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Thursday, June 15, 2017


Last call indeed.
   Stepdad. Divorce. Engagement. Marriage. Stints at the Dallas Observer and CBS radio and NBC TV paving the way to media consulting. Ghosts (maybe). Squirrels (definitely). Pool parties (uh-huh). Tyron Smith breaking the bar. Armen Williams mysteriously losing his ring in the back yard. Girls jumping off the roof - topless. 40th and (yikes) 50th birthdays. And, yep, a championship by the Mavs, a nauseating flirtation by the Rangers and nary of whiff by the Cowboys.
   A lot has transpired since I moved into 2823 Roundrock in McKinney back in 2002. Other than the house I grew up in, I've lived here longer than any residence.
   But alas, nothing lasts forever. Especially addresses.
   So here Sybil and I go. Downsizing. Upgrading. You know the drill. You say you're never going to move and then - the commute gets longer and your patience gets shorter and the offers get bigger and ... Poof, just like that, we're dumping leisurely life in the 'burbs for shorter drives to longer nights down by the Dallas Arboretum.
   I'll always have McKinney. But I no longer need the McKrap.
   Bottom line: Estate Sale, courtesy of Attics to Basements. It begins - right now! - and runs through Saturday afternoon. Schedule: Thurs 10-4/ Fri 10-4/ Sat 10-2. (If you can't make it out but will be in the market for some sports memorabilia, an item or two that goes unsold will be donated to the Do It For Durrett and/or DFW Talk Of The Town charities.
   Come help us bid a fond (and fruitful) farewell to a house saturated with 15 years of excessive hunting and gathering in the form of ...

Rookie of the Year - 1995

Not Fake News

Gently pre-owned

Some of these you'll have to fight me over

Before ... you know.

                                                    AND EVERYTHING BETWEEN
Garth. Michael. Toy. 52-17.

The Great Goodbye

(Not so) Gently pre-owned

He had/has my vote.

You'll have to outbid Ron Chapman.

Before ... you know.

Yes, it works.

2011 = Pins 'n tears.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


   “Be more positive!” she says.
   “Stick to sports!” he chides.
   “Too many Top 10 lists!” they decry.
   Fine, you win. Today: A warm-’n-fuzzy Top 20 list about sports.
   But first, a little background …

   I lied to get into the sports media business. Sorta.
   Went down like this:
   In 1986, a few months before I graduated UT-Arlington with a degree in journalism, I caught the eye and grabbed the ear of an editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
   “I’ll do anything, for any price,” I begged, attempting to jam the tip of my toe into what I perceived to be a sliver of an opening in the door.
   “Hmm, okay,” returned the editor. “Do you follow soccer?”
   “Are you kidding?!” I fibbed, having attended a Dallas Tornado game or two as a kid but not really knowing a goal from a goal kick. “One of my favorite sports!”
   Two nights later I was inside Reunion Arena covering a team called the Dallas Sidekicks and a sport called the Major Indoor Soccer League. Orange ball? Walls? A guy who takes his shirt off when he scores? I was clueless. And I was hooked.
Not necessarily on the MISL, but on getting paid to attend sporting events.
   What a scam brilliant career choice.
   I’ve covered sports in the Metroplex for 30+ years, writing/talking about everything from dart tournaments to The Olympics. Today, with a little prodding and a lot of reminiscing, I pieced together the most memorable events I’ve attended during 18 years at the Star-Telegram, seven more at the Dallas Observer, five at CBS Radio/105.3 The Fan, three more at NBC5 and, since the Summer of 2013, here in my own lil’ corner of the blogosphere.
   My initial brain dump birthed 44 memories. I painstakingly narrowed it to 20. Not necessarily the best moments. Merely the most memorable. (Leon Lett, Brett Hull and Bill Clinton's White House just barely missed the cut.)
   Hope you enjoy re-living them half as much as I delighted in covering them.

   20. February 16, 2001; Infield Circus – Assigned to capture the suds, speed and socializing of the Daytona 500, I drove through the tunnel at the Daytona International Speedway and immediately saw a woman. Walking. On her hands. Naked. With grinnin’ guys playing ring toss. Using her legs as the targets. Swear.

