Helping others!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 24, 2016 #616 Up Next…Helping others!

After further review…A longtime friend and former LSU basketball coach, Dale Brown, sent me this story: When Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Bencia (CA.) Police Department spotted a lone, lanky black teenager walking on Industrial Way sometime after 11 p.m., he wondered what the young man was doing out there by himself. Industrial Way in Benicia is not known for being pedestrian-friendly. So he stopped his patrol car and called out to 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan, who was equally startled. Jourdan became nervous, but said to himself, “I haven’t done anything wrong, but… is he gonna cuff me?”

told Cpl. Keffer that he had just gotten off his packaging-line job at Pro-Form Labs in Benicia and was walking to his home in Vallejo. “That’s seven miles away,” Keffer said. Duncan said he had just graduated from Bethel High School, his car had broken down, so he was walking to save money, and didn’t want to burden others for rides. Duncan had figured it out to be a two-and-a-half hour walk; but with his headphones on, he said he could just power-walk it!
Officer Keffer was impressed with Duncan’s determination and drove him home, a 15- minute ride. “At age 18,” Keffer said to Duncan, “that’s a good work ethic to have, just keep doing what you’re doing.” When Keffer returned to the police station, he wondered how he could help Duncan and, perhaps, eliminate the stress of that five mile walk. Keffer set his project in action.

Polling the Bencia Police Officers’ Association, he convinced the board to buy Duncan a bicycle, but not just any bike considering the steep hills Duncan had to navigate. Through the help of shop owner, Greg Andrade, they came up with a $500 Giant-brand bike complete with a lighting system, brake light, and helmet.

Shortly thereafter at Pro-Form Labs, Duncan’s boss told him to go outside since “some policemen want to see you.” Again, Duncan’s heart was in his throat! Keffer and other officers were waiting; Keffer said, “We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication,” and then presented Duncan with the bike. Duncan’s expression of gratitude included, “The walk isn’t hard. It’s like a challenge – a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes.”

The TunneySide steps aside from its usual presentation of stories dealing with sports, to relate the impressiveness of Duncan’s challenge, coupled with police officers who help others every day. Yet when they do, these acts of kindness are so often overlooked. This story is dedicated to those men and women in our police force who go beyond to help others.
Will you be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?

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“Quiet Respect!”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 17, 2016 #615 Up next… “Quite Respect!”

After further review…As was his style, Dr. Dick Enberg left his broadcasting career with a “walk-off” grand slam the first week in October, 2016. After 60 years behind-the-mike, Enberg “touched them all” one last time and “headed back to the clubhouse.” But he walked away with the quiet respect he earned from all who knew him or heard him on air. Oh, he’ll stay active; in fact, he’s interested in teaching—again! His Ph.D. from Indiana University, an extensive background in the world of sports, and his values of hard work and integrity, make him an ideal teacher for young people. His soft spoken style makes him easy to listen to. His sports colleagues call him “Professor.” But I get ahead of myself.

It was November 17, 1965 when the UCLA Bruins Basketball T*E*A*M vacated the Mens’ Gym, aka the “B.O. Barn,” to play its first game in the new Pauley Pavilion. I was privilege to referee that game, played between the varsity team and the freshman team, which featured the 7’0” Lewis Alcindor (before his name change to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). High up in that new pavilion was the Bruins’ radio announcer, Dick Enberg, who announced those games on KMPC for eight years. Simultaneously, he was the voice of the Los Angeles Rams and California Angels on KMPC. Enberg was named California Sportscaster of the Year four times during that era.

Since we both lived in Southern California in the 60s and 70’s, our paths crossed many times. But in one particular instance, we made history together. It was in 1980 during the AFC Championship game between the Houston Oilers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Three Rivers Stadium. Enberg, teamed with Merlin Olsen, broadcast that playoff game for NBC, and I was honored to be the Referee. Well, maybe I was. Near the end of that game, there was a controversial call made; our crew ruled a catch made by Oilers receiver Mike Renfro incomplete, a decision that denied Houston a game-tying touchdown as the third quarter ended. Enberg and Olsen questioned the incomplete ruling on the air, Enberg saying “If the NFL had instant replay, that call may have been overturned.” The call provided impetus for the eventual adoption of replay technology.

With such limited space here, it is not possible to provide a complete review of Enberg’s announcing career. But suffice it to list: college football and basketball; the NFL, including Super Bowls; “Breakfast at Wimbledon”; the NBA; PGA golf; the California Angles; the World Series; and after all that concluding his broadcasting career with the San Diego Padres. He has been awarded the Ford Frick Award in MLB and the Pete Rozelle Award in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Enberg in widely known for his expression of “Oh, my!” which he excitedly exclaimed into the mike when a spectacular play happened on the field or court. For this writer, however, the measure of the Professor will always be the value of his friendship off the field, more than any game in which we were involved.

Will log-in on your favorite Dick Enberg broadcast?

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“Built for the Moment”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 10, 2016 #614 Up…” Built for the Moment”

After further review…” Everybody ain’t built for the moment,” said Deion Sanders, NFL analyst and former player. What prompted #21’s comment was an errant move by Terrance Williams, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys (for whom Sanders once played). In the first regular season game of 2016, with just seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, the New York Giants were leading 20-19. The “built-for-the-moment” idiom by Sanders reflected his opinion that Williams, who caught a pass from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, should have immediately stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. Williams didn’t!

This is not a diatribe against Williams, but an elucidation of that magical thing called “the moment.” To review: The pass from Prescott to Williams was the right play and both knew, along with the 90,000 in AT&T Stadium, that the necessary conclusion of the play was to catch the ball and step out of bounds. That move would have given Dan Bailey, Cowboys’ field goal kicker, time to set up for a 61-yard attempt at winning the game. Bailey had kicked a 56-yarder earlier in that game, and was 23-of-31 from distances of 50 yards. Bailey never got that chance.

Williams caught the pass and ran for three more yards as time expired on the play. What was he thinking? To state the obvious, he was trying to get three more yards for Bailey’s attempt, but failed to remember how much time remained on the clock. What is being emphasized here is that skill is not enough to play any game. Game knowledge in equally important, and maybe more important. We’ve all seen players who have great athletic skill, but lack a more refined understand of what it takes to be successful. The “it” refers to that special quality that is necessary to win. Well, what is “it?” Some observers would say, “I can’t describe ‘it’ exactly, but I know it when I see it!”
Preparation is certainly a factor. Ben Franklin (no, he didn’t play for the Eagles) reminds us: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Coaches do that in their daily practices and quarterbacks do that in the huddle prior to a play. It just didn’t happen in the huddle this time, and the Giants won 20-19. For Williams, failing to stop the clock probably won’t happen again. His error practically guarantees that he will be better prepared for the next “it” moment when it happens.

Will you prepare thoroughly so that you are ready when that moment arrives?

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“Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” is chock-full of stories that can help prepare for that moment our lives. Available for $20. Free mailing. Email to the above. Thank You!

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