Mr. Sports: National Signing Day

By Bob Labbe
By Bob Labbe

The day many high school athletes have dreamed about for years and the same day most fans of their favorite collegiate sports program hold their breath for good news was this week and will forever be known as National Signing Day.
At Bob Jones, three football players, track athlete and a soccer player signed letters of intent for a college scholarship. The prep gridiron stars included Drew Davis and Brandon Ray, both of which signed with Western Kentucky and Jordan Shelton who inked with Alabama A&M. In soccer, Ellen Bruno signed with Northern University, which is located in Aberdene, South Dakota. Track star Chris Cazer put his name on a scholarship with Troy University.

At James Clemens, Adam Brown was the first student-athlete at the new school to sign an athletic scholarship. He put his name on a letter of intent to play baseball for the Faulkner University Eagles.

The long haul of years of dedication and sacrifice finally paid off for these and thousands of others who made their choice for college and participating in college athletics.

Most high school athletes stress over the recruiting process as they struggle with trying to make a decision for their future…not to mention the future of an athletic program. Many athletes that I have spoken with during the years have similar sentiments on reasons why they chose the schools they did.
Lemanski Hall, who played at Alabama from 1990-1993, told me Alabama recruiters made him feel he was wanted by the Tide program, while Auburn made him feel he wasn’t wanted.
Meanwhile, former Auburn football star Andy Fuller grew up an Auburn fan and the recruiting war for his talents was a year-long frenzy, but he always knew he was going to play for the Tigers.
No matter how the decisions are made, the recruited athletes have experienced a unique chapter in their lives.

Super Bowl
Where were the 49ers when the lights went out? Always slow starters, San Francisco came alive after the light show at Super Bowl 47 and nearly pulled out a come from behind victory over the Ravens. A dismal choice of play calling cost the 49ers the chance to take the lead in the final two minutes thus allowing Baltimore to win the game highlighted by the lights going out shortly into the third quarter.

The exciting finish to a game, that up to that point was just an average Super Bowl, proved to be one of the highlights of the game. I came away with a few lasting memories in this order: 1- Lights go out at the Superdome in a bizarre scene. 2- A light and dance filled halftime show that had great excitement, but the music was lackluster as the vocals were utterly awful. Those kinds of acts are all show. 3- Few of the commercials were riveting. I do remember model Bar Refaeli kissing that nerd in the spot, the awesome Paul Harvey’s commentary of American farmers for Dodge Ram trucks, the chase for the Coca-Cola in the desert and heart wrenching spot for the USO. 4- My girlfriend getting bragging rights as her team won the game.

Havoc Hockey
The boys on ice return home this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 8-9). On Friday, it’s FANtastc Friday 80s Night. Havoc fans are urged to dress in their favorite 80’s wardrobe for great prizes. The first 1,000 fans on Saturday will win a Havoc drawstring jersey bag and special Valentine’s Day jerseys worn by the Havoc will be auctioned off for charity.

College Football Playoff
It looks as though the Cotton Bowl will host the first ever college football playoff championship game following the 2014 season. The two-game semifinals will be held at both the Rose and Sugar Bowls on New Year’s Day 2015 with those winners advancing to the National Championship Game set for Monday, Jan. 12.
The title game will be bid out each year with other bowls rotating each year while hosting the semifinals.

BAM Tournament
The 2013 BAM Tournament continues in Madison with youth basketball winding down its season. As a basketball referee, I’ve been in the middle of the post-season fun while gearing up for the Championship Saturday scheduled for Feb. 16. So far, all has been good.