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Editorializing from Angel Fire, New Mexico

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Contrary to what certain of the feminine gender seem to think about their men watching (a lot of) sports on the old television set, there is a beehive variety of activities going on within the plethora of sporting events available to be viewed. It’s not just about hitting the ball in the hole, putting a bat on the ball, or dunking the ball up to one’s elbow, every facet one finds in all other areas of life is found in sports abundantly and in spades.

Believe it or not, politics have reared their ugly head in virtually every sport you can name. Even though my personal experience in sports participation was limited to basketball, baseball, track, (and ping pong) at Class B Forreston, other life experiences give me a basic familiarity with a wide world of sports, you might say.

Our superintendent, principle, teacher and coach, all rolled up into one, encouraged volleyball and tennis in the old Tiger gym once in a while and we boys laced on the boxing gloves occasionally and played a lot of cow-pasture football (without pads-ouch to both of those ‘intramural’ activities), but that was pretty much it.

Oh and when we got a chance to travel up Highway 77 into Oak Cliff, Wee Saint Andrews Miniature Golf Course offered quite a challenge along with a lot of fun. Did any of you seniors (senior citizens, that is) ever enjoy golfing at Wee St. Andrews? Though the course is long gone, the sporting memories remain.

Bowling league came later, though we probably played a line or two of that sport back in dear old Forreston High days. Do people still rent out bowling shoes probably worn by dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other people previously? Just wondering. I don’t think you can get the Swine Flu through bowling shoe transmission can you?

Speaking of golf, my first attempt was with Carlton R. from Italy on rented clubs at the Hillsboro Country Club. My partner wasn’t bad but I quickly discovered what “roughs” were and where they were, but not necessarily how to get out of them. That particular problem lingered throughout my golfing “career.” I don’t think the Hillsboro CC Golf Course was very exclusive at the time (50s) because they let me and Junie in to play.

Though signing up for “tumbling” and “trampoline” in my freshman year at ET State, I never actually went to those classes. Could you blame me? Hey, I never actually got the hang of Hula Hoop, though little sister Nancy Jane was a whiz at it. ET would not let me count that spectator experience as a credit, however.

So, in view of my vast sporting background (forgetting the Hula Hoop thing), it’s clear politics and sectional bias has had too much of an influence on organized sports and on their television broadcasting.

As a for-instance, the referees officiating our basketball games back in those (wonderful) 50s would not permit the most gentle of touching to opposing players; foul! No touching of the net; ball goes over! No touching of the rim (even if we could go that high); ball goes over! No cupping of the ball; turnover! The step-and-a-half rule was strictly enforced; traveling was frequently called on violations of this rule! Three-point distance counted for two points!

Applying those rules to the pro basketball sport we view now-a-days, I figure both starting line-ups would be fouled out by the end of the First Quarter with, possibly, a scoreless game. But politics entered the picture and slam and jamb is now the name of this current full contact sport constituting professional basketball. We could rename the sport Friday-Night Wrestling and Assaulting for the Ball.

Have you viewed any of the Women’s Collegiate Softball World Series going on in Oklahoma City? ESPN is televising much of the series and, to me, are ticked over the participants. More specifically, I think they’re unhappy with the section of the country most of the finalists hail from and are nit-picking the play of Georgia’s team, for instance. Reporting of this type really ticks off and offends my Southern biases.

At this writing, the Final Four are Florida vs. Alabama (Florida won this match-up) and Georgia vs. Washington. Note the Southeast Conference made up three of the final four.

ESPN announcers certainly appeared to be overly critical of the Georgia team in their play against Michigan and Washington, broadcasting how they (ESPN) thought the Georgia team had too many conferences and chat-sessions on and off the field of play, thus delaying the game and possibly interrupting the Washington team’s momentum. Duh, softball IS a game of strategy. The referee IS in control of all that, not ESPN and their biases.

These same announcers were also zeroing-in on the Georgia ace pitcher, as pertained to some new (dumb) rule on just where the pitcher could not step in her delivery to the plate. Actually, she was simply pitching in the proud tough tradition of softball pitchers who make it double-tough on batters and the (dumb) rule should be overturned this winter, if not sooner. It’s a cookie-cutter, leveling attempt type rule and so are those who made it (the PC* rules committee or whoever).

Leave the game alone and let brilliance shine and let all the pro basketball players foul-out in the first quarter, if they’re really committing fouls, which they continually are. Just leave the pure game alone and get over the fact that our (Red States) section of the country are dominating in women’s collegiate softball this year. Go Gators or Dogs!

Maybe there should be an ESPN of the South.

May God bless.

*Politically Correct

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