Back on Campus

Welcome back to The Campus Game.

After an extended post-holiday and start-of-the-semester hiatus, regular posts resume today with a few notes on the passing scene, including:

* Professor’s Summer Sports Reading List
* Furman Bisher
* Thirty Years Ago
* SEC Spring Football Dates

Welcome back to campus!

Summer Sports Reading List

Just finishing up two sports books, one of which is outstanding … the other very good.

The outstanding book – Unbroken – is Laura Hillenbrand’s amazing account of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic distance runner at the 1936 Olympics, and the man who might have been the first to run a 4-minute mile … has not WWII interrupted. Zamperini was a bombardier in the war and his plane went down during a search mission. Saying much more might spoil the story, but this is one of the most moving and inspirational sport-related books I’ve read in a while (and it’s actually more about war than sports). My classes can expect to read it next spring semester, but you should put it on your summer reading list now (by the way, Hillenbrand also wrote Seabiscuit).

Jane Leavy’s The Last Boy is yet another book on Mickey Mantle. Our seemingly endless fascination with the Mick has generated several books and there’s not a whole lot of new tales in this one, but Leavy does go more in-depth than most and I found her research and discussions of Mantle’s tape-measure homeruns to be very enjoyable. As all baseball fans (and most sports fans generally) know, when the Mick tore up his knee as a teenager in the 1951 World Series his unlimited and perhaps not fully filled potential would forever overshadow his Hall of Fame accomplishments. That was never really fair to Mantle (and he was harder on himself than just about anybody) … to paraphrase Yankee teammate Clete Boyer … “how much better could he have been?”

Both books are worth your time.

Furman Bisher

As a child, teenager, and finally grown man, one of my favorite sportswriters was Furman Bisher, the venerable Atlanta Journal columnist. In doing some research for this post (including trying to remember the name Bisher gave to his weekly “catch all” column … it was “Notes on the Passing Scene”) to my amazement I discovered Bisher had come out of retirement last January and was writing a column for the Gwinnett Daily Post.

You can check out his latest article (a remembrance of Duke Snyder) by clicking here.  To steal another Bisher line – Selah.

Thirty Years Ago

Thirty years ago today (it was a Sunday afternoon), my mother crashed her silver and blue Pontiac Grand Prix into a small, concrete pillar of a tiny bridge on a two lane road between Collinsville and Leesburg in northeast Alabama. Her sister (one of my favorite aunts) and a seven-year old boy (a second cousin) died instantly at the site of the wreck. The boy’s mom, my cousin, was the only survivor of the one-car accident. After languishing in a coma for eight days and never regaining consciousness, my mother died early on the morning of Monday March 9th 1981. Thirty years is a long time, and hurt dulls over time, but even just typing out these few words cuts pretty sharply. They are missed.

SEC Spring Football Dates

Here are spring football dates for SEC teams courtesy of Chris Low and ESPN.

Alabama
Start Date March 21
Spring Game April 16

Arkansas
Start Date March 15
Spring Game April 16

Auburn
Start Date March 23
Spring game April 16

Florida
Start Date March 16
Spring Game April 9

Georgia
Start Date March 10
Spring Game April 16

Kentucky
Start Date March 23
Spring game April 23

LSU
Start Date March 11
Spring Game April 9

Miss State
Start Date March 4
Spring game April 9

Ole Miss
Start Date March 28
Spring Game April 16

South Carolina
Start Date March 15
Spring Game April 9

Tennessee
Start Date March 22
Spring Game April 16

Vanderbilt
Start Date March 18
Spring Game April 17

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