Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two years, 100 columns, and a special time of the year

This column was written for publication in The Lebanon Democrat on September 7, 2009.

SAN DIEGO – About two years ago, I commenced writing columns for “The Democrat” from the Southwest Corner.

I probably wouldn’t have even thought about the upcoming anniversary, but this also happens to be the 100th titled column.

Another cue comes from news up the Southwest corner road. I wrote several articles about the October 2007 San Diego fires. The 100,000-plus acres burning just northwest of Los Angeles reminds me of those harrowing days. The LA fires have everyone in San Diego looking at the skies, hoping we will escape unscathed this time around.

Back at home, the Fair is over, school has started, and football is roaring its autumn song. I am glad the Titans have not diluted the enthusiasm for high school and college ball. In fact, observing from this distance, it appears enthusiasm for high school and college football is stronger than when I was growing up there.

Commodore followers, although they have not yet reached the level of Vol mania, have viable expectations of competing well at the highest level. Middle Tennessee’s Blue Raiders, although losing to Clemson, have proven they can play exciting football required in the Sun Belt Conference. Cumberland appears to have some excitement after losing their opener by one point.

If I count correctly in reading Andy Reid and cohorts, there are five respectable high school football teams to follow. I wonder if the Wilson Central, Mt. Juliet, and Lebanon rivalries will have the intensity of the Castle Heights and LHS friendly rivalry (and that was when we only played a pre-season scrimmage).

San Diego Sports

In the Southwest corner, Charger football is now a big topic. San Diego State and the University of San Diego are both generating football optimism.
Baseball retains some attention. Although the San Diego Padres have been lackluster for most of the season, the infusion of rookies has made them a credible ballclub again, and fans are starting to think of next year.

The signing of Steven Strasburg by the Washington Nationals for an absurd amount of money as the number one draft pick has folks anticipating him quickly becoming a star pitcher. A San Diego native, Strasburg certainly had eyes popping when he pitched for Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs last spring, winning the Golden Spike award for the best college baseball player.

Of course, none of these are the central sports news here. The Little League World Champions, Park View of Chula Vista, have this city agog. Four players are in Bonita Vista Middle School which our daughter attended. The players have been regaled by the Chargers and the Padres, had a parade, and will have been on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien by the time you read this. Many here in the Southwest corner are concerned the players may experience difficulty dealing with the adoration while trying to get back into the routine of middle school.

Football & Fire Connection

There is a crossroads between the sports and the news in the Southwest corner. The San Diego State football team lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl this weekend. The Padres are playing three games in Dodger Stadium with hopes of being the spoiler in the NL Western Division.

The games were played but discussion continues as to the wisdom of holding the contests. Although 49 percent contained (whatever that means), The Los Angeles “Station” fire still rages above the hills of Pasadena. Fire, smoke and ash dominate the landscape, possibly making the games dangerous for athletes and fans. Although the Santa Ana and its accompanying heat have abated, high daily temperatures remain in the high-80s.
Celebrating Number 100

The San Diego Symphony presents concerts on the city bay front each summer. Most performances feature a noted singer or soloist for the “Summer Pops series.” But this past Saturday, we went for the the music and the accompanying effects. We were treated to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with cannon fire and fireworks.

Although an unusual entertainment for me, I enjoyed it immensely. It was a great way to celebrate 100 “Notes from the Southwest Corner,” and welcome in football, school, and the season, even if I though I am still looking over my shoulder for another kind of fire.

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