Column: "The Sports Trail": ESPN controversy doesn't shake our county players

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

by David McNeal

What an exciting weekend!

Our local basketball teams were all in action from last Friday evening through Saturday, including the Berryville Junior Lady Bobcats playing in the championship game at the Huntsville Junior High Tournament.

It all went off smoothly, in spite of ESPN's Trev Alberts insulting Razorback Coach Houston Nutt, then Nutt reporting Alberts called and apologized, then Alberts saying he did not.

Wow! And to think, these things come from the very source of life in America, college athletics and the media that reports on them.

In case you missed it ---- and I did, due to the number of games played last week, 13 just from Friday night to Saturday night alone ---- this major media event started last Wednesday night when Alberts said Nutt had been "dishonest" about using Nebraska to get a raise.

You know, Nebraska wanted Nutt, he told his boss about it, and the boss gave him a raise so he would stay.

Just like it works for everyone, right?

It was amazing to me that our local athletes competed so well during that stressful time ---- but they did.

The Green Forest and Berryville senior high teams didn't let the rainy weather Friday cause any moss to grow on them. Regardless of who wins, these games are always emotional and hard fought.

The Eureka teams weren't exactly sitting on their hands either, with four games on Friday at Elkins. For both the senior and junior high boys, a win would put them in the driver's seat in 1AA ---- so they won!

Then Saturday afternoon, I watched the junior girls championship game at Huntsville. There were three girls playing in that one that stood a solid 6-0, and a host of others in the 5-9 and up category. Huh? Did I say junior high girls?

Yes, indeed-ee, they grow them big now, almost as big as the tiff between Alberts and Nutt. I wonder if ESPN will want the Razorbacks, of any kind, on their network after having it pointed out that one of their guys wasn't exactly professional in his comments. I also wonder if that will cost the Razorbacks money.

Anyway, both Berryville and Green Forest had to make up games Saturday night, and not against just anybody. Berryville's girls faced Farmington, No. 1 in Class AAA and ranked 6th overall, while Green Forest's boys had to take on the Gentry Pioneers, ranked No. 8 in Class AAA.

Yep, our local athletes kept a cool head during the big crises and took care of business right here at home ---- which is obviously what Alberts should have been doing.

Why in the world would he accuse Nutt of something like trying to squeeze money and concessions out of Frank Broyles, his old coach?

Oh, by the way, Trev Alberts is a former Nebraska linebacker, in case you didn't know.

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