Celebrate the end of summer ’11


According to the calendar, fall doesn’t start until Sept. 23, but who cares? After sweltering the past three months and breaking nu­mer­ous heat records, we can look forward to cooler weather. Never mind that a few months from now we’ll wish for warmer weather again.

I don’t know the source, but I heard it was so hot this summer that cows were giving evaporated milk.

Before accusing me of being out in the heat too long, let me show you that when it comes to sports, there’s an unending supply of bizarre happenings that often produce great punch lines.

Did you see the story in The Wichita Eagle about John Wright and his son, Matthew? Like a lot of dads, John got involved in coaching because of his son. When Wright first started coaching summer track, it was because his oldest son wanted to compete.

Wright’s youngest son Matthew, 18, qualified in the 1,600-meter relay for the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics at Wichita State University in July.

Track became a passion for Wright, but track didn’t always make Matthew happy.

In fact, when Matthew was 7, he ran in a meet in Baldwin City.

“I’ll never forget this,” Wright said. “He’s in the open 400 (meters) and it was hot. He ran 200 meters of it, walked off the track and said, ‘It’s too hot; I’m not running.’

“I about had a coronary right there. I did not handle that well at all. I had to really talk to him about not doing that again.”

Show me a dad who has coached his kid in sports, and I’ll show you a dad who knows exactly how Wright felt.

Speaking of the Junior Olympics, I don’t believe one athlete complained that it was hard to get loose. But then, how hard is it to get loose when temperatures are 100+?

I wonder what it was like to be a fan, with or without a fan, in the stands for the track meet. At least the runners created a breeze for themselves.

A 6-year-old golfer, Reagan Kennedy, sank a hole-in-one on a course in central Illinois and hardly made a peep because her father had told her not to make a lot of noise while playing.

Her 13-year-old sister told her that making a hole-in-one is the one time it’s OK for a golfer to scream and be loud. Talk about a missed opportunity, maybe. A few holes later the 6-year-old said, “I’m going to get another one.” Don’t bet against her.

Wichita State has not played football since 1986, but WSU is still in the NCAA record books. In a game at Florida State in September 1969, the two teams played in a frog-strangling rain from beginning to end and the result was both teams wallowed around in the slop looking for the football.

The Shockers fumbled the ball 17 times and lost 10. Meanwhile, Florida State fumbled 10 times and Wichita State recovered seven of them.

These records will be tough to beat: most fumbles in a game, most fumbles by a team, and most combined turnovers in a game (20). There were also three interceptions.

For what it’s worth, Florida State won the game, 24-0.

Credit Atlee Anderson of Huntsville, Ala., for the following: “The NFL is pushing a new holiday: Aug. 2, GroundFavre Day. If Brett leaves his house and sees his shadow, he stays retired for another six weeks.”

Columnist Rick Reilly adds, “And if he sees three teammates, he plays another year.”


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