Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TAS: Here is the spirit of radio

November 24, 1992

I reverted back to the old glory days of radio this weekend to follow the Eagles game against Youngstown State on Saturday.

Granted, I was tuned in on a magnifies CD player/cassette recorder/radio using Sony headphones but I was relying strictly upon audio to get my information.

It is an entirely different experience when you listen to a sporting event rather than see it. To me, the players become, somehow, more important. When you watch the game from the stands the formations and the movements supersede the players. The motion of the motion man, or the quarterback fading back overrides their names.

When you hear the game on the radio, though, you can't rely on these things. You must listen for the announcer's voice to tell you what is going on. If you follow the team regularly, the names of the players involved in a particular play can let someone visualize what is occurring without actually seeing it happen.

Not being able to see the action forces listeners to use their imaginations. A few weeks ago, while driving back to the 'Boro from home, I switched on a Falcon's game to keep myself awake.

Whenever I hear a game on the radio I try to visualize the action about two or three feet in front of my face. Naturally when driving a car, one should scale the image down about three or four times in order to avoid smashing into a tree while trying to see around the fullback, but that, I trust, is obvious.

Big plays, as heard on the radio, can be as exciting as actually being there. Anyone who has ever heard Larry Munson call a University of Georgia game can attest to that fact.

There is only one UGA game that I can recall listening to on the radio. I was around fifteen or so, but it is a game that I will never forget . . . well, sort of.

I was playing basketball over at my neighbor's house while he washed his car and listened to the game on the radio. I don't remember who Georgia was playing, and to be truthful I remember next to nothing about the game--except for this: the Georgia kicker (Kevin Butler, I believe) had to attempt this monstrously long field goal from somewhere behind the 50-yard line. I told you that I couldn't remember!

So this anonymous kicker sends up this Hail Mary of a kick from some absolutely ludicrous distance. And it was good! The sound of Larry screaming, "It's good! It's good!" is forever seared into my brain. The power of his voice impressed me much more than a picture of the crowd going wild would have ever done.

I think that the radio has a power that we are in dire need of today. So much of the media is focused upon the visual image that the words get lost in the shuffle.

People spend millions on a fashion or "look" and forget about improving themselves. Movies that say nothing meaningful earn tons of money on the strength of special effects. It's a problem.

Substance over style--the radio has still got it. We all need a dose of it now and then.



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Sunday, April 16, 2006

TAS: It was a sad finale for seniors

November 18, 1992

Maybe all of the Eagles had term papers that they had to turn in by Monday, or maybe they were caught up in the mysterious life of Austin Freeny, but whatever the reason, the fact remains the same. Georgia Southern lost a game Saturday that the Eagles should have won.

Now, I am not trying to take anything away from Troy State. They have a great team, as their 9 - 1 record attests, and they played a helluva game, as anyone who was there (which by the looks of the stands Saturday is not many) will tell you. A quick glance at the game story to my right will prove that.

But I still think that game was ours to lose or win. We were in the driver's seat and we let it slip away.

Troy State was in the same position that we were in facing Georgia. The Trojans are in a year of reclassification limbo as they finally fulfill all requirements to become a member of I-AA football next year. So, they could learn a lot about their program and sort of feel out the competition this year.

Georgia Southern, on the other hand, was playing a team that could not help its poll standings in any sort of quantifiable way--unless they lost.

The GSU players were visibly shaken after the game, but the men that I feel the worst for are Henry Parrish, Donald Wheeler, Don Hudson, Ronald Johnson, Rusty Parrish, Rex Nottage, James Baker, Chris Arnoult, Gregg Richardson, Terrence Sorrell, and Shawn Haralson; for, you see, they are seniors, and Saturday's loss to Troy State was the last game they will ever participate in at Paulson Stadium.

These eleven players should have gone through Saturday's game without a scratch, without breaking a sweat to honor the great success that they have brought to this small school, and even smaller town in southeastern Georgia. But that would, in a way, cheapen their accomplishments.

Football is a tough sport and everything that happens in it is hard. The Eagles obviously would have preferred a win, but not a win that was handed to them.

They learned how to sweat here at GSU, and they learned how to win as well; but they also learned how to be gracious winners, and if you know how to do that, you can also be a gracious loser.

Georgia Southern has one more chance to make the playoffs this year, but I wish it could be a home game. Our seniors deserve a more fitting finale than they received.



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Monday, April 10, 2006

TAS: Get off your butts, please

November 11, 1992

Sitting in the dark at the newspaper office leads people to reflect upon a few things, like the apparent student apathy towards the football team this year.

It's sort of a strange thing. Traditionally the football team here at Georgia Southern has always received more support than other sporting groups due to their tremendous success. But, success can breed complacency.