   19. April 6, 1997; Mav-Wrecks – Though the franchise had bottomed out a couple years earlier with head coach Quinn Buckner and consecutive 13- and 11-win seasons, the Mavs under the utterly forgettable Jim Cleamons managed only two points – on a pair of Derek Harper free throws – in the third quarter of a lowly loss to the Lakers in The Fabulous Forum.

   18. Nov 30, 2006; Anna Nirvana – Got to play three games of tennis at the T Bar M Racquet Club in North Dallas against one of the hottest females on the planet, Anna Kournikova. Nothing really spectacular about the tennis, other than the fact that it was against one of the hottest females on the planet, Anna Kournikova.

   17. June 20, 1987; Sidekicks Celebrate – Down 3-1 with less than two minutes to play in Game 7 of the MISL Championship Series, the Sidekicks pulled their goalie in desperation. After an improbable two goals to force overtime, Tatu drilled a shot that Mark Karpun re-directed for the goal that stunned the Tacoma Stars and 20,000 fans in the Tacoma Dome. Two days later I covered a championship parade through downtown and around Reunion Arena. Still pinching myself to this day.

   16. Dec. 10, 1989; Bounty Bowl II – After Cowboys’ head coach Jimmy Johnson had chastised the Eagles’ Buddy Ryan for putting out a bounty on kicker Luis Zendejas in a Thanksgiving Day game at Texas Stadium, the payback at Veterans Stadium was gruesome. Philadelphia beat an infamously futile Cowboys team, 20-10, punctuated by batteries wrapped in iceballs hurled at the sideline and even inside CBS’ broadcast booth at Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw.

   15. June 29, 1998; Dirk’s Debut – He stepped off the plane from Wurzburg, Germany all of 19 years old. Chili-bowl, long haircut. Big, gold hoops dangling from his ear. But then Dirk Nowitzki dazzled us inside the Baylor-Tom Landry Center gym. 3-pointers with each hand. And a smooth, flowing stride leading to effortless dunks. The Flamingo Fadeway wasn’t yet born, but just days after the NBA Draft Nowitzki’s eventual Hall-of-Fame star was already rising.

   14. Dec. 20, 2008; Farewell, Old Friend – It was freezing that night. Winter wind whipping through the tunnel at Texas Stadium. But with the Cowboys rallying and former players lined up to see the last game in Texas Stadium it would end up warm and cozy. Right? Nope. As Baltimore Ravens’ fullback LeRon McClain rumbled 82 yards right up Dallas’ gut it almost made us vomit. Then, about 17 months later, an 11-year-old from Tyler pushed a plunger that imploded my all-time favorite sports stadium.

   13. May 14, 2005; Tiger Prowls – Back when Tiger Woods was Tiger Goods, I followed his every move at the Byron Nelson golf tournament. On the 9th fairway he exited a Port-a-Pot … to a rousing ovation.

   12. July 4, 2004; Fantastic Federer – Only thing more amazing than sitting at Centre Court Wimbledon and watching Andy Roddick spank 140-mph serves was witnessing Roger Federer deftly return them for winners with merely a flick of his legendary wrist.

   11. June 17, 1994; The Day The World (Cup) Stopped – International media from the globe’s four corners descended upon Fair Park to cover the World Cup, but suddenly we all found ourselves not watching soccer inside the Cotton Bowl but instead huddled around a TV in the Hall of State’s makeshift media center gawking at another type of football player. It was O.J. Simpson, leading Los Angeles police on a low-speed chase.

   10. January 17, 1993; How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?! – Candlestick Park. The mud. Major underdogs. Up 24-20 with four minutes remaining, but backed up to their own 10. Get conservative and work on the clock? Nah. How about Troy Aikman to Alvin Harper for the most important 70-yard pass play in franchise history. Cowboys 30, 49ers 20. Hello, Super Bowl.

   9. February 28, 1989; Doomsday Indeed – Only days after he was fired by new owner Jerry Jones, Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry went to Valley Ranch and cleaned out his office. Unfortunately, I had to document every sad detail.

