Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

45 years ago this month, I graduated from high school; long time ago. I’ll start today with a story from back then.

Our high school had a policy for certain classes; if you had a 90 average heading into the final exam, you didn’t have to take the final, you were “exempt”. Kids liked being exempt from finals. 

My Sociology teacher was also the football coach, who had moved here from Ohio to take this job, at a school that didn’t have a great football tradition. He had improved the program; we won more than we lost that season, and we also upset the best team in our league, Shenendehowa, the school that current pro athletes Ian Anderson/Kevin Huerter went to.

I was/am a nerd; I helped Mr Gallas, a guidance counselor, do stats for the football team. We did it on the sidelines, each of us with a clipboard— our game with Scotia that year was a rainy mess, you could hardly read our charts when the game ended.

Anyway, Shenendehowa outgained us by a lot, 200+ yards, but we won the turnover battle, scored on a long TD play and we pulled the upset. It was a pretty big deal.

The next Monday, I am told to report to a classroom after school, the room where the football team did their film review— the room was obviously in a very good mood, but I had no idea why I was invited. Then they rolled the tape.

On our long touchdown play, a nerd with a clipboard is running on the sidelines on the bottom of the screen, shaking his fist and jumping up and down with excitement— that was me. Other people were also excited, but I was the only one who ran all the way to the goal line.

We all had a good laugh; by the way, one of our great players on that team played the whole second half that day with a broken wrist. He didn’t get the cast off for five months or so.

So a couple months later, January 1977, and I have a Sociology final; my grade was 87 or so; I trudged off on a cold winter day to take the final. 

I was a lazy student; did what I had to do, then went and read the sports section; go figure. I sit down in my seat in the coach’s classroom and get ready to take the final. I had an 87; if I worked a little harder, I could’ve been home sleeping.

The coach walks into the classroom.

He looks at me and says, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to take the final”

“Go home, you’re exempt” I started to explain that I had an 87, but he just shook his head and pointed to the door. I didn’t have to be told again; I scooted out of there and walked home, a mile or so on a cold day, realizing that sometimes enthusiasm has its benefits. 

— Cleveland Cavaliers named Luke Walton as an assistant coach; Walton has been a head coach for the Lakers, Kings, was an assistant with Golden State when they won the 2015 title.

— Was telling someone this story Tuesday, how in 1979, Magic Johnson’s rookie season, the NBA wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. The Finals games during the week were broadcast on tape delay, at 11:30 pm, after the local news.

Here in Albany, Scott Murray was the local sports guy; at 11:20, he would say: “I’m about to show the score of tonight’s Laker-76er game. If you’re going to stay up and watch the game, turn your head for 30 seconds, while I show everyone else the score. I’ll tell you when its OK to look again.”

He waited couple of seconds, then held up a board with the score of the game, held it there for 10 seconds or so, then put it down and said “It is OK to look” and the news continued. Five minutes later, they went to the tape delay broadcast of the game. 

That is the huge impact that Magic Johnson/Larry Bird had on the NBA; that was the last damn time NBA Finals weren’t shown live. 

— Since Steve Kerr has been coach at Golden State, Warriors are 7-9 vs Boston. 

— Baylor-Gonzaga are meeting in Sioux Falls, SD on December 2; should be a good game.  

— Mets sent Dom Smith down the minors Tuesday, probably to get him at-bats every day so they can trade him for pitching help. Smith is hitting .186 in 39 games this season, but he went 4-4 on a Sunday night couple weeks ago, then sat the next two games.

If Smith were on the A’s or the Pirates, he’d bat third; in 2020, he hit .316 with 42 RBI in 50 games. He is a good hitter who will help the team he gets traded to. 

— Lot of times while I am writing late at night, I’ll stream episodes from the old TV show The West Wing on my laptop; picked up a good bit of trivia while listening last night.

There are 54 national parks in America; just thought you’d like to know. 

— USFL’s Houston Gamblers have led every game at halftime this season; they’re 1-6.

Birmingham Stallions have been tied or trailed in second half of every game; they’re 7-0.

— Adding to the weirdness of the Tommy Pham/Joc Pederson fantasy football dispute is the knowledge that Mike Trout was the commissioner of the league. 

— NL East standings:
33-17— Mets
23-26—  Braves
21-29—  Phillies
19-27—  Marlins
18-33— Nationals

— Mets won their last five games, by a combined score of 44-17; they’re a good team, but the rest of the NL East just sucks.

— Winnipeg 25, Saskatchewan 16— Tuesday night football in the CFL; this game was on ESPN+, if you have that service.

— Colorado 8, Edmonton 6— This was the first playoff game in NHL history where both teams allowed 6+ goals and used multiple goalies.

— Arizona 8, Atlanta 7 (10)— Braves led 6-4 in 8th inning, but Arizona beat up on Atlanta’s bullpen and walked it off on Cooper Hummel’s double down the right field line. Christian Walker went 3-4 with three RBI for Arizona.

— Cubs 8, Brewers 7— Patrick Wisdom’s homer in 8th inning was the difference. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.