(Kosciusko, MS) - Wow. I have come to a place I literally have never heard of. Kosciusko's got it going on! At the Super 8, when you check in they give you a room key and a remote control for the TV.
Over the last 22 weeks, I have stayed in at least a dozen different hotels. Even taking into account decades of travel to mundane locations and a few which have been spectacular, I can say with confidence this is the first time I've been issued a clicker by the desk clerk. It must be returned upon check-out, at which time the promise of free fresh donuts in the lobby should be fulfilled. There's a honeymoon suite at the Kosciusko Super 8, complete with a round bed and leopard print bedding. At least there's a sign that indicates there is. I have no intention of verifying this fact.
This is as close to Starkville as one can be and still have access to a room, and I'm just grateful to be still, quiet and dry.
The LSU football team opened its season with a 45-0 trouncing (a word borrowed from my wife) of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The game was played in an off and on downpour which did not dampen the enthusiasm of the purple and gold faithful who made the trip.
So, LSU is on its way to legitimizing its number 2 national ranking. I am on my way to exhaustion because of the need to hustle home for a Friday workday. I also may be on my way to embarrassment after roping in the LSU mascot for a goofy Joe Fan photo opportunity.
I don't think I really have anything to be red-faced about. After spending all of my adult life ethically constrained from being a fan, it's a little liberating to allow myself a goofy moment or two.
I'll see another shade of purple Friday night for Byrd High School and still another Saturday for the Northwestern State Demons.
After spending an evening in the rain, I'm less concerened about having a red face than a red something else. That convenient travel sized Gold Bond medicated powder really comes in handy sometimes.
Friday, August 31, 2007
(Kosciusko, MS) - Wow. I have come to a place I literally have never heard of. Kosciusko's got it going on! At the Super 8, when you check in they give you a room key and a remote control for the TV.
Posted by Darrell at 8/31/2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
(Starkville, MS) - The LSU Tigers open the 2007 season on national TV on a Thursday. Rather than do the sane thing and watch it from home in high definition television, I got an early start on Labor Day and headed for northern Mississippi, which is awash in maroon, the offical color of Mississippi State University. Of course I didn't check the weather forecast, and of course I've had to run for cover to avoid being killed by pesky cloud to ground lightning during a preposetrous summer thunderstorm.
As has become my tradition on these little football roadies, I look for a legendary local restaurant. In Starkville, it's Little Dooey's, which was invaded at mid-day by people bedecked in purple and gold. A surprsing number of folks from home found their way to Dooey's, including my old running buddy Tim Fletcher, who is here to cover the game for KTBS Television. We ate lunch together, and I have to say Dooey's lives up to its billing. The barbecue is outstanding and the setting is memorable. In fact, ESPN radio was setting up to do a radio show from there. A national TV game gets a lot of attention.
Afterward,I took a moment or two to rock on Dooey's front porch, then rode back to the stadium with some Shreveport fans. Now, I'll sweat out the storm and hope the Tigers roar to victory in their first game.
I have to work tomorrow. So, it might be a long, bumpy night.
Posted by Darrell at 8/30/2007
Life is worth living, finally, in 2007. Football season has arrived. Here at Daddy D House, we're starting things off right. Today, I'm on the road to lovely Starkville,Mississippi to watch LSU's Thursday night national TV opener against Mississipi State. Tomorrow, I crack the seal on my high school radio efforts when Byrd High School entertains Parkway. I was offered this opportunity, and since my daughter goes to Byrd and will be at every game anyway, I jumped at it. Saturday, we will be in bucolic Natchitoches, Louisiana to see Northwestern State play Henderson State.
That's a nice spread of quality football right there, and it's not even September yet.
Travel adventures resume immediately. I'll keep an eye out for photo opportunities.
Sorry for the lack of recent posts. The pace has really picked up at work. I'm teaching at the local community college at night, too. Plus, I got really involved in a couple of books. The Intruders by Michael Marshall kept me spellbound and I couldn't put down Dan Brown's Deception Point. I'm coming up for air now.
