District XI HOF

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

On Sunday night, the second class was inducted into the District XI Hall of Fame.  Fourteen inaugural members were welcomed last year and 17 new members were inducted in this, the second year.  Since I have been around a long time (hopefully, not too long), I was very familiar with almost all of the 17 new members.

I covered Jackie Adamshick at Central Catholic where she scored 1,848 points and led her team to two state championships in 2001 and 2002.  She was 1st team All-State in 2002.  She went on to Villanova where she scored 1,372 points, with 703 rebounds.  Villanova was in the NCAA tournament during her time there.

The late Mike Lisetski was the coach for Northampton baseball for 32 years and was an assistant football coach at Northampton for 24 years.  He won nine baseball championships and three District championships.  He was just as well known for being a PIAA official and later an NFL official for 18 years.  Mike officiated the first Super Bowl in 1966.

Anyone who knows Lehigh Valley basketball knows the name Pete Lisicky of Whitehall.  He still is their all-time leading scorer with 1,974 points.  His teams won three EPC titles and two District championships.  He was voted one of Pennsylvania’s top 150 high school players of all time.  Pete went on to an outstanding career at Penn State and 11 years playing professional basketball overseas.

Bill Paulik was the very first basketball coach at Salisbury and remained in that capacity for 30 years.  His teams won 539 games, 20 league titles, and four District championships.  His 1992-93 teams were undefeated.  His 1983 team won 26 games.

The most intense coach I came across was Don Rohn.  As a wrestler, Rohn won two PIAA state championships.  He went on to win an AAU National Championship and was a three-time NCAA All-American.  I best remember him, however, as the wrestling coach at Northampton.  His teams won eight straight EPC titles; three MVC championships; five District dual meet titles; and six state team titles.   He was named coach of the year a total of 12 times by three different groups.

Speaking of intense coaches, Dick Schmidt ranks right up there.  He coached at Dieruff for 15 years and switched to coaching the Bethlehem Catholic girls for eight years.  He won at both places – in one, four-year stretch at Dieruff, his teams won four consecutive EPC titles and four consecutive District titles making it to the PIAA semifinals twice.  He went on to win four District titles with the Beca girls.

I was very familiar with some of the others even though they were not part of  television coverage – Chanelle Price, a track star at Easton and Tennessee; Jack Wabby, a 19-year chairman of the District XI: and Betsy Wilson, the First Lady of District XI female athletics.

The District XI Hall of Fame was a long time coming, but much needed.  Whitehall Athletic Director Bob Hartman deserves much of the credit for getting it all started.  The good news is we have just scratched the surface of those who deserve admission to this prestigious group.  Certainly, there are many, many more to come.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. How about the atmosphere at State College on Saturday night? The “white-out” was extremely impressive and the football game was equally thrilling.  A dropped pass in the end zone by a Michigan wide receiver would have tied the game.  Penn State has moved into the #6 spot in the national polls.  Michigan State is next.  Ohio State is November 23. 
  1. Have you watched Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers this year? He and Tom Brady are the calmest quarterbacks in the pocket you will ever see.  They are so experienced it is as if they know exactly where the onrushing defensive players are all the time.  Rodgers threw for five TDs on Sunday and ran for one.  Some players are worth every penny the team pays them. 
  1. Baseball needs to find a way to shorten the games, particularly in the post season. It was not unusual for the Yankees-Astros to go four hours or more in what should have been a riveting series for the television viewer.  It is hard to convince any fan to set aside 4-5 hours to watch a baseball game.  The sad part is the games were outstanding, but how many missed the end? 
  1. The Eagles are fortunate that they are in the NFC East. The Giants and the Redskins are not good so the race will be between the Cowboys and the Philadelphia.  Even though the Cowboys outplayed them badly on Sunday night, there are plenty of games left.  Dallas has a bye this week while the Eagles take on the 5-1 Bills.  This might just be a “must win”. 
  1. Emmaus travels to Parkland on Friday and RCN-TV will bring the game across the state on PCN. The game will be broadcast LIVE at 7:00PM.  That game will be followed by the Easton-Nazareth match-up at 9:30PM.  A Nazareth win and they will be the EPC South Division champs.

Lafayette takes on Bucknell on Saturday at 3:30PM.  Then, it’s Freedom-Liberty for bragging rights in Bethlehem.  Tune in at 7:00PM.


GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 10-4)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 71-33-1  68%)
 

MINNESOTA

DETROIT

TENNESSEE

CHICAGO

SEATTLE

JACKSONVILLE

BUFFALO

RAMS

NEW ORLEANS

HOUSTON

SAN FRANCISCO

INDIANAPOLIS

NEW ENGLAND

 GREEN BAY

PITTSBURGH

 

 

Who Wins NFC East?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Well, we are six games into the NFL season and what do we know? I think we know that we didn’t know much about this year. Who would have believed that the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Rams would currently be on losing streaks? Would you believe that the Saints and the Panthers could both be on winning streaks AFTER they lost their starting quarterbacks?

Thank goodness (or of all teams why them?) the New England Patriots just continue to win, although even they haven’t looked all that invincible despite going 6-0. And teams like the 49’ers (5-0), Bills (4-1), and Texans (4-2) are surprising us.  That leads me to the NFC East – no team has a winning record! Dallas and the Eagles are 3-3; the Giants are 2-4; and the Redskins are 1-5 (they replaced their coach this week and barely beat the hapless Dolphins). So who wins the Division?

The Cowboys looked great the first three weeks against weak teams. They have looked anything like a team guaranteed the NFC East title in a mediocre (and that’s kind) division. “America’s team” is now mired in a three-game losing streak. They even lost this past week to the New York Jets (1-4). There are rumblings of discontent about their head coach and the team just seems lethargic at times during the game. Not many positives coming out of Dallas for a team that started 3-0.

Then, there is the Eagles. They have serious problems in their secondary. This past Sunday against the Vikings, the secondary was not competitive. It became obvious that Rasoul Douglas and Sidney Jones cannot cover the top receivers in the NFL without help. Will the injured Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox solve the problem? Jalen Mills still hasn’t played. There is no deep threat on the offensive side, so Carson Wentz is stuck throwing short passes, primarily to his two tight ends. This means if you “get behind the sticks”, drives stall. This adds
up to losses.

The Giants do not look like contenders, even though they are improved and the presence of Saquon Barkley (expected back next game) could certainly make them dangerous. Their offensive line does not look at all like championship material. If the Giants win this year, the division should be ashamed of themselves.

Then, there is the Redskins. We now know they are better than the Dolphins, but so, too, are the other 30 teams in the league. Enough said. It is hard to say who will win the NFC East. It may be easier to say which team will lose it less.

Eagles’ fans should not get too discouraged just yet. Remember, no one else in that division is very good either.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. Quarterbacks are often given too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses, but the performance by Sam Darnold of the previously winless New York Jets over the Dallas Cowboys seems to disprove the adage. Darnold, who missed three games due to mononucleosis, passed for 383 yards and two TDs. The Jets looked like a different team. Give credit to the quarterback.

2. Don’t bet on the Atlanta Falcons. They are snake bitten. This past week, they fought their way back to within a point needing only an extra point to tie the game. Of course, they missed it and lost to the Cardinals. They were in the Super Bowl three years ago and now they are 1-5.

3. I am not a Yankees fan, but baseball needed them in the playoffs. Television was hoping for a Yankees-Dodgers World Series, I’m sure, but the Yankees-Astros series will be every bit as entertaining for the Division championship.  The walk-off home run by Carlos Correa on Sunday night in the 11 th inning showcased baseball at its best.

4. When there is a 2-1 vote, 2 usually wins, right? Not in the case of Gabe Kapler, the former Phillies manager. John Middleton, the Phillies’ managing partner, overruled his president and his general manager, both of whom wanted to keep Kapler. The Phillies are now looking for a manager. It’s good to be king!

5. Parkland travels to Easton with District XI ramifications this weekend on RCN-TV. The game will be broadcast LIVE at 7:00PM.

GARY’GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 8-6) (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 61-29-1 68%)

KANSAS CITY
GIANTS
HOUSTON
BUFFALO
MINNESOTA
GREEN BAY
JACKSONVILLE
RAMS
SAN FRANCISCO
TENNESSEE
SEATTLE
NEW ORLEANS
PHILADELPHIA
NEW ENGLAND

 

 

What Happens Now?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

The NCAA has a huge mess on its hands.  This past week, the governor of California signed into law a bill that now allows California student-athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, likeness, or image.  They also can hire agents to represent them.  It’s called the Fair Pay to Play Act.  Several other states have said they would also pass a similar law.  Pennsylvania is one of them.

