Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 12-10-05

Congrats go out to all of Connecticut's high school football champions: Xavier, Staples, Branford, Hand, Woodland, and Hyde. Speaking of Hand, NO ONE did a better coaching job than Steve Filippone this past season--who won his third consecutive state championship. Filippone lost a staggering 27 seniors from the 2004 championship squad and had to deal often with the remnants of a school steroid controversy earlier this year (which unfairly targeted members of this year's team); Hand bounced back after losing their first game this season to Xavier and also had to endure a long bus ride to Windham en route to a semifinal win two weeks ago. Their 34-0 whitewashing of Hillhouse in the Class M final spoke volumes about a team that truly stuck together amid adversity; Filippone's masterful work this season is simply the most impressive coaching job in recent memory. Congratulations, Steve..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: When Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers retired in 1971, what player ranked ahead of him as the Bears' all-time rushing leader? Answer to follow..........Three Central CT State University football players have been busted for taking laptops from dorm rooms; this occurred just months after a similar situation happened at UCONN involving basketball players. I have the perfect solution to prevent a certain faction of future Connecticut college athletes from stealing laptops: Store them in boxes disguised as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or textbooks; I GUARANTEE they'll never be touched..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college basketball game played in West Virginia last week, West Liberty defeated Ohio Eastern 136-66. If I'm the losing coach, I inject a bit of comforting humor when addressing the players after the game and offer this: "Just think, guys, things could be worse. We could be working in the nearby coal mines instead--or even be forced to watch an NFL pre-game show in its entirety."..........This week in sports history, December 11, 1977: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers intercept six passes and record five sacks en route to a 33-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints; it would be the Bucs' first win in team history after 26 straight losses. Defensive players Greg Johnson, Mike Washington, and Richard Wood all scored TD's on interceptions; ironically, Tampa Bay had never scored on an interception in their two-year existence..........Answer to trivia question #1: RICK CASARES--who rushed for 5,657 yards for the Bears between 1955 and 1964; Sayers finished his career with 4,956..........If shortstop Rafael Furcal is worth $13 million per season, then there isn't a vineyard in Napa Valley, California..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What amazing feat did NHL superstar Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins accomplish on New Year's Eve in 1988? Answer to follow..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: In a game last week in Utah, the Pacers beat the Jazz 84-60; the Jazz shot 23-for-69 from the field, 11-for-19 from the foul line, and scored a PATHETIC 41 points in the first THREE quarters. Also, in another "thriller," the Raptors shot 1-for-13 from three-point range and scored just 66 points during a blowout loss to Memphis. Just further evidence why antacid manufacturers would be wise to peddle their products more often on NBA broadcasts..........In a nutshell, HERE'S the difference between the kid who grew up in the ‘70s and the youngster of the new millennium: I was walking on a local track recently on a calm, sunny, 55-degree day. During my exercising, I gazed at a blacktop area, adjacent to the track, that houses a half-dozen basketball courts--complete with nice rims and nets. The topper? Not ONE kid there that day..........Can you imagine if tennis star Mary Pierce married former NFL running back Floyd Little, divorced, then married former big league catcher Steve Christmas? The Yule-tide would always be gay as she'd be sporting the clever name of Mary Little Christmas..........Answer to trivia question #2: In a game vs. New Jersey, Lemieux became the only player in history to score a goal FIVE different ways: even strength, power play, shorthanded, empty net, and penalty shot..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Ralph Garr--who blows out 60 candles on December 12th. The "Road Runner" played 13 seasons from 1968-1980 with the Braves, White Sox, and Angels--hitting .306 lifetime. Garr amassed three 200+ hit seasons while in Atlanta; he led the NL in triples twice ('74 and '75) and also led the league in batting in '74 with a blistering average of .353. Best wishes, Ralph..........Finally, condolences go out to the families of former major leaguer Vic Power and ex-NFL quarterback Jack Concannon--both of whom died recently. Power, a four-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, was a slick-fielding first baseman for a variety of teams (mostly in the AL) between 1954 and 1965; he hit .284 lifetime. He also stole home twice during a game in 1958--the last player to accomplish that feat; he died of cancer in his native Puerto Rico. Concannon, who died of a heart attack, was a Boston College star who played 10 seasons with the Eagles, Bears, Packers, and Lions--throwing for 6,270 yards in his career. He also appeared as himself in the movie "Brian's Song"--the tear-jerking story about the relationship between his former teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


Post a Comment

<< Home