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Posts Tagged ‘Crichton Comets’

You Can’t Ask For More, Can You?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on September 19, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton College. Check back with more tales from the place called North Highland Park.

In what has already been a historic year in North Highland Park where, for the first time ever, two teams from Crichton won on the same day when the volleyball team defeated St. Catherine’s College and the men’s soccer team defeated Spring Hill College on August 29th. Thursday afternoon’s book signing involving yours truly and the volleyball game later on could have easily been a 21-gun salute.

For much of this week, you couldn’t go anywhere around the campus in North Highland Park without seeing everyone wearing red.

In fact, during basketball practice on Wednesday afternoon, senior forward Zidyiah Carter, who just so happens to be my next-door neighbor, pulled out a red asthma pump.

Talk about painting the town red.

The leadup to Thursday’s celebration looked more like the leadup to what will be on Sunday at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees play their last game at the venerable stadium.

At 1:25 p.m., softball pitcher/first baseman Brittney Davis, yours truly, and Julie Nichols all threw ceremonial pitches to former Crichton rightfielder Jasmine Scudder, beginning the first ever student book signing in North Highland Park.

For an hour, North Highland Park celebrities like Courtnee Steen, Dr. Bradley Greer, Redbird Redhot Lauretta Plummer, as well as my former elementary school principal Dr. Ruby Payne, who has been at Hanley Elementary School in Memphis since the Reagan Adminstration, came by to congratulate me on the debut book.

“Are you heading to Hollywood?” asked faculty athletics representative Dr. Bill Carr.

“No sir,” I replied, “I have a year to go in school and a volleyball game to do tonight.”

“He’s not going anywhere,” neighbor and soccer standout Gavin “Dodgey” Smith said after the reception ended, “This school is trying to keep him grounded.”

Once all the confetti and candy was gone from the reception, the Lady Comets volleyball team, which like most of the athletic teams in North Highland Park wore red to support yours truly,  had their chance to cap off Thursday’s festivites by facing off against the Lane College Lady Dragons.

And in a woodshed beating that looked similar to basketball’s thrashing of Blue Mountain School For Boys, the Lady Comets, playing their best volleyball of the season, completed Thursday with a sweep of Lane with one of the matches finishing 25-4 thanks in part to the play of Rachel Walton, Kelsey Watson, and Andressa DaSilva.

After all is said and done, there’s no question in my mind that yesterday, like August 29th, was historic.

After all, can there be anything that tops it?

Not really.

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Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | Comments Off on You Can’t Ask For More, Can You?

End Of Story.

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 13, 2008

Doc’s Note:This is the last installment in a series of columns about sports at Crichton College. Check back in August for more tales from North Highland Park.

The Senator’s Supporters: (l-r) Cassie White, Brittney Davis, SGA Senator-Elect Doc Hancock, Bradley Greer, and Ginny Galloway May 7, 2008

It was almost a year ago when yours truly walked into the athletic duplex in North Highland Park and pitched an idea of building what would later on be the first of many partnerships with this website with the people of North Highland Park.

And it was almost a year ago when I found myself out of a job with the Tennessee Cheesecake Company of Nashville and three months later wound up as a student assistant with Crichton basketball.

In that time span, from August of last year to now, as I sit in front of my computer and write what will be the final column on North Highland Park until we start it up again in August, I have written many funny if not brilliant columns on sports here.

There was the first column on Danstar and high school classmate Michelle Williams, who will be a semester away from graduating and moving on towards her dream of being a professional dancer (no, not that type of dancing, you perverts).

We’ve introduced you all to people like Rufus Tomassetti, who to this day is one of my good friends here in North Highland Park, and Courtnee Steen, who was mentioned in one of my columns about spending time at a soccer game back in late September and one of my supporters as I ran for a seat on the SGA Senate.

There’s been stories about Crichton Flag Football, an idea that was cooked up by soon-to-be graduating Shawn “The Commissioner” Beloate, mascot tryouts and interviewing the random hottie for a story on the eve of the “Battle of the Sexes” before Thanksgiving.

You’ve read about my time on the road with the “Basketball Brotherhood” during the holiday break to places like St. Louis and Waleska, Georgia and why on one of those trips I tried fight the government in Calhoun, Georgia.

I’ve had the honor of introducing the world to people like soccer players Bradley Greer, Kyle O’Neil, Todd Meyer, Courtney Andrews, and Patrick Kabano.

Not to mention softball players Jasmine Scudder, Aimee Grissom, Brittney Davis, and former student director of basketball operations John Tibbits.

A lot of what I said from two months ago about the mission of our blog, as a blog that is non-partisan and non-biased, has rung true as I have provided you readers with funny stories from North Highland Park and I close in on four semesters away from earning my degree in Humanties.

It’s hard to believe that after next week, when the last final exam is taken, when the last round of trash-talking is done on the pool tables, those voices that made it in my columns about North Highland Park will be a fading memory for a couple of months.