The NCAA strictly prohibits their athletes to be compensated.  So what happens now?

The quandary: Today, if you go into any store and buy a jersey, a poster, a mug, etc., with a player’s name, number, or face on it, the team or university derives some sort of royalty for that purchase.  The student-athlete receives nothing.  Obviously, the case can be made that the athlete is, in most cases, receiving a full scholarship and a complete education for his efforts.  Does the athlete deserve more or are they getting enough?

All students have the ability to work after-school hours in order to make some money.  Should we now consider athletes who “work” every day as a member of a team someone who should have the right to make money, if there is a demand for their wares directly associated with the university?

Sports agents at the college level are often portrayed as sleazy people who sneak around in the shadows of NCAA athletics.  Now, a student-athlete risks everything if they are lured into an illegal arrangement with an agent to gain financial rewards.  Often, these stories center around students who come from poor backgrounds and the lure of financial gain is quite enticing even at the risk of losing eligibility and their scholarship.  Should they now openly be allowed to hire an agent to help them get the best deal for their talent?

Colleges, universities, and the NCAA make billions of dollars on their product.  Coaches get paid millions at major sports institutions. Shouldn’t the athletes have the opportunity to share in those funds?

And, finally, will this law make these young people more athlete than student?  Will they spend more time setting up appearances and endorsement opportunities that they spend in the classroom?  Will academics take a back seat to the now-legal lure of making as much money as one can in the short time available to a student-athlete?

There are plenty of questions with, I’m sure, plenty of different answers.  And once again, it will be the courts that will decide the issue.  What is your opinion?  How would you rule in this case? For the athletes or for the universities?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Interesting move by the Phillies this week. They fired their pitching coach, Chris Young.  This makes me believe that they will not fire Gabe Kapler. You would have thought that would happen first and the new manager would decide on staff.  By the time you read this, I could be totally wrong and Kapler will be gone.  But, unless a more attractive manager says yes to the Phillies, Kapler will be the man. 
  1. It was a “good news-bad news” situation for the Gruden family after this weekend’s NFL games. Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders upset the Chicago Bears on Sunday putting the Raiders at 3-2 for the season.  Jon’s brother, Jay Gruden, the head coach of the Washington Redskins, was fired after losing to the Patriots 33-7. He became the fifth coach fired by team owner Dan Snyder but he did last longer than any of the others. 
  1. Despite an outstanding performance by the Eagles’ defense against the woeful Jets, the offense looked pretty bad this past Sunday. They looked nothing like the offense that did their job the previous week against the Packers.  But a win is a win, I guess. 
  1. Watching the Cowboys on Sunday against the Packers, I felt they were pretty listless throughout much of the game. There was no spark at all until they finally put together some scoring plays.  There is something wrong in Dallas. 
  1. There are three high school games this weekend on RCN-TV. Friday night features Emmaus at Freedom at 7:00PM followed by Allen at Northampton at 9:30PM.  On Saturday night, we will bring you Easton at Bethlehem Catholic.  The action starts at 7:00pm on RCN-TV.

GARY’GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 11-3)  (YEAR-TO-DATE – 53-23-1  70%) 

NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA

DALLAS

CAROLINA

BALTIMORE

SEATTLE

KANSAS CITY

NEW ORLEANS

WASHINGTON

RAMS

ATLANTA

DENVER

CHARGERS

GREEN BAY

 

 

Scholarships Haven’t Helped

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

After five weeks of football, the Patriot League is 7-24 against independent teams.  Of those seven wins, only two would be considered quality wins: Holy Cross over New Hampshire and Fordham over Richmond.  The other five were not impressive, nor unexpected.

Three teams, Colgate, Lafayette, and Lehigh, who have won the most championships in Patriot League history (22) are collectively 1-13 after this past week.  That one win was by Lehigh over Merrimack by a 10-3 score.  Merrimack is not considered a football powerhouse by any stretch.

So what is wrong here?  Since the advent of scholarships in the Patriot League in 2012, not much has improved.  And, in fact, it could be argued that things have gotten much worse.  That was certainly not the goal when the presidents allowed football scholarships.

