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March 11, 2010

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I watched the movie cartoon Ice Age II with my kids the other night. I think I may have lived it the following day, when I witnessed the thaw first hand during a half-hearted trek to the farm to do a little shed hunting.

My eyesight isn’t what it used to be (note the glasses) but even if I had 20/20 vision I’m not sure it would have been wise to spend a day looking for little white horns on a ground that was still bespeckled by patches of similarly colored snow.

Deer antlers are hard enough to spot when the grass is green and offers plenty of contrast for the horns left behind by last year’s bucks. Needle in a hay stack may be a bit too extreme, but lets just say the snow remnants insured this Sunday outing was more about exercise than bringing anything home.

Of course that’s not all bad, but when your friend brings in that huge trophy rack that he picked up back in February, it is difficult not to get the fever to do some shed searching.

Unfortunately we did find a pair of horns… still attached to the skull, and the rest of deer. Not a trophy deer by any measure, but a 10-pointer that would have shown some promise in 2010. He was far enough gone it was hard to tell what ended his days.

For me the best part of shed hunting is finding the leftovers of one of the big deer you targeted during hunting season. It is sort of like him doing a little celebration, showing you what you missed, while also providing you inspiration for a return competition the following season.

Too bad all other sports fans can’t find a similar way to appreciate their opponents while still striving to win.

I realize our society has instilled a more aggressive role for fans and spectators at sporting events, but I still find it difficult to accept some behaviors as totally appropriate. The idea is to get into the opponents head, make them uncomfortable or intimidated or just flat out mad enough to forget the game plan and do something wrong to allow our team to win. I’d rather play better than the other guys. Cheer for what we do right - not jeer at what they do wrong.

My least favorite action of all has to be the taunt of “airball” shouted at an opponent that was unfortunate enough to have fired up a shot that missed the rim.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again… until you step on the floor and represent your school or community, you really have no idea how hard it is to shoot a basketball. Just like most everything else in life, it sure looks a lot easier from the grandstands. Would we serenade the first person out of the spelling bee with “You misspelled that, nah, nah, nannanah?” Our greet the co-worker that just got laid off with the old favorite “Nanna Na Na Hey, Hey Hey Goodbye???”

But if your going to insist on behaving in such a manner, please pay enough attention to the game to not shout it at the guy who just made three straight three pointers that by all accounts put the game out of reach. Because then the other team’s crowd simply has to reply scoreboard, scoreboard…

While I’m on the soapbox, I’d also like to suggest that fans that want to complain about the officiating, learn the rules first. Two rules often wrongly argued are over and back and three seconds in the lane.

When a dribbler is advancing the ball into the frontcourt, the ball maintains backcourt status until both feet and the ball cross over simultaneously as stated in official basketball rules. When an offensive ball handler approaches the half court line, the ball and both feet need to cross the line before an over and back call can be made. If a ball handler crosses the half court line with the ball and one foot, they are allowed to go into the backcourt to elude the defenders. Basketball rules provide that once the ball and both feet cross the line, then when any foot or if the ball crosses back into the defensive end, then over and back can be called.

When a shot is taken, the three second count for someone in the lane stops. During a shot, during the rebounding of a shot, and during an immediate put back off of the rebound, no three-second violation can be called.

Here endeth the sermon.


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