Of course, when August rolls around, there will be more hilarious adventures to write about it, more people to introduce you guys to and of course, my own travels with the “Basketball Brotherhood.”

But before I end this column, I would like to thank each and every of you who’ve been supportive of this blog here in North Highland Park.

The best is definitely yet to come.

Thank you.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

“We Have Smoking Hot Chicks That Play Softball And They’re Also Smart”

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on May 2, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton. These columns will run until the end of the school year.

Lady Comets (l-r) Sierra Coltharp, Ashley Smith, Jessica Divittorio, Erica Brich, Erica Valentine, and Courtnee Steen pose for picture after being honored by the TransSouth Conference for scholastic acheivement.

Not too long ago, I said to softball players Rebecca Allen and Anna Carter, who just so happen to be neighbors of mine, that there’s a reason why I enjoyed announcing softball games.

“We have smoking hot chicks that play softball,” I said jokingly, only to realize that much of that statement was true.

Away from that statement, the softball team this year, despite the injuries to Cassie White and Anna Carter — who as I write this has recovered well from her surgery — has improved on what had been a baptism by fire during their first season of varsity softball in North Highland Park as they finished the regular season in seventh place and earned their first tourney win in school history on Wednesday morning in Jackson against Mid-Continent.

Despite the fact that I did say three months ago that Crichton does in fact have smoking hot chicks that do play softball, you can’t help but notice the simple fact that although these young ladies are athletes, they still haven’t forgotten the true reason why they came to play softball here in North Highland Park.

Represent the school with class.

Although shortstop Aimee Grissom, who only three months ago beat a certain sportswriter in basketball and forced him to convert to Islam for twenty minutes, she also has done an outstanding job as resident assistant in Madison East and will be on track to graduate at the end of this year from Crichton.

Catcher Ashley Smith, who was one of the original TNB supporters here in North Highland Park, will earn her degree in May as well as former softball standout Ginny Galloway.

At the present moment, the softball team will have among other things, the highest GPA among athletic teams in North Highland Park.

That’s an accomplishment that doesn’t get any type of notice in the sports pages.

Thanks in part to Coach Michelle Wilkes and her staff, the softball team has learned over time that once the softball games stop, they will still have a future.

Who knows what accomplishments will lie beyond North Highland Park for them.

All we can say is that we thank them for their time here and we’ll see them somewhere carrying the slogan for North Highland Park: think, change, and grow spirtually.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on “We Have Smoking Hot Chicks That Play Softball And They’re Also Smart”

Curse Of The Hotties?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 29, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton. These columns will run until the end of the school year.

Being a Clemson Tigers football fan, I understand the dynamic of the “Chicken Curse” that has plagued the University of South Carolina for years.

But blaming one’s troubles on the pool table, and even the basketball court, on a hottie — wait a minute, two hotties — let alone one that once was a subject of a column that you wrote months ago, well, that’s a different story.

The true belief that the curse exists came from a game of pickup with Student Government president Brandon Privett back in December, when the hottie on the right was inside Crichton’s gym, I managed to throw up airballs, miss layups, and God knows what else.

“We thought you didn’t miss,” Kyle O’Neil and Todd Meyer said to me as I kept sinking airballs out of bounds.

Another belief to being either cursed or distracted by two hotties was during Super Bowl Sunday, softball player Jasmine Scudder decided the best thing for us to kill time during the halftime activities was to play pickup basketball in the very same gym that only two months ago  I sprained my ankle trying to block Privett’s shot after the hottie on the right left the gym.

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Relax, It’s Only The Beginning

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 26, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton. These columns will run until the end of the school year.

One afternoon not too long ago, I sat in the Office of Student Development talking to one of my “designated mothers” here in North Highland Park, Lisa Crocker, about how blessed I was for coming here.

“You should write a column on how blessed you are,” she said to me.

Well, Mama Lisa, I am doing just that as we close out the 2007-08 regular season for Crichton basketball, a home game against Freed-Hardeman on Saturday afternoon.

When I began covering sports for Crichton in August of last year, I was working a dead-end job as a cheesecake salesman for the Tennessee Cheesecake Company of Nashville that only a week later would end because of my school schedule and the simple fact that they, referring to the Wilson family, wouldn’t change my work schedule.

And the week before I arrived in North Highland Park, I decided to leave a church in northeast Shelby County because of a falling out with some members.

On the same day that I talked Donna McWorther and my future boss, Jeff Walker, into doing something like this with Crichton athletics, I was in the middle of working on SEC football previews for the 2007 season and trying to get comfortable with being here.

Needless to say, from that Thursday afternoon that I walked into the athletic office until now, as I finish my time as student director of basketball operations and move into a position as public address announcer for the softball team — as well as working for the baseball team as their stats guy — the last few months here as North Highland Park’s sports columnist has been a wild ride.