I cannot say it better than an anonymous writer offered up in October, 2015, in a blog titled, “What’s Wrong with the Patriot League?”  May I suggest you read the entire piece?

http://georgetownfootball.blogspot.com/2018/10/whats-wrong-with-patriot-league.html?m=1

The solutions offered are:

  1. Address the scholarship rules
  2. Revisit redshirting
  3. Look at scheduling and support
  4. Consider expansion

If you are at all interested, you should read the entire blog.  It is lengthy, but it is clear, well-researched, and to the point.  I cannot offer up a better conclusion than the author does:

“This isn’t the Ivy League.  Either the PL must grow or it runs the risk of atrophy and a slow death.

Because in the end, what’s wrong with the Patriot League is almost entirely self-inflicted, which is both hopeful as well as challenging.  Leadership, not platitudes, will set a course for its stability and future.”

I hope someone is listening.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Lafayette’s Joe Maddon is out of a job. After five seasons and leading the Cubs to the World Series Championship in 2016 (their first since 1908), Maddon was fired after the Cubs’ final game.  He will be a valuable “free agent”, for sure (perhaps, Philadelphia?) 
  1. There were plenty of other major league managers let go this past weekend – Clint Hurdle of the Pirates, Ned Yost of the Royals, Andy Green of the Padres, and Bruce Bochy of the Giants (retired). Will Gabe Kapler of the Phillies join the list shortly?  It did not happen on Sunday so he might hang in there.  I doubt it. 
  1. Since the media isn’t often depicted favorably anymore, there was a good story out of St. Louis on Sunday.  A videographer collapsed in the Chicago Cubs’ dugout and a St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer, Derrick Goold, performed CPR and, according to medical officials, saved his life.  Goold was a former lifeguard and Eagle Scout. 
  1. What a week in the NFL – there were upsets galore: Eagles, Tennessee, Oakland, Cleveland, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans. All in all nine underdogs won. I knew my picks were going along too nicely! 
  1. The best of the Colonial League highlights our schedule this Friday night when once-beaten Northwestern takes on undefeated Southern Lehigh followed by once-beaten Freedom taking on undefeated Easton. The action starts at 7:00pm on RCN-TV.

 

GARY’GUESSES (LAST WEEK –8-7)  (YEAR-TO-DATE – 42-20-1  68%) 

RAMS

PHILADELPHIA

BALTIMORE

CHICAGO

ARIZONA

CAROLINA

MINNESOTA

NEW ENGLAND

NEW ORLEANS

HOUSTON

BUFFALO

CHARGERS

GREEN BAY

KANSAS CITY

SAN FRANCISCO

 

 

Oh, That Schedule

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It happens around this time every year. We start to get complaints that a viewer’s team has not been shown. The questions are often the same: Why aren’t you doing this team? Why is this team on so often? Why are you predominantly focusing on one league? etc.

I suppose we could take this as a compliment that viewers want to see us cover their team. I’d like to think the RCN gang does a great job and, therefore, you want our production at your game. I am also not naïve and realize you may just want to see your son or daughter on TV. I get it.

So, allow me a chance to explain the process. A schedule is sought weeks before the actual start of the season. In other words, before any games are even played, a preliminary schedule for the football season is published. Obviously, this involves some picking of games based on the teams considered to be the best and finding the best match-ups for any given week.

And, so far, I would like to think we have done a pretty good job:

Notre Dame 42 – Northwestern 35
Freedom 24 – Bethlehem Catholic 21
Freedom 21 – Parkland 18
Nazareth 35 – Freedom 33
Nazareth 27 – Bethlehem Catholic – 13

There is no question these were the best games of the night. Except, perhaps, this past week when Easton beat Emmaus by one in the waning seconds. We missed that one. However, we will see Easton quite a bit the rest of the season.

There are also other factors. On some weekends, our production crew has other responsibilities such as the Allentown Fair, the Celtic Classic, and charity polo. Those events tie up one of our two production trucks. We cannot be everywhere and our football schedule reflects that.

We also contractually support the Lafayette football program, so their Saturday game may negate our ability to do a high school game that day. And please understand that our schedule is a transformational one. We may very well have picked a game in late July and a better match-up that we did not anticipate pops up. We will change. For instance, right now the Nazareth-Easton game (both teams are currently undefeated) is not on our schedule. I certainly expect that will change.

