For someone who has been involved his entire life with many different sports on many different levels, player, coach, athletic director, radio sports broadcaster and sportswriter, I’m really not one to watch sports on TV or in person that I’m not directly involved in.
I love covering games for the Press or broadcasting them on KROP and I could never “play” enough when I was younger but I’m normally not interested in watching, particularly professional sports.
I’m not a fan of the National Fixed League (NFL) or, say, professional baseball, where I get to watch a player who makes millions of dollars try to go from second to third base on a ground ball with first base open and get thrown out … something I learned not to do before I was 10 years old.
Exceptions do happen as with this past World Series when Sergio Romo was pitching because I have known and written him about for years and it was exciting to see him perform so well at the highest level of his sport.
This bowl season I actually watched an entire bowl game on TV and attended the Rose Bowl, both of which were special to me.
The game I watched on TV was not a random one but the Meineke Car Care Bowl that featured a young man I have written about for the past five years and really come to appreciate, Cedric Thompson of Calipatria who plays for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota played Texas Tech and I was assigned a feature bowl game preview story and Cedric seemed optimistic about the Gophers’ chances; they were two touchdown underdogs, and the fact that he would have a lot of playing time.
Minnesota lost by a field goal and Cedric did indeed play and was tied for leading tackler honors, and it was fun to try to follow him on the field and to hear his name on ESPN.
My son, David, figured in the Rose Bowl game as his Christmas present to his mother and I were tickets to root on his alma mater, Stanford, against Wisconsin, and it was great to be around the college atmosphere which I enjoy when I occasionally attend games with him at Stanford.
Unlike professionals, I find the college game still to be about the sport and not the dollars and after the Stanford win my son insisted that we go to the hotel where the team was staying and await their arrival.
It didn’t sound too exciting but we went along and the lobby area was filled with fans who cheered the team and coaches as they departed bus after bus and the players then mingled with their faithful. … It reminded me of the show of affection from Valley fans in the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium after Brawley lost in the 2004 CIF championship game.
It was on a smaller scale but had the same feeling … you can tell the Cardinal fans are committed and the players appreciate it, it was a great atmosphere.
It made me think of the Valley, of the committed fans and appreciative players and how that combination makes our Valley special and makes playing sports here an unforgettable experience.
So as we enter a new year, I hope those of you who attend local games continue to be there for our schools and that those of you who used to, or who think about it, will join those of us who do.
It’s a good New Year’s resolution … for you and our local teams.
On another note, for those of you who follow local and college football I have to pass along what I felt was a great line from my son … who referred to Stanford’s coach as “the other coach David Shaw,” a line I know that Cedric and other Hornets, will enjoy.