Sports can bring hope and optimism!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 31, 2016 #617 Up next… Sports can bring hope and optimism!


After further review…It has been often said, “I always read the sport pages first, before I turn to the front page of my morning paper, since sporting events can give me an optimistic view of life and hope for the future.” That sounds understandable considering war-torn countries, continuous act of terrorism, widespread murder and violence, extreme poverty, homelessness, uncivil behavior—should I go on?

Unfortunately, some of the news that greets us in the sports pages these days concerns sports stars (as opposed to athletes—the distinction to follow) involved in drug use, domestic violence, and other egregious charges. Many such stars (and fans alike) tend to excuse this sort of behavior, claiming that social media magnifies allegations way out of proportion. It is the belief here that we must hold our sports stars to a higher standard. And here I draw the distinction: a sports “star” may possess special physical prowess, but an “athlete,” in addition to competitive skill, also embraces exemplary integrity, citizenship, sportsmanship, and character!

As another Major League Baseball season ends, we may wonder whatever happened to the ethos personified by “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance,” the famous Chicago Cubs double play combo that Franklin Pierce Adams wrote so eloquently about over 100 years ago. Kids for generation after generation admired their athletic play, and their respectful approach to their opponents and the game itself. Too ancient for you? Has athletic style and grace gone “out of play?” The contention here is that it still exists, if you can get beyond all the media nonsense! In true athletic competition, you don’t hear opponents putting each other down, but more likely voicing their own T*E*A*M’s intention to win!

Moving to our political arena, present day candidates unfortunately are more likely to tell you (rightly or wrongly) how terrible or unqualified their opponents are, than they are to assure you what they can do for you. You don’t hear that from the sports world. More often than not you will hear athletes broadcast the qualities and abilities that their teams possess, and why you should “root” for them.

Will we ever get candidates vying for a position with the mindset of proclaiming their qualities in place of demeaning their opponents? Of course, it is Halloween, and amongst all of the ghouls and demons running loose perhaps there are a few with good character. Athletic character!

Will you put forth your best effort to adopt a positive view of the future?

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Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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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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Be sure to get Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports. Please use email above. These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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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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Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” had many such stories of sports personalities who have crossed his path. Available for $20, which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. Please contact via email address. Thank You!

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