We thank all of you for your passion for our local coverage on all fronts. Believe me, our goal is not to slight anyone or any program. As far as football is concerned we try to bring the best games we can that will attract the greatest viewer interest. And then, we hope we are right!


ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. If the Eagles don’t get healthy quickly, they will not make the playoffs. Sunday showed that without DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, they have very few weapons at Carson Wentz’s disposal. It looks like 1-3 after Thursday’s matchup with the Packers. The Cowboys are already 3-0.

2. The headline read, “Antonio Brown will never play in the NFL again”. I hope that is true!

3. It appears Saquon Barkley has a high ankle sprain. He’s not out for the season, but this injury has a history of taking weeks to heal. Even with Barkley out, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones led the Giants to a comeback win over Tampa Bay.

4. It’s the final week of MLB and the Phillies are done. It looks like the Mets and the Cubs will not make it either. The Brewers and the Nationals appear to be the wild card teams, but the Brewers can still pass the Cardinals for the Division title. The Athletics appear to be a wild card lock with the Rays and the Indians battling for the other spot. Wild card scenarios make the end of the season interesting, for sure.

5. There is no doubt that the Nazareth Blue Eagles are the surprise of the football season thus far. With back-to-back wins over Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic, can they avoid a letdown this Friday at Parkland? Tune in to RCN-TV for the LIVE telecast at 7:00pm on Friday night. Lafayette takes on Penn on Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm, also on RCN-TV.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK –12-4) (YEAR-TO-DATE – 34-13-1 72%)

GREEN BAY
GIANTS
HOUSTON
BALTIMORE
CHARGERS
INDIANAPOLIS
KANSAS CITY
NEW ENGLAND
ATLANTA
RAMS
SEATTLE
MINNESOTA
JACKSONVILLE
NEW ORLEANS
PITTSBURGH

 

 

 

Gary’s Guesses

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.
 

I’m taking a blog break for the Labor Day weekend, but that doesn’t stop me from looking at the NFL season for this year.

And it is time, once again, for Gary’s Guesses, my weekly NFL predictions.  Over the years, I have been averaging about 67% correct answers, which is not too bad, but certainly not good enough for you to bet the ranch on anything I say.

Before I get to the guesses, here are my predictions for the upcoming Divisional, Conference, and Super Bowl winners:

AFC 

EASTNew England Patriots (who else?)

NORTHCleveland Browns (Are you serious?)

SOUTHHouston Texans (Luck retired, right?)

WESTKansas City Chiefs (Mahomes did not retire, right?)


NFC

EASTPhiladelphia Eagles (Ezekiel Elliott is still not in camp?)

NORTHChicago Bears (What happened to the Packers and the Vikings?)

SOUTHNew Orleans Saints (What team has a bigger chip on their shoulder?)

WESTLos Angeles Rams (Aren’t they looking forward to back-to-back Super Bowls?)


AFC CHAMPION
– Kansas City

NFC CHAMPION – Philadelphia Eagles

SUPER BOWL WINNER – Kansas City

 

GARY’GUESSES 

CHICAGO BEARS

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

NEW YORK JETS

BALTIMORE RAVENS

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

CLEVELAND BROWNS

LA RAMS

ARIZONA CARDINALS

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

LA CHARGERS

NEW YORK GIANTS

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

OAKLAND RAIDERS

 

$15 Million

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Rory McIlroy won $15 million this past weekend.  He finished first in the FedEx Cup standings.  $15 million for a single golf tournament victory is amazing.  Sure, you could argue that he won that amount over a series of tournaments, but in actuality those tournament finishes just got him into the playoff.

Second place was worth $5 million won by Xander Schauffle.  In a normal week, the second place finisher gets 60% of the winner’s share.  Eight players received over a million dollars and ninth place was worth $900,000.

The purse for the tournament was $60 million.  The last place finishers, Dustin Johnson and Lucas Glover, received $400,000.  Gary Woodland finished in the middle of the pack at #15 and won $595,000.

What most fans do not know is that players who were not even in the final tournament (only the top 30 got in the championship) and who finished the season ranked #126 – #150 each received $70,000.  To be clear, this was paid to players who did not make the FedEx playoffs at all.

