Monday, August 16, 2004


College athletic directors in the late summer remind me of my teenage years back in West Virginia when the circus would come to town.

For weeks prior to the greatest show on earth unpacking in Parkersburg the excitement would build with a poster here, a publicity photo there, and soon enough the canvas and ropes would arrive. Today’s AD know that feeling, and know that they must keep sixteen or so plates spinning on skinny budget sticks.

You see each plate represents a different sport, complete with coaches, boosters and oh yes, student athletes to please. Soccer for women not only has a new coach but also a impressively large group of walk-ons. Volleyball for women doesn’t welcome walk-ons and in fact is looking for enough tape and Tylenol to get through this rebuilding year.

And on it goes--a shining and already spinning piece of china for ladies hoops where the head coach openly talks about a twenty win season. A heavier and more fragile plate for men’s hoops where the biggest, and most critical, crowds observe the show. Golf and tennis are reigning conference champions so for the time being no need to keep a finger in the dyke and baseball and softball had impressive post season runs.

The Greatest Show on Earth, well for 2004-2005 the Beach ringmaster will be happy with just filling some seats and not breaking too many spinning plates.

NAME GAME DUST--I was researching the returning Niner baseball players who are winding up their work in the summer in college baseball leagues and hopefully they will bring back some team logos because they are really neat. For example in the Cape Cod League Beach boys rooted on the Cotuit Kettleers and the Wareham Gatemen.

In the Northwoods league they obviously sipped too much cider last winter because the following are team names so clever our champion cheer squad would have trouble remembering. Try on the Alexandria Beetles (featuring slugger Danny Mocny), Madison Mallards, Mankato Moondogs, Rochester Honkers, St. Cloud Riverbats, Thunder Bay Border Cats. Waterloo Bucks and, chew on this one, the Wisconsin Woodchucks.

Next up is the name of Long Beach that is curiously missing in that national volleyball coach’s poll. For the first time since they put up nets the Niners were not ranked in the Top 25. In fact only three teams on the schedule are and none higher than number 16.

That slot belongs to UC Santa Barbara who returns Megan Blackshire (Jr., MB, 6-0, AVCA All-West Region honorable mention, All-Big West 1st Team); Kristin Nelson (Sr., L, 5-9, All-Big West 1st Team); Olivia Waldowski (So., MB, 6-3, Big West Freshman of the Year); and Janine Sandell (So., OH, 5-10, All-Big West Freshman Team).

The two other ranked opponents are number 24 Utah who was 22-9, 12-2 Mountain West last year,has five starters back and number 25 Notre Dame, last year 23-7, 11-1 in the Big East.

The other September entry is Beach soccer. A web expert from UCSB who goes by the name of “Auxerre Gaucho Redshirt” had some nice words about the new, and we hope improved, LB entry.

“The 49ers made the best possible hire in luring former Cal State Fullerton men's standout Mauricio Ingrassia to replace retiring Peter Reynaud. LBSU has the conference's best midfielder in Allison Weigand, although she usually plays wherever she is most needed. Nearly everyone else is back, too, and there's a huge crop of redshirts ready to go, too.”

Finally our closing quote came to mind trying to figure out what time it is in Athens so I can look for Long Beachers on the tube. Anyhow the creator of Peanuts, Charles Schultz, as usual had the best and last word. “Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.” –DR. DAN


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