Archive for June, 2006

It’s now or never…

June 22, 2006

Here’s my column from Thursday’s Star:

It’s Thursday morning, and unless you’re on a goofy shift like I am, you’re probably supposed to be at work today.

Apparently, the schedule makers at FIFA didn’t consider the American audience when it put the U.S. team’s final World Cup first-round match with Ghana on the pitch at 9:55 a.m. today on ESPN.

It’s now or never for the home team. We need to beat Ghana and hope that Italy trips up the Czech Republic so we can move on to the second round.

And the team needs your support.

So, cash in a sick day. Tell the boss you’ve got a summer cold. Tell her your allergies are acting up (which for my wife, would be a great excuse.)

You could always go for the appointment ruse. “Well, I need to be home from 9 to noon to let the air conditioner repairman in.” As hot as it’s been lately, you’re sure to get a heathly dose of sympathetic understanding.

If all else fails, go the patriotic route.

“You think they’re working in Accra today?” When you point out that Accra is the capital of Ghana, you score points for a good working knowledge of world geography.

While TV ratings for this year’s World Cup are double what they were in 2002, when all the games were played in Asia and aired here in the middle of the night, we need every viewer we can get.

I guess you didn’t need any excuses to get out of work then. You just needed some coffee.

This year’s version of the good guys needs more than that. They need the hopes and dreams of a nation of fans cheering them on to victory.

The fans who crossed the pond to Germany — better known as “Sam’s Army” — have been loud and raucous in their support of our national team. They’re doing their part. Are you doing yours?

You don’t have to be a soccer fan to get on board with what’s happening today. Even if you don’t know a forward from a midfielder, you can support a team of your countrymen as they play for our nation’s pride.

We’re playing a country that’s slightly smaller than Oregon with our future on the line.

So ditch work, get in front of a TV and watch some soccer.

We have to make sure Landon Donovan stays aggressive, Kasey Keller plays up to his potential and none of our players get sent off for silly red cards.

You don’t think Ghana’s into this game?

“Our roster is 23 strong, and all the guys are ready to die for the nation,” Ghana’s Stephen Appiah said.

Your country needs you. This game is critical to the evolution of American soccer, and … uh, wait a minute. If we make it to the second round, we have to play Brazil?

Oh well. Watch it anyway.

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WGWG-FM 88.3 won’t be airing Crest High football in ’06

June 19, 2006

Randy Capps
randycapps@shelbystar.com

For the past five seasons, WGWG-FM 88.3 in Boiling Springs has been the voice of Crest High School football. This fall, the broadcast service of Gardner-Webb University will be the voice of a different school, likely in the upstate of South Carolina.

According to WGWG General Manager Noel Manning, the station is “really close” to an agreement with Byrnes, S.C., to air its games in the 2006 season.

The Rebels have won four straight South Carolina AAAA Division II titles.

“Our intent when we started carrying high school football games eight years ago was to rotate among different schools,” Manning said. “We did Shelby one year, we did a game of the week another year and the past few years, we’ve done Crest games.

“We just decided to get back to our original intent. We started looking at schools in our coverage area that we haven’t done before, and we decided to look at the possibility of doing Byrnes’ games. We’re excited about the possibility of working with Byrnes. It’s a great opportunity for us to reach into the upstate of South Carolina.”

When asked about the possibility of the decision having anything to do with Crest having to forfeit its wins from 2005, Manning said that it “had nothing to do at all with that, whatsoever.”

Paul Foster, the play-by-play voice of the Chargers over the past few seasons and a GWU employee, understands the decision.

“Personally, it will be with great sadness,” Foster said of not calling Crest games this fall. “It’s been a great relationship with the team and the community, but we understand what the station is trying to accomplish (with the move).”

In addition, Saturday Sports Talk, a weekly show hosted by Tim Foster and Rob Ruppe — former members of the WGWG Crest High broadcasts — will no longer air on the station. Manning said that decision was made by the show’s hosts, and not the university.

As one might imagine, Crest High head football coach Roy Kirby is not happy with the decision.

“They’ve been with us for five years,” he said. “There have been a lot of exciting games, and they’ve been right there. Our community and our fans have pretty much paid the bills for the games. If it was more of a move to a Cleveland County school, or somewhere close like East Rutherford or Gaffney, I could understand it better.

“To go 40 miles down the road to Duncan (Byrnes High) — and with Gardner-Webb sitting in our backyard — I just don’t understand it as far as public relations go. And a lot of people in our community feel the same way. To dump us dead after five years doesn’t sit well with someone who’s an alumnus. I’ve got two schools — Crest and GWU — and I feel like one of them dumped me.”

According to Kirby, Crest games may end up with a new home when the season gets under way in late August.

“Hopefully, we can work out something and give them a little competition,” he said.

World Cup Preview

June 10, 2006

I love the World Cup!

Here’s a little bit of the preview we ran Friday…

Who will win?
Germany — home field advantage looms large on this stage. I look for them to ride the fervor of their fans past Brazil in a thrilling final.

Golden Boot winner?
I’ll go with Portugal’s Pauleta. He lit up UEFA qualifying with 11 goals and he’s been solid in club play too.

How will the U.S. fare?
Group E is a nightmare, but I like our chances against the Czech Republic and Ghana. Two wins there and a split with Italy would likely be enough to win the group, setting up a good draw and a deep run in the rest of the tournament.

Dark horse team?
For some reason, I think the Netherlands might surprise some people. Ruud van Nistelroy is one of the world’s best strikers, and if the Dutch make it out of group play, they could make a serious run.

Underachiever?
Somebody please explain to me how the Czech Republic became the No. 2 team in the world? I really think they’ll be lucky to finish third in Group E behind the U.S. and Italy.

Toughest group?
Group E is pretty tough, but I’ll go with Brian and take Group C. You could really take Argentina, the Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Ivory Coast and pull them out of a hat to guess how they might finish.

Easiest group?
Group D looks a little thin. Sure Portugal and Mexico are big-name teams, but both have their flaws. As far as Iran and Angola go, well, they’re not exactly ready for primetime.

Update from Walnut Creek

June 2, 2006

Kings Mountain 0, SW Randolph 0 – Bottom 6th (KM is the road team)

UPDATE: 7:10 p.m. – Still 0-0, lightning delay, bottom of the eighth

UPDATE: 9 p.m. – Postponed until Saturday morning