Should this bother us?  That much money for one event to the winner may seem a bit absurd.  Well, at least in golf, the individual player has to earn the money.  Failure to play well throughout the year keeps one from some good paychecks and from participating in the championship.

Of the top ten highest-paid athletes, the following seven get their money contractually, no matter how they perform:

James Harden (NBA) – $46.6 million

Stephen Curry (NBA) – $47.3 million

Andrew Luck (NFL) – $50 million (Just yesterday, he retired from football due to injuries)

Kevin Durant (NBA) – $60.6 million

Lionel Messi (Soccer) – $80 million

LeBron James (NBA) – $86.2 million

Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer) – $93 million

The three who get paid due to each performance (except for endorsements) are:

Lewis Hamilton (Race car driver) – $46 million

Rory McIlroy (Golfer) – $65 million

Roger Federer (Tennis) – $64 million

Those of us who are working stiffs probably consider these numbers outrageous.  However, it is a little harder to begrudge those athletes their money if they truly need to earn it by their performance for that year.

I’ll quit now and get ready for this week’s football game.  After all, I need to earn my money, too.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. In the blog, I mentioned that Andrew Luck retired on Sunday from NFL football.  The Indianapolis Colts were set to pay him $50 million this season.  Luck said he is constantly in so much pain that he just cannot continue to play without risking his future.  The Colts announced, despite being legally allowed to recoup $24.8 million from him, they will not do so.  He can keep it all.
  1. The Eagles looked rather dismal in their pre-season matchup against the Ravens, but I do not put much stock in pre-season games, so, Eagles fans, don’t start worrying just yet.  I did think that Josh McCown looked pretty good coming out of retirement. He was 17-24 for 192 yards and two touchdowns.  Not bad.
  1. Oh, those Phillies!  They just lost two of three to the lowly Marlins and are 7-9 for the season.  One of those losses occurred when they were leading 7-0.  They lost 19-11.  Their wild card chances are getting dimmer and dimmer and when you watch them, you cannot truly believe they deserve to be in the playoffs.
  1. I watched Villanova handle the Patriot League’s football favorite with relative ease.  This does not bode well for the league and for Lafayette.  The Leopards open their season this Saturday in Williamsburg, Virginia against William & Mary.  Like Villanova, W&M is, also in the CAA.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00pm and the game can be seen at FLOFOOTBALL.com. Go Leopards!
  1. Bethlehem Catholic takes on Freedom in our Friday night game LIVE at 7:00pm.  Both are coming off good wins, but neither saw a team as talented as this week’s opponent.  If you can’t get to the game, tune us in on RCN-TV.

 

Sudfeld, Kessler, McCown?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It happened again this week.  The next backup quarterback for the Eagles, Cody Kessler, sustained a concussion in the first quarter of the second preseason game and will be out for awhile.

Last week, I suggested that they might, perhaps, look to Colin Kaepernick as a potential backup.  I also suggested that they probably would not, fearing fan backlash.  Well, the opportunity arose again this week and so, too, did the question about whether to seriously look at Kaepernick.

The question was quickly answered when the Eagles signed former Jets’ and nine other NFL teams’ quarterback, Josh McCown.  I guess, ironically, despite traveling around the league (Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns, Jets) this is the first NFC East team that he has played for.

McCown was slated to be an NFL ESPN analyst this season, but it was hard to turn down a guaranteed $2 million with the potential to make $5.4 million to play one season, especially at the age of 40. ESPN certainly was not paying that kind of money and, supposedly, they said McCown would have the broadcasting job following this season.  Talk about a “win-win”.

The other Eagles’ quarterback, Clayton Thorson, moves, once again, to being the backup to the backup.  McCown will get a lot of work in the final preseason game.  With that said, Carson Wentz, it appears, will not see any “real game” action before the start of the season.  With his injury history the past two seasons and the preseason quarterback injuries, the Eagles simply cannot take a chance on getting him hurt.

The Eagles look like a potential Super Bowl contender.  So with the availability of former quarterbacks, Matt Cassel, Sam Bradford, Brock Osweiler, and, of course, Colin Kaepernick, did they make the right choice.  They certainly acquired experience, but the big question that, hopefully, will never need to be answered is whether or not they acquired skill.

This is not a Bryce Harper situation, but for Philadelphia fans, this decision could end up being just as important.  Let’s hope the front office made the right one.

