Roy Exum: Kangaroos, Snakes, And Such

Friday, February 15, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When Chattanooga native Brooke Pancake made her LPGA debut in the Australian Open women's golf tournament on Thursday, who would have ever guessed play would be delayed at the Royal Canberra course by a roaming troop of kangaroos, or that Swedish rookie Daniela Holmqvist would be bitten by a Black Widow spider (and play out her round)?

Brooke, a three-time All-American who won the state championship at Baylor in high school, had an opening round of 73 to be tied for 86th in the huge field. Lydia Ko, a South Korean-born New Zealander who is just 15 years old, was the leader at 10-under with a 63 after winning the New Zealand Open just a week ago.

Ko, still an amateur, won the New South Wales Open to become the youngest player in history to win a pro tour event and, by winning the Canadian Open last summer, became the youngest LPGA Tour winner. She also won the U.S. Women's Amateur last year.

And to add more dash into the stew, Lookout Mountain's Braden Smith has moved from the Tour to the LPGA where this season he is carrying the bag of 2009 U.S. Women’s Open champion Eun-Hee Ji. The 5-foot-4 Ji, from South Korea, is fondly called "Mickey Mouse" by the other South Korea players on the LPGA Tour and is considered one of its top players. Ji shot a 3-under 70 on Thursday.

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The Kentucky preacher who handles live serpents at his worship services at The Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, in Middlesboro, Ky., says he can't "obey God" unless the state of Tennessee returns the three rattlesnakes and two copperheads he bought in Alabama last week.

The Rev. Jamie Coots paid $800 for the venomous reptiles in Alabama but, while driving back to Kentucky on Sunday, was pulled over because his car's windows were illegally tinted. Officers saw the snakes in cages and called the state's wildlife officers to confiscate them. "Years we've traveled and went and got them and never anything like this," said the preacher.

But Joe Durnin of the Wildlife resources Agency disagrees. "Even if you are trained and experienced in handling them, there's always the issue of who else is going to be in the home that may come in contact with them," he said, pointing to a late February court date.

Coots was arrested in Kentucky in 2008 on similar charges but now said he has a permit for the snakes. "We use them in our religious ceremonies. And I believe...if I don't have them there to use, then I'm not obeying the word of God," he told reporters.

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Did you see how fast sports giant Nike pulls its ads of Olympic "blade runner" Oscar Postorius after the double-amputee from South Africa was just arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend? Postorious was thought to be the perfect example of what a person can achieve in the face of adversity but now both the regular and Para-Olympics are shocked by the allegations.

The Nike ads showed a time-lapse photo of the sprinter wearing his blades with the caption, "I am the bullet in the chamber. Just do it." Ouch! Oscar was believed to have a $2 million contract with the global shoe giant but, quite obviously, no one could have predicted the unsettling news out of South Africa.

* * *

Thomas Duncan, a lucky guy from Jackson, Tenn., just got the ideal Valentine gift from his wife -- a kidney transplant. The surgery was performed at Vanderbilt Medical Center yesterday and all went well. The couple has been married 25 years and, as Kim said, "What better day to show God’s love as much as our love?”

* * *

They have this teenaged version of the TV game show "Jeopardy" and a kid won with one of the most clever replies on record. Leonard Cooper was in last place as the ”Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” was in its waning minutes. Then the question came, “Clavicle is another name for this bone.” Cooper pointed to his clavicle as he said, “What’s the uh…neck bone…collar bone.”

He then scored a Daily Double question where he wagered $18,000 from his total of $18,200. “Gutsy move,” host Alex Trebek said as the audience gasped. The next question: “In Reginal Rose’s play ‘Twelve Angry Men’, the men are all members of one of these.” At first Cooper looked as if it was a tough one but a smile crept on his face as he answered correctly, “What is a jury?”

As the tournament headed into Final Jeopardy, Cooper held the lead with $37,000 and gave his epic answer when Trebeck's question was ”On June 6, 1944 he said, ‘The eyes of the world are upon you.” The other two challengers missed so Trebek turned to the kid in the Afro. "Now we go to Leonard Cooper, he’s looking pretty happy,” Trebek said. “Why?" grinned the host. "Did he come up with Ike? Dwight David Eisenhower?”

Not hardly ....but witty Leonard did have one of the greatest Jeopardy answers ever. Cooper wrote, ”Who is some guy in Normandy, but I just won $75,000!” It was true! Since neither of the other contestants had enough to take the lead, Cooper won the grand prize of $75,000!

Nila Sarda, a  13-year-old from Atlanta's Westminster, finished third.

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