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River Rat

  • RIVER RAT: Boys only?

    For whatever reason, the local basketball coaching ranks seems as hesitant to welcome women’s participation as much as Augusta National has been over the years.

    This year, with Bardstown’s hiring of Jamie Neal to take over the girls’ hoops program, marks the first time since the 1970s a local school has had a female hoops coach. I consulted a few people well-equipped to know that history, starting with Minor Harmon.

  • RIVER RAT: Catching things up

    I haven’t had much column chances lately, so I’ll do some housecleaning on a rainy Tuesday …

     

    Congratulations to Nelson County quarterback Dylan Beasley and lineman Reed Montgomery, for being picked to participate in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game. The game is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Xavier High School, pitting Beasley, Montgomery and other standout seniors from the Greater Louisville area against their counterparts from the rest of the state.

  • RIVER RAT: Is the system fair?

    I’ve had my suspicions about the validity, value and fairness of the current system of funneling kids into collegiate athletics programs for some time.

    It’s a system that leans way too heavily on the influence of high-level club and AAU programs in identifying talented kids and showing them off for college recruiters, across multiple sports.

    It’s a system that fails or overlooks too many kids, most recently the best girls’ soccer player I’ve ever covered.

  • RIVER RAT: School split creates loyalty dilemma

    You’ve seen the license plates on some cars. You know the ones where one spouse is a Louisville fan and the other a Kentucky fan.

    Well, we’ve got our own cases of “A House Divided” going on these days, what with the split of Nelson County and Thomas Nelson high schools.

    On the frontline of that is the Spalding family, where senior Heather plays volleyball for the Cardinals and younger sister Hope, a freshman, does the same for Thomas Nelson.

  • RIVER RAT: 'Baseball for Brodi' charity tourney a hit

    Sports aren’t always about overpaid, whiny athletes, slimy agents and greedy owners. Sometimes the sports world sheds light upon what’s really important in life.

    Dean Watts Park was the place to be this past weekend to see just that, as mass generosity was in effect at the “Baseball For Brodi” charity tournament, which brought in 37 teams — some from as far away as North Harrison, Ind., and Russell Springs — as well as hundreds and hundreds of fans, players and parents.

  • RIVER RAT: Games to watch for 2012

    Each year, the football schedule sets up to present us several key, must-see games that help define a season. Here are a few that I’ve got my eye on:

     

    Aug. 17

    Franklin Co. at Nelson Co.

    The visiting Flyers have a handful of D-I players on the roster, including speedy Ryan Timmons, who’s headed to Kentucky, as well as quarterback Logan Woodside, who’s committed to Toledo. How the Cardinals deal with a team rated in the preseason as high as No. 3 in Class 5A should be interesting.

  • RIVER RAT: Football's back!

    Welcome, and thanks for picking up a copy of The Kentucky Standard’s 2012 Football Preview special section.

    Football is one of my favorite sports to watch, and perhaps the most challenging sport for me to cover. There’s just so much that goes on during, before and after not only each game, but each play within the game, which makes it one of the most layered, complex sports in the athletic realm.

  • RIVER RAT: Olympic-sized viewing feats

    I found myself discussing with a friend the other day the Olympics. More specifically, he asked, “Who watches the Olympics?”

    An interesting question, to be sure, and I had found myself considering even before our conversation.

    Obviously, past athletes in the various sports would come readily to mind, but they are the small fringe, the diehards. NBC wouldn’t be televising the Olympics across several broadcasting platforms if they were just looking for the cult audience.

  • RIVER RAT: Not the typical summer vacation

    My last attempt at a vacation last month ended up with my red VW Golf nearly meeting its maker in the cemetery in Chaplin. Since then, I’ve purchased a new used vehicle (another VW, although I didn’t necessarily intend it that way), and after an invite from a buddy of mine, Chad Brendel, who does recruiting writing and scouting for a University of Cincinnati fan website, we got to try it out on an unconventional vacation trip.

  • RIVER RAT: Cautious optimism

    “She looks awful good to us … promising,” said Doug Hawkins as we looked over the 2-year-old filly Be Wise Get Even shortly after we arrived at Cain’s Thoroughbred Training Center in Russell Springs last week.

    Hawkins, the proprietor of Doug’s Country Tavern in St. Francis, knows a bit about the ponies, having been around them much of his life. He used to be a jockey, and also trained the mighty beasts back in the day. He helps oversee the small farm out Loretto way owned by his brothers, Danny and Emile, and friend Louis Simms.