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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, August 5 2001

Competition

Several weeks ago Jon had a number of entries on competition. At the time, I intended to add some comments but they got lost in one of my many senior moments. Now they have returned. Sports and competition were always big in our household. My father played baseball and softball for many years. He and Mom always listened to the Pirate baseball games. Some of my earliest recollections of radio broadcasts, another subject this past week, are of Rosy Rosewell announcing the Pittsburgh Pirate baseball games. He didn't travel with the teams as today's announcers do. He would call the road games from a studio as he read the information from a ticker tape. Nonetheless, he kept the games interesting enough to inspire me to become a baseball player like my boyhood hero, Ralph Kiner.

My first big chance came when I was 12 and Nanty Glo had its first organized Little League. Many of us youngsters gathered at the ballfield to show our skills at hitting, pitching, and catching the baseball. Finally, the day came for the coaches to pick their players. Irv Crookshank picked me to be on his VFW team. I showed up for the first game proudly wearing my new uniform. We won that first game and I went home with renewed dreams of becoming the next Ralph Kiner and playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Unfortunately, that was the only game we won that year and my dreams of a baseball career died just as quickly when I discovered that most of the boys were better players than I. My competitive spirit then switched to football. I went out for the team my freshman year in high school. I lived in Jackson Township, so I attended Central Cambria, along with some very big boys. Two of the biggest were Jerry Long, now Judge Long, who later played for Brown University, and Ron Kostelnik, who went on to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.

I was a scrawny 115 pounds and didn't make the first string. The coach assigned me to play defensive end on the practice squad against the first-string offense. Even though I wasn't big, I was smart enough to figure out who was getting the ball and when they were coming my way. I got very good at tackling the halfback every time he tried to make an end sweep on my side of the field. Unfortunately, for me, the coach was smart, too. One day he made a slight change in the play. Instead of the quarterback handing the ball to the halfback while the fullback plunged into the line, the quarterback gave the football to Jerry Long, the fullback. We collided. I collapsed in a rolling heap and Jerry kept going as if nothing had ever happened. I now know what it is like to survive being run over by a truck.

Even though I stayed on the team till the end of the season, my football career ended in that crumpled heap on the practice field. I was too small for football. Except for a few uneventful years of playing in a church softball league, my competitive sports career was over. I never regretted or fretted about not being a success in sports. I never saw competition as overcoming or subduing my opponent but, rather, I saw it as trying to do my best against whomever or whatever I faced.

I believe the sport of golf best illustrates my attitude. Even though a winner is declared at the end of a tournament, the only opponents each golfer faces while on the course are his own mental attitude, the obstacles built into the course, and the weather conditions. That is why golf is becoming such a popular sport among both young and old. Each player can ply his skills against the course without fear of getting tackled, slugged, or put out. Nevertheless, at the end of the designated number of holes, the scorecards are compared and winners and losers declared.

At the end of our years on earth, people will compare our lives and make comments. I will be satisfied if they say about me, "He tried and sometimes failed, but kept on trying to do his best."

More differences between men and women

CATS Women love cats. Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

MARRIAGE A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does..

Sent by Mike Harrison

God looks on the heart

When God measures a man, He puts the tape around the heart instead of the head.

Sent by Zan
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