- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

Apparently, the chorus of cheers for Maryland's national basketball champions extends far and wide. Coach Gary Williams and All-American Juan Dixon were greeted uproariously Saturday in Winchester, Va., at a sports breakfast in conjunction with the 75th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.
It was no coincidence that the Terrapins were well represented. State Sen. Russ Potts, who organizes the breakfast each year, is a Maryland alumnus and former sports promotion director in College Park. Potts, a native of Winchester, even nabbed all-time Terps basketball hero Len Elmore as master of ceremonies.
Williams had some solid advice for an audience of several hundred that was liberally sprinkled with children and teen-agers: "Always do the best you can whatever situation you're in never settle for being second best. We always try to recruit people who can help the team and their teammates in addition to having talent. We're all going to lose sometime, but try to use that to get better."
Also on hand were Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and All-Pro linebacker LaVar Arrington. Arrington got the morning's biggest laugh when he stepped to the microphone, pretended to be angry and said, "I couldn't help but notice that Michael got more applause than I did. I know he played in Virginia, but after all I do play for the Washington Redskins."

Deacon and hypertension
Do team doctors and trainers always tell pro athletes the truth about their medical condition? Deacon Jones, for one, has his doubts.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end spent a couple of days in Washington last week promoting awareness and treatment of hypertension a k a "the silent killer" among blacks on behalf of the "State of the Heart" education program. In the process, he revealed some startling information about his own 11-year career.
"In 1975, the year after I retired from football, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure," Jones said. "Before that, I never knew I had it. They always put those things around my arm when we had [team] physicals, but if I had it then nobody ever told me."
Fortunately, Jones' condition was discovered before it could contribute to a heart attack, stroke or diabetes and remains controlled by medication. But he is concerned about millions of other victims who are not aware of the ailment.
"Two-thirds of all African-Americans will develop high blood pressure [defined as a reading at or above 140/90] by the time they are 60," Jones said dauntingly. The solution can be started, he said, by something as simple as sticking your arm in one of those testing units at the drug store. "Even a stupid man can do it. There's no pain, and no one's gonna stick a needle in you."
I don't know if Deacon's campaign will help sack widespread hypertension, but I certainly wouldn't bet against him.

No Redskins wanted
School administrators in Cheyenne, Wyo., of all places, may have taught Dan Snyder, of all people, a lesson in political correctness.
Assistant principal Marcia Graham said officials at Johnson Junior High will choose a new mascot after talking for a decade about sacking the school's Redskins symbol, which some Native American groups find offensive.
"If we want to teach our students about respect, we need to make sure our mascot shows respect," she said.
Principal Alice Hunter said the Redskins mascot makes her uneasy because "we're one of the most diverse schools in Cheyenne, and to do anything that doesn't mirror that diversity is uncomfortable."
Owner Snyder has said the Washington Redskins will not change their name despite protests from various groups.

Bidding fools
You might not have realized this, but Athletics pitcher Tim Hudson is such a big shot in the Bay Area that a wad of gum he chewed went for $250 during an online auction to benefit the local Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Of course, that's nothing compared to the $10,000 somebody paid recently for a stick or two discarded by Arizona's Luis Gonzalez , but then again Hudson has never hit 57 home runs in a season.)
The auction sponsored by the A's flagship radio station offered 10 items associated with Hudson. The top-selling one was a chance to have your picture taken guzzling suds with the pitcher (presumably not before a game he starts); it brought a bid of $1,005. Other items included game-worn socks (yuck), dirt from his shoes, a towel from a postgame shower and clippings from his goatee.
The auction raised more than $2,400 but also begged this question: Can't people be charitable without being idiotic about it?

Too Bad Department
You need not be an animal lover to do a double- or triple-take at this one: A prep wrestling coach in Richmond, Ind., avoided charges of animal cruelty after biting the head off a live sparrow to motivate his athletes. (Probably he sickened them instead.)
Avon High School coach Aaron Bright, 31, whose nickname should be "Not Too," admitted doing so Dec. 28 and was ordered to perform two days of community service. Do you suppose Mr. Bright now will teach his students how to get off lightly after performing an inhumane act? Or perhaps he already has.

Is nothing sacred?
A championship ring that once belonged to baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson was retrieved from a Los Angeles pawn shop last week after apparently being stolen from a relative's house. Police arrested Miguel Rodriguez, 21, and booked him for investigation of grand theft.
Robinson's 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers National League championship ring was swiped from the home of Robinson's brother-in-law, Charles Raymond. Rodriguez, who had been hired to perform odd jobs at Raymond's house, supposedly pawned it for a lousy $100. Nobody ever said thieves have to be smart.

Eminently quotable
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue , on the prospects of further expansion: "I don't see any on the horizon. If you go back 28 years, there was a kind of model certain owners had that the NFL should eventually get to 32 teams and eight divisions. I think there is a feeling that we should see how this works and give this new scheduling formula and the new divisional alignment a chance to take hold."
Sacramento star Chris Webber, on the Kings' playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks: "A lot of people expect us to lose. I don't read the publications [that say it]. Other people tell me about it, and then I manipulate that however I want to get motivation."
Kansas City Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney, on the firing of manager Tony Muser: "He did the best he could. It's not like he had the New York Yankees the last five years."


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