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Grizzled scribe begins 30th year of gridiron action

What is a grizzled sports writer supposed to look like?

What is a grizzled sports writer supposed to look like?

There’s splotches of gray in his beard and bags under his eyes.Look closely and there’s still an occasional twinkle.

In 30 years of sports writing, some readers have threatened topull his hair out or commit much worse mayhem on his body. Time hastaken care of the hairline.

Would you believe he once did shampoo commercials?

He still has most of his teeth but they all have been filled bya dentist at one time or another. Countless hours spent chewing andsucking on hard candy while driving to a game or writing a storyhave caused quite a bit of damage. Thank goodness for sugarlessgum.

Chewing gum while on deadline helps relieve tension. It replaceda serious chain-smoking habit about 15 years ago. In the good olddays, it wasn’t unusual to smoke about five Winstons while poundingout a column in the smoke-filled newsroom.

We still miss those cigarettes, especially after lunch andsupper. We briefly tried chewing tobacco and we enjoyed it, but mywife, Laurie, wouldn’t tolerate the disgusting habit.

Obviously, this scribe has gratefully accepted numerous Cokesand hamburgers over the years. Journalists rarely turn down a freemeal. My growing waistline is graphic evidence of that benefit.

Thank God for good health. In 30 years on the job, I’ve probablymissed five days of work.

The toughest game I ever covered was five years ago whenBrookhaven played McComb. On that cool November Friday afternoon, Ihad briskly climbed a stepladder at our home with the intention ofbrushing out the chimney.

Oops!

The ladder slipped on the patio deck as I prepared to make thefinal step onto the roof.

Ouch!

An 8-foot fall to the wooden deck could have been fatal.Fortunately, my guardian angel cushioned the landing. I stillbruised a kidney when I landed on the aluminum ladder and earned myfirst ride in an ambulance.

Miraculously, there were no broken bones; just an aching body.The Brookhaven-McComb game was witnessed and dutifully covered thatnight on King Field. The Panthers played like I felt….poorly.

Looking ahead to Friday night’s season opener, the adrenalinstill flows when that first kickoff approaches. Football is fun towatch, especially on the high school and college levels. Highschoolers play with a lot of heart and give it their all, with nopromise of either a scholarship or financial reward awaiting themat game’s end.

Make sure you support your favorite team tomorrow night.

Coaxed off his mountain near Asheville, N.C., Professor HooplaB.S., has agreed to a high-priced contract and another season ofpredicting the winners of football games. It is a difficult taskbut Hoopla promises to do his best.

Here’s a preview of Friday night’s winners.

Franklin County at Loyd Star: All signs are pointing toa Bulldog victory. It should be a thriller. Franklin County35-28.

St. Andrew’s at Bogue Chitto: This could be the year ofthe Bobcats. Bogue Chitto 24-8.

Enterprise at West Lincoln: These two Lincoln Countyrivals will clash again in October. This time it’s Enterprise26-13.

Central Hinds at Brookhaven Academy: In a battle of theCougars, the Lincoln County Cats claw their second win of theseason. Brookhaven Academy 30-12.

Lawrence County at Mendenhall: It should be an offensiveextravaganza as the defending state champion Cougars make theirdebut on the road. Lawrence County 38-28.

Crystal Springs at Wesson: How much have the Tigersimproved since last year? Wesson 14-12.

In other area games, Velma Jackson will beat Hazlehurst21-7, Central Holmes will dump Copiah Academy 17-7, Hattiesburgwill clip McComb 17-14, South Pike will sack T.L. Weston 28-8 andParklane will punish Adams County Christian School 42-0. Brookhavenand North Pike have open dates to scout theopposition.