The average home game attendance this year is 14,360. Now, that may sound like a lot but one must delve a little deeper and see that number as it really is.

Most of the people that fill up that 14,000-plus number are people sitting on the home side of Paulson and visitors, and since I work for a student newspaper I choose to ignore all of them. (They don't read my column anyway.) I will direct my remarks to the students.

One would expect last Saturday's Homecoming game would boast a crowd of students, right? Well, only half right. The student section was more packed than I have seen it all year, but it took until the second quarter to fill up. Then, when I checked again during the third quarter, I noticed patches of empty seats begin to appear. Why has everyone bailed out on the Eagles?

Surely its not due to last season's disappointing season is it? (Is 7 - 4 really that disappointing anyway?) The Eagles have proved that they are not the same team that they were last year. GSU has compiled a 7 - 2 record so far this year, which is the same number of wins they had last year. They have three shutout games to their credit so far this year, a modern era record.

The problem stems from apathy. It is a natural human tendency to make a little success go a long way. People think that because the GSU football program has risen so far so fast that they are somehow predestined to win. If only that were true.

When Dr. Dale Lick became president of Georgia Southern College in 1978, one of the most asked questions was "Why don't we have a football team?" Dr. Lick became dedicated to acquiring a team for GSC and worked many hard years until November of 1981 it was officially decided that a college football team would once again call Statesboro its home for the first time in forty years.

Then Erk Russell accepted the challenge of building a team out of nothing. His first few teams didn't even have equipment., but they did have desire. Naturally they suffered losing seasons, but fans were just happy to have a team.

The Eagles justified all of the fans' patience by molding their program into one of the most consistent and successful athletic programs in the country. We, as students of Georgia Southern, should remember the humble beginnings of Eagle football and the heights that it has taken not only itself, but our entire school.

Tim Stowers and his group of Eagles are no less a part of the Georgia Southern tradition. Every week the Eagles work hard and succeed, not only for themselves but also for the glory of their school. They deserve support for all of the intense effort they give.

Get off your butts. It's the least we can do.



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Sunday, April 02, 2006

TAS: Indoor sports? Don't ask why

November 4, 1992

Do you remember the Bud Dry commercial that asked, "Why have the great outdoors been moved indoors?" Now before all three of my loyal fans shout out, "Why Ask Why!" let's stop and think about it for a minute.

Sports are one of the only opportunities we have these days to get outside and glimpse the sun. But some people want to move outdoor recreation indoors.

It think it all began with the rise of the video game. I remember when Pong! was the biggest game in town, but pretty soon his big brother Atari hit the streets. He thought he was cool until the Japanese from across the water sent Mario and Company calling. But, as I was saying, it all began a long time ago. (Somebody cue the wavy lines--flashback sequence ahead.)

When I was young there was this video game that featured two electronic rifles and a large movie screen. A young lad who would never be allowed to hold a real rifle got the chance to shoot deer, or ducks, or clay pigeons, or whatever.

This began the trend towards indoor sports. As video games became more advanced, the graphics and inter-active abilities improved so much that you can now get a multitude of angles to watch Mario slug a home run over the fence and listen to the crowd cheer him around the bases.

However, it didn't stop there. Now we have exercise bikes, step machines, ski machines, treadmills, and rowing machines, not to mention the abomination of playing baseball in a dome.

People don't want to go outside anymore, which is incomprehensible to me. Why would someone want o go bob up and down endlessly on a step machine right beside someone who is wearing hot pink Spandex that doesn't fit and smells of sweat?

I would much rather get my exercise outside where there is a never-ending panorama of sights to see. Even watching traffic back up as you walk down Chandler Road is preferable to watching the sweat trickle down the back of the guy huffing and puffing through an aerobics workout.

Some of the more bizarre and totally useless indoor sports come from overseas. In Europe the big craze is for indoor windsurfing. The athletes ride their boards around in a semicircular arena propelled by huge fans built into the walls.

It's sort of like roller derby on water. The best aspect of indoor windsurfing is watching them jump their boards on ramps like waterskiers. If they don't position the boards right and catch the board's fin in the ramp's groove, they have an unhappy landing. Serves them right.

But the weirdest indoor sport goes to the Japanese, hands down. My sources inform me that the Japanese (who live on an island, let's remember) surf indoors in shopping malls.

Yep, they build a friggin' beach with sand and water inside a building and with the help of a wave machine, they hang ten while they shop.

Maybe it's a Zen thing about the sound of the surf, but I don't get it. Why would anyone want to get wet indoors when their whole country is surrounded with gnarly waves?

Beats me, man. Hey, catch ya' on the flip side.



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