   8. June 14, 1998; The Joy of Six – With his Chicago Bulls on the brink of losing Game 6 and having to play a Game 7 in the Delta Center against the Utah Jazz, Michael Jordan scored, stole the ball from Karl Malone and then deftly shoved Bryon Russell out of the way before swishing an 18-foot jumper to seal his sixth title. We forget John Stockton front-rimmed an open 3-pointer at the buzzer.

   7. October 22, 2010; Hello, World Series! – When closer Neftali Feliz struck out Alex Rodriguez on a nasty curveball, our goose bumps had goose bumps. Yep, after 38 seasons the Texas Rangers were finally going to the World Series.

   6. February 8, 1986; Soaring Spud – On NBA All-Star Saturday at Reunion Arena it was 5-foot-7 Spud Webb who stole the show by winning the Slam Dunk title. But in the locker room it was Celtics’ legend Larry Bird who chugged a Lone Star beer, loudly burped and then offered “Excuse me, I’ve got a trophy to win.” He then went out and at one point made 12 straight 3-pointers en route to the Long Distance Shootout championship.

   5. July 27, 1996; Olympic Bombing – During The Summer Olympics in Atlanta I saw Michael Johnson’s double in the 200/400, the Dream Team cream everybody and Andre Agassi win gold. But it was 1:30 a.m. when our bus taking us to our dorms at Emory University abruptly stopped. Announced our driver, “A bomb went off in Centennial Park.” Still makes me queasy. I had been there 20 minutes before. And now I was headed back.

   4. August 22, 1989; 5,000 – I was assigned to paint the scene surrounding Nolan Ryan’s historic 5,000th strikeout. Not Nolan fanning the A’s Rickey Henderson or the ball caught by Chad Krueter, but more so the scalpers selling box seats for, get this, $150 a pop. Probably go for $1,500 today.

   3. October 27, 2011; Title Tease - One strike away. Twice. I was lined up with a gaggle of media underneath Busch Stadium, awaiting the Texas Rangers’ World Series celebration that would never happen. Plastic was hung from lockers. Boxes of championship hats and T-shirts were carted past. But after David Freese tripled off Neftali Feliz in the 9th, Lance Berkman singled off Scott Feldman in the 10th and Freese homered off Mark Lowe in the 11th to end a dramatic, gut-wrenching Game 6, it was instead our worst case of blue balls. Ever.

   2. January 31, 1993; 'Boys Are Back – From Garth Brooks’ National Anthem to Michael Jackson’s halftime show to Troy Aikman’s four touchdown passes to the nine turnovers, the Cowboys’ 52-17 romp over the Buffalo Bills in Super  Bowl XXVII will be eternally vivid.

   1. June 12, 2011; Finals, Finally – As Nowitzki made a lefty layup to give the Mavs a nine-point lead in the final minute, I found myself trying to do my job – blog and type and talk – amidst a stream of tears. Couldn't have been more perfect. In Miami, against the Heat team and villainous player (Dwyane Wade) that ruined the ’06 party. Favorite moment: Original owner Don Carter handing the Larry O’Brien trophy to Finals MVP Nowitzki. Sometimes, if you stick with it long enough, life turns out to be fair after all.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