It all starts in earnest on September 8, when the Redskins come to Philadelphia.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. This past Sunday the Cubs played the Pirates in Williamsport during the Little League World Series. Now that is a cool idea for everyone.  Next year, on August 13, 2020, the Yankees will play the Chicago White Sox on the Field of Dreams in Iowa.  It is the first MLB game ever played in Iowa.  This is an even cooler idea.
  1. As I write this, the Phillies are one game behind the Cubs and 2.5 games behind the Nationals for the Wild card playoff berth.  They have been playing better, but will it be good enough.
  1. Well-known football and basketball official, Dr. Frank DeAngelo, has taken over the reins of the Easton Area School District.  He was named this past week as their interim superintendent to allow the school board to search for a permanent one.  He makes the right calls on the field and on the court so chances are he will do the same for the school district.
  1. Last week, I mentioned that Notre Dame would be honoring Deacon Anthony Koury by naming their football stadium after him this Friday.  With the typical Tony Koury humility, he has asked them not to do that.  He felt there are more deserving people.  Notre Dame acceded to his wishes.  That’s Tony!
  1. Northwestern at Notre Dame on August 23 and Bethlehem Catholic at Freedom on August 30 should give us some early indications whom the favorite will be in the Colonial League and the EPC South.  Do your scouting on RCN-TV LIVE on the next two Fridays.

**I’ll offer up an extra muse this week by congratulating the Limeport Bulls on winning their fourth Blue Mountain League baseball championship in the past five years.  The championship series went to a Game Five as they beat the Northampton Giants 5-3.  Congratulations to both teams.

Interested in Colin?

 The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 While I was away, the Eagles played a preseason football game against the Tennessee Titans.  Normally, I would have very little interest in any of these games, particularly in the first one.

However, a major event occurred that could affect the entire Eagles’ season – backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld suffered a fractured wrist in his non-throwing hand.  Doctors indicate he could be out for six weeks, which makes his return in late September.

Every Eagles fan is well aware of the injury history of Carson Wentz.  He is healthy now, but, in the NFL, you are one play away from your season being over.  Just look at last year.  But, last year the Eagles had Nick Foles, who did a great job replacing Wentz.  Foles is no longer on the team.  He is now on the roster of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Every time there is a quarterback slot made available through injury, the name Colin Kaepernick comes to the forefront.  He has not played since 2016.  Is it worth taking the risk of alienating a large portion of the population by bringing in a talented player like Kaepernick?  Will people ever forget he took a knee during the National Anthem to protest what he considered unjustified shootings of black Americans by the police?  Philadelphia fans are not the most accepting in the league.  If you thought booing Santa Claus was bad … (well, you finish the statement).

And Kaepernick’s story was back on the sports pages again this week when Race Imboden, who won a goal medal with two other USA teammates in the Pan Am foil competition, chose to take a knee during the National Anthem.  “We must call for change,” he said.  He pointed out the areas of “Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants” were his major areas of concern.  In protesting, however, he broke his commitment to the USA Pan Am teams to “refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature”.

But, in every one of the stories about the Imboden protest, Colin Kaepernick’s name is mentioned.  The story will not die.

So, it is my opinion that the Eagles will stick with Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson as the back-ups for now and consider a number of other possibilities before giving much thought to bringing in Colin Kaepernick.  Kaepernick just this week said that he continues to pursue an NFL job.  He also continues to pay the price for doing what he considered to be the morally right thing to do.

When you make that kind of commitment, you must be willing to pay the consequences.  For Kaepernick, those consequences continue.  Stay tuned!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. If summer basketball tournaments are any indication, the winter EPC season should be a very, very competitive one.  Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Freedom, Northampton, etc. all had special moments on the outdoor courts.  I can wait, though, because high school football looks to be just as interesting.
  2. There obviously are no summer football games, but looking at Freedom, Emmaus, Parkland, Easton and the rest of the league, it appears that Friday night football (with a sprinkling of Saturday games) should make for a great season.  So I can’t wait for those games to start.
  3. Speaking of the start of high school football, we will have our traditional Colonial League opener on August 23 when Notre Dame hosts Northwestern.  Not only should the game be a good one, but Notre Dame will be dedicating their stadium to Deacon Anthony Koury.  He was a great friend as AD and is most deserving of the honor.
  4. In the “You’ve got to be kidding” department, the Phillie Phanatic technically becomes a free agent next year and could be taken from the Phillies.  This is a court case for sure.
  5. John Leone’s blog last week, which filled my space perfectly, noted that John recently retired from Lafayette College.  Rest assured he has not retired from the RCN-TV broadcasting team.  He will still sit alongside Chris Michael on Friday nights and be on the sideline for our Lafayette football games and alongside me for Lafayette basketball.  We won’t let John retire.

