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From the time I was about 10 years old, I have been a rabid sports fan. In the beginning, I chose my allegiances whimsically. I liked the Cowboys because they had stars on their helmets and were called “America’s Team” and I lived in America, and because I liked Coach Tom Landry’s fedora. I chose to pull for the Lakers because they had an actual giant on their team, a man named Wilt Chamberlain who wore a cool bright yellow headband. And I picked the Dodgers because my dad liked them and I wanted to be like him or least have something in common with him.

My first love. Baseball.

The quintessential American pastime. The thing of which childhood dreams are made. The playing grounds of heroes, either ready to be made or already part of the centuries-old lore surrounding a game that knows no bounds in its depths of imagination and sheer ability to capture yours.

Several parents made it clear during a recent Swain County commissioners meeting they want to have more recreational opportunities for their children.

What started as a discussion about private vendors selling concession items at the rec department during youth sporting events quickly became an airing of grievances regarding the lack of programming for residents at the rec center.

op bryant“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

— Dylan Thomas

Maybe it is because I have followed his career since he was a teenager playing high school basketball at Lower Merion in a Philadelphia suburb. Or maybe it is because I wanted to pay my respects to a basketball legend, one of a small handful of the greatest players ever to play the game. Most likely, it is because I have also seen my “game” diminished by the ravages of time, and I wanted to watch Kobe Bryant play his last game in the NBA as a simple act of brotherhood.

fr turfA plan to replace the football field at Smoky Mountain High School with artificial turf is likely to move ahead following an engineer’s finding that the work could be done well within Jackson County Public School’s $715,000 cap for the project.

fr wcucampusThe decision to expand the tailgating area at Western Carolina University boiled down to one simple thing, the university’s attorney Mary Ann Lochner told the Board of Trustees’ Administration, Governance and Trusteeship Committee last week.

fr basketballThere is no “I” in team for Jimmy Cleaveland.

“Listen, I don’t know where you’re going with this story,” he modestly said. “But, I sure don’t want this about me. I want it to be about these kids, for sure.”

Let’s talk some sports radio. I began thinking about this piece the afternoon before the Super Bowl. The Panthers were out of it … but I still listened. I’d listen to the play-by-play of a ping-pong match, so long as it’s broadcast on the radio. 

out frFlips, spins, big jumps and high speeds — these things challenge the average human being, but, for big-air snowboarder Zeb Powell, they’re no big deal.

Five days out of the week during ski season, the 13-year old can be found out on the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, grinding on rails, zipping down hills, twisting and turning head over heels in the air. He dominates most competitions he enters into and is always working on the next big move.

fr sportsfieldsA proposal to charge youth sports clubs and outside groups rental fees to use school property is being studied by the Haywood County School Board.

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