   Ignore the message. Kill the messenger.
   No, literally, kill the messenger.
   In the wake of my Tuesday post exposing a racist rant that forced the exit of a teenager from Jesuit High School, that fatal intention is the alarming crescendo of feedback. Rather than admitting shock, expressing sympathy or pledging to examine the culture of a prestigious school that has helped foster two infamous racist videos in two years, the wave of comments on my story quickly deteriorated into personal attacks.
   And, ultimately, escalated into this:
... nobody gives a fuck about this website and your illegal blogs about childeren(sic) u fuckin loser. Kill your self(sic)
   I've been at this 30+ years and have experienced my share of pushback on articles and columns. But  never - not once - has the feedback gone to such a dark place that the stated goal was my death. Look, I have developed some extremely thick skin. The insults and attacks on my appearance or my writing don't offend me.
   But the perverted perspective behind them absolutely alarms me.
   Over 13,000+ unique views and 90+ comments later, the running theme in response to Charlie Burkhart's disgusting racist rant was not to admonish the message, but rather to ambush the messenger.
   Granted, a majority of the responses were likely crafted by teens armed with free time, keyboard courage and minimal maturity. In their eyes, I had the audacity to pick on one of their own. (Which, think about it, is a scary notion.) The response - cloaked in anonymity, of course - was to shower me with all sorts of colorful labels and creative descriptions. A sampling:
   "Sadistic fuck".
   "Fucking toad".
   "Sick son of a bitch".
   "Soulless ginger fuck".
   "Tranny with bad plastic surgery".
   And, my personal favorite: "A frog mixed with chewbaccas(sic) asshole that sprang out with Down syndrome and diabetes."
   The irrationally misguided haters also yanked my wife, Sybil Summers, into their bullseye, comically claiming she is "an ex-porn star." I mean, she's hot and all but ...
   A in creative writing. F in sensitivity training.
   The comments also came with assorted calls to action, such as "stick to sports", "get a life", "stop being a liberal" and, of course, "Kill your self."
   More troubling, there are attempts to inexplicably diminish, or even justify Burkhart's rant:
   "It's a 15-year-old boy making one mistake. What's your problem?"
   "Leave him alone! He's just a minor!"
   "Fake News!"
   Personal attacks notwithstanding, one comment - from an adult Twitter follower who claimed to be a Jesuit parent - genuinely bothered me.
   "What Richie did in writing about that kid is equally as horrible as the video."
   Think about the warped mentality behind that statement. In essence, the thinking is that the only thing as bad as racism is ... exposing racism?
   I guess I was naive enough to expect reaction to the video to be overwhelming - if not 100% - condemnation. This kind of attack of the messenger and, in turn, support of Burkhart is down right chilling.
   Again, the motivation for my original post was not to indict Jesuit for some sort of systemic, institutionalized racism. But you cannot deny the connection between the two stars in the videos. I don't think Jesuit is teaching racism, but there is evidence to suggest it's not doing enough to un-teach it.
   Hence ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2015
   I am appalled by the actions in the video and extremely hurt by the pain this has caused our community. It is unconscionable and very sad that in 2015 we still live in a society where this type of bigotry and racism takes place ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2017
   We are saddened by this young man's actions because they are not representative of what we - and our student body - stand for ...
   I respect Jesuit as one of Dallas' finest learning institutions. Jordan Spieth, in town for this week's Byron Nelson golf tournament, is just the latest example of what Jesuit is capable of producing. I coached youth soccer and basketball teams with several kids that went on to graduate from there. I'm still friends with many of the parents from the youth teams.
   Proud Jesuit parents.
   They acknowledge that Jesuit is willingly held to a higher standard, and that the actions of Burkhart and Parker Rice woefully fail to meet those standards and therefore do harm to the school's image. The incidents by no means suggest a habitual, unbreakable pattern of behavior by all Jesuit students. But nor should they be shrugged off as random, wholly disconnected coincidences.
   A "mistake" is when you turn right instead of left and are five minutes late to your appointment. Burkhart's racist rant wasn't merely a mistake, something he inadvertently blurted out. It's not a trivial hiccup to be swept under the rug. It was a product of a bigoted belief system he had before he arrived at Jesuit, and will likely maintain now that he's left.
   Best we can hope is that Burkhart learns a lesson from the incident. Maybe he will alter his actions, if not altogether transform his beliefs.
   There is, alas, a glimmer of hope amidst the hate.
   Rather than respond with crude, callous, childish and cowardly "anonymous" attacks, one Jesuit student took the time to respond via thoughtful email.
Charlie Burkhart is a great example of the opposite of what Jesuit students stand for: We are taught to care for our brothers, not to insult and push hate towards them. Charlie Burkhart had a negative reputation for incidents like this before he attended Jesuit. Jesuit's goal is not to instill hate in our hearts but to help us become open to growth, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, religious, and committed to working for justice. Obviously not all students hold on to and care for what we are taught. I assure you that the hate in their hearts was not put there by Jesuit College Preparatory. I currently attend Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. I am in the class of 2020. I am not one of Charlie Burkhart's friends nor have I ever had the idea of trying to be. He is a disgusting individual and I am glad he is gone. I am only sending this to stand up for my school and its beliefs.
   Here's hoping that message echoes throughout Jesuit's halls, and finds its way into Burkhart's heart.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


