Sunday, September 05, 2004


Summer is a time for sporting optimism. Everybody still has a chance, most teams have a blank slate, and newcomers bring new hope. September however is when the rubber hits the road, court, field and pool. Exhale--so far so good.

For Forty-Niner fans fall is especially fragile since a number of years ago LBSU determined that women’s volleyball would be replacing football as the Beach’s athletic point of pride. The shoulder pads and tackling dummies were sold or mothballed and replaced by hot new uniforms and players who matched the fabric of their lives. Nineteen years later, facing the most off season injuries in his career, Coach Brian Gimmillaro was nervous knowing that that he is the athletic bell cow for the Forty Niners fall fame and fortune. So far so good. His team is a perfect 3-0 and, unless a spelling bee breaks out, will go to 4-0 Saturday night when the Niner plays Yale.

Outside on the greens of George Allen field the Beach brass changed veteran soccer coach Peter Reynaud for hot JUCO guy Mauricio Ingrassia. So far very good, three wins and a tie and a stifling defense led by a mere sophomore Natalie Messina, an energizer bunny out of Santa Rosa. LBSU posted its second and third shutouts of the season, thanks in large part to Messina's defense. She earned the 49er Classic's Most Outstanding Player prize over the weekend and will lead her team to paradise when the Niners play in Hawaii this weekend, Saturday vs. Duke and Monday, Sept. 13 at Hawaii.

Finally we have upbeat news on water polo and tennis. Now at 3-1 after a weekend in the Navy (Invitational) the 49er water polo men will play its Alumni team on Sunday at 12 pm in the Campus Pool. And while you are in that neighborhood you should note that the long awaited improvements on the tennis court are underway. More to do, but so far so good.

LEFTOVER DUST-A long time ago we claimed that former Dirtbag pitcher Chad Bentz, the Alaska lad who plays with on one hand, was a new daddy. That was premature, based on one of those ultra-sound pictures. Now he reports is a real pop, “baby girl, with all ten fingers and toes.”

Next up on bare skin notes, our info source for info about LB Jam pal Dennis Rodman has always been his wife. Just to keep the other babes at bay Michelle has been getting attention with her tattoo reading ''Mrs. Rodman'' running from one side of her waistline to the other.

This important data came from the Miami MTV awards show which also lured Olympic Gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh, who then flew back to CA, went on Leno, visited boy friends and then won another Beach tourney last weekend in Chicago. “They are keeping this schedule,” Misty’s dad Butch said, “Because these kids are so dedicated to building the sport while they have the spotlight.” The ultimate beneficiaries, Butch said, are folks like Brittany Hochevar, and other just below the limelight volleyballers.

At the risk of having an opinion I really don’t like what folks call sports-hate radio and agree with a writer who said that it has “made the arena angrier, meaner and reactionary, too often putting the ''jerk'' in ``knee jerk. There's too much name-calling, hostility, arguing, smearing, jealousy and sewage.” Another reason is that in print journalism you can re-read and to that end I have created an archive of old Dust columns and you can find it on this link:

Our closing quote comes from one of sports wisest philosophers, Yogi Berra, “I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat. And if it keeps up, I change bats.”—DR. DAN


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