Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just for you, Peggy

One comment on one of my blogs caught my attention. I blogged that I encouraged a couple of coaches to “go for the gusto” back in the day when I was a sports writer. They were both female coaches of women’s team, and though their teams were obviously comfortably ahead, I told them to leave their starters in and to go for a national record for points scored. Though it may sound as if I was thinking of myself, because it would give me more to write about in my game story, easier for me to get quotes, all that stuff, etc., I was also thinking of the players being able to say they played on a team which set some sort of national record. You know, give them some “bragging rights” and personal satisfaction. The coaches didn’t listen to my reasoning, instead taking the starters out, for fear the opposing coaches/players would think it wasn’t very fair, or very sportsmanship-like, or some such mumbo-jumbo.

The blog concerned an undefeated team in the state tournament here in Texas, which had broken several scoring records along the way. By the way, Houston Yates did go on to win the state championship. I don’t remember the exact score, because it wasn’t that important to me, anyway. Several comments were placed at the bottom, including some that were in my favor, yet one was not. It was by Peggy Kelley, and here it is, “I have one question for you, John. How would you like for your grandson to be playing on the opposing team?” I thought it deserved one comment in return. Besides, it would be another blog I could add to my list.

Peggy, what would my grandson be doing playing for a women’s team? No, I’m not the kind of person that would leave a smart alec answer like that. At least, not every time. My comment would be, well, if my grandson thought he honestly played his very, very best, then I would be happy with the outcome, no matter if he won or lost. And that’s all I have to say. Or, at least, write. Thank you, however, for commenting on it, Peggy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jerry’s world

The secret is out, Jerry Jones wants the best. Actually, it is hardly a secret to anyone who remotely knows anything about the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium is a testament to that. Cowboys Stadium has the largest TV in the world, the largest crowd in NBA history for the NBA All-Star game, just recently the largest crowd to see a boxing match in I-don’t-know-how-many-years, a Paul McCartney concert, a George Strait concert, the largest this, the largest that, etc. It will also host next year’s Super Bowl. Jerry can’t buy the Cowboys a Super Bowl, but he darned sure can get the NFL’s “largest” game to come to the stadium! Don’t believe me? Just go the world-wide web and log on to

There you can find anything you want or didn’t want to know about the 2011 Super Bowl, or XLV. I can’t tell you what number the next Super Bowl will be, mainly because I can’t understand what Roman numeral that is. Let’s see X stands for something, L stands for something and V stands for something. Maybe 45, but only because I watched this year’s game and I lost count of how many times they flashed on the TV screen that is was the 44th. The website even has a countdown clock on it, telling how many days, minutes and seconds until game time. The last time I looked at it, the clock read 320-something days, so many hours, so many minutes and so many seconds.

You can find out who all is on the executive committee, little pictures and a small synopsis of each. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman – if you know anything at all about the Cowboys, you might remember them as Dallas QBs of the past -- are the top dogs. Emmitt Smith is on the committee, so is Darryl “Moose” Johnston and T. Boone Pickens, Cowboys (the OSU version) money bags. The website has all the sponsors, what you need to do in case you want to be a volunteer, even a little ditty, sang by Staubach, Tony Romo and others to the tune of a Faith Hill song, This Kiss. Also, there’s an interview with Faith Hill, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Yep, Jerry holds nothing back. He’s got all the big names and big guns out for this little venture. If you want to spend boo coo bucks, you can be there, too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Name of the game is scoring

As the state basketball tournament here in Texas gets underway in Austin, there are a few people upset about the undefeated Houston Yates (32-0) team scoring too many points. Seems Yates has beaten some opponents like 148-69, 139-51 and 127-26. Yates has set a national record by scoring over 100 points in 14 consecutive games en route to its current average of 117.2 per game, also a national record. It beat Lee, another Houston school, 170-35 in which it held a held a halftime lead of 100-12.

I say, so what! If a team has a chance to set a national record, let it. Isn’t that what basketball is all about? Score and then score some more. What’s the big deal, or as my friend Elaine would probably say, “Big whoop.”

