OK, so here we go, it's Tuesday morning as I write this, the morning after a Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night win, and the first of five days that lead to the first of two clashes between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Getting right to the point, I don't believe either team has fans who like the status of its players entering this game Sunday or the second one two weeks later. That, however, is how it goes and the games will continue.
Best of luck to both fan bases. Let's just hope both teams come out of Sunday's game with no further damage.
Speaking of damage, for those who were in attendance Saturday evening for C. Milton Wright's girls soccer state semifinal with Urbana, were you as shocked as I was at the unnecessary tactics at times by some of the Urbana players? Look, soccer is not football, but for anybody to believe that the game is not physical, then you neither played it, coached it nor officiated it.
I can claim two of the three, having never officiated it, but I have also watched and covered several, especially those that have reached the level of state play. These are the best teams and they should be treated to the best officials.
Before I go any further, officials are human and there are going to be mistakes. I get that, but what I saw Saturday at CCBC-Essex was more than an official making a mistake. It wasn't a call for who touched the ball last before it went out of bounds or was that a hands ball, it was about the sportsmanship and safety of the game and its players.
The fact is this: Urbana players were slapped with four yellow cards, two in the first 25 minutes of play. In my memory, each card-worthy infraction was a deliberate unsportsmanlike foul. These fouls weren't the kind you usually find when one player pushes the other while going for a loose ball. Or an unsuccessful slide tackle that results in a trip.
No, these fouls were what we see in football as late hits. CMW player wins the touch on the ball and then gets run through and dropped to the ground. Like I said, four players were issued yellow cards, which is cautionary. Somewhere in all this, it's my belief that someone should have received a red card and been removed from the game permanently.
On the other hand, I congratulate the players at CMW for not retaliating the extra-curricular activity. We all know what that would have meant. And we know they got the best revenge around with a 1-0 win.
The Mustangs will play for the 3A state title Thursday night at UMBC. Hopefully, Abby Smucker and Megan Frailer will both be near or at full strength come game time. Both were hampered by injuries in that semifinal win because of two of those fouls.
On Friday night I saw the Fallston girls play in their 2A semifinal right here in Bel Air. What a difference. A good, hard-fought and clean game by both the Cougars and the Calvert Cavaliers.
A game that seemed destined for overtime and likely penalty kicks, was won by the Cougars in the final seconds. Almost unbelievable. The Cougars will vie for the 2A state title Saturday night at UMBC.
By now most should know that Fallston won another state field hockey title Saturday, beating Crisfield, 2-0, for the 1A title. Congratulations to the Cougars and Head Coach Maddie Palko and assistant Deanna Burke.