Archive for September, 2006

How I voted, Sept. 26

September 25, 2006

Here’s the latest ballot:

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Greenville Rose
3. Richmond County
4. Asheville Reynolds
5. Wilmington Hoggard
6. Davie County
7. Greensboro Grimsley
8. Crest
9. Hope Mills South View
10. East Wake

3A
1. Eastern Randolph
2. Rocky Mount
3. Greensboro Dudley
4. Anson County
5. Winston-Salem Parkland
6. Harnett Central
7. Franklin
8. Kannapolis Brown
9. SouthWest Edgecombe
10. Hunter Huss

2A
1. Shelby
2. Maiden
3. Bunn
4. Canton Pisgah
5. Burlington Cummings
6. Brevard
7. Reidsville
8. Newton-Conover
9. Southwest Onslow
10. West Davidson

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Wallace-Rose Hill
3. Elkin
4. Manteo
5. Polk County
6. East Bladen
7. Northampton-West
8. East Carteret
9. Warsaw Kenan
10. Plymouth

How I voted – Sept. 19

September 19, 2006

Here’s my ballot for this week’s AP poll:

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Greenville Rose
3. Richmond County
4. Asheville Reynolds
5. Wilmington Hoggard
6. Davie County
7. Greensboro Grimsley
8. Shelby Crest
9. Garner Senior
10. Raleigh Wakefield

3A

1. Kannapolis Brown
2. Eastern Randolph
3. Greensboro Dudley
4. Rocky Mount
5. Anson County
6. Winston-Salem Parkland
7. Harnett Central
8. Franklin
9. North Gaston
10. Belmont South Point

2A
1. Shelby
2. Brevard (how’s a 1 vs. 2 sound this week?)
3. SW Onslow
4. Cummings
5. Canton Pisgah
6. Maiden
7. Greene Central
8. Bunn
9. Reidsville
10. Newton-Conover

1A.
1. Thomasville
2. Wallace-Rose Hill
3. Elkin
4. Manteo
5. East Carteret
6. Polk County
7. East Bladen
8. Northampton-West
9. Warsaw Kenan
10. Cherokee

How I voted – AP poll for Sept. 12

September 11, 2006

Since I don’t want to do it on my day off, I voted early…

4A
1. Independence
2. Rose
3. Richmond County
4. Reynolds
5. Hoggard
6. Davie County
7. Grimsley
8. New Bern
9. Crest
10. Garner

3A
1. Kannapolis Brown
2. Western Alamance
3. Eastern Randolph
4. Hertford County
5. Greensboro Dudley
6. Rocky Mount
7. Anson County
8. South Point (probably too high)
9. North Gaston (ditto)
10. Hunter Huss (ditto again)

2A
1. Shelby
2. Southwest Onslow
3. Brevard
4. Canton Pisgah
5. Maiden
6. Greene Central
7. Newton-Conover
8. Burlington Cummings
9. Reidsville
10. Bunn

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Wallace-Rose Hill
3. Elkin
4. Manteo
5. East Carteret
6. Polk County
7. East Bladen
8. Northampton-West
9. Warsaw Kenan
10. Cherokee

How I voted – AP Poll for Sept. 6

September 6, 2006

This is how my ballot looked for this week. I’d love to hear of any teams I left out that you guys think I should be considering…

4A
1. Charlotte Independence
2. Greenville Rose
3. Richmond County
4. Garner Senior
5. Asheville Reynolds
6. Crest
7. Wilmington Hoggard
8. Davie County
9. Greensboro Grimsley
10. New Bern

3A
1. Kannapolis Brown
2. Western Alamance
3. Rocky Mount
4. Eastern Randolph
5. Asheville Roberson
6. Charlotte Catholic
7. Hertford County
8. Greensboro Dudley
9. Anson County
10. Belmont South Point

2A
1. Shelby
2. Southwest Onslow
3. Brevard
4. Canton Pisgah
5. Maiden
6. Greene Central
7. Newton-Conover
8. Burlington Cummings
9. Reidsville
10. Bunn

1A
1. Thomasville
2. Wallace-Rose Hill
3. Elkin
4. Manteo
5. East Carteret
6. Polk County
7. East Bladen
8. Northampton-West
9. Warsaw Kenan
10. Cherokee

Farewell to Andre

September 4, 2006

My column from Monday’s Star:

Remember the time where Andre Agassi was all over TV, selling cameras for Canon? I checked out a commercial from 1990 on youtube.com Sunday, and it features Agassi in various stages of undress living a life worthy of a paparazzo’s attention.

And, of course, it ends with him standing with his long blonde hair flowing in an artificial breeze. He lowers his Oakleys slightly and uttered those three words that made him famous — or at least notorious — “image is everything.”

Or maybe it just started there.

Agassi has come farther than almost any athlete I can think of. He turned pro at 15, armed with a lust for life and a lethal forehand. The bad boy from Las Vegas won his first title in 1987 at Itaparica, and five years later, after years of griping about the All England Club’s wardrobe restrictions, won his first Grand Slam title on the grass at Wimbledon.

That was the flamboyant Agassi. That player started melting slowly away in the mid 90s, thanks to injuries and a lack of passion for the game. His ranking slipped to 147 in the world in November of 1997 — the lowest point since his debut season.

He could have taken his pile of money and rode off into the sunset. Instead, he accepted his losses in his battle with Father Time by toning down his off-court lifestyle, cutting his hair and becoming the most fit player on tour.

He made the highest one-year jump in ranking in ATP Tour history, going from 122 to 6 in the world at the end of 1998. He has since won 24 of his 60 career titles — including five of his eight Grand Slams.

He’s also become one of the most generous athletes of our time, pouring millions upon millions of dollars into his foundation.

Agassi’s odyssey, between the lines and otherwise, ended Sunday at the U.S. Open in New York. He made Benjamin Becker the answer to a trivia question, falling to the 25-year-old German in four sets.

I was sitting at a table with my wife and two friends, making me the only hard-core tennis fan in the bunch. Still, watching a man who has morphed from malcontent to elder statesman stand in a stadium full of fans and cry is a moment that transcended interest in sports.

He fought back tears as he said his goodbye, and as a fan of the game, it was a little hard to watch. I was always more of a Pete Sampras fan, but I have learned to love Andre over the past few years. I will truly miss him.

Those commercials in the early 1990s have followed Agassi for his entire career, but it’s the memory of a great champion — and a better man — saying farewell to a sport and its fans that will define his legacy.

That image, at least, is everything.