Saturday, April 21, 2007

FIRST CAPITOL NEWS SPORTS - Mike McMurran Sports Editor

Things are finally getting back into a regular routine in the McMurran household. In case you’ve been living in a cave, or if you are not a regular reader of this column, I’ve spent most of the past two months or so campaigning for Bob Kneemiller’s City Council position. He soundly trounced me by a 2-1 margin which somewhat surprised me, but life goes on. More than anything else I was concerned how my kids would react to their dear old dad getting beat – they handled it rather well. As Maggie put it, “at least you had the courage to run Dad, no one else in the 4th ward even ran.” Well put for a 5th grader. “Sometimes when you go to bat you’re going to strike out Dad,” Joe shared with me. I wish Bob all the luck in the world.

When asked if I thought the mud-slinging campaign material that was thrown into yards the day before the election hurt my chances, I had to respond “no.” Maggie and Joe both read the articles written about me and said, “Dad, if these were true, wouldn’t you have been arrested? If these were true, why would the people of Country Club Hills have voted you in as Mayor?” Sometimes life’s lessons are priceless. I shared with my children that saying bad things about people, whether they be true are not, has long been a tool of republicans. I then shared with them the lies told about John Kerry as well as the lies told about my good friend Tom Green. I think I lost them when I went into the difference between republican ideology and democratic philosophy – but then again they are only 8 and 11 years old.

Like I told most of my friends and supporters who called me and offered condolences, maybe I’m just meant to be a teacher and a youth coach. After all, it’s only natural to do what one does best. As luck would have it, two days after the election I was called by the powers to be of the O’Fallon Junior Renegades Football organization. It seems the Gateway Football League is shaking up their levels of participation this season, and rather than having 7 and 8 year-olds playing together, they are going to have a separate league for 7 year-olds. My youngest son, Dee, is 7 and is going to play for the Renegades next season, along with two or three of his classmates. Well, those in charge have approached me and asked me to be the head coach of the 7 year-old team. I’m not certain, no, I’m quite certain that had I won the election I would not have had the time to coach the team and would have had to decline the offer. Like I’ve said before, the Creator of the Universe works in strange ways. I am now the official head coach of the 7 year-old O’Fallon Junior Renegades Football team. I’m sure you’ll be reading more about my endeavors in future editions.

St. Charles own Brad Soderberg seems to be getting the short end of the stick from Father Biondi and the administration at St. Louis University. Closer examination indicates it might just be Biondi himself. Any way you look at it the University did Soderberg wrong! Over the years I’ve developed a pretty close relationship with former SLU head coach and former Clayton a.d. Rich Grawer. Rich said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it (release a coach). SLU seems to have done it the wrong way.” From everything I’ve read and heard about the firing, only one other head men’s’ basketball coach has been fired after April 15th in the past 5 years. That would be former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy – and he was released for behavior off the court. I believe Soderberg will land on his feet. I’ve never met the man, but from a distance he seems well grounded to what’s important. Look at what happened to Grawer after he was fired. He landed possibly the best a.d. job in the state at Clayton high school. I’m not sure what he started out making, but by the time he retired I’m sure he was making six figures. “And I get to go home every night,” he told me once when I asked him if the Clayton job was a let down after coaching Division I basketball.

Good luck to a few baseball and softball teams this season. Maggie is playing softball for St. Cletus and will open their season this weekend in a tournament at St Elizabeth. Daniel and Joe both play in the St. Peter’s Athletic Association – Dee plays for the Cobras and Joe for the Titans. By the time this fine weekly hits the street they both will have a game under their belt.

Finally, happy 9th birthday to my oldest son, Joseph Conway McMurran. Joe, I waited 43 years to have a son – the wait was well worth buddy.