NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
By Bethany Bradsher
Creative cures for the
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For all of summerís many rewards, this season can spell doldrums for college
sports fans. The excitement associated with following the home team's week
to week athletic pursuits is temporarily suspended.
Two short weeks ago, East Carolina fans were reveling in
of the most exciting nights in memory. This week, the Pirate
Nation has a choice of discussing the pros and cons of the newly-announced
football kickoff times or speculating whether Oakland Athletics draft pick
Kyle Roller will play in the Dominican Republic, Arizona or Vancouver.
So, as a public service, here are some other suggested diversions for ECU
fans who need a college sports break between beach vacations and trips to
Plan a grand training
camp tour to all of the sites where former Pirates will be preparing for
the NFL season. Itís a trip that will take you to Westminster, MD (Davon
Drew with the Ravens), Englewood, CO (Stanley Bryant with the Broncos),
Clarksville, TN (Chris Johnson with the Titans), River Falls, WI
(Terrance Copper with the Chiefs) and five other cities.
The Chiefs are Copperís third NFL home since October. He started the
2008 season with the Saints, was released in late October and then
signed by the Ravens, and then signed with Kansas City when the Ravens
let him go. As a Chief, he is one of the few NFL players left who will
actually travel out of town to a college campus for training camp this
summer. This will be the Chiefsí final year at the University of
Wisconsin-River Falls before the team moves to Missouri Western State
University in St. Joseph, MO.
I get a little sad every time I hear about a professional team that is
holding training camp in or near its home city instead of on some
far-flung college campus. I covered the Panthers in 1995 and 1996 and,
as a sportswriter for the Spartanburg, SC, paper, I was a fixture at the
teamís Wofford College training camp. And I can tell you that there is
absolutely nothing like seeing a 320-pound lineman move into a dorm room
to share his space with his 308-pound roommate.
Challenge yourself to
come within shouting distance of the top performances of East Carolinaís
incoming track and field class. The recruits include long jumper Tynita
Butts, who has jumped 20-4.5 feet, Tiffany Harris, who has run 55.64 in
the 400-meter run and Kenneth Rowland, who has thrown a shot put 61-8.0
feet. In all, the Pirates signed 22 new athletes this spring, and head
coach Curt Kraft called it the best recruiting class in recent memory.
Start calling summer
your personal offseason, and come up with your own strength and
conditioning regimen. If you want to look like a true Pirate, you should
carry around a binder with detailed workout plans, goals and nutrition
tips, like the ones carried home each summer by athletes who arenít
required to stay on campus. If you want a sniff of the season according
to an ECU football player, you could stage your own Ironman competition
to coincide with the annual Fourth of July block party. Just make sure
you watch the small children when itís time to roll the giant truck
Prepare an elaborate
display counting down the days to the football season opener on
September 5. Try mowing the number of days into your front lawn, or
perhaps flashing your car headlights the appropriate number of times
when you drive home each night. You could even get your kids and try to
catch the right number of fireflies in a jar. Todayís number is 79. Be
So donít let the dog days
get you down. Chad Tracy should be off of the disabled list and back at
first base with the Diamondbacks any day now, former Pirate Madison Keller
is on the roster with the Washington Freedom of the Womenís Professional
Soccer League and five Pirate baseball players are playing in the
prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.
You might have to search
a little harder, but the Pirates are out there.
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06/17/2009 02:35:01 AM