Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Football practices already underway



Football lovers, especially of our high schools, may be surprised to learn that preseason practice is already under way. Yes, I know, the weather is brutal and that’s why I am writing my annual “please be careful” column.

Physicals, water and rest periods are key words.

If your son is on a team, you should be sure than he has had a thorough physical examination, that his coach isn’t an idiot and withholds water, that frequent rest periods are allowed and that practices aren’t held during the hottest times of the day.

Also, parents shouldn’t be bashful about attending practices to see for themselves what goes on.

If you think I am being too hard on some coaches, consider this: Just last year we lost a young man to heat stroke. It was costly in jobs, and I am told that lawsuits are still pending. I have known coaches, principals and even superintendents whose careers have been ruined by improper football practices.

I learned early about severe heat during a summer when I was a squad leader in the Kentucky National Guard during camp at Fort Knox. We almost lost one of our guys, but we were near enough to a barracks that we got him in the shower and brought him back with cold water.

Kentucky’s high schools start the season Aug. 24. That’s just a month away.

I talked with two old-timers last week about how coaches used to make their players chew tobacco during practices. It created saliva, I am told. Ugh. Nasty.

Tubby’s new home

Social note: Donna and Tubby Smith closed on their new home in Minnesota last Friday.

People who know the Big Ten tell me that Tubby has two chances to win at Minnesota, slim and none. And the four football players who were dismissed from the school last week in a sexual-assault case didn’t help his recruiting.

Come on, Funny Cide

Rather than see Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide finish his life as a stable pony, the Derby Museum wants to bring him to Louisville where he can be loved by visitors to Churchill Downs. The museum has had horses on exhibit but never a Derby winner.

Death of The Post

You may not understand how much it hurts newspaper people when a paper dies, but let me tell you a couple of things.

At the Munich Olympics, the press center was the gathering place for results updates and messages. One morning I went to my mailbox and found a friend sobbing. He was a columnist for a Newark, N.J., daily paper. I asked what was wrong.

“I just got word not to write anything else, that my paper would no longer publish,” he said.

Last year at the Cincinnati- Louisville football game I sat next to a writer from The Cincinnati Post, a paper that was being kept alive only because of a joint-operating agreement with The Cincinnati Enquirer. He told me that his paper would go out of business the last day of this year. You may have read The Post’s obituary last week.

A once-thriving paper, The Post had outlasted The TimesStar and had moved into its building.

I can remember the newspaper war between the two afternoon papers. Before TV, they would publish updates after each two innings when the Reds were playing an afternoon game.

For two whole weeks, I was a Post delivery boy in my hometown in eastern Kentucky. I had all of four customers!

Until recent years, The Post was the dominant paper in the bustling northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell.

A thriving TV station, WCPO, survives The Post. Yes, the CPO stands for Cincinnati Post.

Most American cities now have just one daily paper – and most are battling for their lives. Advertisers want just one paper; they don’t want to have to advertise in more than one. That’s what killed The Louisville Times, a paper I still miss. To show you what habit will do, I used to bring home the Red Flash (the final edition of The Times that had the financial stocks). I would put the paper down beside my easy chair. Until a few years ago I would catch myself reaching down for the paper!

Future for Fire?

The Louisville Fire is an arena football team whose principal owner, Will Wolford, is asking for a referendum of its fans. Do 500 of them like the team enough to invest $1,000 and become an owner? He also needs to sell more season tickets. It’s up to the fans.

The Louisville Bats are a successful baseball team with several owners. The Bats keep everything fun. For instance during a recent game I attended, a little boy and little girl had a tricycle race around the bases. The boy was leading, but turned over his trike two different times. The little girl won to the cheers of the crowd.

Leave a Reply