Ever since late August I have devoted my Friday story to picking football games, so as we get back into the random swing, let’s take a look at some of the notes that clutter my desk.
* * *
Cade Foster, the Alabama field-goal kicker who was horribly abused by some Crimson Tide fans when three kicks went awry against Auburn, just got a handwritten letter-of-support he is gleefully showing his teammates.
It reads, “Dear Cade (No. 43) … Life has its setbacks. I know! However you will be a stronger human being in time. I wish you all the best – Sincerely – another 43! – George W. Bush. (The 43rd president of the United States played high school baseball at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and wore No. 43. This was before he was Governor of Texas and bought a share of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise, which he sold some 11 years later for a sizeable profit.)
You have to admit that is a pretty classy thing for “W.” to do and Foster, who was 11-of-14 going into the Auburn game, can atone himself in the Tide’s January 2 Sugar Bowl against No. 11 Oklahoma.
* * *
After 41 airmen complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon ordered a Nativity Scene at Shaw Air Force base in Sumter, S.C., be moved immediately. Local military historian John Sammons told blaze.com, “I don’t know where a plastic babyJesus could cause such an emotional distress on somebody they would want to get involved with the military freedom folks and have them removed.
“Many have died overseas for the right of religious freedom,” he said, “and this breaks my heart.”
Another airman tweeted, “All Airmen should be able to practice their particular religion, or subscribe to no religious beliefs at all. You should confidently practice you own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own.”
* * *
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win tomorrow night’s 79th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy as the nation’s best college football player and he certainly deserves all the accolades he can get after a monumental season where the Seminoles ended the regular season unbeaten.
But the Heisman Trust insists “integrity” be a factor and Winston was notoriously tied to an alleged sexual abuse charge that languished for nearly a whole year before it emerged in a late-season explosion. The State Attorney in Tallahassee ruled last week he doubted he could get a conviction so the charges were dismissed.
Three other quarterbacks were invited to attend Saturday’s 8:00 p.m. ESPN special. They are Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and AJ McCarron of Alabama while running backs Tre Mason of Auburn and Andrew Williams of Boston College are also finalists.
For the record I voted as a member of the voting panel for years and, using the “integrity” card pretty blindly, my Top Three would be McCarron, Mason and Williams.
* * *
A teacher’s union in Michigan is fighting to obtain a $10,000 severance package for Neal Erickson, age 38, who just pleaded guilty to raping a young boy over a three-year span and has been sentenced to 15-30 years in prison.
Moreover, some teachers in the West Bronx-Rose City school district wrote letters of support to the judge, one saying, “Neal made a mistake. He allowed a mutual friendship to develop into much more.”
Well, Judge Michael Baumgartner said he was “appalled and ashamed that the community could rally around” Erickson and parents are furious the Michigan Education Association is seeking severance pay. “This is completely ludicrous. Are they nuts in the head!” said the abused boy’s father. “How can a union file a grievance and back a child molester? We are very upset about it.”
According to a Fox News account, attendance in the district is down 87 percent from this time last year.
* * *
This just in from VetStreet.com -- The top ten names for dogs in 2013:
MALES – Max, Buddy, Charlie, Rocky, Cooper, Duke, Bear, Jack, Bentley, and Toby
FEMALES – Bella, Daisy, Lucy, Molly, Sadie, Sophie, Lola, Chloe, Zoey, and Maggie.
* * *
Last Friday night Karen Perrin had to work late at her office so she called her husband, former Washington Redskins running back Lonnie Perrin, to tell him she would be a little late. After about 45 minutes she went to the restroom and the door malfunctioned once she was inside, locking tight.
Without her cellphone, the perplexed Karen tried everything and finally thought about the movie “Shawshank Redemption.” She found a three-foot rod and attacked the plaster walls, going through wire and insulation, on her way to freedom.
After eight hours, she finally got an arm through to open the door from the outside. "I came undone," says Perrin. "I was crying. I felt like I was escaping a bad dream, like when you have a nightmare and you wake up and your heart is pounding and you realize, 'Oh, I was just dreaming. Did that just happen. Am I OK?'"
Her husband and daughter, sensing something was wrong, were out looking for her when she finally was able to retrieve her cellphone.