Posted by Darrell at 8/30/2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
(Shreveport) - It's Friday, and I'm sitting in a place that seems strangely familiar. It's eerily comfortable, and I seem to know my way around rather well. I recognize the faces of the people around me, and they are treating me kindly and with respect. Hold on. Let me ask. "What is this place called?"
For the first time in six weeks, I will spend a weekend in my own house. No airplanes, no buses, no hotels. I may give my Quiet Comfort headphones a rest.
I have used almost every form of transportation, short of a burro, over the last couple of months. The planes, trains and buses were usually reliable and reassuringly on time. Except for this one time.
I decided to roll the dice and ride a bus with some fans to a football game in Little Rock. I thought the timing would be tight and I was nervous about it. Reality surpassed my expectations. Somewhere around Hope, Arkansas, there was a boom! The bus began to list to the left. We had a blowout.
Be advised you cannot rent a car on short notice in southwest Arkansas on a Saturday. You might not be able to do it with long notice; but hopefully we will never find out. I was supposed to be on the air at 6:50. We arrived at the arena between 6:35 and 6:40. I had to carry the equipment in, set it up and immediately begin play-by play. We were a little late getting on. No stress, no worries. Except for the part where I starting bleeding from every orifice.
I am so grateful to be home that I have made no plans. I'm going to sit on the sofa and watch DVD's with my son.
Next week, my part time broadcasting career resumes. Fortunately, my longest trip over the next ten weeks is two hours by car. I probably won't even need the headphones.
Posted by Darrell at 8/24/2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
(Tulsa, OK) – The Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings’ remarkable run through the playoffs came to a disappointing conclusion as they lost to the Tulsa Talons, 67-47, in the af2’s National Conference championship game.
The BattleWings finish their season with 13 wins and 6 losses, and with victories in the franchise’s first two playoff games.
Bossier-Shreveport matched Tulsa stride-for stride in the first half. The Talons scored first to take a 7-0 lead, and both teams seemed to be scoring at will. The Wing’s usually reliable kicker, Brian Hazelwood, missed three first half point after attempts and a field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the 2nd quarter. The Talons led 27-25 at the half.
The BattleWings grabbed the lead to start the 3rd quarter when on 4th and 10 from their own 5-yard-line, Quincy Carter found Tramissian Davis for a 45-yard touchdown. Hazelwood’s point after was good, and the Wings led by five, 32-27. The BattleWings stopped Tulsa on downs and then opened their biggest lead of the game, 39-27, on a Jason Schule 9-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. On the ensuing kick-off, the ball bounded off the right rebound net and Tulsa’s Zac Jones recovered it at the 7 yard line and returned it to the one. Odie Armstrong bulled into the end zone, one of three rushing touchdown for Armstrong in the game, and the point after gave Tulsa a 40-39 lead.
The BattleWings would lead once more when Carter passed to Jamaal Perry for a 17 yard touchdown with 9:57 remaining in the game. Brian Hazelwood drop-kicked for two points to give the wins a 47-46 advantage.
Tulsa scored again to go up 53-47. As the BattleWings attempted to regain the advantage, Delenell Reid intercepted a Quincy Carter pass; and the Talons turned it right around for another score and a 60-47 lead. They would not trail again.
Carter finished the night 19 of 38 passing with five touchdown passes and two interceptions. Tramissian Davis and Jamaal Perry each caught two scoring passes. Marc Bacote had one. Jason Schule ran for two BattleWings scores. DE Elex Reed, who had an interception and a blocked kick, earned defensive player of the game honors. Tulsa’s Odie Armstrong rushed for 48 yards and three touchdowns to earn offensive honors.
Jeff Hughley of Tulsa was the Iron Man of the game.
Justin Allgood was 20 of 33 with five touchdown passes with one interception.
The Talons (17-2) will play the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Pioneers for the af2 championship Saturday night in Bossier City.
Leading passers: Carter (BSB) 19-38-2 294 yds. 5 TD’s
Allgood (TUL) 20-33-1 267 yds. 5 TD’s
Leading receivers: Davis (BSB) 8-174 2 TDS’s; Perry (BSB) 6-94 2 TD’s
Hughley (TUL) 10-175 4 TD’s
Forde (TUL) 6-48 1 TD
Posted by Darrell at 8/18/2007
(Tulsa, OK)- Five weekends, five road trips. I'm inclined to say I'm getting too old for this, but that's just not accurate. I am a little road weary, to be honest. The good news is, I know I will be home next weekend, whether the Arena Football team I'm following wins or not. The league championship game will be played in our home arena, regardless of the participants. Certainly it would be nice, since we've literally traveled such distances, to play for the league title at home.
