“It’s Only me!”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS October 3, 2016 # 613 Up next…” It’s Only me!”

After further review… When Vin Scully, Fordham University Class of ’49, returned to give the commencement speech to the Class of 2000, it was the first time he had been on campus since his Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1958. He began his address by telling the candidates for graduation gathered in the Vincent T. Lombardi Field House that “I am not a military man, nor a business guru, nor a philosopher or author. It’s only me.” “Only me!” Ya gotta be kiddin’!

“Red” as he was commonly known because of the bright hue of his neatly combined shock of hair, is leaving his 67-year “post” as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ radio and television announcer. If you missed his final series when his Dodgers visited the San Francisco Giants October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, it was perhaps the greatest of sports broadcaster in history delivering a coda to an incomparable career. Moreover, Vin is one on the finest gentleman the sport of baseball has ever produced. The word iconic does not do justice to the man.

As Sports Illustrated’s writer, Tom Verducci, once wrote, “It is as difficult to imagine baseball without Scully as it is to imagine the game without 90 feet between the bases.” Both, it seems, have been around forever. Summer will never be the same for a stadium full of Dodgers fans listening to him. “Wait a minute!” you shout. “Scully is not the public address announcer!” No, but if you attend a game in Dodger Stadium, you will find thousands of fans clutching their transistor radios or streaming live feeds from their phones, listening to him describe the game they are watching live. His unique style and eloquence, not to be denied, comes from his Latin class at Fordham called Eloquence Perfecta, which speaks for itself.

Scully and I met in the early’60s when I attended games at the new home of the Dodgers in Chavez Revine. One of my lifelong friends, Rollie Seidler, had the good sense to marry Teresa O’Malley, daughter of Walter O’Malley, then owner of the Dodgers. But it was in the mid-70s when Scully and I became closer. CBS invited Scully to do play-by-play for their upcoming NFL games. I was superintendent of schools in Bellflower Unified School District and officiating NFL games on the weekends and Monday Night Football, when Vin called and asked if I would sit down with him to discuss NFL rules and interpretations.

I accepted the honor of working with this great man. We met several times that summer at Dodger Stadium prior to games he was broadcasting. Scully worked some seven seasons in his role as a CBS play-by-play announcer finishing his NFL career with “The Catch” game between the Cowboys and the 49ers, in which I was the Referee. My life is better because of my friendship with Red.

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

Some wonderful stories of great people Jim has met and worked with are in his latest book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20. which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. Contact through above email. Thank You!

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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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