From interviews with the random hottie, Danstar Michelle Williams and Crichton basketball superfan Ashley Parks, to columns on my travels with the “Basketball Brotherhood”, the last five or six months of writing about it has been fun to say the least.

Aside from earning a living and working in the athletic department, I’ve been blessed to have a great group of friends who’ve been there to either hug me or give me a kick in the pants since I’ve been here.

Not only that, I’ve learned during my time what it means to overcome adversity, being humble, and most importantly, I’ve learned how to have fun at my job, something that took a lot of time for me to grasp because of the many hats I wear around North Higland Park.

I’ve also learned in my time as student director of basketball operations about what it means to be a part of a family as well as the importance of being a family man.

During one point this basketball season, I ran into Bethel assistant basketball coach Craig Stephens, who was the one that had a hand in bringing me here to North Highland Park.

“I see you didn’t let me down,” he said.

Given what has happened since coming here in August, that’s out of the question.

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Relax, It’s Only The Beginning

Allow Me To Channel Mike Gundy For A Minute

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 18, 2008

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Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns about sports at Crichton. These columns will run until the end of the school year.

Once before, while on vacation in north-central Mississippi, I had to defend the honor of this website because a few extremists believed that this website, for lack of better terms, was immoral and that all of us here at TNB were not Christians and were going to hell.

While for the most part that attack at this blog was a blip on the radar screen, the recent attack by someone here at Crichton, who probably has beans for a brain, has rankled my feathers.

When I was given the opportunity to cover Crichton athletics through this website, I wanted to make it where everyone, regardless of what standing they had here at school, had a chance to be covered on this website. It’s an old adage that I learned from an editor at the now-defunct Cincinnati Post: Everyone has a voice, everyone gets a chance to be covered on this blog.

From the first story that I did on fellow Whitehaven graduate Michelle Williams all the way up to the story I did on the “Basketball Sisterhood”, this blog has received positive feedback from 80-90 of the people here at Crichton.

It has given the school positive publicity and a reason to not confuse Crichton with Creighton in Omaha.

The problem with the person who said this, and I say this with all sincerity, is that they never were able to create something like this.

They never had the vision or forethought to get five guys who are passionate sports fans, combine their talents, and do something to reach the Southeastern United States.

Obviously, they spent too much time saying smart-aleck comments about this or that to do something of that caliber.

For us, and I speak for Matt and the rest of the guys here, we shall strive to be a blog for the people, by the people.

And for the detractors who hate, keep on hating.

You’re just giving us more motivation.

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Basketball Is A Sisterhood, Too

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 16, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

“Basketball Sisterhood” February 2, 2008

1st row: (l-r) Tandria Wilburn, Jelisa Scruggs

2nd row: Ashley Parks, LaToya Taylor

3rd row: Brittanee McCaster, Kenisha Banks, Lynne Walker, Grace Walker

4th row: Rahnesha Brooks, Naysha Scott

5th row: Michelle Williams, Cierra Johnson, British Hill

Throughout this season, I’ve been using the “Basketball Is A Brotherhood” motto for some of my trips with the team throughout the Midwest and the South.

But while basketball is about brotherhood and teamwork, Crichton basketball is, in some cases, successful with the support of a group of young ladies who attend road basketball games to cheer on Crichton.

Led by student Ashley Parks, who I had the pleasure of sitting down and having an interview with during Homecoming week, Crichton basketball is not only a brotherhood.

It’s a sisterhood.

“We’ve been doing road trips for three years, dating back to when Crichton was known as the Cardinals,” she said.

Prior to the recent nickname for the school’s athletic program, Comets, the school was known for many years as the Cardinals, something that is evident in the logo that leads to the gym on campus where a cardinal is still on the signage.

“Being on the road with the team,” she said in our conversation, “gives us a chance to take a break from life as well as a chance to be away from Memphis. Not only that we just talk about what’s going on at Crichton, so in other words, it’s like a social club of sorts.”

During Crichton’s run to the National Tournament in 2006-07, Parks said that she and the group made 15 to 20 trips with the team. With the scheduling of the games this season, Parks said that they’ve only made four road-trips this year, twice to Nashville, Tennessee and twice to Jackson, Tennessee.

“The only way,” she said, “that we go on the road, is if they have a game on Monday, Thursday, or Saturday. Also it has to be within two to three hours driving time.”

When the “Basketball Sisterhood” isn’t on the road with the team, they can also be found in the east bleachers harassing the opposing players when they go to the free throw line or getting into the heads of the refs.

At the time this interview was being conducted, the Comets were 13-10 and coming off a win against 19th-ranked Trevecca on the road and getting ready to face Mid-Continent on the road Feb. 7th.  When asked could Crichton turn around their season, Parks had this to say.

“If they play smart, play hard, and listen to what Coach Walker says, then there’s no question in my mind they’ll be there at the end. If they don’t do those things, then they’ll be in trouble.”

