Cheerleaders of the Day; Nov. 30, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

With the monster showdown of New England and New Orleans on Monday Night Football tonight, the nation’s leading cheerleader expert, Darren Becton, sent us these photos of representatives of the Patriots and Saints:

113009-patriots-cheerleader.jpg 

113009-saints-cheerleader.jpg

For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Please consider donating to send a parent or student to Reidsville game

As I mentioned in my Sunday column, Kinston High School Principal Wynn Whittington is trying to put together a chartered bus for Kinston fans to go to Friday night’s fourth-round 2AA playoff game at Reidsville.

I just got off the phone with him at 12:30 p.m., and he said around a dozen people had donated $30 to send a parent or a student to the game. Here’s the rub: he needs about 40 more commitments to be able to reserve a bus — and he needs to know sooner rather than later.

PLEASE find it in your heart — even if you’re not going to the game, please find $30 in your wallet that you can donate so that a parent of one of these players (who otherwise couldn’t afford it) can go to the game.

You can call Mr. Whittington at 252-527-8067 or go by the school itself.

And yes, I’m putting my money where my mouth is: I have committed $30 to send a parent or student to the game. If you can help, please do.

Morning News Report; Nov. 30, 2009

TIGER SAGA CONTINUES

Florida police say they’ll continue to investigate what happened in the Tiger Woods’ one-car accident early Friday morning, whether the golf star wants to help or not.

My take: On the surface to me, this is almost an invasion of privacy — one of our most basic American rights. No one else was injured in the accident, so why do we care? What if you backed out of your driveway this morning and slammed into a tree? Would The Free Press and WCTI ABC-12 be all over this story if Jonathan Davis hit a tree? Probably not.

Yes, there is the celebrity angle, but I still don’t think someone should be hounded the way Tiger has over the weekend.

I have only two caveats here: he hit a fire hydrant, which is owned by the government. I guess, technically, he could be charged for that.

The other is that if he is a victim of spousal abuse — and that’s entirely in the realm of possibility, given all the rumors and innuendo out there — then it would need to be investigated fully.

What if Tiger were a woman in this case? What if it were any random woman attempting to drive away from her home at 2:45 a.m. with a man brandishing a 9-iron behind her? Of course, if that happened, the guy would be under the jail.

But if — and this is a mighty big “if” — Tiger’s wife had scratched up his face, hit him with a golf club and then beat the crap out of his car while he was trying to drive away, that’s spousal abuse, plain and simple.

As I said Saturday morning, this story is going to keep throwing us twists and turns. As a good Libertarian, though, I think he deserves his privacy — unless he was being abused by his wife. What’s next — another Phil Hartman or Steve McNair case? I hope not.

TWILIGHT HOLDS OFF BLIND SIDE AT BOX OFFICE

But not by much: “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” was No. 1 at the box office during a record-breaking weekend, bringing in $42.5 million of receipts. It just barely beat “The Blind Side”, which was second at $40.1 million. While “New Moon” dropped 70 percent from its opening weekend, “Blind Side” actually went up 17 percent.

Third through fifth at the box office over the weekend were “2012″ ($18 million), “Old Dogs” ($16.8 million) and “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” ($16 million).

My take: I was one of the moviegoers to see “The Blind Side” — and it was wonderful. Yes, it’s a sports film, to a degree, but it’s an uplifting, positive story without too much sap. Other than one uncomfortable scene with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw on the verge of getting busy, it’s also a really family-friendly movie, too.

And it wasn’t too cheesy, either. Yes, there was a degree of cheese at points, but it was a movie I will certainly buy when it comes out on DVD. On my movie scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a solid 7.5.

And yes — I’m now a huge fan of Michael Oher, who is a rookie offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. His story is amazing and the folks who made “The Blind Side” did a fine job showing how he came up.

VIRGINIA FIRES AL GROH

The University of Virginia fired football coach Al Groh Sunday, less than 24 hours after an embarrassing 42-13 loss to Virginia Tech ended a 3-9 season.

My take: Finally. In Groh’s nine seasons, he only defeated the hated Hokies once. At least the Cavahoos owned UNC.

