NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Bethany Bradsher
Be kind to the Pirates, St.
All rights reserved.
Many of our trees are decked out in purple balls and gold tinsel, so it must
be the time of year when we write you with our most fervent Christmas
Have a seat in your red velvet easy chair, Santa, and see if Mrs. Claus can
fix a cup of hot cocoa. This might take a while.
All the Pirate Nation wants for Christmas is:
A trip to Memphis
that makes every other Pirate bowl appearance pale in comparison. A
victory, absolutely, Santa, but how about a 300-plus yard passing game
to mark Patrick Pinkney’s swan song at East Carolina?
We loved the Van Eskridge interceptions early this month, but we could
use a few more to help ring in the new year. And could you bring Dwayne
Harris even more moves to elude defenders? Not that he has a shortage,
but you have to admit the kid is a joy to watch on the field, and his
game just continues to grow.
The Liberty Bowl is on the ninth day of Christmas this year, Santa, but
you can keep the dancing ladies if you could just bring us the Pirate
defense at its most tenacious and the offense at its most explosive.
decorations that don’t have to come down at the end of December. You
know the kind we mean, Santa, don’t you? A Liberty Bowl trophy is an
excellent place to start, followed by a nice tall piece of Conference
USA hardware for the Lady Pirates basketball team.
Also, not to be too greedy, and I know you’re on vacation in June, but
it seems like the right year to bring a Super Regional trophy for the
baseball team. (Don’t forget that tickets to Omaha are included in that
Heftier paychecks for
the employees of the ECU student development department. You might not
know this, Santa, but the academic coordinators in that office have a
special incentive to encourage student-athletes in the classroom. If a
team to which they are assigned wins the C-USA academic award given to
the top GPA in the conference, then that employee gets the same
financial bonus given to a coach who wins a C-USA trophy.
removal of red tape and construction delays for the ECU softball team,
which will watch a new stadium go up right next door all season but
probably won’t play a game inside it until next year. The grading and
preparation for the stadium started in the fall, but with government
licenses, contract bidding and the actual construction still to go, the
projected completion date is May — at the earliest. But the Lady
Pirates’ last home game is on May 6, so it would take a Herculean effort
— or help from a guy who can make reindeer fly — to allow the team’s
eight seniors to play at least one game in their new digs.
A surge in respect
for all of ECU’s women’s teams, which have struggled in recent years to
get noticed by the NCAA when the postseason rolls around. In 2008 both
the soccer and softball teams were robbed, leaving the impression that
only a C-USA trophy would merit a playoff berth when teams from other
conferences earned at-large bids with lesser records.
Fan support for women’s sports increase every year, leading to more home
wins, greater confidence on the road and the type of stability that
leads teams to expect success year in and year out. The barrier between
what ECU women’s teams could achieve and what they have been allowed to
attempt is still there, but it’s a wall that becomes flimsier every time
a veteran coach like Sharon Baldwin-Tener or Tracey Kee takes on another
new squad and commits to helping it soar.
I’m sure there are plenty
of other wishes, Santa — a new pool for the Pirate swim team, tournaments
where all Pirate golfers play at their peak on the same weekend, new
scholarships for promising athletes.
We’re not trying to be
greedy or excessive, Santa, but the Pirate Nation is, well, a nation, so
every fan, athlete, coach and booster has a different twist on their heart’s
desire for the team they love. I know you’re busy, with sleigh loads of
requests, but this purple-clad population will take whatever treasures you
feel led to distribute this Christmas.
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12/16/2009 02:21 AM