Long Shots

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
This year I decided not to fill out a bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament. I resisted the temptation because every year I fill one out, I trade my love for certain teams for odds and scouting reports. And boy, it sure makes a difference in how I watch a basketball game.

At this writing, the tournament has been thrilling and enjoyable for this seasoned bracket-bomber. I’ve had more fun in the last two weeks, watching basketball, than I have in the past five years.

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If you’re a basketball fan you have to love how things are panning out in the NCAA tournament. Oregon and Kent State are among several reasons that this year’s tournament has been fun to watch. It’s no surprise, if you know me, that I typically cheer for the underdog-that is unless KU isn’t the underdog.

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Some unfortunate things are happening with the Arkansas University basketball program. After meeting with Arkansas’ top executive, Nolan Richardson has been dismissed as head coach of the Razorbacks. Richardson spouted off at a press conference several weeks ago about the university’s administration.

A quote that hangs on the wall behind my computer seems fitting: “In life, one needs to realize that some days you’re the statue, and some days you’re the pigeon.”

Richardson has flapped his mouth a few too many times, and now he’s upset because the administration has had enough.

Hey, Nolan, get comfortable. Maybe ask “Ms. Liberty” for some advice, because the way I see it, the stuff you’ve been dishing out over the past two months is what you’re going to be taking for the rest of your life. Enjoy life as a statue.

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Easily one of the most tragic events in sports since the death of race-car legend Dale Earnhardt was the death of teenager and hockey fan Brittanie Cecil.

Cecil was struck in the head by a deflected hockey puck that flew into the crowd at a Detroit/Columbus hockey game. Aside from the tragic loss of a vibrant teenage girl, imagine the remorse felt by the players involved in the incident.

Columbus center Espen Knutsen fired the shot that was deflected into the crowd. He told the Associated Press after the game: “I’m the one that took the shot, I’m the one who has to live with that.”

After the accident, I heard an announcer on a sports program ask if Knutsen could be charged with manslaughter. I couldn’t believe my ears. Knutsen’s grief should be punishment enough, but apparently it wasn’t for at least one announcer.

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Last week I had the opportunity to cover the Class 3A State Powerlifting Championship in Marion. I could not believe the number of people packed inside the Warrior gymnasium. Schools from all over the state participated in the event-and our area athletes represented their respective schools well.

Kory Unruh, Hillsboro’s weightlifting coach, said athletes are starting to make weightlifting an important part of their conditioning routines. For a country supposedly overweight, perhaps future generations have recognized that weightlifting is not only fun competitively, but also can be extremely positive in our latter years.

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