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Warm up to spring with these enjoyable stories about sports

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: May 22, 2013 6:23AM



‘Spring and a young man’s fancy turns to ….sports.” I live across from a park and enjoy watching the activities increase as the weather warms up.

Baseball is the first sport we think about in the spring and I enjoyed a little book by John Martz which illustrates the delightful comedy routine of Abbot and Costello, “Who’s On First?” I’m sure that every one of my generation or before is familiar with this funny use of words for names.

Not a lot to say about the book as the plot and characters are pretty structured.

This would be a great read by two people, one becoming Abbott and one Costello. I will leave you with a question. What is the shortstop’s name? (Hint: It’s not What! He’s on second base.)

In “Lucky Luis” by Gary Soto, Luis is beginning his little league career and is concerned about doing as well as his dad did playing.

As they get ready for the season, the talk turns to superstitions among ball players and Luis is surprised to learn that his father had his own ‘tricks’ that he followed.

Luis discovers his own rule when he goes to the store before each game and Ms. Gomez gives him a sample of food as a ‘tryout’. He has to have his ‘tryout’. Then, she is out of ‘tryouts’ and Luis begins having trouble with his game. He talks to his father who assures him that is not the cause but Luis can’t get around it.

In desperation, he adopts his father’s old habit of turning his belt buckle a certain way, and HOMER!

Do they work or not? Opinions are divided but at least Luis’s team wins the game.

I have always heard about this story but never knew the details until I found “The Day Roy Riegels Ran The Wrong Way” by Dan Gutman.

In the Rose Bowl game in 1929, California is facing Georgia Tech in Pasadena. We listen as Grandpa tells his grandson the funny story. Our boy keeps questioning his grandpa about what makes the event so famous but it takes a while for Grandpa to describe the play.

It’s close to the end of the first half and there is a fumble. Roy picks it up and runs. And runs.

This may be the first time he has ever run the ball as he is the center. He stops on the 1 yard line but it’s too late. He can’t go back. Georgia Tech is able to convert his error to a two point safety.

He does rise above his error and plays the rest of game spectacularly but California loses.

He goes on to serve in WWII and become a successful business man. He even does ‘talks’ about his famous exploit in his later days. Until his death at 84, he is called ‘Wrong Way Riegels’.



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