Thursday, August 27, 2009

27 AUG 09: Tigers Like Lambs

A big day has come for Columbus sports fans -- the day when football teams start playing for real. Three Muscogee County high schools are in action on opening night. Remember, your school sales tax vote can make sure fewer teams have to play on Thursday nights - and the cheerleaders can stay home to watch "Grey's Anatomy."

The big rivalry game between Carver and Spencer is Friday night. But the Carver football team is making noise, for something which has nothing to do with football. A YouTube video showing Tiger players is making the online rounds in Columbus. And surprisingly, it was NOT posted by Cairo High School to show how to beat Carver in the playoffs.

The YouTube video shows Carver High School football players saying the words to Psalm 23 from the Bible. It apparently was recorded in the high school weight room - so when players say the words "I will near no evil," they could be referring to their ability to bench-press 300 pounds.

The video of Carver's football team was posted on YouTube last February, but the circumstances behind it aren't immediately clear. It was posted by a woman who operates a "faith-based media company" in Fortson. To record a videotape and trust it to come out in the right tint probably takes a little faith at times....

But whose idea was it to have Carver football players say Psalm 23 inside Carver High School? The video shows an adult for only half-a-second, and that adult doesn't say anything. So it's not clear if he's the "Bible Literature" teacher, or simply an assistant coach looking for stray gum wrappers on the floor.

Many high schools have a "Fellowship of Christian Athletes" program, with coaches serving as advisers. We don't know if a Carver High School coach came up with the Psalm 23 idea or not - and that's important. If students came up with the idea, it's probably legal. If a coach did, the American Civil Liberties Union may seek its share of SPLOST money in court.

Big court fights have been made over sports coaches leading their teams in prayer before a game, or even joining in prayers said by students. When it comes to Carver High School football players reciting Psalm 23, this could be a different matter. Maybe they also recited lyrics from a convicted rap star's album, to balance things out.

(We did find video of other Carver High School students on a football field, doing something which looked much more secular. But shouldn't you stretch your legs BEFORE taking the field for exercise?)

As it happens, the master football scheduled for Muscogee County schools has this message on every page: "Coaching is, most of all, a MORAL activity." I'm not sure what led to that message appearing - but that's not likely to entice Manny Ramirez to visit Columbus this fall.

Perhaps some towns need to have football players quoting Bible verses. Did you hear about the high school game that's being moved away from Marion, Alabama this weekend? It's because a feud between two families led to something close to a riot. And I thought the Hatfields and McCoys still lived in Kentucky....

Carver head coach Dell McGee is concerned about something else, as opening night approaches. He told WRBL Wednesday his staff is washing the football uniforms every day, as a precaution against players spreading H-1-N-1 flu. You can understand why.... hey, there's an idea! Have the quarterback call out, "H-1 N-1, Hike!" - and scare defenders off the field.

Meanwhile, the big high school football game tonight in Muscogee County has Columbus colliding with Hardaway. Columbus coach Phil Marino will watch from the press box, because he had knee surgery last weekend and is on crutches. Apparently the team is short on backup linemen, to give him protection along the sidelines.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: One reader seems stunned by a revenue-sharing meeting we mentioned Wednesday....

Todays blog had this :

Russell County Commission Chair Mervin Dudley told WRBL all Phenix City residents "live in Russell County first." Robert Schweiger's been trying to make the same argument to Hurtsboro residents for years - and many are still ignoring him.)

He (Mr. Dudley) would have a hard time selling that idea to the many residents of Phenix City, who, in fact, live in Lee County. Or did I miss something?

Don W.

That thought crossed my mind, too. As far as we know, Lee County Commissioners haven't demanded their own meeting with Phenix City officials -- not even to bend the rules and allow fireworks stands on the north side of town.

The Russell County Commission tops our review of other Wednesday news....

+ A $240,000 contract was approved to put a new roof on the old Russell County Courthouse. The plan is to install the roof during October and November - which is perfect timing for the judges to take advantage of off-season motel rates in Gulf Shores.

+ WXTX "News at Ten" reported concern about the H-1-N-1 "swine flu" has prompted Aflac to have an on-duty nurse. That's strange - because you'd think the company would be hiring more people to handle supplemental insurance claims.

(I shudder to think of the newspaper headlines this will bring - such as "DUCK FEARS SWINE ATTACK.")

+ Sumter County, Georgia authorities reported two ninth-grade girls got into a fight and injured a teacher. What is happening to our young people, when teenage girls are fighting like this? Next thing you know, they'll claim to be practicing for Olympic boxing.

+ Actor Chuck Norris endorsed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for Governor. If Norris really is serious about this, he should track down Moore's Ten Commandments monument and thrust-kick it into two tablets.

+ Instant Message to the 1980s punk rock band Dead Kennedys: Please -- please don't tell me you're now planning a comeback tour....

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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