UK has to close against Vandy and Vols

| February 17, 2011

Some idiot wrote that the Southeastern Conference basketball schedule is back-loaded (meaning easy) for Kentucky.

Hah! Well, I said it was the opinion of an idiot.

Let’s take a gander at the UK schedule:
Feb. 19: South Carolina, 7 p.m., SEC Network.
Feb. 23: at Arkansas, 8 p.m. SEC Network.
Feb. 26: Florida, 4 p.m., CBS.
Mar. 1: Vanderbilt, 9 p.m., ESPN.
Mar. 6: at Tennessee, noon, CBS.

Not an easy one the rest of the way. UK needs victories in four of the six for a decent draw in both the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.

It could be that the March 6 game in Knoxville could be the most important Vols-Wildcats clash in history. Stay tuned.

Spelling lesson

Already I have seen both the first and last names of Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers spelled incorrectly. That reminds me of a fellow in my hometown who wasn’t the brightest bulb in the lamp. He had trouble spelling his name so his mother told him to do it this way:

Big A, little A, ron.

And please include the “d” in his last name. Most times when I see Rodger Bird’s name in print, the “d” is left out. For those who may not know, Bird is an all-time great high school running star at Corbin and a standout at UK and in the National Football League.

Louisville in NFL!

When I used to make talks, people would doubt me when I told them that Louisville used to be in baseball’s National League and in the National Football League. “Come on,” they would say, “I know about the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association, but you’re just making that up about the NFL and National Baseball League, aren’t you?”

Here’s added proof in a recent column by retired Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dave Anderson:

“In the NFL’s first season with official standings, 1921, as the American Pro Football Association, several other towns (besides Green Bay), mostly in the Midwest, had teams that disappeared: Akron, Canton, Rock Island, Evansville, Dayton, Rochester, Hammond, Columbus, Tonawanda, Muncie and Louisville.”

Louisville also had an NFL team,  two different times during the early days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

An Irish founder

Anderson (of The NY Times) wrote that the Packers’ humble birth was on Aug. 11, 1919, when a meeting was run by Curly Lambeau, 21, who had left Notre Dame after one year under Knute Rockne to become a shipping clerk with the Indian Packing Company (hence the team’s name). As has happened in many cities, George Calhoun, sports editor of The Green Bay Press-Gazette, was important in helping Lambeau form the team.

(In Louisville, the late Earl Ruby, sports editor of The Courier-Journal, gave birth to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds, including Freedom Hall, the Derby Festival Parade, the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and The Courier-Journal Derby party for visiting writers. Other sports editors have led the way for major league baseball franchises and pro basketball teams.

Packers are unique

Anderson wrote that: 1. Green Bay is the only publicly-owned team, 2. the team has 80,000 names on the waiting list for season tickets, 3. Lambeau Field is named for Curly, and 4. the stadium’s address is 1265 Lombardi Ave.(for Vince, of course).

The late Karl Schmitt played on a Louisville semipro team, the Tanks, that played an exhibition game against the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers at Male High’s Maxwell Field. The Dodgers (named for the popular baseball team) were owned by former UK colorful running back Shipwreck Kelly from Springfield, Ky. The handsome Kelly married Brenda Frazier, the most publicized debutante in the history of society.
Schmitt told me that (former UK punter) Ralph Kercheval,  kicked the ball so high above the dim Male lights that all of the players just stood around and looked up for the ball. I once had a chance to ask Kercheval if that was true. As his wife shook her head up and down, he verified Karl’s story.

TV saved Packers

Anderson wrote that the Packers had to have financial support to stay alive in 1921, 1922, 1934 and 1950.

Anderson said that if Giants owner Wellington Mara hadn’t successfully argued in 1961 for all teams to share television income equally, Green Bay’s small-market team surely would have died.

And there would have been no more Packer Super Bowl champions.

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Category: Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
502.897.8910

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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