By Mark Smith
Copyright Enchantment Sports
It was an interesting weekend of celebrations.
I enjoyed watching ESPN’s celebration of sportscaster Steve Levy for his 25th year at the network.
It brought back fond memories of my own 25-year celebration with my journalistic employer.
Uh … actually, strike that.
While I was at the paper for 31 years, counting freelancing, I was there only 24 years, 2 months full time.
No portraits on the wall.
And no regrets on my part.
Speaking of ceremonies, I am really looking forward to Brian Urlacher’s at his NFL Hall of Fame induction.
The NFL HALL OF FAME!!!!!
Did I ever expect that? Never even thought about it when I covered him a few times in high school. What I did do, however, was leave those games with my jaw dropped each time. He was probably the best two-way – heck, four-way – player I had ever seen in high school.
“Yeah, it’s Lovington,” I told folks. “I get it. But the kid’s phenomenal! Why wasn’t anyone recruiting him?”
He is one of the top five high-school players I ever covered. I guess, off the top of my head, Bobby Newcombe, Mick Reeves, Zach Gentry and Jim Everett would be the others.
I never say Tommy McDonald and never covered Ray Barrs.
The rest is history – and more history.
I’ve had the fortune of interviewing Urlacher in high school, with the Lobos, with the Bears, in retirement and on the golf course. He’s always been friendly and a straight-shooter.
Before it came time for HOF voting, he told me, “I know my eligibility is coming up soon. I can’t change what I’ve done; it’s not in my hands anymore, so whatever happens happens.
“I’m not going to put the cart before the horse.”
That cart has never been farther behind the horse. And that horse is football’s version of Secretariat. Congrats to the Duke Named Url.