Posted in General Sports | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Dream Game It Wasn’t

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 7, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Twenty-five years ago, long before any of us here on this website was even born, something bigger than the end of Prohibition happened on the hardwood in Knoxville, Tennessee for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

It was March 26, 1983 and Kentucky was playing the University of Louisville, a game that had been in the making for decades, but since the powers that be in the Commonwealth refused to allow the two schools to play each other in basketball and football.

While the Cardinals won that game against the Wildcats, it set the tone for the modern-day rivalry between the two schools in basketball, something that is still going strong today.

But unlike that “Dream Game”, Sunday’s open run at Crichton College was nowhere near the level of excitement or even magnitude of what happened 25 years ago.

It was more of a test against controlling myself as well as my team, which included the guy I replaced as student director of basketball operations.

As many of my fans know, back in December I wrote a column on a hottie that ironically, was the subject of a column that I wrote prior to Crichton’s first “Battle of the Sexes”, something that didn’t see the light of day until school closed for the Thanksgiving holiday when it was published on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

So when Sunday’s open run came in North Highland Park, I had no idea that a casual open run was going turn into something that would leave me with egg on my face.

During halftime of Super Bowl 42, Jasmine Scudder, who is one of this website’s big fans, as well as others decided to have a nice little open run before the start of the second half.

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Feeling Like Jackson, Tennessee (Part 2)

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on February 5, 2008

Crichton students at Union, Jan. 28, 2008:

First row (l-r): Matthew Long, Ashley Parks

Second row: Gavin Smith, Lauretta Plummer, Naysha Scott, Cierra Johnson, Kenisha Banks, Brittanee McCaster

Third row: Latoya Person, Jasmine McCaster, Deanza Williams, Rachel Walton

Fourth row: Baretta Tisdell, Deanna Chambers

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

After Crichton lost to Union on Jan. 28th, in the back of my mind, I tried to remember any team that lost twice in the same city in the same week.

The first thought that came to my mind was the 1991-92 Memphis Tigers team that went to the Elite Eight, but if memory serves me correct, the Tigers lost four times to Bob Huggins and the Cincinnati Bearcats, not four times in the same city.

But the trick to a team losing twice in the same city in the same week was that a conference had to have two teams from the same city (much like what happens in the A-10 with Philadelphia with St. Joe’s, Temple, and LaSalle) and a team had to play them in the same week.

Enter Crichton.

After shooting 1-for-19 from the arc against Union, Crichton made a return trip to Jackson, Tennessee on Saturday afternoon as they took on the Lambuth Eagles at Lambuth University.

Much like the neighborhood around Union, the neighborhood in which Lambuth is located in is filled with quaint houses that look like they came from “Leave It To Beaver”.

One of the things that I noticed about Lambuth’s campus, that like Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, is that the school take pride in keeping the architectural heritage of the school alive.

Which could be said about the building that the Eagles play in, the Lambuth Athletic Center, built in 1969 but renovated in recent years to include an alumni lounge for Lambuth fans to enjoy the game.

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Feeling Like Jackson, Tennessee These Days (Part 1)

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 30, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

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Twenty years ago, if you had said to anyone that Jackson, Tennessee, a city known simply as being the hometown of Casey Jones and Carl Perkins, would have a minor-league baseball team, more than one Wendy’s, and a shopping mall, you probably would have been greeted with blank stares.

Seriously.

In the last ten years, Jackson-Madison County has seen tremendous growth, ranging from stealing the Memphis Chicks baseball team and passing them off as the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in 1998 to NAIA Championships from both Union and Lambuth.

Not to mention that the city was the home of famed game-show host Wink Martindale, who’s known to my generation as that guy who’s in those Orbitz commercials.

And given the fact that many times in our journey towards Lebanon or some one-horse town in Georgia we have made fun of the city’s one-horse image, which has resulted in laughs from myself as well, Jackson is definitely a city on the way up.

“You’d never think Jackson would be this big,” Coach Ryans said as we exited onto Country Club Lane from Interstate 40 on Monday night.

In the area near Union University, there were blocks and blocks of old money (read: expensive homes and subdivisions) that we saw on the way there, which probably costs a tenth of A-Rod’s salary as well as Jackson Christian School, known for their state championship run a couple of years back.

We arrived at Union’s campus around 5:30 p.m. and made our way to “The Fred”, Union’s home gym.

In the foyer of the building, Union proudly displayed their athletic past, highlighting great moments in basketball, baseball, and volleyball.

But the real boasting took place when I looked around the gym and assessed the walls of the building as they were decorated with various championship banners, some of them looking like they were stolen from a carpet factory.

“They must really think they’re Notre Dame,” I said to myself, “lots of history, but a lot of arrogance.”

