Smith: Taking on the area sports happenings
T.G.'s Ten - It's been a while but I think I have enough material this week for a T.G.'s Ten column. So, without further ado let's get to it.
1) Talked to former Dwight Community High School graduate Clay Harbor on Wednesday. He just signed a new contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars to play tight end with the team again this season. He had played three years as a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles before that.
Clay's put together quite the football career since his last high school football game in Dwight ended at Addison-Driscoll by a 41-6 score. Harbor had the lone touchdown that day against the Highlanders while rushing eight times for 110 yards.
Seems like such a long time ago, doesn't it?
That turned out to be the fourth of seven consecutive Class 4A titles by A-D, by the way.
Clay and I didn't talk about that this time, though he did ask me to mention those from Trojan's Land that helped him get to where he is today before heading to Missouri State University.
"I'd like to thank [former head football coach] Erik Black and [assistant] coach Jeff Froelich," he said. "Also Jackie Froelich, too, for helping me get into college. I'd like to give them credit if I could."
For more on Harbor and his decision to re-sign a two-year deal with Jacksonville, pick up a copy of Tuesday's MDH.
2) Well, it now officially baseball and softball season for the area as the winter season came to a quick end around here. I am most thankful that wrestlers Cody Minnick (Coal City) and Kenny Baldridge (Morris) got state titles this winter or the boys season in general would have been a letdown. Seneca won a regional but otherwise it's hard to find positives about the winter boys season in general. Many teams turned in a good amount of winsin the regular season but I'd rather see a team go 4-18 and win a regional, like Pontiac did, myself.
3) I hope the Redskins baseball team is listening. Todd Kein's team has to be feeling some pressure coming into the year after winning 27 games last year and being edged out by LaSalle-Peru for a regional title. It's now going on 11 years since the Redskins last won a regional title. Boys you are overdue.
4) Mike Hopkins, a University of Illinois graduate, just returned to earth after the astronaut had spent 166 days at the International Space Station. Hopkins is a 1991 graduate of the U-of-I who was also the co-captain of the football team that year.
According to the AP report heavy snowfall and strong winds at the landing site almost scuttled the landing last week. Hopkins and two other Russian astronauts were have said to have landed safely in Kazakhstan, though by that description it could have been my back yard last week.
5) Speaking of Russia, don't know how much you paid attention to the winter Olympics recently but the women's hockey team won silver after losing to Canada in the finals. Buffalo Grove native Megan Bozek came back to the Chicagoland area recently to answer questions and sign autographs at Stevenson High School. She graduated there in 2009.
It's nice to see someone like that not forget their roots.
6) Legendary racehorse Native Dancer is getting a new burial site. Dancer won 34 stakes races back in the 1960s and upon passing was laid to rest at Holywood Park in Inglewood, CA.
Seems the owners cringed at the thought of leaving the remains at a place that is soon to be razed and replaced with shopping malls. That just sounds so California-like doesn't it? Scrubbing a historic sports place where legends the likes of Seabiscuit ran for another mall.
Dancer's remains are being taken to Del Mar racetrack for a new burial site.
7) This one is a bit heinous. Last week at a suburban high school in Cleveland, students were accused of bullying a 14-year old developmentally challenged boy in gym class. The victim was allegedly knocked down, kicked and dragged around by his feet while the gym teacher ignored the behavior. Thankfully the boy was not seriously injured and the school is taking action.
Man, and I thought worrying about getting swirlies from the upper classmen in Old Man Dergo's gym classes was bad back in the day.
8) Chicago White Sox historian Richard C. Lindberg will be at the Morris Library on March 25 with an interactive presentation called The White Sox - From the Very Beginning. The event starts at 6 p.m.
Now that sounds cool.
9) Speaking of the White Sox, I think Robin Ventura's team could be a fooler team this summer. I like the addition of Jose Abreu, third baseman Matt Davidson and outfielder Adam Eaton. That's the best facelift to a team that I can remember in quite a while in one offseason for the Sox, meaning that there is at least something worth tuning in for this summer after a dreadful 99-loss season.
10) And the Cubs? Well, according to the Theo Epstein-rebuild, this is once again supposed to be a rebuilding year.
In other words Cubs' fans, wait until next year.
T.G. Smith is the sports editor of the Morris Daily Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org