JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 3, 2016

Photo: WKRN

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Camilo Villegas . . .

PAT REMEMBERED: I don’t think I have ever seen anyone who had as much written or talked about after they died than Lady Vols basketball coaching legend Pat Summitt.

Reaction of her death reached far and wide. To think the New York Yankees had a picture of Summitt on the stadium scoreboard and a moment of silence for her prior to their game shows just how much she meant to so many people from coast to coast and beyond.

But we’re talking about Yankee Stadium, not Neyland. We’re talking basketball, not baseball. Talking women, not men.

To see the list of how many former players came to be with Pat in her final days was mind-boggling. It was a who’s who of women’s basketball stars.

She influenced so many young women that she became an eternal legend, a well-deserved honor.

 

NASHVILLE GOLF SHOW: The PGA has an annual merchandise golf show, usually in Orlando. It’s for golfers to see all the new equipment, apparel and other items to improve your golf game.

Now you won’t have to travel to Florida to see the future. The Nashville Golf Show will be held Jan. 20-22 of next year at the spacious Music City Center.

It’s a dream of Tee Times publisher Joe Hall and his wife Carol. There are other golf enthusiasts on board to make the initial offering a success.

“We are extremely excited about this venture and have studied and researched it for over two years, along with input and advice from a group of mentors that have helped and encouraged us along the way,’’ Joe Hall said in a press release.

You can go to the recently completed website that contains all the information and details.

Joe and Carol can answer any questions you might have, especially about booth space availability. Joe Hall can be reached at joe@nashvillegolfshow.com or Carol at carol@nashvillegolfshow.com.

 

FOOTBALL ON HORIZON:  Despite the Nashville heat and humidity this summer, there is a faint scent of college and pro football in the air. OK, so you have to take a deep breath to detect it.

Phil Steele has a great reputation for his insight on college football. He has his preseason books in various local bookstores, or you can order it from his website.

Looking at Steele’s preseason Top 10, there are only three SEC teams making the list.

Alabama leads everyone despite not having an experienced quarterback. He cites the Crimson Tide for returning 11 starters, plus the starting punter and place-kicker.

He also likes Alabama’s success at recruiting top-level talent. According to Steele, Bama’s Nick Saban had the No. 1 recruiting class from 2012-15 and when he printed his top 10, the Tide would finish with a No. 2 class for 2016.

LSU has a league leading 18 starters returning and the ESPN Stats and Info has the Tigers at No. 1 in its Football Power Index.

He had the Vols winning the Eastern Division but when Baylor was hit with a number of rules violations, it aided Tennessee who finished at No. 9 in the country in Steele’s latest Top 10.

He likes the Vols returning 17 starters, including senior QB Joshua Dobbs. To have junior Jalen Hurd for another season is a key. Look for a big season out of Hurd, which should open things open for Dobbs to pass or run.

The rest of Steele’s Top 10 include Clemson at No. 2, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Florida State, No. 6 Ohio State, one ahead of No. 7 Michigan. Stanford checks in at No. 8 while Notre Dame is No. 10.

That leaves five Big Ten teams in the Top 10, two in the SEC.

Just enough info to whet your appetite and get your game face on.

 

VINTAGE BASEBALL: Are you tired of watching bench-clearing brawls in the major leagues? Weary of multi-millionaires getting paid to play a game, not for the fun, but for the money?

Try out Vintage Baseball. It’s a league that plays by the rules that were in place in 1864. They pitch under-handed; there are no balls and strikes and no such thing as a home run. And, no need for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).

The Quicksteps Vintage Baseball Club will play a Vintage team from Huntsville at Rippavilla historic home in Spring Hill on July 9 at noon.

Eric Smithson plays for the Quicksteps and informs me that the players have no gloves and use vintage bats and balls and even vintage language.

These games are played on the grounds of historic houses and sites. There is no admission.

“Bring a lawn chair or blanket and your family and watch a game as it was played in 1864,’’ Smithson said. “Players in the league range from 18 to 69 years old.’’

 

PAT BACK IN TIME: I got an email from Nashville businessman David Dingler, who approximately 20 years ago he heard Pat Summitt speak at a Nashville Sports Council dinner. I was there to present the Reese Smith Sr. Award to Belmont basketball coach Rick Byrd.

Summitt took a poem by Dan Baker and read it line by line.

“You can love me

but only I can make me happy.

You can teach me

but only I can do the learning.

You can lead me

but only I can walk the path.

You can promote me

but I have to succeed.

You can coach me

but I have to win the game.

You can even pity me

but I have to bear the sorrow.

For the Gift of Love

is not a food that feeds me.

It is the sunshine

that nourishes that which I must finally harvest for myself.

So if you love me

don’t just sing me your song.

Teach me to sing

for when I am alone,

I will need the melody.’’

Dingler thanked her then for her inspiring and candid words. She asked him if he wanted a copy and three days later it arrived in his mailbox. He has had it on his office wall ever since.

On the day Summitt died, Dingler was at the Las Vegas airport to catch a flight back to Nashville. He told that story to a friend of his in Las Vegas and then Rick Byrd walked up to catch the same flight. “Fact is stranger than fiction,’’ he wrote me.

Indeed.

 Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He was recently inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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