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Sports Columns

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I had cleaned up a kid's vomit before, so that wasn't the shock of my Saturday night a few weeks ago.

The shock occurred when we deviated from our tried-and-true plan. Normally when my father and I baby-sit my niece and nephew so that my brother and his wife can go out to eat and catch an early movie, we play at Pop-Pop's until the kids get hungry, and then he takes them out to eat at Arby's or McDonald's.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Do you remember when basketball was just a game?

Those were the days when you played pick-up games on the hot asphalt in the summertime, and shoveled the snow off the macadam in the winter in order to play.

Those were the days that the term "gym rat" was a compliment.

Those were the days when the high school hardwoods were located in sweaty bandboxes, with the bleachers almost on top of the courts.

Those were the days before the NCAA 64-team brackets.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

If you call the Korean War a draw, the United States has only ever lost one war of any significance: the Vietnam War.

Almost every explanation for how that occurred mentions that civil unrest kept the government from issuing an all-out offensive and that a people fighting for their lives, land, and culture fights far harder than a primarily conscripted force fighting halfway around the world for an abstract idea.

Though I'm no historian, I believe there's another equally important reason for why the U.S. lost the war.

A late start.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This past Tuesday marked the end of the TIMES NEWS area basketball season.

Both the Marian boys and Tamaqua girls dropped close games in the second round of the state playoffs to close out the 2009-10 campaign.

With the season just completed, it's time to hand out some unofficial awards.

Below are a few of our picks. One quick note the Players of the Year will be named at a later when the TIMES NEWS announces its seasonal awards.

Boys Team of the Year

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua's Garth Lakitsky came home from the PIAA Wrestling Championships with a 2A fourth place medal, best among the TIMES NEWS contingent that made it to Hershey.

The 2010 PIAA Wrestling Championships are now history.

On one level, it was a tough tournament for Lehigh Valley wrestlers, who for the first time since 1966 failed to crown a State champion. In Class AA, Liberty's Anthony Marino and Nazareth's Zach Horan each finished second, while in AA, Bethlehem Catholic's Randy Cruz and Kyle Dehaut had to settle for silver.

In fact, the only District 11 gold medal came from Blue Mountain senior Josh Kindig, who won for the second time. Eagles' teammate Corey Keener ended up placing second.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Less than two months ago, a Palmerton Area High School sophomore committed suicide. Word spread through the junior high school the next day, and many who knew the boy agonized over the loss.

This agony seemed to dredge up awful fears and memories in others, creating a classic example of the ripple effect. Tears begot tears, and by midday any attempts at school work were useless.

As kids sat in small groups comforting one another, more than once I heard the question asked.

Why?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Athletic directors are kind of like referees in a way. When they're doing a good job they usually go unnoticed. But when things go wrong, they're the ones out front dealing with problems.

Whether it's the unavoidable postponing and rescheduling of games during bad weather or when there are issues with coaches, players or parents, a school's athletic director is the person who has to find solutions.

"Sometimes our job is thankless," said Stroudsburg's Beth Ross. "That's why ADs are such a tight-knit group. Because no one really knows what we do except each other."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Districts and Regionals are completed, and Hershey looms ahead for 10 TIMES NEWS area wrestlers this week.

Those elite 10 will now get to navigate the rough waters of the PIAA State Championships, beginning Thursday at the Giant Center.

Four wins are what it takes to sail to the top of the 16-man brackets, but each match is a treacherous turn, with another top grappler battling to advance and to send another opponent tumbling into the consolation rounds.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Before you read on, take a moment or two and answer the following question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

That question is the fifth of 19 that constitute what's know as Proust's Questionnaire, a feature found in each issue of Vanity Fair for more than 15 years. It's named after French novelist Marcel Proust for he felt that answering the questions ones that originally started as a parlor game in France revealed your true nature.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Over the next 24 hours, three TIMES NEWS area teams will play for District 11 basketball championships.

It's been almost a quarter of a century since the area has had at least three District champs. The last time that occurred was in 1986 when the Panther Valley boys and Marian girls won Class AA titles and the Weatherly boys and girls both won Class A crowns.