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Collected Sports Natterings

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Posted: Monday, January 6, 2020 3:24 pm

A few sports subjects and thoughts from my over-flowing clipping folder… The Golden State Warriors, with their starting All-NBA backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the injured list, are currently 8-25 and tied for the second-worst record in the NBA. They are playing better of late but remain in solid position for a high draft lottery pick in the spring of 2020. Look for a resurgence of the once-dominant Warriors next year. Even center Willie Cauley-Stein, despised by Sacramento Kings fans for good reason for the past couple of seasons, has been contributing to the Warriors… Gymnast Simone Biles being named the 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year came as no surprise at Nado Natterings World Headquarters. The winner of 25 World Championship medals, four Olympic Gold medals and one Olympic Bronze medal, has two floor exercise elements, one balance beam dismount and one vault move named in her honor. She literally does things in her field no one else in the world can do… The NFL Team which used to play in San Diego, which also made a huge logistic and financial miscalculation moving to Los Angeles, finished at the bottom of the AFC West Division with a record of 5-11. Gee, that’s too bad… Congratulations to CIF Commissioner Jerry Schniepp for his coming retirement from one of the toughest jobs in prep sports, which is running the governing body for the 127 high schools in the San Diego Section. I met Schniepp several years ago when the Islander Baseball Program expanded into the Middle School level and was invited to play with the Sweetwater School District, where Schniepp ran the district’s sports programs. A year or two after Schniepp changed the CIF Playoff system from being enrollment-based to a format that encouraged competitive balance, I got called on the carpet for writing critically of the system, particularly as it applied to the sport of water polo. Overall, it was a positive session and we remained friends. Schniepp, 56, had the courage to try to change a playoff system that wasn’t working well to one that became better… Speaking of sports governing bodies, the NCAA under the direction of CEO Mark Emmert, made a sudden 180 degree reverse pivot on their stance of not allowing college athletes to benefit financially from their names, images, and likenesses while still competing at that level. Emmert threatened to expel all the universities in California from the NCAA when legislation to benefit college athletes was passed by the California Legislature. That was followed almost immediately by similar bills in several other states. Once the annual salary for Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Sweeny hit $9.3 million and Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban inked an eight-year deal worth at least $74 million, the cries of financial poverty from the major football powerhouses became laughable. If Emmert hadn’t come around to face the financial facts of life as they now exist, the Power Five Football Conferences would likely have pulled up stakes and created their own governing body, taking their basketball programs with them… One of the more memorable local events that occurred over the past year was the Celebration of Life ceremony held to honor the late Duncan ‘Sandy’ Ferguson on Nov. 16. Known universally as ‘Sandy’ if it was a formal occasion or just ‘Ferg’ most other times, the 72-year-old Ferguson made numerous outstanding contributions to Coronado High School while serving at various times as a history teacher, Athletic Director for both CHS and CMS, Coach, and later in his career, ASB Advisor. Ferg died from the complications of Alzheimer’s too young and deserved a longer retirement than he was able to have. He is greatly missed … A recent column by Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune noted that 13 college football teams with losing records in the 2019 season, will participate in FBS Bowl Games, which total 40 this year… One item in the same column by Rosenthal I disagreed with was, “Stop referring to former coaches who are now TV analysts as ‘Coach.’ It’s a job, not an elected office or cabinet position.” When I use the term, which I often do, it is meant as a sign of respect, especially at the prep and middle school levels. If you’ve ever tried to get a horde of kids organized on a field or a court and have them work toward a common goal, you’d realize the title is well-earned… Interesting note from Major League Baseball that the new collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Umpires Association has agreed to cooperate with the development and testing of an automated ball-strike system. I thought the computer umpiring concept was a minimum of five years away from coming to fruition… Here’s hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas, or the holiday celebration of your choice, and that a Happy and Prosperous New Year will follow.

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