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Sports Shorts

What A Drag- Boy howdy, it sure was! Debra and I headed northeast awhile back for a two-hour drive to itty-bitty Avenal, CA. This speck of a town was hosting their annual sand drag competition and competitors from all over Cali were present and accounted for.

Man, what a thrill. This was our initiation to the sport and we each got our ten-dollar’s worth. On the outskirts of Avenal sits a strip of land specifically designed to accommodate the sport. There are two lanes for the competitive runs with electronic timers at the finish line that project elapsed times and miles per hour attained.

There is a starter’s structure at the starting line and a “Christmas tree” starting pole that lets drivers know when to bury the pedal to begin their races. Spectator stands line one entire side of the one-eighth mile run. There are about four acres of parking for cars, recreational vehicles and competitor’s raging machines.

Competition comes in the form of sand rails, pickups, suped-up four-wheelers, modified motorcycles, etc. Hearing protection is advised as these screaming machines mete out the decibels.

All of the races were exciting to watch but the alcohol-fueled sand rails were the bomb! Get a gnat in your eye and you’ll miss the race as these mamas are breathtakingly fast. Best elapsed time recorded was 2.55 seconds for the 1/8- mile run, and that particular rail topped out at 160 miles per hour.

Intra-Column Snippets- Early-season MLB phenom is a fact not a player: The Colorado Rockies, whose Coors Field stadium gives up the most runs in the league, boasts the tiniest earned run average for bullpen pitchers and stands atop the NL West.

The NHL’s top regular season team, the Washington Capitols, show absolutely no heart and squander home-ice advantage in game-seven loss to the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the playoffs.

WTA’s Eugenie Bouchard causes a clamor by calling out Maria Sharapova as a “cheat” and then promptly bounces Sharapova on court at the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Spain.

If you believe that Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is going to capture the Triple Crown, dream on. 

America- Lots going on in our country nowadays. Any tiny respite from what’s happening in our land is surely welcomed. I’m going off point here and have been admonished in the past for doing so. But this would only be my second strike so I’m gonna chance it.

Drove south to Chumash Casino not long ago to escape life for one-and-a-half hours. Seventies folk-rock band America churned out hit after hit and subliminally thrust me being back to days when, personally, my life was more experimental and carefree.

Twenty minutes before the first acoustical guitar chord was struck I propped my “America’s Greatest Hits” album cover, with sharpie attached, up against one of the on-stage monitors. It sat there lonely and neglected throughout the show. After the last chord was strummed and as the band members were accumulating to give the “band-bow” Dewey Bunnell went to my album, picked it up and held it aloft as the bow was performed.

I’m sitting sixteen rows away from the stage as this was playing out. Trepidation had engulfed my being as I didn’t know what Dewey had in mind or if I was going to get my album cover back. Alas, after exiting stage left Dewey signed the album cover in the wings and got the other remaining original America member, Gerry Beckley, to sign as well.

With all that we here in the land of the free have been going through recently, it felt so wonderful to feel good about saying “America” the beautiful on that night.

Contact Michael Elliott @sportsshorts8@gmail.com.   

By Michael Elliott

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