess I’ll say the best material gifts just to be on the safe side.

My wife, Shanna, is a tremendous gift giver. She’s thoughtful and totally in tune with what I want, which is usually something with which I can watch or listen to more sports.

This Christmas, she delivers an XM Radio, which she told me for months I wouldn’t be getting.

It’s a satellite radio and, along with Sirius, they’ve got the sporting market cornered.

For $12.99 a month — plus tax as we discovered recently — I get to listen to ACC, PAC 10 and Big Ten games, NHL contests (if I were so inclined), PGA events, NASCAR races and, coming soon, every regular season MLB contest.

That’s hot.

I’ll take that selection over Sirius, which offers the NFL (OK, I’d like that), NBA and other assorted events.

My Roady lets me listen in the car and at home, and the whole setup is less than $75.

It’s money well spent.

YOU HAVE to say this about Gardner-Webb men’s basketball coach Rick Scruggs, he has a sense of humor.

Saturday night, he has his players decked out in the road red uniforms for a home game against Jacksonville. Considering that the Runnin’ Bulldogs had dropped four in a row at home while winning four in a row out of Cleveland County, I’m surprised he didn’t spend the night in Charlotte and have the team bused in for the game.

The officials made GWU change back into the home whites and the ’Dogs won anyway.

The current four-game winning streak has put Gardner-Webb back in the race for the conference championship, and don’t look now, but the rest of the Atlantic Sun is backing up a bit.

Lipscomb is playing well and leading the way at 9-2. The Bisons — yeah, that’s wrong but they like it that way — visit here on Feb. 18.

Kennesaw State is 9-3 while Florida Atlantic and East Tennessee State are 8-4. Belmont is 7-4, just a half-game in front of the Bulldogs.

Every team I just listed has a game left with Gardner-Webb, so a successful defense of their regular season title, and a high seed in the A-Sun Tournament in early March are still within reach.

We won’t have to wait long to find out how the stretch run will go either. After tonight’s home game against North Florida, the ’Dogs play at FAU on Feb. 4, at KSU on Feb. 9 and on the road at ETSU on Feb. 11 before coming home to meet Belmont on Feb. 16.

A 13-7 league record was good for a share of the league championship last season. Anything close to that this season is bound to have a team in the running.

And you know what the best thing is?When I’m driving to Johnson City, Tenn., for the A-Sun Tourney, I won’t have to scan the AM dial for a sports station, thanks to my new radio.

An ode to curling

January 19, 2006

With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, I find looking forward to watching a little curling.

Once every four years, sports fans are treated to watching people slide a stone towards a target while other folks sweep the ice to achieve just the right speed and direction.

I said I liked it. I never said I understood it.

Anyway, the sport dates back to the mid-16th century and a quick glance at the Olympic TV schedule tells me that all of the U.S. men’s and women’s matches will be televised.

And that’s a good thing.

Want to know more? Here are a few links:

Curling lingo – http://www.usacurl.org/basics/glossary.html

Olympic site – http://www.nbcolympics.com/curling/index.html

Olympic TV schedule – http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv/index.html

Happy Friday the 13th

January 13, 2006

Here’s my column from Friday’s Star:

Happy Friday the 13th. Usually, I’m not the black cat fearing, ladder-avoiding type, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Fridays that fall on this date.

I got a speeding ticket on a Friday the 13th and I’m sure some other bad stuff happened to me on those days as well.The main thing that haunts me is the temptation to reference it in my stories and headlines the next day’s paper.Not this year, though. I promise.

Moving right along, here are a few of the things I’m thinking about:

I’VE HEARD chatter that Vince Young, after his command performance in Texas’ Rose Bowl win over USC (which I predicted) is the second coming of Michael Vick.

I disagree. Compare their numbers on similar teams at similar ages. When Vick was a redshirt sophomore, he was 20 years old. He was 87-for-161 passing for 1,234 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He added 617 rushing yards and eight more scores for the Hokies in his final season.

Young at age 20 split time with Chance Mock as a freshman in 2003, and his numbers were very similar (84-for-143, 1,115, six scores, seven interceptions with 998 rushing yards and 11 more TDs).

So what’s that mean? Young stayed in school a year longer than Vick, and while he’s probably not as fast, he’s more accurate and better equipped to read a defense in this stage of his career than Vick was.And he’s tougher, too.

So, no, he’s not the next Vick. He’s the first Vince Young.

AFTER HEAPING laurels on Mr Young, I still think that Reggie Bush is the best player available in April’s NFL Draft.

I know what you’re saying. He’s too small, never carried it more than 23 times in a game and so on.

Here’s the deal. He was sharing the load with a fellow Heisman winner at quarterback in Matt Leinart and a fellow future NFL draftee at running back in LenDale White.

With all that firepower around him, he still piled up 1,740 yards rushing and 16 scores on a whopping 8.7 yards per carry. He also caught 37 passes and returned kicks for the Trojans.

Think Warrick Dunn, but faster and with better open-field moves.He’s the real deal, so much so that I’m trying to trade up in one of my fantasy football leagues to get him.

BY THE WAY, the Shelby boys’ basketball team is pretty good. It’s easy to tell that that group of players has spent a lot of time together on the court when you watch them pass the basketball and work on defense.

A lack of a true post player is a concern, but if the Golden Lions shoot well and keep the pace to their liking — somewhere between hyperactive and ludicrous speed — they can beat anybody.

With a little luck, maybe they can add another state title to the school’s trophy case.

Now which shoulder do we throw that salt over again?

Contact Randy Capps at randy_capps@link.freedom.com

All County team

January 1, 2006

In case you missed it, here’s The Star’s 2005 All-County team:

Tavorris Jolly and Lance Camp, co-Players of the Year
Brandon Spikes
Evan Bostic
Sidney Goode
Josh McDowell
Darryl Montgomery
Arsenio Parks
Brandon Peterson
Keon Ross
Brandon Jackson
Kicking specialist – Tyler Rabb

Honorable Mention – Nate Marable, Tosh Toms, Skip Allen, Lamont Carpenter, Antonio Odom, DeShaud Kee and James Bradshaw

It sounds cheesy, but it’s tough to narrow a list like this down to 12. I had a hard time leaving Allen, Odom and Toms off, but who do you replace them with?

I’ve also read some discourse about the lack of offensive linemen on this list. Keep in mind that this is a list of players, not a position-by-position team. Aside from Carpenter, it’s hard to pinpoint a lineman in the county that was dominant or consistent. And the ones who come close missed too many games with injuries. Just one man’s opinion.

It’s also been suggested that Jordan Robinson should have made it in place of Montgomery. Not based on the numbers. Robinson had more yards (1,825 to 1,677), but Montgomery had more TDs (14-12) and fewer picks (9 to 12). And there is that little ring he helped Shelby win…

Well, thanks to all the posters on NC Preps for the blogging inspiration…

Happy New Year!