Monday, June 16, 2014

This year's presentation of the TOMMYs is coming later this week. Come back soon, there are lots of things that earned by attention in the sports world in recent weeks!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ill be back

It is about this time each year I present the annual TOMMY Awards and though my blog posts have decreased dramatically the tradition will continue. See what has gotten my attention in the world of sports in the near future. Expect a little humor, unique perspective and my analysis of what has happened in the sports world.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

 Editor's note. This column is being brought from the archives of the now former publication The Harnett County News.. It is the first in a series that appeared in 2004. The medical condition referenced has been cured by a miracle of God working through surgeons at UNC Chapel Hill. This column is dedicated to those heroes. 
A two wheeled perspective

A medical condition now keeps me, at least temporarily, from behind a steering wheel of a car, but the necessity of transportation required me to purchase what is called a skooter, but is really a fancy name for a moped. Riding around town on my new wheels, complete with a camoflage paint job, is providing a new outlook and is teaching me a few things.
The law limits the speed of these vehicles, which are treated in the eyes of the law as a bicycle, to 20 miles per hour. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it beats making long trips with only my shoes between me and the pavement.
Because I had not driven in several months, when I first got my skooter  it was like being released from a prison cell. I can only wonder what the people thought as I “flew” down the road singing the words to the classic tune “On the Road Again.” 
The first thing I noticed while driving Harnett’s back roads is there are some fast dogs out there. This reality hit me one day driving from Angier. Going along with the sweet whine of my new engine and my helmet on I didn’t notice a dog nipping at my heels. 
The realization came when he literally passed me. I know this because I saw the whites of his eyes when he turned to look at me.
Now my new ride is no race car, but the 20 miles per hour I am allowed should be plenty of speed to out run this four legged friend, right? Trust me, it wasn’t. 
I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not begin to lose him until I hit the top speed of 25 miles per hour. At that speed greyhound want to be finally fell off the pace and went back to his resting place, waiting for his next victim.
It seems funny to me how curious the public is about my ride. I laughed one day when a Harnett County “good ole boy” pulled up beside me and said “Lets see what that thing has got.”
What was this guy thinking? Here he is high in his muddy pickup spitting smoke out of dual exhaust, and being sarcastic about my little moped. I guess it provided a boost for his ego but to me it didn’t matter. Still, I felt like David looking up at Goliath. 
My pride wouldn’t allow me to back down. He reved his engine and I reved mine, and believe it or not I actually beat him from the line. It seems his Goliath couldn’t start off as fast my lightweight David.  He  passed me within seconds, laughing as he did, but that moment of glory was worth putting a tiny dent in his arrogant attitude.
I have also gotten a quick lesson in defensive driving from this experience. It only takes one eighteen wheeled truck passing you on a bridge to make you quickly realize your vulnerability. The rear view mirrors quickly become your best friends.
When I first got the moped I was somewhat humiliated by the experience, feeling like I was something less than those who drove cars. Many moped drivers own their vehicles because of drunk driving offenses and I thought that is what people would think.
Now, I have realize the advantages. After all I bet that good ole boy doesn’t get 100 miles out of each gallon of gas.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lessons on Science, a real fish story

There is an old joke about those who love to fish stretching the size of their catch. Many a six inch pan fish has turned into the catch of a life time by the time the story of the catch is related. This afternoon, I had a different kind of fish story and there is no need to stretch anything about it.
The story here is the bonding between a nephew and an uncle, separated for most of the prior's life by the continental United States and half the Pacific Ocean.
When my nephew moved to North Carolina from Hawaii a few weeks back one of his first requests was to go fishing with Uncle Tom so "He can put a worm on my hook." His young mind remembers me doing so now nearly a year ago on another return trip.
This afternoon we didn't have worms so a piece of hot dog sufficed. Last year we caught a nice size catfish,  so big I had to spend all afternoon fighting it to get it in the boat. Well,  maybe a little fish story there. Sunday, no fish story was needed, the only thing we caught were warm rays of the North Carolina sun.
It was far from a wasted afternoon. I learned that "Uncle Tom I know more than you do because I am a scientist." That little bit of genius came after I put my hand in my pocket and brought it out with a hook in it. I guess a five year old scientist has enough training not to do such a thing.
The five year old scientist said hot dogs are human food, not fish food and that is why we didn't catch anything. Just as good a reason as any I suppose.
Today marked the third Sunday in a row I have spent making up for lost time with my nephew. I am looking forward to finding some fish food and giving it another shot in the near future. Last weekend, said scientist showed me around the natural history museum. There we had to briefly mourn a black widow spider in an exhibit who had passed, we chased butterflies and got a few lessons about dinosaurs. Prior to that the lesson was the difference between the sea gulls and ducks that now battle for attention at the local recreational park.
 It was another great way to spend Sunday afternoon. I look forward to many more. I have a lot of science to learn.