I got here on a bus, and we will turn right around after the game and go home. We watched movies, "Wild Hogs" and "Remember the Titans" on the way up, so the six-hour drive passed effortlessly.
The city is building what looks to be a spectacular new downtown arena; but for now we are in the ancient but serviceable Tulsa Civic Center. This is the broadcast vantage point, which is not bad. It's getting here that's the problem. I'm in a bird's nest designed for spotlights, and you have to climb a ladder to get here.
This is not big-time football or big-time radio. That means I haul my own equipment and hook it all up by myself. That means I had to haul it up the ladder and through the hatch.
I am definitely getting too old for that.
Posted by Darrell at 8/18/2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
(Bossier City, LA) - The film making industry has grown some roots here in north Louisiana, and plenty of Big Hollywood Stars have been spending time here. Among the familiar faces seen around town are Costner, Cruise, Bullock, Demi, Ashton, Jessica Simpson, Samuel L. Jackson; the list goes on and on. I have said on more than one occasion that it seems like I am the only person I know who has not had some brush with the famous.
So, today I had an appointment at Bossier Parish Community College. I was standing around the telecommunications division, trying to conduct a little business, when I saw something that looked suspiciously like an entourage (a posse, maybe?). Leading the charge was the school's chancellor, who despite the oppressive heat was all buttoned up in a coat and tie. This chancellor-led crowd ducked in and out of classrooms, offices and TV studios. People were obviously on best behavior. They were standing up straight, smiling and looking sharp! Often-beleagured looking instructors had their hair combed and fresh make-up on. I guess I knew intuitively that something out of the ordinary was going on, but I was distracted by my own agenda.
The bustle meandered into my general space, and suddenly someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and a smiling man about my age introduced himself, "Hello. I'm Sammy Kershaw." I said hello and introduced myself right back.
Then, some kind of pop-up action started happening in my head. I was playing free association with myself.
Sammy Kershaw: Country music.
Doug Kershaw? Cajun music/ Zydeco. Brother?
Sammy Kershaw? "Lord have mercy. Baby's got her blue jeans on!"
Ah! A Sammy Kershaw song! Hey, there goes Sammy Kershaw.
Just like that, he was out of my line of sight and I had thought more about Sammy Kershaw in that moment than I had previously, all-time. I looked him up; and I like many of his songs. I didn't know they were Sammy Kershaw songs.
I asked somebody, "Why is Sammy Kershaw here?" It turns out he's running for Lt. Governor. Who knew? He announced his candidacy a couple of months ago. The election is in October. He's stumping in Shreveport and Bossier City today.
My only question is: does this count as a celebrity encounter? Our would-be Second in Command is not a movie star, but he is a legitimate recording artist with many succesful albums. I dropped an e-mail to the only expert on such matters I know. Alexandyr Kent, the entertainment writer for the Shreveport Times, advised that on the Brush With Celebrity scale, Kershaw warrants two out of four stars.
I'll take it. I know where Jessica Simpson is staying currently. Maybe I'll hang out and go for an upgrade.
Posted by Darrell at 8/16/2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
BOSSIER – SHREVEPORT 50 at Rio Grande Valley 45
(Hidalgo, TX) – A bitter Arena Football rivalry was renewed in a playoff setting and wasn’t decided until the final seconds, but the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings emerged with a 50-45 af2 playoff victory. The teams played three times in 2007. The outcome of those games was determined by a cumulative twelve points.
BattleWings quarterback Quincy Carter threw three interceptions, one on his team's first offensive play of the game and another on the last, but also tossed four touchdown passes as the Wings improved to 13-5. The Dorados end their season 16-2, both losses at home to the BattleWings.
