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Some random thoughts about the sports world ...

July 13, 2009

Make it a red and clean up the game.

I have never played soccer, but I know a cheap shot when I see one.

My nephew started at the University of Pittsburgh for four years and I've seen them in college. I've also seen them in high school and it's time to clean up the game.

If a kid throws a cheap shot and the referees see it, no yellow cards, please. Go directly to red.

I have heard, "You're lucky that's only a yellow" too often.

I am tired of watching cheap shot after cheap shot being tolerated. It's disgusting and has no place in the game.

What would happen if youth all-star teams were made up of kids who were not coaches kids?

There are a ton of kids who belong on all-star teams, but this "If you take my kid I'll take yours" has to be eliminated from selecting all-star teams.

Do the right thing when selecting kids.

I still do not understand why there are all-star games for kids 10-and-under.

And I really do not get why there are travel soccer teams for his that same age. A 9-year-old traveling to play soccer - and we wonder why kids get tired of sports.

I appreciate the fact that those kids are outside playing sports and not in the basement playing video games, but ...

I was talking recently to a local pastor about kids and sports. He told me of a story years ago when, around the age of 23, he was asked to coach a junior high boys basketball team not in the area.

He had more kids than uniforms so a rotation schedule was set up when kids would be in uniform.

The pastor told me the best kid on the team also had one of the worst attitudes on the team and just would not hustle.

The young man did not play the first game and, subsequently, quit the team.

Not long after, the pastor received a phone call from the young man's father. He said his son was sorry for his attitude, would accept the punishment to be dished out and was wondering if he could be back on the team.

No, dad did not rip the coach for not allowing his kid to dress.

The pastor said yes and then told me the young man was always first in every suicide or line drill from then on.

Years later the young man was featured in a newspaper article in the business section for being a leader in his field.

Wonder if that would have happened without a little attitude adjustment?

As much as I like the pastor for sticking to his guns about how attitude would be displayed on the team, I really like the fact that dad did not allow his son to be "that kid."

We're supposed to believe a source close to Trevor Ariza when he said that LeBron told him he was staying in Cleveland?

This is the same Ariza whose agent tried to pull a power play with Los Angeles general manager Mitch Kupchak and then, basically, traded places with Ron Artest.

Ariza is now in Houston, where there is a good chance he will never play for an NBA title again.

James denied Ariza's source.

The Cavaliers still have some holes to fill. Adding Shaq was good, but someone else needs to score when things get tight other than James.

Anthony Parker's 11 points a game is not enough. And, their No. 1 choice, Christian Eyenga more than likely will not be in uniform next year.

The Celtics added Rasheed Wallace, which makes Boston the leading contender in the East.

Detroit added Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva while Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Amir Johnson left town.

New Jersey got decidedly better by drafting Terrence Williams and shipping Vince Carter to Orlando for Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie.

It's hard to see how the Magic got better.

Eun Hee Ji won the U.S. Women's Open Sunday at Saucon Valley Country Club. She did so after making bogeys on two of her first four holes and then a terrible double bogey on the 242-yard par 4 10th hole.

The 20-year-old came back to birdie three of the final six holes, including a 20-footer on the 72nd hole to beat Candie Kung by a shot.

Once again, a player does not hang her head and it equates, this time, to a victory.

There will be a lot of trials and tribulations as you go through life, 18 holes, a sporting contest, a test, the ACT, a terrible audition, band practice, rehearsal and how you come back from it shows character.

As I have said before, if the mountain was smooth, you couldn't climb it.

I understand there is a ton of negative publicity about Michael Jackson and Steve McNair, but, please remember this - someone buried a father, someone buried a son and someone buried a brother.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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