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It Was Grace, Coach; No, Not That Grace

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 20, 2008

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Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year

During the time I spent in southeast Missouri during Thanksgiving break, I went on one of the many celebrity TNB fans’ Facebook profile and begged for some divine intervention for the Missouri Tigers when they faced the Kansas Jayhawks in one of the biggest games in the history of Mizzou football.

“Please give Mizzou,” I wrote, “grace tonight against Kansas.”

And while Mizzou jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Jayhawks, only to see it slip away, the grace I begged for on Facebook showed up and led Mizzou to one of the biggest wins in their football history and a #1 ranking for the first time in 47 years.

Two months later and hundreds of miles from Kansas City, grace showed up in probably one of the most unorthodox jumpers this side of Ronnie Brewer and former Saint Louis University standout Scott Highmark as Derrick Boykin hit the game-winner in yesterday’s game at Streets to give Crichton the 83-81 victory over a stubborn Lyon College squad.

If you let myself and Colonel Sanders tell it, divine intervention didn’t come at the time when Boykin hit that game-winning shot.

It was prior to the game that divine intervention was asked for, not for a shot, but for a busted scoreboard.

An hour before the game, Colonel Sanders, Coach Dee, myself, and the building engineer at the arena spent 20 minutes figuring out what was wrong with the scoreboard.

“Did it work on Wednesday when you guys had practice?” I asked Coach Wilkes.

“No,” he replied.

According to the label that read loud and clear on the controller, the only way that both scoreboards could work was if both of the antennas on the scoreboards were up.

When we found out that the scoreboard on the west end of the building was up, but still no signal from the controller, we figured out the next best thing.

“Lord,” Colonel Sanders said, “give us your grace and mercy.”

“We need your grace, seriously,” I said.

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Dr. Phil, Meet Jeff Walker

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 15, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

One of the great things about sports is the fact that the lessons one learn not only apply to the playing field, but other aspects of life as well.

If we want to look for inspiration when we’re facing the odds, we can look at the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees en route to their historic World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

For bringing a community together, the perfect example would be the 1973 Memphis Tigers, who brought a racially divided city together by winning a then-record 24 wins to capture the Missouri Valley Conference and face heavily-favored UCLA in the national championship game.

But for relationship matters, or in my case, admitting to a very attractive girl that I like her, I have my boss, head basketball coach Jeff Walker.

For those who’ve followed the other blog I own or, for that case, seen me around North Highland Park, knows for a fact that I have my eye on a girl on the dance team here.

And while most of this has leaked out the same way that the news about John L. Smith leaving Louisville for Michigan State years ago, the only difference is the fact that no one, for the most part, is getting pissed off, the idea of applying what I’ve learned from being student director of basketball operations to the girl I’m starting to feel for from a distance, and being successful with it, is something that isn’t far-fetched.

One of the things that Coach Walker preaches to the team during the practices is having the mental and physical intensity that comes with playing college basketball.

“When you’re inside this 94 feet,” I remembered him saying back at a practice a few weeks ago to the backups, “you have to bring intensity off the bench. Elevate the game.”

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What Would Sam Wyche Say About This?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 7, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Nineteen years ago Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, after seeing disorderly fans throw debris on the field, got a house microphone and ripped the fans a new hole, saying that they didn’t live in Cleveland, they lived in Cincinnati.

Truth be told, had he saw what happened Saturday during Crichton’s game against Lambuth University Saturday afternoon, his emotional outburst during the Bengals-Seahawks game would have been just kid’s stuff.

The first thing that happened, prior to the game was when I walked across the floor to talk with “The Commish”, Shawn Beloate.

“We need to get you some Crichton shirts,” Coach Francis said to me, referring to the Mississippi State shirt I was wearing.

“I have some Crichton stuff,” I said, “problem is, it’s all dirty and needs to be washed.”

What I didn’t realize at the time was that my donning of a Mississippi State t-shirt, which was almost like walking the streets of Oxford with a Memphis t-shirt on, would prove, in some words, to be a bad omen for Crichton.

How in the world can the visiting team’s student managers come into your building donning their stuff to show school spirit and you’re decked out in jeans and a Mississippi State shirt?

In the first few minutes of the game, Lambuth, who hadn’t played since December 13th or, in other words, before Bobby Petrino made the midnight jump to Fayetteville, treated Crichton like Blue Mountain School For Boys, getting out to a 14-4 run to open the game.

As I was shooting the game from over in the northwest corner of the arena, I could only imagine what was being said in the huddle during timeouts and, since this is a family-friendly blog, I can’t reprint anything that was said in that huddle.

Towards the end of the opening half, however, Crichton began to show signs of life as Lambuth faltered and Stan Brownlee hit jumper after jumper, which seemed to get the fans inside Streets Ministries Arena into a frenzy.

However, Lambuth, led by former Murray State standout Trey Pearson, who looked like a long-lost family member from “Boondocks”, was showing the crowd-especially the Lambuth faithful, why he’s one of the best in the TransSouth, scoring at will on almost every possession.

