From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 27, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / Febuary 27, 1999

The past week in sports showed once more why every moment should be held precious, that even the most successful athletes must also deal with adversities.

Minnesota offensive coordinator Chip Myers was on top of the world after being named to take over the NFL’s best offense in January. Monday night,the one-time Saints assistant coach who helped the team set a number of passing records, died of a heart attack at his Minneapolis home at the age of 53.

Earlier in the week, Atlanta first baseman Andres Gal-aragga was diagnosed with cancer and will miss the entire 1999 season. Galar-aggawas coming off his third straight season of 40-plus home runs.

A day later, Florida’s Mike Lowell was also diagnosed with cancer. Lowell,24, was traded from the Yankees and over the offseason and was looking forward to winning the starting third base job for the Marlins this season.

Each of the three seemingly had their whole lives spelled out for them but in an instant had those lives changed forever. Galaragga and Lowell werelucky. They can come back. But they will always be reminded how preciouslife can be.

Time will tell if LSU’s upset of No. 1 Tennessee will be a wakeup call forthe Lady Vols or if the Lady Tigers exposed clinks in their armor.

Suddenly, the women’s tournament grows more interesting and may not be the one-horse race everybody expected it to be.

On the men’s side, Duke is certainly playing like it wants to add to its two national championships of the 1990s. No team is playing better ballheading into March Madness than the Blue Devils and few teams have proven they can play better when it is on the line over the last decade.

With all eyes of the golf world on this weekend’s Anderson Consulting Match-Play Championship, last week’s Nissan Open gave a sneak preview.

Look at the names near the top of the leaderboard – Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Nick Price and David Duval.

And how about all the upsets in the first round of the championships Wednes-day? Just goes to show that the course doesn’t care if you are the top player in the world or the 64th. You still have to go out and perform.

Wonder what Louisiana Tech feels like. For the second straight season, theBulldogs will open against a team that played in the previous year’s National Champ-ionship Game. Tech agreed to play Florida State in theopener this year after the Seminoles had Auburn buy out of the game.

The Seminoles have to realize that this is not your typical season-opening cupcake, however. The Bulldogs gave Nebraska all it could handle last year,setting a number of passing records along the way. It might end up being a better game than Florida State-Auburn would have been.

The St. Louis Rams were supposedly ecstatic about un-loading EddieKennison on the Saints for a second round pick. But the Saints filled aglaring need and it is doubtful that they could have found a receiver with Kennison’s potential in the second round this year.

The move allows the team to use the draft to fill other needs. Kennisonshowed a lot of promise his rookie season two years ago and if he can get back to that point this year, the move might resemble the steal the Saints had when they got Jim Everett from the Rams.

Finally, the NBA playoffs should be wide open this year. No team hasstepped up yet to be the class of the league. Even the Rockets got blownout last week and the Lakers are struggling, firing head coach Del Harris this week. March might not be the only crazy time in basketball this year.

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