Two teams I covered back in the day, Kilgore College and LeTourneau University, were both women’s teams, coached by women coaches, and they were fairly outstanding teams. They both won back-to-back national championships on their level, JC and NCCAA. When they would get a team down, I mean really down, they would let up on the throttle some. You know, they would worry about what it would do to the other’s team’s psyche or what the other coach might think. It might show bad sportsmanship, they (the coaches) worried. I’d encourage them to keep scoring. I’d tell them, so what? If it’s going to “come back and bite you again” someday, why worry about it now? Coaches tend to worry about that sort of thing.

As a sports writer, I guess it was something I didn’t have to fret over. It was easier to write about a winning team setting national records. If a team has a chance to break some sort of record, let it. Let the chips fall as they may. Worry about it later, or don’t worry about it at all. A player may never get another chance to be on a record-setting team, even if it’s as a substitute. I say go for the gusto!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who’s No. 1?

No, I’m not talking about the topsy-turvey world of college basketball, where apparently no team wants to be ranked No.1. I’m not convinced any of them could beat the UConn women. I mean, the Lady Huskies have won 72 (at last count) in a row and show no signs of slowing down. I’m talking about whose going to be the numero uno pick in the NFL draft coming up. Draft pundits say it will be either Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford or Nebraska defensive stalwart Ndamukong Suh.

My personal pick is Bradford, because, well, I’m a die-hard Sooners fan, and … ‘Nuff said. Really, 21 of the media types say it will be Suh. Fourteen give the nod to Bradford. I recently hooked up with one of my old sports writers, Olin Buchanan, through a Facebook connection. I went through 30-something writers while I was a sports editor. Some went on to larger papers, others more or less dropped off the face of the earth. Olin, however, went on to become a big-time writer, now covering college football games for Yahoo sports, which used to be until a purchase by Yahoo a couple years ago. So, with him being my most accomplished, uh, graduate, if that’s what I can call him (it’s like when Karen gave me a T-shirt for Christmas about three or four years ago and on the front of it was the lettering “Inman University.” Olin was fresh out of high school, so, technically, he went to Inman University, although he wouldn’t admit to that.) Well, Olin, who started working for me nearly 30 years ago answering phone calls and taking scores of football, basketball and baseball games, etc., got his foot in the door, so to speak. It’s a thankless job, but one of those somebody has to do. Here’s his by-line now,
Olin Buchanan College Football Senior Writer and at the end of every story is Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for He can be reached at
Check him out on Needless to say, I’m very proud of, and for, him.
With an “insider” I can now turn to, I did just that. I asked the expert. In Olin’s estimation, he has covered around 60 college football games the last four years, taking him to places such as Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida, Miami, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Michigan, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Cal-Berkeley. He previously worked for the Bryan Eagle and was a beat writer for Texas A&M, as well as the Austin American- Statesman, where he handled the University of Texas beat. Pretty good credentials, I’d say. thought so, too, since they called him at work one day in Austin and offered him the job.

Anyway, I asked Olin to tell me his top 5 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, coming up April 22-24, complete with scouting reports. Here’s the email he sent with his take, complete with explanations:

1. Rams -- Sam Bradford. They've taken DL a lot lately, so do you spend another first rounder on Suh. Maybe. But great QBs prospects are hard to pass up. Bradford's the best I saw.

2. Lions -- Suh. Lions need defense. We saw he can provide it.

3. Bucs -- Gerald McCoy. Everything I see says Eric Berry here and he's tremendous. Maybe the best player I saw. But DTs are harder to find than safeties and McCoy is just as good as Suh.

4. Washington -- Skins need a QB. With Bradford gone they look to Jimmy Clausen, though Berry here would be tempting.

5. Chiefs -- They need OL help. Russell Okung would give Big 12 4 of the top 5 picks. But once again if Berry is there it's hard to image he would fall much farther.

So, there it is, from an expert’s opinion.

Friday, March 5, 2010

David hard at work in Chile

(This article was sent to me from Janie Hinds Naylor. It has her brother David, (originally from Heavener, named in the article.)

By Tristan Taylor

SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)--Despite logistical difficulties, Southern Baptist workers are responding to help those suffering from an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked central Chile early Feb. 27.