For the majority of the second half it seemed as if Crichton had reverted to the style of play that was evident during the John Tibbits Era: taking too many 3’s, not communicating on defense, and worrying about the calls made by the referees.

Things that, for the most part, cost you games.

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Basketball Brotherhood Stop #5: Waleska, Georgia

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 4, 2008

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

On the way to Crichton College Friday afternoon, my mother brought up my previous trip to the Atlanta area and how it turned out.

“You didn’t get there until 2 in the morning,” she said to me, “Atlanta’s six hours from Memphis.”

Mainly because we had truck trouble, nearly died, had to pick up a complete pain in the rear from Nashville that sang every third song out loud that was on the radio, and head through Hurricane Katrina’s little ghetto sister Hurricane Laquisha to get to Atlanta.

“I know,” I said.

“These people have a little bit more sense than them,” she said, referring to the church I was at until last August.

Once again, we would be on the team’s charter, once again driven by Ms. Pam, something that caught me off guard.

“I thought you said we were going on the shuttle,” I said to Coach Wilkes.

“Charter, Ryne,” he said.

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Basketball Brotherhood Stop #4: O’Fallon, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 21, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

One of the joys you get while being a staff member on a basketball team at a small school like Crichton is the fact that instead of dealing with players that put on airs, something I knew firsthand when I worked with the Southwest Tennessee basketball program briefly in 2005 as their assistant manager, you get a chance to bond with the team.

The latest stop on the “Basketball Brotherhood” tour opened my eyes to that aspect of college basketball.

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Get Off Of Crichton

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 17, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming part-owner of TNB, it’s this:

No one likes it when you’re successful.

And in the world of college sports, where message boards regarding what goes on at your local college are about as common as those dumb things I do in front of the random hottie, with plenty of faceless cowards believe that certain colleges — even in the NAIA — get the extra benefit and write vile and sleazy things about young men who are trying to make something of themselves.

On Friday afternoon prior to the beginning of practice at Streets Ministries Arena, Coach Walker made light of the comments made by certain forum moderators on Victory Sports Network, a site that is devoted to NAIA athletics.

“No one likes us,” he said to us, “they hate us because we have more African-Americans at our school, that we’re in Memphis, and God knows what else.”

According to many of the forum moderators on VSN, Crichton had been accused — along with newcomer Blue Mountain College — of playing conference games in November and December, leaving the nine other members to wait until January to start their conference schedule.

When in reality, and this is prevalent in some conferences around the country, there was some things that were beyond their control that allowed this to happen.

The schedule that many people had followed for the first few weeks of the season was, according to Coach Dee Wilkes, a total screwup when I asked him about what had been seen posted around school and at Blockbuster on Poplar Avenue.

At this point in the season, Crichton was supposed to head to St. Louis to face Harris-Stowe on December 1st and then have a home game with them on December 15th, according to the original schedule.

But the revised schedule showed a home game against Harris-Stowe on December 8th and then a trip to St. Louis on December 18th.

The same thing could be said about games against Blue Mountain College which were supposed to be played on November 8th and December 4th but, according to the revised schedule, the home game would be played on November 16th and the road game would be played on December 6th.

That’s not those guys’ fault, however, because both schools agreed to play each other early out of respect for Crichton’s lack of an adequate on-campus facility.

“They think we cheat, that we run up the score on inferior opponents,” I said to someone one afternoon when I looked at the stats from the Blue Mountain game at home.

Okay, when you face a team that has a center my height (6’2) and depends heavily on the three, what outcome do you expect when you’re going up against a balanced team?

Sure, it’s not fun to beat up on cheesecake opponents, but when Crichton made a trip to Blue Mountain on December 6th the Toppers, for whatever reason, decided that instead of using the 3 as their sole means of victory, they would pull dirty moves to maybe get revenge on what happened from a game on November 16th when they were embarrassed at Streets Ministries.

Much of the grunt towards Crichton is the fact that the school, despite the fact that it is in a predominantly white neighborhood and sits a mere few blocks from that school near South Highland Avenue, is taking chances on players that nobody in Memphis probably have even heard of.

In other words, diamonds in the rough.

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Hottie’s Presence Can’t Make You A Better Shooter

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 11, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Prior to Saturday’s game against Harris-Stowe at home, I was out on the court shooting baskets with the basketball team and, with a little help from one of TNB’s biggest fans, managed to hit four shots in a row from the arc.

“It’s getting better,” Coach Ryans said of my shooting stroke, which at the beginning of my tenure as manager looked worse than former Arkansas standout Ronnie Brewer’s jumper.

But the difference between Saturday and what would later happen on Monday afternoon in the confines of Crichton’s gym is the fact that there was not a hottie distracting me while I was trying to find my inner Reggie Miller.