Rio Grande Valley scored on the opening possession on a Josh Kellett 18 yard pass to George Williams. The Dorados tried a two-point conversion, but it failed. The BattleWings responded with Carter throwing an interception, and on the first ensuing play, Kellet connected with Jermaine Carpenter for a 43 yard touchdown pass, and the Wings were in a 13-0 hole. Bossier-Shreveport fought back to tie the game 13-13 and took its first lead, 20-13 when Carter threw to P.J. Winston for 40 yards and a score with 3:11 remaining in the first half.
The Dorados tied it, but the BattleWings grabbed a halftime lead when Brian Hazelwood booted a 44-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
The BattleWings received the kick-off to start the third quarter and marched 38 yards in six plays. Jason Schule ran four yards for a score, his second rushing touchdown of the evening, and the BattleWings had a 30-20 lead. They would not trail again, but RGV tied the score at 33 with 14:18 remaining in the game. The Battlewings responded with a 3-play, 45 yard drive which culminated in a Quincy Carter to Marc Bacote touchdown pass which gave the Wings a six-point lead.
Hazelwood, af2’s all-time leading field goal kicker, was a difference maker. He was successful on two field goal attempts of 44 yards and another from 46.
Carter threw touchdown passes to Jamaal Perry and Manwell Talbert in addition to Bacote and Winston. He finished the evening 18 of 30 with 214 yards. On the last play of the game, as he attempted to run out the clock while sitting on a five-point lead, he threw the ball high in the air. It was intercepted by Chris Canty, who lateraled the ball to Travis McAlpine. McAlpine raced into the end zone for an apparent score, but the officials ruled that Canty was down before he tossed the ball to McAlpine, and the game was over.
The BattleWings will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Tulsa and South Georgia for the conference championship.
Posted by Darrell at 8/11/2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
(Somewhere in Mexico) – The tug of adventure and impulsivity led me to cross the border. Literally minutes away from being an international traveler, the opportunity proved irresistible. So, boldly I went without an actual plan, crossing the Rio Grande on what suddenly felt like the Bridge to Oblivion.
The first thing I noticed was the automatic weapons. Guys with machine guns slung over their shoulders were loading into the back of a truck labeled “Policia.” Pretty much at that moment, the adventure was over for me; but onward I pressed deep into the epidermis of Mexico.
Did I mention there was not an actual plan involved? No companion, no map, no idea where I’m going except “Mexico!” The road signs are all in Spanish and the distances are measured in kilometers. Somehow, I thought there would be a town with shopping and bodegas and great salsa right over the border, but no. There were riverside shacks in which I assume some of this nation’s impoverished souls reside. There was a Road to Nowhere with flat scrub brush dotting the dirt as far as the eye could see. The swaying palms and decorative cacti of south Texas were nowhere to be seen. My imagination began to run amok.
So, I turned around. I made a run for the border, hombre. God Bless America. My Great Mexican Adventure lasted less than an hour; and I was actually relieved to see the United States checkpoint.
The border guard was kind as I explained that I was just in south Texas for the day and I had gone into Mexico for no apparent reason and was simply turning right around. She asked where I was from and why I was here and then dutifully inquired if I had anything to declare. I said, “I declare I’ll be glad to be back on U.S. soil.” She laughed politely at the idiot Gringo and waved me through.
Posted by Darrell at 8/10/2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
(McAllen, TX) - Another weekend, another vacation destination. My part-time football duties bring me to the southernmost point of Texas, where the palm trees sway and the salsa flows freely.
I've come to appreciate the little things on trips like this. A good meal and a nice hotel can make a guy's day. I asked the lady at at the rent car counter for a restaurant recommendation, and she was on the mark. So, that worked out. The hotel is the nicest I've stayed in on these excusrions, so I'm happy.
I seem to have detected a pattern on these trips to towns on the Rio Grande River. Three trips to either McAllen or Laredo this year, and I've had a baby crying and/or screaming in Spanish on the plane. Today's wasn't so bad. His mother was able to calm him down in intervals.
The bonus was seated across the aisle from me: a young Latina, maybe 25, who was stunning. She carried herself in an understated way, as if she has no idea how beautiful she is. She wasn't putting on any kind of airs and had a quick, easy smile. She was reading a gymnastics magazine, so she might be some kind of athlete. I kept my nose in my book and tried not to ogle. Nobody wants to be a dirty old man, but I admit stealing a glance or two along the way.
