Never an ordinary year!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 5, 2015 #522 Up next…Never an ordinary year!

After review…Robert Burns, Scotland’s favorite son (unless you are Craig Ferguson fan), is regarded as the national poet of Scotland who wrote “Auld Lang Sang”, often sung at Hogmanay –the last day of the year.  A pastor friend of mine referred to that poem in a recent homily admonishing his congregation to not let it become ordinary.  He was referring to those in his church who allow church to become ordinary, overlooking those who spend tireless hours preparing, planning and fundraising.

As we begin 2015, this writer is grateful to each of you who read these TunneySides.  The goal is to not allow any column/weblog be ordinary. Further, the challenge is to not let events in one’s life become ordinary, but treat each as a privileged opportunity.

January 1st is a day of football for many. The NCAA decided to not let its bowl games become ordinary. For the first time they created a Division One playoff. The Rose Bowl half of this playoff was won by Oregon, especially important to me since my daughter (Maureen) and grandson (Jake) are alumni; but also because I grew up just four miles from the Rose Bowl – it’s like a second-home to me.

My dad was a football official and I attended many games (carrying his gear bag) in that “Granddaddy-of-them-all”.  Sitting on the home T*E*A*M bench one game, my dad said, “Now watch this halfback (playing for Pasadena Junior College) he is really something special.” I was nine – sitting next to Jackie Robinson.

Attending Occidental College I was fortunate to play for the Tigers in the Rose Bowl. Further, I Referred many high school championships there as well as the Junior Rose Bowl game (the national junior college championship) three times. When the NFL decided to hold Super Bowl XI (1977) there, I was fortunate to be selected as the Referee. That game was 30 years to the month after my dad had Refereed the 1947 Rose Bowl game. That stadium will never be ordinary to me.

Will you treat every life experience in 2015 as more than just ordinary?

To contact Jim go to or email

The Monterey Herald advertised a “special” offer – three books I have authored: Impartial Judgment, It’s the Will, Not the Skill, and 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports      as a package deal – all three ($60) for just $40. Please use the email address above       for your order and include names for which you wish them autographed.


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