So now … who will be the next football coach at America’s University? Speculation is that University of Richmond coach (and more importantly, Virginia native) Mike London is the leading candidate. I don’t have a problem with that. As a proud Hoo fan, I just want a home run — not a has-been at the helm.

The iPod shuffle

Fortunate Son — U2

Bad Meets Evil — Eminem

The Fool On The Hill — The Beatles

What’s Your Fantasy — Ludacris feat. Trina, Shawna & Foxy Brown

Into The Heart — U2

My Sunday column

A sneak-peek at my Sunday column, which won’t be posted until midnight. See how special you bloggees are?

Herewith:

KHS football team is bringing our community together

 

It’s not hard to figure out that I’m an unapologetic sports fan. I spent the better part of 16 years covering all levels of sports – including the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and NCAA – but my favorite area has always been high school athletics.

Friday night’s third-round NCHSAA 2AA football playoff showdown between Kinston and Pittsboro Northwood made my passion for prep sports burn even greater.

Not only did the Kinston football team win in a 34-21 decision against Northwood, those young men did it with class and dignity. On a muddy, sloppy field on a bitterly cold night, I watched player after player from Kinston help Northwood players up after nearly every play.

At the end of the game, when some teams might’ve been jumping around for joy and actin’ a fool, the Kinston players lined up, shook hands with Northwood players and were extremely gracious in victory. As I walked off the field after interviewing KHS coach Battle Holley and a few of his players, I was stopped by a Northwood fan who – mistaking me for a Kinston coach – wished the Vikings good luck.

He also said, “That was the classiest team we’ve played this year.”  This from a fan who just saw his own beloved team get knocked out of the playoffs.

The most beautiful thing about Friday’s game, though, wasn’t the final score – it was the support of the 500 or so Kinston fans who braved the cold weather, the Black Friday traffic and the 225-mile roundtrip to support their team.

In particular, there was a group of about 20 men who sang hymn-like songs all night, with lyrics that included: “I’m so proud I’m from Kinston,” “I’m proud of our boys” and “Thank you Lord, I’m from Kinston.”

And yes, the young men on the field noticed.

“A couple of years ago, we really didn’t have any fans behind us, but now they’re there with us,” senior running back Josh Benoit said. “We really appreciate them.”

Senior quarterback Dory Hines concurred: “It means a lot to me to hear the crowd behind us. They really made a difference tonight.”

The success of the football team not only affects the team and its fans – Kinston High School Principal Wynn Whittington said it has a positive effect on the whole community.

“This football season has brought not just the city, but the county together,” Whittington said. “Every Friday night is an opportunity to forget about nonpartisan elections, shootings, arrests, robberies and all these things that are going on in the news.

“It gives everybody an opportunity to focus on thepurest form of entertainment, in my opinion: high school athletics. … It warms my heart to listen to former Kinston students who are now grown men singing hymns. That was awesome.”

The road isn’t over for this 2009 Kinston team, though. As if the task hasn’t already been daunting enough to this point in the season – traveling nearly 650 miles to win three road games against teams with a combined 31-5 record – the Vikings face a 332-mile roundtrip on Friday to take on a team with the third-longest winning streak in America. Reidsville, which has won the past two 2AA state titles, enter Friday’s game with 46 straight wins.

These are the young men from your hometown. Go ahead and plan on taking a half-day on Friday and make that trip to Reidsville. Don’t want to drive? Contact Whittington at KHS and he’ll put you on a charter bus for a nominal fee.

Even if you’re not able to make it up there for Friday’s game, take a minute to congratulate the team. Sponsor a mother or a father who otherwise couldn’t go to Friday’s game by donating $30 to Kinston High School so they’ll be able to cheer on their sons.

Kinston and Lenoir County – this is our time to shine. Let’s continue to show our children how much we love them and support them.

 

Bryan C. Hanks’ column appears every Sunday in The Free Press. You can reach him at 252-559-1074 or at bhanks@freedomenc.com. Check out his blog at bhanks.encblogs.com.

Want to ride a chartered bus to the Kinston-Reidsville game?