It's peculiar to be traveling on a Thursday. Tomorrow, I plan to fire up the laptop and cell phone and put in a full day's work for my actual job. Then, I'll get to go home early Saturday and have some part of a free weekend. Maybe the football team will have another playoff win to celebrate.
I've traveled four weeks in a row now. There's a decent chance I'll be in Tulsa next weekend, which is hard for me to comprehend. Five weekends in a row, five different cities. I'm pulling for my guys to keep winning, but I'm missing my own bed.
Posted by Darrell at 8/09/2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
When the preseason college football polls were published, a young man from Shreveport vaulted to the top of the heap of Heisman hopefuls. John David Booty, a senior quarterback at the University of Southern California, is the early season favorite to win college football’s most revered trophy. His Trojans are ranked #1 in the nation. When you are the quarterback of the top-ranked team and you play in one of the largest media markets, you get the early benefit of any doubt.
The third of John and Sonja Booty’s four football-playing sons, John David made national headlines in 2003 when he skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at USC. He had enough credits to graduate, but was eligible to play one more season at Evangel Christian Academy. His father’s long-time association with the school and its parent church abruptly ended, so the young quarterback packed up his newfound sense of emancipation and headed west.
The last two quarterbacks at USC, Carson Palmer (2002) and Matt Leinart (2004), won Heismans. Two years ago, Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush won it, so Booty certainly should benefit from a jaw-dropping recent history. Moreover, he set the expectation level for himself earlier this year in the Rose Bowl, passing for 391 yards and four touchdowns against a highly-regarded defensive unit from the University of Michigan.
Leinart’s success may work against Booty, in a way. After winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior, Leinart stunned many by coming back to USC for his senior season instead of opting for the riches of professional football. That meant Booty was forced to wait another year before ascending to the starting position. He was a solid, dependable performer in 2006, starting 13 games. He completed 269 of 436 passes for 3,347 yards and 29 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions, which isn’t bad at all; but his numbers did not earn him many Heisman votes. In fact, he didn’t finish in the top ten in the balloting. So, there’s some concern that he lacks substantive experience.
The decision to leave home early comes into play here. If Booty had stayed on a traditional timetable, he would have two years of college eligibility remaining; but that is irrelevant now. This is his time to seize the moment. He is the marquee player at the nation’s most high-profile football program. The experts agree that the Trojans have all the tools in place to contend for national championship, and their Louisiana quarterback is the lynchpin.
There are ironies, of course. Booty’s two older brothers, Josh and Abram, played football at LSU, which is ranked #2 to start the 2007 season. Tiger fans are still fuming because in 2003, Southern Cal claimed a share of the national title. LSU won the designated title game; but sports writers, in their poll, declared USC the national champion. In a perfect LSU world, both teams will go undefeated this year and the two schools will settle the score once and for all. Then there’s this, pointed out by sports writer Mike Cook: Exactly 50 years ago, another guy named John David won the Heisman Trophy. His last name was Crow, and he played at Texas A&M. Later in life, he was head football coach at Northeast Louisiana University.
Booty and his teammates will be on national television a lot this year. Their status and their schedule demand it. There’s plenty for people in Louisiana to watch. Maybe football fans in the state can have it all. Booty leads his team to an undefeated regular season, wins the Heisman, and then loses to LSU in the national championship game. Do you think Tiger fans would be gracious enough to offer congratulations, even if JDB wins it all?
Posted by Darrell at 8/07/2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
(N. Little Rock AR) – The Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings made a defensive statement on the first play of the ballgame and dominated the Arkansas Twisters on the way to a 62-40 af2 playoff victory. On the Twisters’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Brian Villanueva was sacked by Bossier-Shreveport DE Elex Reed and fumbled the ball away. Reggie Hargrove of the BattleWings recovered the ball inside the ten yard line. Two plays later, Quincy Carter found Marc Bacote in the end zone for an eight-yard scoring combination and a 7-0 lead. The BattleWings would not trail in the game.