   Every once in a while we're reminded that, in fact, we haven't evolved as a society nearly as much as we'd like to think.
   Isn't that right, racist punk Charlie Burkhart?
   Isn't that right, common denominator Jesuit High School?
   The kid is was a freshman at Jesuit in North Dallas. And apparently when he wasn't playing lacrosse he spent his time on another favorite hobby - disgustingly talking smack to and/or about blacks.
   According to a source, last year when Burkhart played football on the 8th-grade team at St. Rita he started an on-field scuffle after calling a Bishop Dunne player the n-word. And, now, after a video surfaced of him going on a racist rant in which he again uses the n-word and gleefully exclaims of blacks, "I hate 'em. Crucify 'em!", Burkhart has deservedly been forced to withdraw from the school.
   Kudos to Jesuit for not tolerating this egregious, vile and unacceptable bigotry. Though the statement from school president Mike Earsing released around 4 p.m. Tuesday alludes only that "we swiftly addressed this situation in an appropriate way", a Jesuit source says Burkhart was given a choice: Withdraw from school or be expelled. He left. When the incident made it to social media, the school was forced to act.
   The teen's smirking, slurring, 10-second rant occurred while wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey and being filmed in front of at least one giggling onlooker. Maybe he was at a party. Possibly alcohol was involved. But definitely, undeniably, it is disgusting. 
   There was a time not that long ago when I actually thought we were taking genuine strides toward a truly "United We Stand" America. Instead, slapped in the naive kisser by this ...
   This isn't merely "locker-room talk." This isn't just "kids being kids." This is a nauseating, revolting commentary on our society in general and Burkhart in particular.
   It's just one guy? Maybe. But there are people laughing. People filming. People sharing. And, yep, people saying this is anything but an isolated incident.
   The video is apparently shared by a "JC Ericson." In a response, "Max Heitzman" offers:
   "It was much worse when he was goin ape shit on Tyson."
   I don't want to believe this kind of attitude exists in 2017. But, chillingly, it indeed does.
   And, like it or not, Jesuit is again at the root of the evil.
   It was only two years ago, remember, that two Oklahoma University students and fraternity members were expelled for their tuxedo-clad leading of a chant that included "You can hang them from a tree, but they'll never sign with me. There will never be a nigger at SAE."
   One of those kids - Parker Rice - was a graduate of, sure enough, Jesuit High School.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


   Flamboyant hats. $16 Mint Juleps. Mudders. And ... cue the yawns.
   Today is the Kentucky Derby and - admit it - the only reason you're tempted to watch is because you're anchored to the couch after ingesting a little too much Cinco in your de Mayo.
   It's horses. Which are not athletes. And who have no idea whether they win, lose or draw, as long as it leads to a post-game meal.
   It's billed as the "most exciting two minutes in sports." What the what? Give me the final act of any NBA Playoff game or, for that matter, the waning moments of a Jags-49ers' half. The first half.
   One of the few sporting events I've never attended is the Kentucky Derby because, well, I just have no desire. Nor do I have any interest in watching NBC's five-hour - I kid you not - pre-game show today. I mean, foreplay is great and all, but ... five hours for two minutes isn't my kind of math.
   Let me know who wins. And I'll guarantee you at this time next year you won't remember either. Fine then, without Googling, who won last year? (No way "Nyquist" was on the tip of your tongue or top of your mind.)
   No, the "Run For The Roses" isn't the most overrated events in sports, but it's undoubtedly on the short list.