Just got off the phone with KHS Principal Wynn Whittington and he said he is gauging interest in putting a chartered fan bus together to go to the Kinston-Reidsville game on Friday. The cost would be $30; if you’re interested, call the school on Monday at 252-527-8067. Tell ‘em Hanks sent you.

Also, check out my game story from last night’s 34-21 win at Pittsboro Northwood.

Tiger Woods injured in early morning car accident (2 updates)

According to multiple sources, Tiger Woods has been injured in an early morning car wreck and is in serious condition in a Florida hospital.

My take: Wow. Here’s hoping everything comes out all right here…

UPDATE (FRIDAY NIGHT): Some weird twists and turns in the story; his wife allegedly helped him escape the vehicle after breaking out the back window with a golf club. Police say no alcohol was involved, but he was incoherent when an ambulance arrived.

One thing is certain — we’re probably NEVER going to know the real story.

UPDATE (SATURDAY MORNING): Well, the celebrity gossip site TMZ — you know, the National Enquirer of TV — is reporting that Tiger’s supermodel wife (and mother of his kids) was the one who gave him facial lacerations after a fight about potential cheating.

This gets more and more interesting …

My picks, Week 15

Make your own picks here; I’ll see you in Pittsboro tonight. I’ll be providing updates from the Kinston-Northwood game at my Twitter feed at BCHanks.

Prep playoffs

Kinston 28, Pittsboro Northwood 24

Jones Senior 36, North Edgecombe 24

Reidsville 34, SW Edgecombe 28

Hertford County 27, Havelock 21

Charlotte Independence 22, Richmond Senior 20

College

East Carolina

Wake Forest

Clemson

North Carolina

UTEP

NFL

Indianapolis

Miami

N.Y. Jets

Pittsburgh  Baltimore (changed at 1:25 p.m. on Saturday)

New Orleans

Cheerleader of the Day; Nov. 27, 2009

Welcome to today’s cheerleader of the day feature.

Every day, we’ll celebrate our favorite sports seasons, teams and school spirit with tasteful views of those student cheerleaders or professional cheerleaders who represent their respective teams.

After stuffing himself in yesterday’s Thanksgiving festivities, our Cheerleading Chief Executive, Darren Becton, has decreed that we view a lovely East Carolina cheerleader in preparation for tomorrow’s important home game with Southern Miss:

112709-ecu-cheerleader.jpg 

For a better view of the photos, click on the pictures themselves. To make a suggestion for a future COTD, leave it in the comments or send me an e-mail to bhanks@freedomenc.com

Afternoon News Report; Nov. 27, 2009

SECRET SERVICE UNDER FIRE FOR WHITE HOUSE PARTY-CRASHING

The Secret Service is in hot water after allowing a D.C. couple to crash the state dinner of the Indian prime minister this week.

My take: This would be funny if it weren’t so scary. So, basically, if you’re dressed nice and look like you fit in, you can get into the same room as the president? I’m sure all the crazies out there who want to hurt the president are going to LOVE this story.

POLANSKI IN SWISS JAIL UNTIL AT LEAST MONDAY

Filmmaker Roman Polanski will remain in a Swiss jail until at least Monday after it was determined he will be able to post a $4.5 million bail.

My take: There are a lot of other security measures that will be taken … but why is it taking so long to get this pedophile back to the U.S.? Money talks and BS walks, eh?

IVERSON TO UN-RETIRE?

Although Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement from the NBA on Wednesday at Stephen A. Smith’s blog, Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown thinks Iverson can still contribute to a team.

My take: Brown thinks he can contribute … but to what team? Is there a team in the NBA that the prideful Iverson could really make a difference? I didn’t think the Memphis situation was a good one and I’m not sure there is a team that wants an over-the-hill, 6-foot, 150-pound point guard who demands 25 shots a game.

And what’s the deal with Stephen A. Smith? I was so hopeful the world was rid of his ridiculous, loud, meaningless rants … and now Iverson made him relevant for another couple of days. That bothers me more than anything else…

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Home Alabama — Lynyrd Skynyrd

Like A Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan

Brain Damage — Eminem

Come As You Are — Nirvana

Three Point One Four — The Bloodhound Gang