FB Jason Schule ran for four touchdowns and Carter threw for three, while Brian Hazelwood added three field goals for the Battlewings, who are in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Carter completed 16 of 31 passes for 198 yards and scoring tosses to Bacote, P.J. Winston and Jamaal Perry. Bacote, who went the distance at Jack linebacker, was named Iron man of the game. Schule carried the ball eight times for 37 yards and four scores to earn offensive player of the game honors.
Brian Villaneueva of the Twisters threw one interception to Bossier-Shreveport’s Chris Ibezam and threw three touchdown passes. Back-up QB Davon Vinson ran for two Twisters scores. Ibezam shared defensive player of the game honors with the BattleWings’ Elex Reed, who recorded three sacks.
In the second round of the playoffs, The BattleWings will face the winner of Sunday’s game between Rio Grande Valley and Alabama. If the Dorados win, the game will be played in Hidalgo, TX. If the SteelDogs win, the game will be in Bossier City.
The BattleWings improve to 12-5 in 2007, the best record in team history.
Posted by Darrell at 8/04/2007
(Not at Lake Travis, TX)- I celebrate the success of the Arena Football team with which I am associated. I get to go to Little Rock for the playoffs! This is the first playoff game in franchise history and I wouldn't miss it.
Unfortunately, the game is being played on the first Saturday in August, which is when my best friend, his brothers & sisters and their families gather at spectacular Lake Travis outside of Austin, TX. They always invite me, and I have been looking forward to the trip since last August. Did I mention I'm going to Little Rock?
The trip to the lake is fun for all the superficial reasons: Jet skis, water skiing, spectacular views, a hot tub at the house; but it's much more than that for me. For as long as I can remember, this family has treated me like one of their siblings. They introduce me to their friends as their "other brother" (Yes, other brother Darrell. I swear. Thanks, Bob Newhart). I can't express how that honors me and how comfortable and happy I feel when I am around them. Six brothers and sisters are spread out from Florida to Texas and they get together twice a year, at most: Christmas and the first weekend in August.
I miss those guys. I miss being around them. I am sad that I am not with them. I'm wearing a tee shirt I bought at the Shades Cafe at Lake Travis last year while looking at photos, wishing I was there. Did I mention I'm going to Little Rock?
Trust me, I'll be into the game once I get there. I will be thrilled to be there, epecially if My Team wins. Hold on. They'd better win.
There's talk of pushing the season back so that the championship game would be played the last weekend in July. I'm all for it. Where do I sign up to vote?
Posted by Darrell at 8/04/2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
We’re still struggling with a long, hot summer which has been uncharacteristically wet; but there’s hope on the horizon. Football is here, and not a moment too soon! We are still a few weeks away from a meaningful game, but at least there’s something for guys to talk about, with training camp, practice and rosy-eyed possibilities right in front of us.
Let’s start close to home and work our way west and south. There’s a new hope at Louisiana Tech, where first-year football coach Derek Dooley has begun the process of turning things around. The Bulldogs are still starved for attention in this LSU-crazy state, and it will take winning consistently for people to notice them in significant numbers. That process may take some time. Tech’s home schedule is noteworthy this year, though. Circle October 20th on your calendar. That’s when Fiesta Bowl champion Boise State comes to Ruston. Also notice November 10th, when the Bulldogs visit Baton Rouge.
That will be LSU’s tenth game of the season, and homecoming. The Tiger Faithful believe the Bulldogs may be staring into the teeth of a 9-0 monster by then, but I’m not so sure. The pieces are in place for another remarkable season on the bayou; but a national championship may not be in the cards. Virginia Tech, Florida and Auburn will provide stiff challenges; and dare we even speak of November 3rd, the week before homecoming? That’s when the Tigers will be in Tuscaloosa to play Alabama, coached by Nick Saban. Saban, of course, coached LSU to its national championship just a few years ago. Emotions should be at a peak the first Saturday in November. Depending upon how the season has gone to that point, and how things go in Alabama, things could be pretty interesting in Death Valley when Tech comes to play.
All of that is way down the road, of course; but isn’t it a lot of fun to think about the possibilities? That’s what August is all about for football fans.
