Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shawn's Back, Football's Back, (A New) Cy-Hawk Trophy's Back


Shawn Johnson bristled and showed her feisty side when questioned about her rough return to competition last month at the Cover Girl Classic in Chicago.  She said people who ripped her performance didn't understand the sport. 

Looks like she might have been right based on her performance tonight at the Visa Championships in Chicago.  Johnson herself called it a test run.  She finished 16th overall (though only because she skipped an event), including a third place tie for vault.  If that's the test, Saturday's final should be interesting....

After the event Shawn once again defended her right to defend herself.  When I spoke to her a few weeks back I was impressed with that attitude.  She's more than proven herself already, but is still driven to make another run at the Olympics.  If she wins gold again next year it may be more satisfying to her than the first medals.

Ladies and Gentleman.  Football is back.
Okay, I get that for some of you the real kickoff isn't until the college or NFL season starts, but as a sports nut and lover of all things football, it was AWESOME to be back on the sidelines shooting the high school football Gilbert-Unity Christian game in Fort Dodge last night.  Paul Rhoads son Jake, a junior defensive back/wideout, looked good for Gilbert, but the Tigers fell 35-22.

Friday night the fun starts in earnest with a bunch of CIML games, including the big one at Drake Stadium, Valley vs. Dowling.  Ten years ago the Maroons entered the 2001 season as state champions after a perfect 2000 campaign with a 13-game winning streak.  They would end that year with another perfect record and state title.  Ten years later the Maroons are defending champs again after a perfect season.  That would be quite the ten year anniversary for that program.

Valley has other ideas.  Dowling lost some talent, and the Tigers nearly knocked off the Maroons in last year's playoffs.  Valley has lost three straight in the series, and when I asked senior linebacker Tarin Phillips how he'd handle going back to class on Wednesday and facing the rest of the students if they lost a fourth straight, he said "No that is not going to happen.  We are going to win." (To hear it yourself in our preview piece, click here:

I hope that, whether they go on to college ball or not, the seniors playing this year really have fun and savor their last season.  It's been ten years since I played my last down of high school ball at Loveland High in Colorado.  Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday.  The memories of the games themselves can fade, but the bonds you build on the field and the moments you share with your friends last a lifetime.

Apparently the University of Northern Iowa football team wants to join the Big Ten.  Today they announced that they will open the 2012 season at Wisconsin.  Two weeks after that they play at Iowa.  Though they gave the Hawks all they could handle a few years ago, that's a stretch that will probably have the purple and gold turning black and blue.  But they'll be well compensated for it-combined they'll rake in about a million dollars to play the two games.

Tomorrow morning at 9 AM we get our first look at the brand new Cy-Hawk trophy at the state fair.  I have this odd feeling it's going to be a giant golden ear of corn.
If It's A Big Ear Of Corn, This Guy Might Present It To The Winning Team

Look up the definition of sad and pathetic in the dictionary, and you'll see Nevin Shapiro.  This 40 year old guy is nothing but a wannabe football player who probably got stuffed into lockers back in high school, and thought he'd live his dream by cozying up to the players when he got rich.  The reason he's coming out now with this, according to him, is that he felt betrayed by the "family" he thought he was a part of at Miami.  Uh, Nevin, newsflash!  They didn't like you, they liked the money, booze and hookers.
At least the Hurricanes actually WON when the guy from 2 Live Crew bankrolled things
Every school has guys like this lurking, but if Miami let this go on they deserve everything they're going to get.  They have always loved the renegade image that the program started in the 80s.  Well, what happens to most renegades?  Sooner or later they face the music, and it usually don't end well for the renegade.

Oh, and if you think the NCAA might hand out the death penalty, dream on.  The NCAA has neither the stones nor the integrity to come down on one of it's biggest (and most $$ profitable) brands.  They'll get a two or three year bowl ban.  Yawn.

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