From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 29, 1999

As the sports world sat down at the Thanksgiving Day table, overheard was what its members were giving thanks for.

LSU football fans, that Friday’s game against Arkansas was the ending of a nightmarish season. And that former coach Gerry DiNardo handled a verydifficult situation with his usual class and dignity. Hopefully, the powersthat be can do the same in finding a new coach and that coach will be able to find the same magic that DiNardo had in his first three seasons.

Tulane football fans, that the Green Wave are a young team and will continue to get better. Injuries and inexperience contributed more thananything to a 3-8 season and 1999 will probably prove to be only an aberration in the coming years.

Louisiana football fans, for Southern, Grambling and Louisiana Tech, the only Bayou State teams playing winning football this season.

New Orleans Saints fans, for a team that plays its hardest no matter what the score. The Saints appear to be a team at times that is only a step awayfrom turning it around. Hopefully, somebody can find a way to get them tothe next step and that Saints fans can watch their team play a meaningful game come next Thanksgiv-ing.

Also for Saints fans, that owner Tom Benson did not raise ticket prices after the team defeated San Francisco.

Major League Baseball, for another memorable season. While there was nohome run chase like the one between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 to hold the nation’s attention, the 1999 season was still filled with memorable moments. David Cone’s perfect game, the milestones ofMcGwire, Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs, Pedro Martinez’s dominating season and one of the most exciting playoffs in recent history helped keep the sport in the national headlines.

College football, that the Bowl Championship Series appears to have lucked out and worked out again this season. Let’s get with the rest of thesports world and get a playoff system implemented soon.

Sports fans in general, for players like Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky. Enjoy your retirement guys, you deserve it. The players of the PGA Tour, that Tiger Woods cannot play every tournament. Walter Hagen used to ask “Who’s playing for second?” when hestepped onto the first tee. The way Woods has been playing lately, thesame question could be asked.

Golf fans, that we were able to enjoy Payne Stewart before he left us all too soon.

Paul Lawrie, for Jean Van de Velde’s brain freeze at the British Open.

River Parishes sports fans, for what appears to be another exciting and successful sports season. Let’s thank the young men and women as well asthe coaches for making it all possible.

Louisiana sportsmen and sportswomen, for a state that possesses such natural beauty. Let’s continue to find ways to preserve it for generationsto come.

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