NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Friday, March 14, 2008
By Bethany Bradsher
Streaks weave their own fate
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Ever wonder what Don Pardo did before he
originated “Live from New York…It’s Saturday night”? For six months in the
mid-‘70s, he was the announcer for an obscure NBC game show called “Winning
A word guessing game that failed in ratings and
was replaced by “Wheel of Fortune,” “Winning Streak” has one fascinating bit
of trivia associated with it.
All of the episodes were destroyed years ago
except one, the show that was supposed to air on August 9, 1974. It was
pre-empted by live footage of President Richard Nixon’s resignation, the
tape was thrown in a pile and it is now the lone surviving episode of a
forgotten game show.
In sports, winning streaks sometimes meet the
same destiny as Pardo’s early employer; they start out looking like
history-makers and fade into the background of too many L's before and after
the streak. But others are catalysts for the season and even the program at
A look at a few of East Carolina's current or
recent winning streaks:
This is the rare streak with both significance
and staying power. The 19th ranked Lady Pirates have won five straight
tournaments, and they have won six out of their last seven. Since each of
those tournaments has featured a field of between 11 and 20 teams, the women
have actually prevailed over 86 other teams in the past six months.
One of the keys to their success, senior Emelie
Lind, was named Conference USA Co-golfer of the week on Tuesday, the day
after ECU clinched the Pinehurst Challenge. Lind finished second in the
Pinehurst tournament, notching her fourth top-five finish of the season, and
she led the tournament field with 37 pars on the weekend.
Charleston was hospitable to the men’s tennis
squad this week, as ECU prevailed over both The Citadel and The College of
Charleston and extended its winning streak to seven matches.
The Pirates (11-6) have been led lately by the
singles play of senior Henrique Viana and the doubles play of sophomores
Bryan Oakley and Stephen Whitwell. They have 10 matches left in which to
extend their streak, but the streak as a measure of their Conference USA
success is hard to determine.
C-USA matchups are hard to schedule in Olympic
sports like tennis because of budgetary concerns, so the tennis team only
had three on its schedule – a string in late February against UAB, Southern
Miss and Central Florida. In that mini-conference slate, they are 1-2, and
they won’t face another conference foe until the C-USA tournament on April
18. It remains to be seen if wins against opponents like Davidson, Elon and
Longwood will translate to victories on that stage.
With a 12-9 win over Quinnipiac Thursday it’s
nine and counting for the Diamond Bucs, who will next face the Rams from
Rhode Island in a three-game home stand. With a few interruptions – like
games against N.C. State on April 1 and April 15 – the Pirates will attempt
to infiltrate Conference USA with their winning streak starting on March 21
Those conference games will test their mettle,
and they will have to keep accumulating the wins during that period if they
want to compete with others gunning for Omaha. As of now, the Pirates don’t
have any Top 25 teams left on their docket, and they’re 2-2 against the
ranked teams (Michigan and South Carolina) they have played so far.
A streak is in the eye of the beholder, and
there are those in the Pirate Nation who are putting considerable stock in
the three-game run enjoyed by the Pirates against Southern Methodist,
Houston and Rice in late February and early March.
Of course, the team finished the season with two
losses, at Tulane and against Tulsa in the C-USA tournament, but some fans
hope that the three-game mini-streak was a glimpse into the team's future
and will tip the scales in favor of Mack McCarthy keeping his job.
The coaching watch is certainly on, and the
mathematical relationship between the length of the streak and the
certainty of the coaching contract continues to be debated. But at least
now Pirate fans can throw in an obscure bit of game show trivia when the
deliberations get slow.
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03/14/2008 05:32:13 AM