As long as we’re in south Louisiana, we might as well think about the Saints. 2006 was a magical year for the team and its fans. Coach Sean Peyton, quarterback Drew Brees and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush gave everyone in the beleaguered city something to cling to and cheer about. With a year of experience behind them, there’s every reason to believe the Saints will be even better this year. Anything short of an NFC championship and a trip to the super Bowl will be a disappointment. After years of emotional abuse at the hands of a perennial loser, Saints fans can come out of the shadows and revel in legitimate hope of NFL glory.
How profound is the Saints’ rise to prominence? They actually are the primary topic of NFL talk in northwest Louisiana these days. The Dallas Cowboys may have what it takes to change all that. While it seems odd to say the Saints have won a post-season game more recently than the Cowboys, it certainly is true. The Cowboys are one botched hold away from a completely different circumstance, though. The man who dropped the ball, Tony Romo, seems to have the skills and charisma necessary to lead his team in the general direction of playoff success. Cowboys’ fans have been forced into dark little corners while their team struggles. They may step into the incandescent glow of on-field success this year.
That is the joy of the last full month of summer. August leaves us sweaty with anticipation, content in the knowledge that whatever is to become of our favorite football team this fall, we will have a good time watching it unfold.
Posted by Darrell at 8/02/2007
When I learned that my daughter had tickets for Wednesday night's Dodgers' game against the Giants, I was thrilled for her. When Barry Bonds didn't tie Hank Aaron's home run record over the weekend, I realized there was the potential for her to be a part of something really special. I explained to her in great detail the history of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry and the significance of Bonds' pursuit of the record.
We were home in Louisiana, having been at Dodger Stadium the night before, and the phone rang. We were watching the Dodgers and Giants on TV and Bonds was in the on-deck circle. The caller ID lit up with our daughter's number, and I was so pleased. She was calling me from Dodger Stadium to share the moment with me. Bonds was hitting next!
I answered the phone, "Hi, Honey!"
She was at the stadium, alright. In the gift shop. "Dad, can I use the debit card to buy a Dodgers' jersey?"
"Honey, Barry Bonds is hitting next."
"Yeah, I know. There's a TV in here. Look, can I speak to Mom?"
Purchase permission granted, the phone call was unceremoniously terminated. I had told her to save her ticket stub, but since Bonds didn't reach base there's no real point.
The sellout crowd left disappointed, with at least one obvious exception. My daughter wasn't a part of baseball history, but she know she probably will look cute in Dodger Blue.
Posted by Darrell at 8/02/2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Three of the four of us have made it home from L.A. My daughter will hang around for a couple of more weeks. She's at Dodger Stadium, a night after the other members of her family sat with 53,000 or so others hoping to see Barry Bonds tie Hank Aaron's career home run record. He didn't do it when we were there. It was my first trip to Dodger Stadium, and I'll just say the place lives up to its billing. Despite, or maybe because of its retro feel, it's a specatacular place to see a ball game.
The purpose of the trip was to look at California colleges. We had official visits to three, spent a lot of time at another and drove past one more.
It wasn't a fair fight. Nothing can compete with Pepperdine. We don't know if our son will wind up there for college, but we all definitely need a little distance before we visit another campus.
The return trip was noteworthy because of long lines at the gates and long delays at our respective hubs. My wife and son flew home through Atlanta. I came through Houston. We sat on the tarmac for two hours, delayed for weather considerations.
The flight was remarkable because the attendant and the pilot got into a squabble on the intercom. As we sat there, people wanted to get up and walk around. The attendant was instructing everyone to keep their seats because technically, we were in a taxi process. The pilot said to coordinate trips to the restroom through the attendant. She said she wasn't in a position to manage that. Ultimately, everyone got to go to the back of the plane as needed; but I found out after we landed that we were forced to stop anytime someone did. The pilot got scolded by someone in the control tower for holding up aircarft behind him in line.
Fortunately, the crew were laughing about it once they landed in Shreveport.
The trip was fast and furious, but fun and informative. It's good to be home, though. Nobody scolds me over the intercom if I have to go to the bathroom.
Posted by Darrell at 8/01/2007