Whitesburg KY

Merry Christmas … and thanks for reading



Christmas week. Your time invested in this moment with The Mountain Eagle is Christmas gift enough for me.

Today, a dozen Dashingthrough the-Snow nuggets for you from the Toy Shop.

1. College player-of-year in Kentucky? Mine would be a tie. Western Kentucky tailback Antonio Andrews and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Both have been chosen All-American.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, college graduate. “I can make an impact on my environment where I grew up in Miami. Show there are no restrictions what you can reach. I know when I leave I’m a better person than when I came to college.”

3. Kentuckian Richard Dawahare, in a newspaper editorial December 6, gave voice to the folly of another $110 million expenditure by University of Kentucky to renovate Commonwealth Stadium. After spending $27.6 million in 1999 and $6 million in 2011.

“Another example of trickle up economics,” Dawahare wrote, “in which the public purse showers up evermore its bounty to the well-connected and corporate entities at the top.

“… ( this) was supposed to enhance the fan experience. … However, deafening game-long speaker-shriek spiced with raunchy rap lyrics and lousy yesteryear tunes, incessant play by play and dizzying graphics destroy fan experience, not enhance it.”

4. Dale Mueller at Fort Thomas Highlands. What a Christmas season for the 59-year-old coach to reflect while snow falls. His Blue Birds won 250 of 286 games in 20 seasons; won 11 state titles, most by a coach in state history. Overall 309-67 record for 29 years. Best bottom line? Lives he touched.

Ex-Bluebird, Seth Hope told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “I can only hope that one day I will have the positive impact on other people’s lives that coach Mueller had on mine.”

5. After Murray State defeated Southern Illinois, Salukis coach Barry Hinson told reporters “… when you’ve got a young team, it’s a lot like house training a puppy dog. You know what, when the dog does something wrong, ‘bad dog.’ I’m not going to hit ‘em. I’m not going to swat ‘em, but bad dog, get on the treadmill.”

6. Hinson II: ““We made three turnovers tonight where we just came down and threw them the ball. I swear I thought one time one of our players said ‘Merry Christmas.’”

7. Avery Williamson on football at Kentucky: “I love this school and I love this community and I love the fans. (There’s) really going to be a turn-around.”

8. Two seasons ago Sean Woods’s Mississippi Valley State team had the worst academic record in college hoops. Last week a report on Woods’s Morehead State team reflected a 3.2 grade point average, best in school history.

9. Chris Harrison-Docks. College hoops in Kentucky has a new fresh face at Christmas. Chris Harrison Docks at Western Kentucky. Gritty, passionate, team-first and coachable, Harrison- Docks is latest example of a native-born team first kid fans love to watch succeed.

10. Posturize. A cool word or term is introduced every year to basketball’s lexicon. We have seen come and go – string music … verticality … physicality … facial … dribble drive and drop step. This year: Posturize.

Last week Charlotte guard Pierriá Henry slammed a dunk against Florida State then posturized (taunted) his defender. Presto, a technical foul. When Henry objected to the call, he was posturized with another technical and ejected.

11. Book End Christmas for UK? Mark Stoops began his head coaching career at Kentucky last week when the first of what Kentucky needs most — hawgs — signed on. Cory Johnson is a 6-4, 300-pounder defensive lineman. A Christmas-wish-come-true for Stoops would be adding a book end in the form of 6-6, 300-pounder Matt Elam.


12. Johnny Lyles and Bill Mazeroski

Having read a “Sports In Kentucky” column a few weeks ago about Bill Mazeroski selling his memorabilia, Johnny Lyles of St. Joseph, Tennessee (population 590) shared a Gee Whiz story.

“In 1967 I signed a contract with the California Angels and was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fall of 1968, and went to spring training with the big club.

“The most amazing thing that had ever happened in my life at the time, my locker was next to Roberto Clemente and across from Bill Mazeroski. For a boy from St. Joseph, Tenn (population 590), I was in baseball heaven.”

One Saturday after work-outs, Lyles and a friend went to Freddie’s Lounge in Bradenton, a popular hang-out for Pirates players.

“We got there late and the place was packed,” Lyles wrote. “We were looking for a place to sit, have a bite to eat, but there were no vacant tables. Then someone yelled to get our attention and invited us to sit with them. It was Maz and his wife (Milene). Couple young rookies would dine with them. How many super stars would have done that?

“The conversation turned to my birthday (21 that day) and during the band’s break Bill got up, went over to talk to the lead singer. When the band came back on stage the leader got everyone’s attention and said, ‘We have a special guest with us tonight. A Pittsburgh Pirate who’s celebrating his 21st birthday.’

“He called my name, asked me to come up for a special birthday dance while the band played ‘Happy Birthday.’ I had no dance partner and wouldn’t get up.

“ That ’s when Maz’s wife grabbed me by the hand and pulled me out on the floor. Was only the second girl I had ever danced with, I was so nervous.

“It’s been close to 50 years since this happened, but I never forgot how he made me feel that night. This is the kind of man Mazeroski is. He treated everyone like a best friend.”

And so it goes.

Merry Christmas.

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