A Stones Throw 5-7-15


For a sports nut like me, last week was one of the best of the entire year: NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs, the NFL draft, major league baseball, PGA match play golf, Championship tour golf, Tiger Woods, the Kentucky Derby, NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Talladega, and finally the boxing fight of the century between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

I will get to those later, but first the most important sports of the weekend. Now that the sun shines on occasion and the grass grows so fast it is time to mow your yard again before you are finished mowing the first time, boys and girls from age four to 18 are taking the fields of their favorite sports.

Thus the highlights of my sports week. Last week I drove through a driving rain hoping the storm would pass and that the baseball game between Lakota East High School and Princeton High School would be played as scheduled. My grandson Joseph was scheduled to pitch.

And pitch he did.

The game started with a light drizzle and a lot of wind. Joseph walked to the mound and immediately let both his team and the Princeton team know he was in control of the game. With a crisp fastball, a devastating curveball, and an occasional heart stopping (at least bat stopping) change up, Joseph pitched a seven inning complete game. He gave up one run and three hits, winning the game 7-1.

Joseph allowed one run to a Princeton team that the following night beat the number eight ranked High School baseball team in Ohio.

I couldn’t be more proud.

However, I could be, and am, equally proud.

Last weekend was Flying Pig weekend. Reports indicate nearly 38,000 runners participated in one or more of the weekend events. My daughter Kelly was one of them.

Kelly was part of a four woman team that ran in the relay division of the full Flying Pig marathon. Kelly was the second runner for her team. Her segment included the major hills. Prior to the start, she was a bit nervous and had a bit of trepidation.

However, when the time came for her to challenge the hills, challenge she did.

And win she did.

Not the marathon – maybe not even her leg of the relay.

But, Kelly beat the hills. She ran her five-plus miles. She finished with a smile.

I could not be more proud.

Of course, I can go on and on.

My grandson Jack scored five goals in one half for his Lakota East JV Lacrosse team and then went on to play nearly a half of the varsity game. Jack is only a freshman.

I could not be more proud.

Then there is granddaughter Lexi who has shown unbelievable improvement in her softball skills. And of course, Logan, Lexi, Errin, and Emma are all excelling with their soccer teams. Oh, and Errin is playing with a spring basketball team.

Do I sound like a proud grandfather?

I am.

Without any of the major sports events of the week, I had a sports week to remember. Still, I would be remiss not to briefly discuss those events.

First, the boxing fight of the century between Mayweather and Pacquiao. As I listen to the various sports talk shows it appears that the fight was a big letdown to almost all boxing fans. It was the fight of the century if the century in mind was only one day long.

Who won? Who cares – not me.

I don’t like boxing – I don’t follow boxing. But, even if I did, I would not pay anything let alone $100 for pay for view or several thousand dollars for arena seats to watch serial domestic abuser Floyd Mayweather (who, by the way, flaunts the fact that he has been convicted of domestic abuse) fight.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. In fact, Mayweather reportedly walked away with over $100 million for one fight.


Speaking of dumb. I think last week’s golf news shows how the interest and importance of golf has evolved. The PGA tour event of the week was the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match play. The World Number One ranked golfer Rory Mcllroy worked his way through the best golfers on the planet and once again proved he is the best.

Still, this was not the golf news of the week.

Neither was the incredible play of an injured Kenny Perry in the Champions Tour Insperity Invitational tournament. Nor was the three way playoff between Perry, Tom Lehman, and Ian Woosman.

In the Insperity Invitational, Ian Woosman won the three way playoff, but Kenny Perry showed the golfing world, and the sports world as a whole, that he is a true champion. Leaning over to pick up his putter on the sixth hole, while trailing the leader by five strokes, Kenny somehow twisted his back. He later said he has never felt as much pain. He could have walked off the course – no one would have blamed him.

Instead, he continued to play.

And play he did – by the end of the day he was tied for the lead. He lost the playoff to Ian Woosman, but he won the day.

Because he didn’t quit.

Yet, neither Kenny Perry’s refusal to quit nor Ian Woosman’s first Champions Tour victory was the golf news of the week.

No – the golf news of the week was that Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn have ended their relationship.

That alone explains where golf fits in the world of sports today.

Then there was the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at my favorite track – the Talladega Speedway. There is nothing better than watching a line of 20 or 30 cars going 200 miles per hour while bumper to bumper. When a car moves out of the line, either those in front slow down when everyone follows the line jumper, or the line jumper falls to the back of the line if no one follows him (or her in the case of Danica Patrick).

Add to this, fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the race. I hope this helps NASCAR regain some of the luster it has lost over the past several years.

Of course, to many, the highlight of the week was the Kentucky Derby where Americans Pharaoh showed why he was the favorite to win. His win generated excitement and speculation on whether he can become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

I have to admit, I am not too concerned. I am not a horse racing fan.

Nor am I a hockey fan. The sports talk shows this week have raved about some of the plays that have help determine hockey playoff wins.

I don’t care. I don’t even know who is in the playoffs.

I do know who is in the NBA playoffs, but since the Indiana Pacers are not, I really don’t care who wins. I don’t watch, but I do follow the scores.

I also followed the NFL draft with a lot of interest. I wanted to see who the Indianapolis Colts selected. I wanted to see what the experts thought about the Colts’ picks.

I wasn’t the only one interested in the NFL draft. Over 200,000 fans showed up Saturday afternoon in Chicago to watch rounds four through seven of the draft.

That alone should show where professional football fits in the sports world of today.

At the top.

Unless that is, you are a Chicago Cubs fan, a Cincinnati Reds fan, or a baseball fanatic for any team.

The baseball season is already a month old – and the Cubs are still relevant.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Unless, that is, one of my grandchildren has a game. Watching them play is the only thing that is better than watching the Cubs.

Speaking of which, Joseph is pitching tonight – I’m on my way.

- Mike Cooney