Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A quick look at the 2005 Lorain Sports Hall of Fame Banquet

  • Once again, the Master of Ceremonies was unfortunately Joe Tait. Now, why would it be unfortunate that the Cavs' radio announcer, a man with a very distinct and memorable way of calling a basketball game, be the master of ceremonies? Well, because MC of this banquet is his job every year, except when he's on the road with the Cavs during the playoffs. Ah, maybe next year....

  • Tait was introduced by the mayor of Lorain. As he was introducing Tait, the mayor said a thing or two about a few of the inductees. For the one, a long-retired football line coach, the mayor said, "If he was still a coach, we wouldn't have a problem with all the violence in the city schools!" What a great thing to hear from your mayor.

  • The keynote speaker was Brian Brennan, formerly a receiver for BC and the Browns. He retired in 1991, and my dad noticed that he isn't much bigger than me, but he still looked like he could beat everyone in the room (including the high school seniors up for scholarships) in a sprint.

  • Now, Brian Brennan was one of my favorite athletes growing up, but it's surprising I still like him today. He started with a Slovak joke ("I asked so and so if I could tell ethnic jokes. He said, 'OK, but remember - I'm Slovak.' So I said, 'OK, I'll tell them Slow-ly.'") and it was all downhill from there. Sure, the speech was very good. But, as we soon found out, he only went to BC because Dan Devine's staff thought he was too small. No wonder the students tarred and feathered Devine's house. (And don't blame Joe Yonto - remember that he's the one that brought in a 6'0" 145 pounder named Theisman to play QB.) Apparently, "Notre Dame Bashing" is a required course of study at BC, as Brennan's 10-minute speech featured no less than 4 ND references. (A 'highlight': "Coach Marty Schottenheimer was a devout Catholic, and he used to make a player lead the Our Father before each game. One time, I [Brennan] was in the back with Bob Golic. Golic goes, 'I bet you five bucks that he doesn't know the words to the Our Father.' So I say, 'You're on.' Coach picks a guy, and he starts 'As I lay me down to sleep....' [laughter] So then Bob turns to me and says, 'Well, I guess I owe you five bucks.'")

  • The speeches were decent. Olympic sailor and former Indiana U tackle Phil Trinter, absent due to a competition in Greece, turned in a professionally done acceptance video (a first to my knowledge, but then again this is only the third banquet I've been to). Then, we got to the aforementioned old line coach. He proceeded to ramble on for a full 20 minutes about anything and everything - my dad joked that he had one page of notes for every year they didn't vote him in to the hall of fame. He obviously had his hearing aid off, or else he would have heard the groans every time he paused - seemingly done - then started again. He did throw in Grantland Rice's Four Horseman quote at the end, so that was nice.

  • The last speech went to the coach of the inductees for this year's team category. This year, the team was the 1967 Lorain St. Mary's (the forerunner to Lorain Catholic) Fighting Irish football team, and the coach was Tim Rose. Rose was my dad's gym teacher in high school, and I've heard stories about how much of a tough disciplinarian the guy is. It's obviously paid off for him, as he's the current defensive coordinator for Toledo, after stints as head coach at Miami U in the '80s and defensive coordinator at schools that include Minnesota and Boston College. And boy could this guy talk. All he did was list off the name, current hometown, and high school position of the former team members in attendance, but even then I wanted to get up and smack someone for the guy. Now there's a coach.

Well, that's all I got. Probably not as good as it was hyped, but oh well. Some time soon, look for a writeup on the Cavs' coaching search. Also, don't forget that baseball lineups are again due this Friday.