A Moment in History

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 26, 2016 #612 Up…A Moment in History

After further review…A variety of people, from Maya Angelou to George Carlin, have been credited with the saying: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; life is measured by the moments that take our breath away.” Most of us have experienced those moments through the births of our children, the accomplishments of friends and loved ones, or other personal events that inspire and encourage. I’m sure you’ve had many.

As I watched the September 19, 2016 MNF game played between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, one of those moments was brought forward from my memory bank. While it pales in comparison to the transformative personal experiences described above, the memory of the “Fog Bowl” will forever be indelibly etched in my mind. It was Saturday, December 31, 1988 at Soldier Field in Chicago, in an NFC divisional playoff game.
The Eagles hadn’t done much in NFL playoffs since 1980, when Head Coach Dick Vermeil took them to Super Bowl XV, only to lose to the Oakland Raiders. Yet for this divisional game the Eagles arrived having won seven of their last eight games under Head Coach Buddy Ryan, who just two years earlier was the defensive guru with the Bears in their Super Bowl XX victory.

You can be certain of one thing in Chicago at time of year: the weather will be unpredictable! And it sure was! The day started out with beautiful weather. Kick off was scheduled for noon. Everything that morning at the stadium proceeded as it should, and the game got underway. However, at the two-minute notification in the second quarter with the Bears leading 17- 6, fog began to roll in from Lake Michigan, which is adjacent to Soldier Field. Somewhat thick fog, I thought, but nothing that would impact the play on the field. The first half ended with that score and we left for our dressing rooms.

As we began the second half the fog had completely blanked the entire field and the question became: do we continue or postpone? The NFL rule book places that responsibility in the hands of the referee, and that was me! This was a divisional playoff, with the winner advancing to the NFC conference championship next weekend, so the stakes were high. I conferred with both head coaches – Ryan of the Eagles and Mike Ditka of the Bears, as well as the NFL commissioner’s representative, Don Weiss, and they agreed with me that we should continue. Television cameras and fans in the seats struggled to make out what was happening in that second half, but on the field there was enough visibility to play football, excluding perhaps the deep passing game. Final score: Bears, 20, Eagles 12. It was a defining moment!

Will you enjoy and appreciate those “moments” that happen in your life?

To contact Jim, www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Many such “moments” are available in “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now offered at $20. which includes tax, shipping and autograph, if requested. Use above email. Thank You!

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“The Missing Man”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 19, 2016 #611 up next…” The Missing Man”

After further review…Does it need to be repeated how important every T*E*A*M member can be? The old saw: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” tells just a part of the story. Each member’s contribution to its culture is a vital element of any successful team regardless of the circumstances.

To illustrate, the University of Nebraska football team began its 2016 season in an atmosphere of loss. On July 25, punter Sam Foltz, 22 and a senior, was killed in an auto accident in Wisconsin while driving home from a summer camp for punters. Also killed in that accident was former Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler. Fortunate to survive that crash was Colby Delahoussaye, an LSU team member. The accident was caused by a wet roadway; no alcohol or drugs were involved. Such a tragedy for these men, who were so admired by their colleges.

So what did the Nebraska T*E*A*M do in its opening game against the Fresno State (CA) Bulldogs? In their first offensive series of plays the Cornhuskers were fourth-and-four on their own 32-yard line. Naturally, they opted to punt. Ten players ran onto the field and set themselves in punt formation. But wait! There was no punter lined up to punt. It should have been Sam Foltz, of course. The 10 Cornhuskers just waited – and waited – and waited – until the play clock expired, causing delay of game and the resulting 5-yard penalty. The Bulldogs head coach Jim DeRuyter told his players to just stand there and not to accept the penalty.

Mike Riley, in his second year as the Cornhuskers head coach, had forewarned the Big Ten game officials and Coach DeRuyter of this opportunistic play. Drew Brown, Foltz’s closest friend, pointed skyward as the Nebraska players, both on the field and on the sideline “took a knee” as the play clock counted down to zero. The Bulldogs players, knowing the motivation behind this unusual salute, stood and applauded as did the 90,013 fans in the stands.

Coach Riley, who previously coached at Oregon State and for three years in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, won his 100th game as the Cornhuskers prevailed that day, 43-10. Riley said later “There was no better way to start this season than paying tribute to a fine young man”.

Will you recognize the full value of each individual on your T*E*A*M?

contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Be sure to get “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for just $20. which includes tax, shipping and autograph, if requested. Please use above email address. Thank You! TunneySide of Sports has many examples of teamwork!

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True Meaning of Sports

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 12, 2016 #610 Up next…True Meaning of Sports!

After further review…A recent TunneySide extolled the virtues of the Special Olympic Games. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a judge, as well as an award presenter to these courageous special athletes. What is “special” about them not only is the overcoming of their physical, mental or emotional challenges, but their outward display of love and sportsmanship for their fellow competitors.

If you know the physical makeup of Down’s Syndrome, you are familiar with their short legs, larger head and a smile, always a smile on their faces. At one of these summer games, I witnessed sportsmanship at its finest. A young Down’s Syndrome competitor, was leading the others in the 400-meter run, when nearing the finish line, he tripped and fell. The other six competitors seeing this, stopped and picked him up, and then proceeded – together –across the finish line. A gesture of sportsmanship that’s often missing in many sporting events. Or is it?

One of those epic moments happened in one of the heats in the Women’s 5000-meter run, during the recent XXXIst Olympiad. With 4-1/2 laps of the 12-1/2 lap race remaining, U.S. runner Abbey D’Agostino fell while running mid-pack and clipped the feet of New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, causing both to tumble spectacularly on the track. As Hamblin laid there on the ground somewhat dazed, she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was her rival, D’Agostino, who said, “Come on get up. We have to finish the race.”

Until that moment, those two had never met, nor spoken to each other. As D’Agostino started to help Hamblin up, her knee buckled. Seeing this, Hamblin returned the favor giving physical support to D’Agostino. They both continued at their own speed to finish the race. Hamblin’s time, 16:43:16, and D’Agostino’s, 17:10:02 — far beyond their normal. Because they were not at fault for the fall, both were advanced through to the finals three days later. D’Agostino was not physically able to run in that final. Hamblin did, but did not medal. Both certainly will remember this Olympiad and, hopefully, so will you; not for the medal count, but for sportsmanship!

This is how sports should be. Competition is important and can be entertaining, but humanity out weights them both!
Will you compete with all your strength and will, but with sportsmanship first and foremost?

To contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Jim’ books and video tapes are full of ideas and suggestions about sportsmanship and competition. Available at the above email. These TunneySide’s take issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for better living. Thank You!

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