Finding Bigfoot, by John Leone, Guess Blogger

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I retired last week. They say that nothing is forever, so file that information under the “for what it’s worth” tab in the now non-existent cabinet in the non-existent desk in my non-existent office.  But at least for the moment, after 45 years of waking up in the morning with a clear set of tasks before me, my career North Star has drifted behind a cloud of uncertainty. Of course, I am lucky to still have a boss, but had I performed for my previous one the way I do for the current one, I’d have been out of work a long time ago. The “honey-do” list is seemingly ubiquitous and deadlines are a mere suggestion. But I’m muddling through. It’s certainly an adjustment.

As the weeks leading up to my final day grew shorter, my anxiety level rose. It was as if I was standing at the edge of a high dive for the first time. But the pleasant distraction of so many thoughtful notes, visits, and the kind well-wishes from so many friends and from folks with whom I’d crossed paths over so many years made it easier to take the plunge. It also gave me real pause to reflect on just how lucky I had been to have encountered so many good people along the way. Some I’d first met as high schoolers as I recruited them to Lafayette. Suddenly it seems, they now have high schoolers of their own.  Others were well-established professionals in their own right, more than willing to show me the ropes as I made the adjustment to a new career. So many more relationships were the result of some serendipitous confluence of events that brought us together. I’m always reminded of Forest Gump, who wondered aloud if we were all just floating around “accidental-like on a breeze” or if we all have a destiny that needs fulfilling. In the end, the conclusion he drew was the right one. It’s both, he reckoned. As a younger man, I fell in love with coaching basketball and made it my destiny to succeed. It was a strong breeze that took me in a different direction.

Upon my retirement and the obligatory farewell gatherings, one of those many well-wishes was from a wise and good friend. His message to me felt overstated and certainly humbling: “left a big footprint.” It got me thinking about what one of those looks like. My perception of a big footprint is so much different at 67 than it was when I was 22. For a big footprint to have impact, it has to be at least as deep as it is wide. At 22, I instinctively knew that the pursuit of my dreams would require a certain pace – one considerably quicker than the pace to which I’ve now grown accustomed. But by moving so quickly, was I compromising my impact? The truly successful folks I’ve known seem to have managed to do both – move quickly enough in the right direction, but with a pace that allows relationships to develop both depth and substance. Whether that is a lesson learned in time, or just a product of life taking its natural course is a discussion for another time. Whatever the case, the whole point here is to say how grateful I am for the people I have known. On occasion, someone will ask how I can remember something that happened years ago – something so seemingly inconsequential and even obscure. That’s an easy one because I’ve learned that true gratitude is when memories are stored in the heart, not in the brain. My memories are nothing more than that – true gratitude. Holding on to them is, for me, as natural as taking a next breath.

Life hasn’t always seemed fair, but it’s certainly been good. And every stage has had its own version of excitement and anticipation. As I enter the next one, I expect nothing less – and I hope for nothing more. I want to watch my family grow and develop, and I want to keep as closely connected as possible to my friends. I want to keep moving forward – leaving behind footprints that are as deep as they are long and wide. The pathway before me is clear, primarily because of the lessons learned from my parents – lessons of honesty, fairness, and service. Upon his own retirement, I recall my dad fending off a lot of fanfare. “Clean out the desk and go home,” he said. “A man’s work is his legacy.” He, like my mom, led by example, and theirs was a life of two fundamental components – love and work. After all, when you stop to think it through, what else is necessary?

At 22, I couldn’t have possibly understood those lessons the way I do now. At 67, their wisdom and vision is as relevant as ever – possibly even more so. Those lessons still provide the guideposts that will help ensure that this next stage is every bit as fulfilling as the ones that preceded it. And the footprints left will, hopefully, enable someone else to leave their own as well.