With things being quiet on the front for the basketball team, who have won five of their last six games and off until next Tuesday when they head to St. Louis to face the same Harris-Stowe squad they beat last Saturday, I challenged Student Government president Brandon Privett to a game of one-on-one.

“We’re going to 5,” he said to me.

Forgetting the fact that Privett stands 6’11 and I stand 6’2, I figured that I could take on “Big B” without any problems and do the same thing that former Grizzly Earl Watson did to Shawn Bradley back in the 2001-02 season and maybe do some light gloating the next day at school.

But there was one problem.

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Basketball Brotherhood Stop #3: Blue Mountain, Mississippi

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 10, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Three years ago, when I wrote columns as a teenager for the weekly North Shelby Times in Frayser, I wrote a nice piece on the trips that I made as a child to rural northern Mississippi with my dad to visit the land where my ancestors made home over 150 years ago.

Places like Watson, Matthews Corner, and Marianna, which had a great grocery store where you could buy Double Cola and ice cream for just a dollar well into the mid-90’s, had special meaning for my dad as well as myself.

Three years later on Thursday night, the “Basketball Brotherhood” of Crichton made its first trip to Blue Mountain College, a team that fell victim to the Comets to open the Doc Hancock era 141-77 at Streets Ministries Arena on November 17th.

From the research I did one night between doing papers for class, the town sat smack dab in the middle of Tippah County, Mississippi, had a population of 672, and was home to a school that was formerly an all-girl’s school until 2005.

Not to mention that the population was 87 percent female.

“What’s the population of this town?” Sly Watkins asked as we unloaded everything off the bus.

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Gentlemen, Welcome To Blue Mountain, Mississippi

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on December 4, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

One of the joys of being a student manager of a small school like Crichton is the fact that you get a chance to take trips to small cities that you never heard of.

Instead of heading to places like Louisville, Bowling Green, in Kentucky, and other mid-major and major cities here in the South, I get a chance to take trips to one-light towns like Mayfield, Kentucky and Waleska, Georgia.

Not to mention Blue Mountain, Mississippi.

“It’s a one-light town,” my friend Beth said to me during class when I told her about my planned trip to the city with the basketball team on Thursday, “there’s nothing for miles.”

And after doing research between papers and presentations, I found out that my friend was right about the city.

Located 66 miles away from Memphis, Blue Mountain, Mississippi is located in the middle of Tippah County, Mississippi.

“You’re doing nothing but going around the corner,” I was told by a friend in the student center.

The city, according to the latest census, has only 670 residents, which is a third of my alma mater (Whitehaven High School), which had 1,903 students when I graduated from there in 2003.

This year is the first year that the local college, Blue Mountain College, formerly a women’s college until 2005, will field a men’s basketball team after joining the NAIA.

“Sounds like a reform school for boys,” I said to Coach Sanders before a practice, “it’s in a place that no one in Memphis can place on a map.”

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Columnist Is A Difference Maker?

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 30, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

It was only two weeks ago that my prediction of Cash Money Records donating champagne bottles in March was more of a sad attempt at humor when I wrote about the season ahead in October.

Crichton was coming off their third straight loss to open the season on November 14th when they faced Tougaloo on the road, LSU was still in the driver’s seat for the National Championship, and I finally nailed an interview with the random hottie for this very blog you’re reading now.

But as the Bob Dylan song goes, the times changed for the better when the basketball program decided to take a chance on a loud, cocky, and sometimes funny sports columnist to be the new manager for the basketball team.

Me.

Four months removed from telling the world about cheesecakes, a month removed from being a member of “Murderers’ Row”, a row of seats at Streets Ministries where some of Crichton’s A-list celebrities hold court, I end up being the manager of a team that, for lack of better terms, was stuck in a season-opening funk.

“We expect big things out of you,” Coach Dee said to me on my first day, which happened to be the same thing that was echoed by everyone on the staff.

However, little did I know that my presence on the staff as the student manager would, as of this writing, turn the season around.

Since November 16th — my first day on the job — the Comets have won three of their last four games, including two straight at home, to bring their record to 3-4 and 1-0 in the TransSouth Conference.

Not to mention 3-1 in the Doc Hancock Era.

“You’re a difference maker,” Coach Ryans said to me after the Comets’ second straight win at Fisk on November 19th.

Stop right there.

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There’s Room For One Sportswriter In A Van Of Women

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 23, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Over the course of the last three years, the city of Nashville, Tennessee has been a constant thorn, if not presence, in my life.

It was the city in which I almost ended up facing the law in Metro Nashville for going on an outburst that would have made Mike Gundy proud.

Where I came oh-so-close with my friend Kasi three years in a row, most notably when I watched the St. Louis Cardinals shock the world in the 2006 World Series.

And infamously, the home of the Tennessee Cheesecake Company, the company where I sold cheesecake for two months prior to coming to Crichton College.

