This column has all the makings of one of those “What I Did This Summer” essays from elementary school.
Bear with me, because there is an East Carolina tie or two coming.
I started my summer with a trip to West Virginia for the 4th of July to see relatives. I followed that with a birthday weekend venture to Baltimore to see my beloved Cubs take on the Orioles.
I returned home and then jetted up to Newport, Rhode Island for the American Athletic Conference media days for football. I send special thanks to Parker Overton for saving me a spot on the plane for the third straight year.
From there it was on to Virginia Beach for the Boston concert. Those who grew up in the 70s know all about just how popular the group was, and they really put on a great show. In fact, a Pirate fan came up to me in the parking lot that night. We shared our thoughts on the upcoming season and then enjoyed the night.
Finally, my lovely wife planned us a week long trip to Cozumel at the end of July. It was at a beautiful resort. We swam with dolphins and kissed stingrays and had a great time.
At the resort I saw a young lady with an ECU cap and a UNC tee shirt. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her about wearing both.
Her Dad piped up quickly, “She only wears the UNC tee shirt so she’ll have something so if she runs out of toilet paper.”
We both shared a laugh at the expense of our Tar Heel rivals. Truth be told, the young lady said she had gone to UNC for a semester, but decided to go to ECU after that.
The family also happened to be WNCT-TV fans, so we had a lot in common a very long way away from home.
My travels did force me to miss ECU’s football media day for one of the only times I can remember in my 30-plus years in Greenville. I always enjoy the day. While I do know many of the coaches and players, there are always newcomers and I enjoy the chance to meet them. I’ll have to do it another way this coming season.
I did confer with some of my media brethren when I got back to town and we were all in agreement that this quarterback battle at East Carolina is an interesting one.
Obviously, the only reason a guy like Thomas Sirk comes to East Carolina is to play in his last season of eligibility. Sure, he has a connection with Pirate head coach Scottie Montgomery, but Sirk didn’t come to ECU to hold a clipboard.
Junior Gardner Minshew has said since Sirk announced plans to transfer that he welcomed the competition.
Oddly enough, the two combatants have formed a nice friendship that can only help the quarterback position.
Sirk told reporters that Minshew welcomed him to the team with open arms and that the relationship will certainly help the team.
“He has embraced me coming here and the competition has made both of us better as the summer went along,” Sirk said. “He has helped me understand the offense. The competition is going to make us better. We have to go out there and compete and make every rep count.”
“Yeah, I have a lot of respect for him,” said Minshew when asked about the quarterback battle. “We are two guys that are going to work and we are trying to do our job and that’s something that we have done well. We are both leaders and I am excited to see what we can do going into the fall.”
ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery wants to name his starting quarterback soon, likely after the team’s second scrimmage of fall camp. Coach Mo is confident that his Pirates will mobilize with enthusiasm behind the contender that gets the nod.
“They are going to rally behind whoever we pick because of the spirit and vibe on this team right now, and we will all be able to know who that guy is after the second scrimmage,” said Montgomery. “We are going to let this team get set.”
“They are both mature, great kids and they handle it like professionals,” said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen.
Petersen likes the battle, and loves the attitude of both players.
“You look at Gardner. Gardner thinks this is my job and nobody is taking it, so it doesn’t matter to him. Thomas thinks that I am going to come in and beat somebody out no matter who it is — and I love their attitudes, both of them, right there,” said Petersen.
The battle should be a good one.
I’m just glad to be back to work covering fall camp with the Pirates.
But it was a great summer.