SALEM SPARTAN REPLAY
If you’re missing high school football as much as I am you might want to wander down to Salem Memorial Ballpark this Friday night. Yes, the baseball stadium.
Haley Toyota Field will be buzzing as the Salem Red Sox and the Salem Department of Parks and Recreation present a replay of the 2015 state Class 4 football championship on the giant video board. It will be a big night for Spartan fans and lots of fun with yard games put on by the Sox, a 50-50 raffle by the Salem Sports Foundation and all your favorite eats from the Red Sox Grill.
Gates open at 6:30 pm and the cost is $3 for adults and $2 for children. Prior to the game the Spartan cheerleaders will lead the crowd in their favorite cheers and this year’s seniors will be recognized. The video of the game will begin just after dark, at 7:30 pm. All protocols will be observed, including masks and social distancing.
If you remember, this was a very exciting game as the Spartans took on a strong Lake Taylor team that had defeated the Spartans in the 2014 state championship game. The rematch, at Liberty University, was a thrilling game from start to finish, and if you don’t know the outcome I won’t spoil it for you. The final score is at the end of the column, so don’t look if you want to be surprised Friday night.
FLORIDA TRIP FOR KING
Salem High junior Hunter King participated on the Baseball U. National Prospects team in a tournament in Fort Myers, Florida over the first weekend of October. Hunter played third base for a team of standout players from all over the East Coast who are participating in the Baseball U. program.
Hunter’s team went 3-0 to win their pool, then lost their first bracket game to a team with nine Division I signees. Baseball U. faced pitchers who have signed scholarships with the likes of the University of Miami, LSU and the University of Florida.
“Their velocity wasn’t a lot better than you’d see around here, but the breaking stuff was what set them apart,” said Hunter’s dad, Salem High athletic director Chris King.
COWBOYS RELEASE LIGHT
Salem’s Alex Light will try to catch on with his fourth football team of the season after being released by the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Alex opened training camp with the Green Bay Packers after being a member of the Pack for the previous two years. He lasted until the final cut this summer, but was waived on September 5 and resigned to the Green Bay practice squad.
On September 10 Alex was released by the Packers, but just four days later the Arizona Cardinals signed him to their practice squad. He was a Cardinal for just one day, as Dallas signed him off the Arizona practice squad and put him on their 53-man roster. Alex was released by the Cowboys on October 6 and is now a free agent hoping to catch on with another team.
Light is a 2014 graduate of Salem High School and a 2018 graduate of the University of Richmond, where he was a standout on the offensive line.
IS THERE MORE THAN ONE GOAT?
It’s now 216 AG, or 216 days “After Gobert” tested positive for Covid-19 and all sports as we knew them came to an end. Some of them have since returned, but certainly not like it was before March 12th, seven months ago on Monday of this week.
The National Hockey League successfully completed their season a couple weeks ago and Major League Baseball is well on the way to doing the same, but with no fans. The NBA finished up on Sunday in their Orlando “bubble,” and with the Lakers winning another championship talk is bound to once again turn to whether LeBron James is now “the GOAT” of NBA basketball. That’s “Greatest Of All Time” in case you never heard of Tom Brady.
To be honest, I get tired of this debate. Some people will never be convinced that Michael Jordan isn’t the best ever, even if LeBron goes on to win seven or eight championships. Personally, I would put Wilt Chamberlain in that mix as well but that was so long ago you have to be at least 60 to remember watching him play.
My question is, why can’t they all be appreciated for what they are? These men will never play against each other, so it’s something that can be discussed at length with no correct answer being ascertained.
LeBron is certainly in the conversation, but I think he hurts his cause by the way he goes about constructing his “Super Teams.” The 2018-19 Lakers didn’t even make the playoffs, but when Anthony Davis all but forced the Pelicans to trade him to LA the Lakers had two of the best players in the league, and maybe the best two. Certainly that enhanced LeBron’s chance for success.
When LeBron won two titles in Miami he joined up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and then the Heat also signed Ray Allen. With that team of stars LeBron won just twice in four years before returning to Cleveland, where he won the championship that I consider one of the most significant of them all. Cleveland didn’t have a champion from any sport since the Browns of the early ‘60s, and LeBron carried that team, and the city, to a title in his home state.
Compare LeBron’s success to Jordan, a high draft pick of a bad Chicago Bulls team who lifted that franchise to six championships. He didn’t have nearly the surrounding cast that LeBron had. You can point to Scottie Pippen, but he wasn’t as good as Dwyane Wade or Anthony Davis. Jordan played with slow centers and average guards. His teammates, unlike Davis, Wade and Bosh, were never stars on other teams.
LeBron could win a few more titles with the Lakers, and don’t be surprised if they add more talent. What do these Laker greats have in common. . . .Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and Anthony Davis? They’re all Laker current or future “Hall of Famers” who either signed with the team as free agents or forced their prior team into lopsided trades. The Lakers are the Yankees of the NBA.
I’ll take LeBron’s one Cleveland title over three or four in LA. To me, being consistently surrounded by other stars takes away from LeBron’s legacy and makes Jordan’s accomplishments seem even more impressive. However, if you just watch the games there’s no doubt James is one of the best, if not THE best, player of all time.
Again, I don’t know that we need a “GOAT” in pro basketball. Let’s just appreciate them all for what they are.
STILL IN THE RUNNING
Boy, that off-season signing of Andy Dalton by the Dallas Cowboys sure looks big now, doesn’t it?
Dalton is now the Cowboys starting quarterback after Dak Prescott went out for the season with a gruesome ankle injury Sunday in a win over the Giants. The Cowboys were the favorites to win a hideous NFC East before the injury, and thanks to the signing of Dalton they will remain as such.
Dallas is currently in first place with a 2-3 record and they could easily be 0-5 despite having one of the best offenses in the league. They needed a “boner play(didn’t pick up an onside kick)” by the Falcons to have a chance to kick a winning field as time expired for their first win, and last Sunday they almost lost to the winless Giants, again kicking a game winning field goal as time expired.
Prescott has played great this season, so losing him could have been a death blow to the Cowboys’ season. However, Dalton gives them a quarterback who can complete passes to their bevy of talented receivers. He was a solid quarterback for years in Cincinnati but didn’t have the talent around him. Good move by the Cowboys to sign him back in March.
And that brings me to another pet peeve. I hate to hear NFL players described as “Injury Prone,” because ALL NFL players are subject to injury. Prior to Sunday Prescott had never missed a game, but now that his ankle was turned in a direction it wasn’t supposed to go, does that make him injury prone? Certainly not!
The NFL is a tough place to make a living, and all players are subject to injury. Even Brett Favre, who holds the record for the longest streak of playing without missing a game, could have had his ankle broken during that streak if he was hit the wrong way. To me, players are not injury prone. They’re all susceptible to injury, but some are luckier than others.
In that regard, it was nice to see Alex Smith back with the Red….Washington Football Team on Sunday. Alex was not “injury prone” until he almost lost his leg a couple years ago. It’s nice to see he has made a full recovery, and if I were him I’d get the heck out of there while I can still walk.
FINDING SOMETHING THAT WASN’T LOST
Do we actually still celebrate “Columbus Day!”
I went to the bank Monday, not realizing it was a “holiday.” Columbus Day has to be the lamest holiday of them all for people who, in fact, do celebrate it. The guy “discovered” a land that already had folks living there. Do Native Americans celebrate it? I wouldn’t think so.
Maybe I can “discover” Craig County. The folks at the bank could use another day off.
AND THE FINAL SCORE WAS
Salem won 17-14 in double overtime on a 27 yard field goal by Nate Craft.