But nothing would be anything like the trip I made to Nashville to watch Crichton continue their winning ways against Fisk University on Monday night.

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Consorting With The Enemy That’s Also A Hottie

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 20, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Sports, as well as society at hand has given us a wild variety of rivalries such as blondes vs. brunettes, Colts vs. Cheaters, and Cardinals vs. Cubs.

But beyond those aforementioned rivalries in society and sports, the age-old question of which sex is better, guys or girls, remains at best the granddaddy of them all.

On the eve of the “Battle of the Sexes”, I sat down with the lovely Brittney Davis for a one-on-one conversation about everything from softball to who’s going to win on Friday between the guys and the girls.

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The Almost-Blockbuster Trade Demand On Highland Street

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 2, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Throughout the history of sports, trade demands by your favorite athletes have been about as common as those blown opportunities by a certain columnist as he tried to talk to a random hottie who caught his attention, one who will remain nameless for legal purposes.

Whether it was Steve Francis’ decision to not play for the then-Vancouver Grizzlies because he would be far from his native Maryland, Ken Griffey’s decision to ditch Seattle for his native Cincinnati, or Eli Manning’s refusal to play in San Diego after being selected #1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft – a refusal that resulted in a draft-day trade to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers – the sports world has seen its share of prima donnas who would rather take a bullet to the head than play for a second-class franchise.

But never before in the world of intramurals, where our friend Dan Hawkins at Colorado told anyone who didn’t want to sweat hard in practice to go play, did a person demand a trade from a flag football team on the account of the fact that instead of playing with a couple of hotties he would have to play with someone who is almost as annoying as Peppermint Patty from the old “Peanuts” comic strips.

On Monday night, on the campus of Crichton College, the CFL (Crichton Football League) held its first-ever draft for the upcoming football season which begins on Saturday morning at Monroe Rugby Field on South Hollywood in the shadow of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

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Shadowing The Big Brother One Goal At A Time

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 29, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

The only noteworthy news that made headlines around the city concerning the Crichton basketball team was the fact that former White Station and Wake Forest standout Robert O’Kelley was named to the coaching staff just in time for the 2007-08 season.

And if you want to find scandals and dramas in the Crichton basketball program, the only thing that would come close to being a scandal would probably be academic-related, not something that would be on the 10 o’clock news like our big brother to the south — the University of Memphis where, in the last three years, the Tigers have done its share of balling out of control not only on the court, but off it as well with their various legal problems.

After finishing in the Elite Eight and setting a school record for wins with 28 and a TransSouth Confrence regular-season and tournament crown in 2006-07, the Comet Nation is expecting the same performance from Coach Jeff Walker’s bunch in 2007-08 as they enter the season as the hands-on favorite to win another TransSouth Conference Championship and with the #2 ranking in the preseason poll according to Victory Sports Network, an independent entity that promotes NAIA athletics.

But unlike the folks down on the Highland Strip, where they’re anxiously waiting for a meaningful National Championship parade down South Highland Avenue with Derrick Rose leading the way, the pride of High Point Terrace are doing the same thing with a very small budget and a student body that unconditionally supports them.

While the Tigers have prized recruits like Derrick Rose, who I believe will be one of the best freshmen in the country along with O.J. Mayo at Southern Cal, the Comets have former Whitehaven standout Dontaye Hinton, who played two years at Sheridan Community College in Wyoming.

Not anyone who would be exploited on ESPNU on a nightly basis.

Crichton, after years of playing basketball at the Mid-South Coliseum, has a brand-new gem of an arena in the Streets Ministries Arena on Vance Avenue in the shadow of the Tigers’ FedEx Forum that will be packed with rabid Comet fans on Wednesday night when the Comets face Philander Smith in their home opener.

The Tigers are planning to be exploited by ESPN, CSTV, and CBS and be shilled by Pete Gillien, Billy Packer, Jim Nantz, and God knows who else as they run roughshod over a conference that a bunch of junior-high kids could win.

And Crichton?

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Two Left Feet Not Needed For This

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 29, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

For many years, man has questioned the art of cheerleading as a legitimate sport, mainly because of the emergence of one of the greatest films ever made in American history that starred Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst –“Bring It On” — and because during the 2006 Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournament, one of the cheerleaders from Southern Illinois University injured herself after falling from a pyramid and continued her routine from her stretcher.

But on a cloudy afternoon, I sat with a handful of people in the gym at Crichton as four students vied for a chance to become the mascot for the 2007-08 basketball season and win a scholarship.

“This is the first year that we have a hardcore mascot,” Danstar coach Hallie Carr said to the four candidates, “we didn’t do this as much last year. It was more in and out as far as the mascot thing was concerned.”

The first part of the audition was the crowd interaction part, which combined dance along with interaction with the crowd. Each of the four participants took turns putting what could be easily a huge ice cream scoop on a cone over their heads and strutted their stuff.

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