   10. Tour de France – Bunch of drug cheaters who’ll never drug cheat as well as Lance Armstrong.
    9. Army-Navy – Pageantry, yes. Quality, must-see football? Nope. Not anymore.
    8. Indianapolis 500 – Once the “Greatest Spectacles in Racing,” it’s long been swallowed up and digested into tiny, irrelevant bile by NASCAR and its Daytona 500.
    7. Kentucky Derby – We waited almost 40 years for a Triple Crown winner and, just like, it fizzled. Quick, which horse won it last year? Right.
    6. Any Heavyweight Boxing Championship Fight – Epic? Really? Fine, then name the current champ. No way you guessed right, because (far as I can tell) there are actually two. One from New Zealand (Joseph Parker) and one from England (Anthony Joshua). Once upon a time there was Liston, Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Tyson. Sigh.
    5. College Basketball Post-Season Conference Tournaments/Any College Football Bowl Game Outside The Final Four – Hailed as March Madness, the hoop tournaments are merely meaningless appetizers. And the habit of draftable players skipping random football bowl games has only just begun.
    4. Winter Olympics – Sold as a global event, but barely one-third of the world’s nations (68 of 196 at Sochi in 2014) participate. And way less than that can relate to events like Ice Dancing, Curling and Biathlon.
    3. NFL Scouting Combine – Things tend to change drastically when they put the pads on.
    2. Opening Day – Baseball hypes this as a national holiday, but it represents exactly 0.61 percent of the six-month, 162-game season.
    1. Heisman Trophy – Exactly 0 of last 17 quarterbacks to win the storied hardware has gone on to win a Super Bowl: Andre Ware. Ty Detmer. Gino Torretta. Charlie Ward. Danny Wuerffel. Chris Weinke. Eric Crouch. Carson Palmer. Jason White. Matt Leinart. Troy Smith. Tim Tebow. Sam Bradford. Cam Newton. Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I rest my case.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


   I don't hate Star Wars.
   But what I do despise is hearing our country confusing cleverness with laziness. Take today, for example.
   Because Star Wars is popular and "fourth" sounds like "force" - sorta, kinda I guess - people are attempting to enthusiastically empower each other with the cunning use of a fabricated phrase that makes no sense.
   May the fourth be with you!
   With each utterance, America's Wonderlic score plummets toward Mo Claiborne territory.
   Fortunately, we only have to withstand this nonsensical barrage once a year. As for the other 364 days ... The 10 Worst Sayings I Wish Would Never Again Be Said:

   10. "_gate" - The sportswriters' crutch when anything abnormal happens. From Spygate to Deflategate, if you can't think of anything more original and creative then go be a plumber. Please.
   9. "It is what it is" - Never heard anyone say "It is what it isn't", because, well, that sounds incredibly ignorant. Next time just go with "It is." Or, better yet, just quietly pass your turn to someone smarter.
   8. "Just sayin'" - Used by those with insufficient vocabulary and flimsy communication skills, which renders them incapable of clearly stating their point. Next time you hear this phrase, simply replace it with "I can't think of any more words!" Guaranteed it will fit.
   7. "We control our destiny" - See, destinies are inherently pre-ordained events and road maps designed by a higher intelligence to steer our lives, regardless of our actions. You can no more control your destiny than you can influence Earth's orbit. By definition, your destiny controls you.
   6. "Git r done" - When Nike prodded us to "Just Do It" it was an iconic call to action. But when folks plot their strategy of success upon Larry The Cable Guy's diluted bastardization it just sounds ... ewwww. Hint: Your plan should be wholly discernible from your goal.
   5. "Love is blind" - Nope, and neither is lust. Which is why our vanity empire dwarfs our education budget.
   4. "Give 110%" - Fools who say this clearly gave only 73% during Math and Science class.
   3. "Everything happens for a reason" - Try selling that to the Alzheimer's victim and surrounding family immersed in a devastating, drawn-out decline toward death. Remind them again the reason for this part of "everything" being crow-barred into their grand plan.
   2. "I could care less" - Yeah, and be sure to say it with an animated, angry face and punctuate it with a fiercely extended index finger. Because, of course, what you meant was the exact opposite. As in, I don't care one bit therefore it isn't possible for me to care any less. "I couldn't care less." Genius.
   1. "'merica" - Lopping off the first letter and syllable of our country's name doesn't make you sound patriotic or folksy. Merely uneducated. Now, about why we dropped the "North" part ...