With highways cracked, bridges collapsed and the international airport closed, travel to and through Chile is greatly limited. But missionaries from the International Mission Board’s (IMB) Mapuche indigenous team, which ministers to the Mapuche people in South America, began moving out March 2 from Temuco to assess needs in the worst-hit areas. Temuco is about 130 miles south of quake-ravaged Concepción, Chile’s second largest city.

The missionaries — Trent Tomlinson of Alabama, David Hinds of Oklahoma and Anders Snyder of Colorado — are carrying water and first-aid supplies for distribution. Besides providing some initial relief, they also will assess damages and share their findings with Southern Baptist leaders.

Meanwhile, a second assessment team is struggling to travel into Chile from the United States. This group — Scott Brawner of the IMB, Jim Howard from Texas and Mike Sanders from South Carolina — will be doing assessment as part of joint Southern Baptist relief efforts in Chile.

After they couldn’t access the international airport in Chile’s capital of Santiago, the team has arrived in Argentina and will make the trip by bus over the Andes mountains, reaching Santiago the afternoon of March 3. They will be joining IMB missionaries in Chile to make the trip south to the hardest hit areas, including Concepción. There, they will assess the situation and determine how Southern Baptists can best help. After they arrive in the south, they will join Chilean Baptist partners already surveying the most devastated area.

In Santiago, IMB leaders are defining strategy and supply needs for teams that will be traveling south to the most severely affected parts of the quake zone. IMB missionary strategist Charles Clark of North Carolina met with Chilean Baptist Convention leaders and surveyed some of the most heavily damaged areas of Santiago. Clark serves as strategy leader for the part of South America that includes Chile.

The Chilean Baptist Convention, which already has personnel traveling south on a “scouting report,” welcomed assistance from Southern Baptists and will join forces with the IMB and Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist partner in the relief efforts. IMB missionaries in Santiago will work in partnership with local churches to meet needs of some of the people living in tents in the capital city, while two leaders of the Chilean Baptist Convention will join the assessment teams as they travel south.

In other developments, IMB missionary Alfredo Valencia, who lives in Santiago, already left for the coastal town of Llolleo, which was hard hit by the tsunami following the Feb. 27 earthquake. Valencia, who is from Washington, is leading a team of Chilean Baptists assessing damages and is taking food and water to help meet immediate needs.

Donations for Chile may be directed to the Disaster Response Fund at One hundred percent of each donation goes to meet human needs. Updated prayer requests can be viewed at Information also will be updated through Twitter at #QuakeResponse.

Tristan Taylor is an IMB writer in the Americas.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Life and Death

Today I learned of the death of another classmate, Frankie Kannady Taylor,  from the class of 1959.  He husband Jake and son Steve were with her at the time of her death--a blessing in the midst of sorrow. 

 Having just read the uplifting blogs about the Chilean earthquake, this news, although not unexpected, caused a contrast in my feelings.  We all know that physical death will come to each of us.  And we know that the most important legacies of our lives are the memories that those who know us will have in their hearts when we are gone.

I won't speak here of the memories Frankie leaves behind--each of us knows them very well. The words of Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi express the competing emotions that I feel as my classmates pass on.

“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer.  I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.”  Philippians 1:20-24 (NRSV)

As my emotions compete for supremacy I feel the need to share a poem I wrote several years ago.  For those read it and remember it from the previous blog site, I apologize.  It still sums up my feelings today.

   Thanatopsis Revisited


He sits alone on the porch swing

shoulders hunched against the cold.

Softly he starts to sing.

He knows he has grown old.


He was a good man, strong but quiet,

full of life and fun.

Now he nears the end; the long fight

Is over--the race now run.


“Remember our first kiss—“

He pauses to think.

“My life was full of bliss.”

His head begins to sink.


“Our wedding night brought pleasure

in a little country town.”

He mulls on this, his treasure.

While his head continues to bend down.


“Three children came to us to live.

They changed our life so much.

For we promised them we’d give---“

His head and knees here touch.


“Strong and able, they all now

raise their own offspring—“

His body sags down low

and he starts again to sing.


“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound—“

in a voice so soft and low

“I once was lost but now am found—“

He prepares himself to go.


“You went to heaven before me

and with God you now reside.

I’m coming to thee.”

His body starts to slide.


His body lies by the swing,

the clay is growing cold.

His soul, hallelujah, begins to sing

          in the place where no one grows old.