Saturday, March 31, 2007

First Capitol News Sports - Mike McMurran Sports Editor

Some of you seemed to think I was joking last week when I said my hobby was coaching youth sports. Ain’t no joke. I guess I could have added to the list “attending sporting events,” as I do a lot of that with my kids, too. I would hate for anyone to think that I was some kind of a mean spirited dad, but once Joe came home from school and asked if he could join the Cub Scouts. “Sure,” I said, “but I am not going to go on any camping trips, that’s where I draw the line. I’ll coach your baseball team, help with your football team, but I’m not a Cub Scout kind of guy. I think Dee and I had pretty much the same conversation. Both basically said, “Well Dad, if you’re not going to be a Cub Scout Dad, I’m not going to be a Cub Scout.”

Now before you go off on the deep end and tell me how All-American the Cub Scouts are, I’ll ask you the question: Did you serve in the military? Cause I did, and I got all the camping out I wanted in my short two and one-half years of active duty – and I was in the Navy! Never traveled on a ship, took tours upon them though – carriers, submarines, destroyers and such. No, I was in an outfit called the Seabees – our saying was: “We build, we fight.” We were mostly a construction outfit; that’s where we got our name, construction battalion, CB, Seabees, get it? We went out into “the field” once a year for a period of a week or so for heavy weapons training. My specialty? Mortar firing; scary, huh? Remember, that was heavy weapons. I was also an expert with an M-16 rifle and a sharpshooter with a .45 caliber pistol. Come to think of it, I don’t own any guns either.

No, I’m a sports centered guy. Sports is the one arena in life I have found where everything is pretty much equal; at least once you get to a certain level, that is. I cannot imagine a college coach playing someone with sub par talent. Unless of course he might be sitting someone out for disciplinary reasons. No, in the field of athletic competition advancement is usually based upon merit, not who you know. Let’s face it, in pretty much every other arena in life it’s who you know – not really what you can do.

So I’m a sports guy, and for those of you who wanted to know how Maggie’s basketball team did in their final game of the season last week, well, they won – rather handily at that. We finished with a 7-3 record, improving on last year’s 2-8 season. More importantly, it took all ten games, but finally, all ten members of the team scored. We had the game wrapped up by half time, and the girls were instructed only one of them could shoot from that point on, the only girl who had not scored yet this season. It took her three shots or so, but she finally got her field goal – her first points ever, for that matter. That’s why I’m in youth sports.

For the past four weeks or so it has been Maggie’s basketball team AND Joe’s baseball team. You see Joe’s baseball season begins in less than two weeks, so for the past four weeks, every Sunday, the boys have been going to the batting cages from 1-2. Over kill? Nope, just good old fashion hard work. Batting, more than most endeavors in life, is improved upon with repetition; repetition and instruction. Every Sunday the boys take 15-20 swings, take a 5-minute break or so, then back into the cage for another 15-20 swings. In the course of an hour they get well over 100 quality swings. Believe me, this hard work and dedication will pay off later in the season.
Beginning this week we will take the show outside; as many of you are picking up this week’s edition of the First Capitol News, the Titans will start their annual outdoor practices, every Friday from 3:30 – 5:30. God forbid it should rain, if it does we simply move inside to the batting cages. This year we have a few new players and will have to adjust our positioning, but like I said a paragraph or two ago, everything will be determined on merit; merit, hard work and attitude. Which reminds me of one of my all time favorite motivational sayings: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” This applies to pretty much every aspect of life. If you believe it, and I really do, imagine what can be done when talent works hard? That is what the Titans are all about.

While I’m at it, take the family to Family Arena this Saturday night and watch the new and improved RiverCity Rage. I don’t think you are going to see the blowouts like you did the past two seasons, but remember, the Rage has upgraded to the United Indoor Football league. I’ve never heard anyone in the Rage organization say this, but I really do get the feeling their goal is to make it to the big-time indoor football circuit. Joining the UIF


puts them one step closer.

See y’ next edition.

Rage win season opener
Move to Family Arena pays off before first home contest
By: Mike McMurran
Sports Editor

The RiverCity Rage traveled to Evansville, Indiana for their first United Indoor Football contest in team history. The Rage moved from the National Indoor Football League at the conclusion of last season. Not only did they change leagues, they changed homes as they now play, and practice at Family Arena in St. Charles.

Playing on the Evansville Bluecat’s smaller field didn’t seem to bother the Rage as they took a 23-21 cushion into the fourth quarter. After trading a couple of scores with the Bluecat's, the Rage seemed to have the game wrapped up when Muhammad Abdulqaadir scrambled 13 yards into the end zone give the visitors a 37-30 lead with 13 ticks of the clock remaining. The Bluecat's returned the kickoff to midfield, where Bluecat quarterback Richard Johnson tossed a pass to Tommy Manus on the first play from scrimmage, knotting the contest at 37 with seconds remaining.

River City downed the following kickoff leaving 1.7 seconds on the game clock, and a chance for Derek Kutz to win it. Kutz drilled a 42 yard field goal with no time left on the clock to seal a 40-37 victory in River City’s first ever game as a member of the United Football League, and sending the team into a celebratory frenzy on the field in Roberts Stadium in Evansville.

Last season the Rage practice facility was too small to allow field goal and extra point practice – such is not the case at their new Family Arena home. In their first game, in a new league, with a new home, before they even had a chance to play at their new home, the move to Family Arena is already paying benefits.

Next game for the Rage is the home opener against the Lexington Horsemen, Saturday March 31 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are still on sale. For more information call the River City Rage at 636-896-4285 or visit