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Life around the local wide world of sports

April 25, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

I have been around track and field for some 45 years, spending the majority of my time as a jumper - high, long and triple.

I spent some time on the track, too, running both hurdles, the open quarter and 4x400.

But, one time around a track was enough for me - I'll give it all I have for one lap.

The 800 was never of interest and anything more than that was a waste of my time.

I have been around distance runners, especially the last five years since getting back into this business. I love watching people like Stephanie Morgan and Stewart Jones run.

But, they have a whole different mindset to running than us field people.

To put it bluntly, they punish their bodies a lot.

There were 26,907 runners entered into last week's Boston Marathon - 15,445 men and 11,462 women and 98.1 percent of those who started the race finished it.

Two of those finishers are from Weirton and both are women.

Weir High girls track and field coach Angela Glyptis placed 1,077th and was timed in 3:26.57.

I am guessing it's really hard for the Lady Red Riders to question their 25-year-old coach when she puts them through a grueling workout.

"How would she do if she were running this?" they could say under their breath.

Since the coach just practiced for and finished the Boston Marathon, I would think they stay quiet and say "Yes, coach."

Also starting and finishing was 28-year-old Victoria Zatezalo.

She was timed in 4:01.43.

Zatezalo finished the 26.2 mile-course while pregnant.

That is two outstanding runs.

Job well done ladies.

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of ABC's Wide World of Sports. The first show showcased the Drake Relays and the Penn Relays. The series ran through 1997.

The show ran for 90 minutes each Saturday and, if you were into sports, you did not miss it.

You saw sports like badminton, surfing, demolition derby, slow pitch softball, curling, rodeo, jai-alai, hurling, firefighters' competitions, logger sports, bowling, skiing, gymnastics, track and field, figure skating and NASCAR until the late 1980s.

In addition, we all saw: volleyball, the soap box derby, the Mr. Olympia competition, Evel Knievel's successes and failures, hydroplane racing, skateboarding championships, ice boat racing, interviews with Howard Cosell talking to Muhammed Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Rozelle, Joe Namath, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, the World Target Diving Championships, World Trampoline Championships, World Frisbee Championship, World Barrel Jumping, International Cliff Diving from Acapulco and the Joie Chitwood Auto Thrills Show.

ESPN will honor the show this week, starting today.

"Two generations of sports fans grew up on ABC's Wide World of Sports, were introduced to the broad diversity that is sport and will never forget the opening words and visuals that defined its mission," said John Skipper, ESPN executive president of content on the ESPN website. "The legacy of Wide World also lies in the blueprint that became ESPN and lives on in what we do every day, serving fans and a broad range of tastes with innovation."

ESPN Classic will air 29 consecutive hours of classic Wide World of Sports clips starting Thursday.

I understand why the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference did not allow Madonna into the baseball playoffs because it did not meet the required six OVAC games played.

If the OVAC made an exception, it was open to all exceptions in any sport from here until forever.

Madonna was not the only team not to play the minimum number of games as 11 teams of the 50 did not play six.

The difference was that most of those 11 teams could care less if they met the OVAC requirements (but that's another discussion in itself) and Madonna is the defending Class A champion.

(Side note: One of the OVAC teams, Zanesville, which rarely cared about the schedule, will no longer be a part of the OVAC next year).

So, with this being the worst rain we've seen in April in 50 years, discussions must happen during the summer to look into ways to try to make sure this doesn't happen again.

If you have an abnormal spring, why keep normal rules?

One thing I would like to see is the cutoff date the day before the semifinals and not three days before the semifinals. This would allow teams two more days to get games in.

Second, do not go to a team with the suggestion that a split-squad game would be OK to meet the requirement.

A split-squad game, in any form, is not a good idea at all.

The Blue Dons had nine OVAC games canceled, so it's not like they only had six scheduled and got four in.

One of the things teams cannot do is move up a scheduled game before the deadline to help meet the requirement.

I have a problem with that and here's why.

Last week Steubenville coach Fred Heatherington got a phone call from an OVAC baseball committee member saying they were one game short and had to get one game in or not qualify.

Big Red was scheduled to host Edison last Tuesday and visit John Marshall Wednesday, both days where rain was forecast.

So, if Edison did not have a game on Monday, why couldn't its game with Steubenville be moved up a day to get it in? Since that was not an option, Heatherington made a few phone calls and a game with Weir High, canceled on March 31, was made up and Big Red met the requirement and a chance to defend its championship.

Again, abnormal weather and normal rules.

Rescheduling is not an easy thing.

In order to reschedule a game, a team must find a willing participant, transportation and an adequate field.

That doesn't always happen.

And, while I'm on the adequate field thing, Edwin Bowman Field in Weirton needs an infield facelift because it is a complete mess.

The tarp must be replaced because it has more holes in it than a 36-hole golf facility.

After the summer Legion season ends, the infield needs to be dug up and be done correctly with good drainage and an excellent base.

Mr. Bowman, it is terrible and it has your name on it.

Madonna now needs to spend the rest of the season looking out the windshield instead of the rear view mirror.

Finally, I think we all can do without hearing an NFL owner or player saying anything about anything.

They all just need to shut up, including the administration on both sides.

I just want to hear one of three things - a deal is done, the season is postponed or the season is canceled. Any one of the three is fine with me.

The latest idiot player to speak is Chicago placekicker Robbie Gould.

"Look fans don't buy tickets to see Virginia or Brian McCaskey. They pay to watch Brian Urlacher, Drew Brees and all the great players," he told the Chicago Tribune. "This lockout is all because of the owners' greed. I'm sorry if that sounds cold, but it is the truth."

Yeah, Robbie, we know the players are never greedy.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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