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Fearless predictions and growing muttonchops
Sports column
Jeff Whitten NEW
Jeff Whitten writes for the Bryan County News - photo by File photo

Welcome to another exercise in whatever it is this column will be this week.
I wish I knew. I bet you wish I knew, all four of you who read this column regularly. All I know is, I’m zooted on coffee and hanging out to write this at our corporate office in the Mulberry Center. That’s right by J.F. Gregory Park, which is kind of like New York’s Central Park, only smaller and in Richmond Hill. Then again, if the city keeps on growing, it will someday be known as the New York City of Bryan County. Some folks may already call it that. Either that, or Bryan County might someday be known as simply a part of Richmond Hill, thanks to annexation — and, eventually, be somewhat like a borough, like Queens, or Connecticut, or IBM, or West Chatham, or something.
Make sense? Yes? No? Doesn’t matter? Good. Let’s roll.

Fearless predictions, part one
South Carolina will upset UConn and win the women’s basketball championship. UConn is short for Connecticut, a state and school so hard to spell it’s been shortened to UConn to make my life easier. Connectitacut. Conneticatacut. Conecticat. Ah, never mind.
The Kentucky men’s team will finish 40-0 and then the team manager will get drafted in the first round of the NBA draft.
One of the above has more of a chance of happening than the other. And it’s not the Lady Gamecocks beating UConn. I don’t think the San Antonio Spurs could beat UConn. So, look for the Orlando Magic to draft No. 1 whoever it is who makes sure the towels are fresh on the Kentucky bench.  
The Atlanta Braves will finish behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East. And everybody else, quite probably.
Remember the lovable losing Braves of my youth, back when my Uncle JD lived on Bouldercrest Road in DeKalb County and worked for Delta? Well, those good old Biff Pocoroba days are here again. Bring out the polyester suits, find my cousin Stinky, wire him up on Sugar Pops and grape Nehi, and turn him loose, because it’s retro Braves time in Atlanta.

Random things
I like it when a courtside reporter’s question is longer than a coach’s answer.
Reporter: “So, your half-court game was clearly working well when you switched from the man pressure to the quick outlet pass and followed it up by rotating your backcourt rotation left of center by about 11 degrees to a longitude of 131. What was your message to players about their responsibilities under the third paragraph in the Magna Carta regarding haircuts and fish sticks and opposed to lawn-care products? And will you go back to doing more of that in the second half?”
Coach: “Our kids played well. We need to keep doing that. Thanks.”
• I like Charles Barkley. I liked him as a player, I like him when he talks at halftime of basketball games, and I wish he’d run for something. In honor of that, I offer you three of his greatest quotes, courtesy the Internet.
Quote No. 1: “Kids are great. That’s one of the best things about our business, all the kids you get to meet. It’s a shame they have to grow up to be regular people and come to the game and call you names.”
Quote No. 2: “When I go around and I talk to young black kids, I really stress education. We’ve got this thing going on in black culture, where if you do well in school, you’re considered acting white. If you use proper English, you’re considered acting white. I say, ‘We’ve got to get more kids acting white, then.’ We want kids to speak proper English. We want them to get their education.”
Quote No. 3: “They haven’t killed me yet. Check the small print on the ticket. You’re here at your own risk. I’ve seen better players than me hit people.”

Kentucky men’s hoops coach John Calipari will make $6.5 million this year, according to If the Wildcats go 40-0, that translates into $162,500 a win — if I did the math right. That’s $81,250 a half.
That’s half a game. And I know fire chiefs, cops, combat leaders and teachers who don’t make that much in two or three whole years. No wonder we can’t spell and think Twitter is actually important. This country, sometimes.  

Sudden thought
I might grow muttonchops, just to see how far I can get them to stick out on the sides.  

Fearless prediction, part two  
If people walked around in a crowd like they drive in traffic, there would be five fights every minute.
So, I predict somebody in the left lane on 144 will speed around so they can get in front of me tomorrow just so they can promptly stop and take a right at Kroger, thereby forcing me and those behind me to stop while they go first. They might even have one of those decal families on their back window. Or, better yet, one of those moronic “Salt Life” decals. I hate those. What is it a drawing of, anyway? A fish fossil? What’s a fish fossil got to do with anything, anyway? What is this, itchthyology life?

Another sudden thought
Pembroke Mafia Football League member Noah Covington shaved his beard. Hated to see that. Covington was starting to look downright professorial. Now he looks kind of clean-shaven, like someone who’s got something up his sleeve. It’s like he’s debating whether to stick something in a sack, put it on your doorstep, light it on fire, ring your doorbell and then run to hide behind a bush and laugh while you stomp it out and get it all over your shoes.
Note: As you can tell, I’m angling for a job. When Covington is elected governor, I intend on being his senior press secretary. Which means I will do a lot of fishing while junior press secretaries do all the work.

In the email inbox
Some things just come out of nowhere, like this list of tips for parents whose kids play rec ball. They’re words to live by. Talk to coaches and many will tell you the worst thing about coaching these days is parents. Wonder if Calipari says that.
Anyhow, this was written by Dan Spring, a draftee of the Detroit Tigers in 2003 who runs the Spring Training Baseball Academy in Palos Verdes, California, as well as the youth baseball-instruction site Eye Black Academy.
“If you are the parent of a young baseball player, it’s easy to let the hectic nature of a season get in the way of the big picture. Below are my top 10 tips for parents to follow for each ballgame:
1) Celebrate your child’s effort and sportsmanship above results such as winning and losing.
2) Do not coach from the stands.
3) Never yell at the ump.
4) Never yell at the other team or their coaches.
5) Stay away from the dugouts during the game.
6) The umpire is human and will make mistakes.
7) Cheer positively.
8) Root for the whole team, not just your son or daughter.
9) Have fun!
10) Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best is a direct reflection of your parenting.”
Clip it out and paste it on your fridge. And remember, it’s just games.

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