Thinking The Same - Golf Digest has a section called Golfers Who Give Back and while reading about three people in that section in the February issue, I thought of someone who should be included.
I was thinking of Joe Hanna, the Buffalo lawyer who established Bunkers in Baghdad. His organization collects golf clubs and balls to ship to troops serving overseas. So far four million golf balls and 75,000 clubs have been shipped to troops in 21 countries.
We learned of him through his biggest supporter in this area, Dick Nelson of Jamestown. Nelson has waded through golf course ponds collecting golf balls for Bunkers in Baghdad in addition to picking up clubs and balls from other donors. He also collects money to help pay for shipping costs.
While continuing to read the February Golf Digest, I discovered that 38 pages after the Golfers Who Gave Back section was an entire page devoted to, guess who, Hanna in the Golf Saved My Life Section. And he deserved an entire page as compared to a paragraph for those in the Golfers Who Gave Back section.
Hanna is the first to give credit to people such as Nelson for the success of Bunkers in Baghdad. This week Nelson was going to surpass 100,000 golf balls collected for the organization. And more impressive is that he cleans all of them!
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Life On The Beach - It was announced this week that UCLA is adding women's sand volleyball as an intercollegiate sport.
The addition of UCLA will bring the total of women's sand volleyball teams to 20. Most of them are obviously at warm-weather colleges such as Arizona, California, Stanford, Southern Cal, Long Beach State, Florida State, Hawaii and Pepperdine.
The sand volleyball season is during March and April, so that means practice for the upcoming season will begin soon and will continue through February. Of course when it rains they will practice indoors, but for the most part the teams are practicing on the beach. And doing that in February in Florida, southern California or Hawaii would be rather appealing.
However, another school that has women's sand volleyball is Nebraska. I don't think I'd want to be practicing outside in Lincoln, Neb., in February.
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Getting A Leg Up - There has been quite a fuss about New England quarterback Tom Brady's leg-up slide that hit Baltimore safety Ed Reed in the AFC championship game. The NFL reviewed the play and Brady was fined $10,000.
After the game, Brady apologized to Reed and the Ravens' safety said everything is fine.
It made me think about what the reaction of former NFL defensive tough guys such as Sam Huff, Joe Schmidt, Ray Nitschke or Dick Butkus would be. Or the opinion of some bruising quarterbacks such as Bobby Layne, Tobin Rote or Norm Van Brocklin.
I think they would say, ''What's the big deal?''
That would refer to nog only Brady's leg up, but not the fine. The $10,000 fine is pocket change for Brady, but the NFL players listed above earned about $20,000 a season. And they had off-season jobs to make ends meet.
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Great Starts, Poor Starts - Things will be moving quickly with the shortened NHL season of 48 games in 99 days because of the lockout.
The analysis of teams has also speeded up.
Teams that began with a 2-0 record suddenly had stories written about their great start.
In contrast, teams that were 0-2 were having stories written about their poor starts.
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Wayne's World - Back when The Post-Journal was an afternoon newspaper I started my work day around 3 a.m. and one of the first phone calls I used to receive came from a follower of Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers. It was during Gretzky's years of tearing up the NHL in scoring and it was also before the days of the Internet. On the morning after the Oilers played, the Gretzky fan would always call and ask me to check how many goals he scored.
Gretzky did have some phenomenal seasons and there was no doubt he was best player in hockey at the time. How good?
An error that appeared in USA Today in 1983 showed what that newspaper thought.
In the book The Making of McPaper, there was a section about errors that appeared in the newspaper and ''The Great One'' was the subject of a great one.
In one of his usual stellar games, Gretzky scored the winning goal. A sports section assistant was compiling the statistics for the game and asked who had scored the winning goal. Someone said, ''God'' and the assistant went ahead and typed that in the game summary instead of Gretzky - and it appeared in print.
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Fantasy Land - The best line I heard about Manti T'eo's situation came from comedian Mo Rocca on NPR last weekend. During a discussion of the Notre Dame linebacker's story about a girlfriend who never existed, Rocca said, ''Well, he should do very well in fantasy football, right?''