Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20 JAN 10: One vs. 100

The news apparently was out for a while, but I didn't realize until Tuesday that the Columbus Lions are moving to a different league this year. The American Indoor Football League is out. The Southern Indoor Football League is in. But somehow, I suspect fans trying to wave the Confederate battle flag indoors still will be kicked out.

The Columbus Lions have held open team tryouts for years - but WRBL reported Tuesday on a new twist in that idea. A fan actually can become a member of the team for one home game. And you don't have to wait for the players to stage a wildcat strike, in a pay dispute.

Columbus Lions Coach Jason Gibson explained the Southern Indoor Football League has expanded rosters, allowing 23 players per team. Gibson doesn't think he needs 23, so one roster spot will be turned over to a fan. If Cessna Aircraft had taken this approach, Columbus still might have a plant.

The "Ninth Man" idea for the Columbus Lions actually borrows from what Texas A&M did for years - have a "walk-on" fan run down the field on kickoff coverage. Then again, some would say it borrows from the way Chris Redman went from insurance sales to starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons....

So, you might be asking, what's the catch here? It turns out there's a big one. Coach Jason Gibson says the walk-on fan has to sell 100 tickets to a Columbus Lions game. At Texas A&M, all you had to do was excel during a week of practice - and I don't even think you had to sell programs outside the stadium.

When I saw this story, I couldn't believe it. Why should I have to sell 100 tickets to "win" a chance to be on the Columbus Lions' roster? Last time I checked, marching band members weren't kicked off the squad if they failed to sell band candy....

It's commonplace in professional sports for players to get "comp tickets" for family or friends, even for road games. If Jason Gibson is going to be fair about this, shouldn't ALL the Columbus Lions be required to sell tickets? After all, I can't name a single Lions player with the "star power" to get me to buy a ticket - and Troy Bergeron still hasn't come back from Atlanta.

But to be honest, the Lions have been a "pay-to-play" team in other ways for years. If you want to join the main roster, there's a tryout in mid-February - but you have to pay a 55-dollar registration fee. I could run in a 5,000-meter race and get their same T-shirt for one-third of the price.

Women even had to pay a 25-dollar fee two weekends ago to audition for the "Lady Lions" dance team. Some might complain this is gender discrimination, but keep something in mind. The Lady Lions aren't supposed to wear pads on the field.

Perhaps these added costs are the price of having a minor league football team in Columbus - but I've never heard of the Cottonmouths doing something like this. Of course, the Cottonmouths and Lions have some differences. Any ol' Joe can run down the field on a kickoff. Very few people in Columbus could do it on ice skates.

Yet the 100-ticket rule hasn't stopped one man from gaining a guest spot on the Columbus Lions roster. The first ordinary fan to play this coming season will be Tires First employee Wes Hargrove. WRBL showed him working out on the McClung Memorial Stadium field - but for obvious reasons, he did NOT to go through the tire-running drill.

Wes Hargrove will go through the full week of practice, before the first Lions home game in.... uh.... well, when WILL that first home game be? The Southern Indoor Football League has an online countdown clock to opening night 20 March. But a schedule which was supposed to be posted three weeks ago still is missing. I hope this isn't the same group running the Columbus Life basketball team....

You're invited to hear me sing this weekend! I'll be part of a worship service at the United Church of God of Columbus. It starts Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET at the Woodmen of the World hall on Milgen Road, next door to Lumber Liquidators.

E-MAIL UPDATE: I'm admittedly baffled by some of this, but we heard Tuesday from a former WTVM sports anchor and radio talk show host....

Happy Anniversary Richard! Can I have my Falcons Super Bowl program back? HA HA. I was trying to snap up some Alabama memorabilia on Ebay for my family members and I had no idea how much some of that media stuff sells for. I've been thinking about you though. Every time I see a game program sell for 100 dollars on ebay and every time I hear that song by the Tin Tins (sp?)

They call me Staceee, maybe JoLisa, they call me Watkins...that's NOT my name. that's not my name. They were on Saturday night Live . It sounds better in my car. Who else thinks of you at midnight Saturday Richard? Only real friends.

Wishing you 10 more years of success,


I must confess to Robbie Watson that I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in years. I settle for the clips on Sunday night newscasts, which for some reason are considered news items.

Robbie's last message to us [10 Dec 09] was more scathing than this one -- and along those lines, she'll want to know I turned down a potential blog exclusive Tuesday which dealt with a murder case. My loss could be Sonya Sorich's gain....

Let's check other Tuesday items which fell within the readers' recommended boundaries:

+ The Muscogee County School Board voted to allow the Superintendent to choose companies for new school construction. The idea of an "architectural pool" was scrapped - perhaps out of fear a selected firm actually might build a swimming pool.

+ Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr told WRBL he supports a proposal to ban "texting while driving" across Georgia. It's scary to think how many e-mails he'll get about that today - saying nothing but MYOB, GAL and ST*U.

+ The "Politics-1" web site (which kindly lists this blog) listed Columbus-area State Rep. Debbie Buckner as a "potential candidate" for Georgia Lieutenant Governor. Who fed them that rumor -- relatives of Danae Roberts, who are trying to get her to move back home?

+ Three people staged a protest outside the home of Auburn University President Jay Gogue, claiming there's race discrimination when it comes to pay. First of all, does Auburn have the money for every campus employee to match Gogue's salary?

(And second of all: they couldn't get more than three people to show up?! Hundreds protested Tommy Tuberville's resignation in 2008 -- and as I recall, that didn't succeed.)

+ Port Columbus officials told WTVM the Civil War naval museum will begin holding "ghost tours" year-round. Oh please - don't give the baseball teams at Golden Park any ideas....

+ Instant Message to PMB Broadcasting: I have a better idea. Put Bob and Sheri back on WCGQ-FM in the morning, move your new morning host "Elvis" to WLTC-FM to go with Donny Osmond, then bring back the Beatles-era oldies music.

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/20 JAN 00: It's another sign of the Internet times. Plans were announced Wednesday for a NETSCAPE MasterCard! We can imagine the sort of special features it will have:

+ The card won't expire. Instead, it will "time out." (Or maybe disconnect!)

+ Its ATM network will have a unique feature. Insert the card, and the buttons will allow deposits, withdrawals, and "reloads."

+ Card discounts will be available at supermarkets, but only on certain items - such as Java, and specially-marked "applet turnovers!"

This blog had more than 55,000 unique visitors in 2009! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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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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