Friday, June 21, 2013

And the TOMMY goes to....

Anyone who has been a regular visitor to The Corner in recent years if familiar with my annual TOMMY Awards. It is my way of looking at things getting my attention in the world of sports. This year it will be ongoing over the next two days as I pick up on sporting action.

The TOMMY for the Happiest Ex Con in the world of sports-Len Dykstra. Not sure what is dumber, hiding baseball gloves to protect them from a bankruptcy case or having a bankruptcy case in the first place when he made millions roaming centerfield at Veterans and and Shea stadiums. He was released from prison on the fraud charges Friday. Hope he enjoys waking up to look out windows and not bars.

The TOMMY for best sporting experience will be the one I have next year. If the golf gods have their way I will once again get a press pass to the U.S. Open. I did it in 2005 and it was a great experience. Next year will be special, watch for Phil Mickelson to get his elusive open title. Look for me to be on the edge of the green when he does it.

The third TOMMY of the Year is one for the second greatest basketball player in history, King James. Okay, you are the best player of a generation. I will give you credit for second place barely beating out Bird and Magic. Michael J. you are not my friend.

TOMMY number four is the Please Let it End TOMMY given to both the NBA and NHL. Someone in those leagues needs to realize no one wants to be in a gym or ice rink when it is 100 degrees outside. Both should follow the lead of college basketball and end in the spring. This year it was more than half way through June when both finished. I am not sure hockey is yet. Lets start playing winter sports in the winter!

We are half way through this year's ceremony and here is number five. The Who knows how it will end TOMMY goes to the New England Patriots. Bill Belichek has decided to let the Tim Tebow tour make its third stop in Foxboro. Surely Tebow knows he will be number two to Tom Brady. Surely he knows Belichek will have his way, what that is concerning Tebow. Somehow I figure they will both end up with a Super Bowl ring at the end of the game.

The TOMMY for best sports mystery, Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots. Looks like he is headed to jail for his role in a murder. Tebow is the least of Belichek's problems.

I have to give a TOMMY this year to all the small market teams making their mark in MLB this year.
Who can't cheer for teams like the Pirates, Reds and Orioles. Everyone knows about giants like the Red Sox, Yankees and Braves, but lets hear it for the little guy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Its almost TOMMY Time

Check back this weekend to see the winners of this year's TOMMY Awards, my look at what has gotten my attention in the world of sports. You wont be disappointed!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My granddad and sports

Some would question how a site devoted to sports writing can be an appropriate place for a memorial column but in the case of my grandfather there is no more appropriate place to honor him. He will be remembered for many things in memorial services this week but in my mind many of those will go back the world of sports.
My challenge in showing the link between Otto Woerner and the world of sports will be limiting it, I could write a book but a few thoughts are below. Pardon me to some who may miss some of my connections to the sporting world.
Granddad was a lover of people and introduced me to hundreds over the years. As a child I met a personal friend of his, Billy Joe Patton. At the time it never occurred to me he was a Master’s legend, nearly winning the greatest tournament in the world as an amateur. As much as anything else he was another of granddad’s friends eating Sunday dinner at the Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton.
They are probably enjoying a round of golf in heaven today.
I don’t know what you do with your all your time in heaven but one thing can be assured. This fall granddad will be some where that has a view of Memorial stadium, Lincoln Nebraska.
There never was a bigger fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Granddad was a proud graduate. Maybe he was wearing one of those silly big red Cornhusker hats and gave St. Peter a big “Go Big Red” when he went through the Pearly Gates Tuesday. I will never see a white helmet with a red letter N and not think of him.
Same applies to Baltimore Orioles legend Jim Palmer, he will always be a reminder. That sounds strange but once again granddad’s people skills came through.
I don’t know where but somewhere along the line he ran into Palmer, probably in an airport or in a taxi cab. He struck up a conversation and ended up with a signed baseball for his baseball loving grandson. It is still on my shelf.
I have to put the Hickory Crawdads on the list of granddad reminders. He, I and a few dozen of his friends enjoyed a game, maybe 20 years ago. Being a recent graduate of umpire school I gladly described the details of life for “the men in blue.” Its another precious memory, right there with watching him enjoy the between innings antics of the Barney Fife impersonator or the kids “wrestling” in the blow up sumo wrestling costumes.
Time to stop this now, the keyboard doesn’t react well to tears on it. A remarkable man, and a big sports fan is now in the great bleachers in the sky. Now he can watch any game he wants and will enjoy it. I hope he saves a seat for me.
A Giant Kudos from The Corner is just for you granddad.