Nearly a decade ago, I posted a list of the top 10 sporting events I’ve attended in-person. When discussing potential topics for an upcoming appearance on the Hustle and Pro podcast with Kelly Walker, we talked about updating it and revealing the new list on the show.
It was a fun exercise, adding in some of the great games and events I’ve experienced in the time since the original one was made. We enjoyed it so much that one episode turned into two! Kelly normally goes about 30 minutes each week, and we were already at that mark by the time we finished number six.
10) 2015 CFP CHAMPIONSHIP (2014 postseason) Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Oregon faced Ohio State in the first championship game in the new four-team playoff format for the FBS. And it’s in Arlington, where my grandfather (Dr. Bernie Mycoskie) had been for 70 years since graduating from OHIO STATE.
I was going to go with my dad and my brothers, regardless of the teams. But a couple of days after Ohio State clinched a spot, I heard from my cousin Blake. He had the idea to bring all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins back to Arlington so everyone could go to the game with Grandpa.
By this age, he couldn’t see at all. So all of the cousins took turns sitting next to him, changing out every quarter if not more often. While I’ve called play-by-play for some big audiences, getting to do it for an audience of one that night was more special than any game I’ll ever call for ESPN.
Grandpa died a couple of years ago. The game ended up being one of the last big family get-togethers.
9) 2017 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. UConn Huskies American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
The Bulldogs got out to a 16-point lead, only to see Huskies storm back. Mississippi State needed Morgan William to hit a jumper at the buzzer to capture the win and end UConn’s 111-game win streak.
I was photo marshall the basket next to UConn’s bench, so I was on the opposite baseline of William’s miracle shot.
Two nights later, South Carolina beat Mississippi State to capture the national title.
I had the ultimate summer job for a baseball-loving kid, working as a bat boy during the 1995 and 1996 seasons in the Texas Rangers’ visiting clubhouse.
There were a lot of awesome memories from that summer, but this topped them all. While it was incredible to be on the field during the midsummer classic, it was everything behind the scenes that made it especially great for me.
I showed up at the stadium hours before I had to that day. Where else would I want to be? As it turned out, the other bat boys and clubhouse attendants felt the same. We were all playing cars in the locker room, then Tony Gwynn walks in and says something to the effect of: “I was getting bored in my hotel room. I thought I’d come on in and BS with the bat boys.”
Just us and one of the greatest hitters of all-time, hanging out in the clubhouse. The game was secondary after that.
We’ve already mentioned Grandpa Mycoskie. He was there, of course. But my Granddad Sansing also made the trip up from San Antonio for the game. He and my mom sat on the home run porch in right field, where she snapped this long distance picture of me standing next to Greg Maddux during the national anthem.
This only event on this list with my son Austin (so far).
I took a gamble. He was three-years-old and I knew he could meltdown at any minute. It’d be cold, loud, crowded at Fair Park. But I knew this would probably the only time we’d have a Winter Classic in Dallas and I wanted to share it with him.
We were having a great time walking around the fairgrounds and then just sitting in our seats and watching the pre-game festivities. It was perfect. That is, until the national anthem. LOUD fireworks went off very close to us. At that moment, he squeezed me hard and said in the sweetest little voice: “I’m ready to go home now!” The game hadn’t started yet!
Thankfully, he calmed down and lasted until the end of the first period. We went for a little walk around the stadium, hoping he’d get a second wind and want to see more. Didn’t happen.
So, we hopped back on the DART train and headed towards home. We didn’t see the Stars’ goals or get to celebrate the victory over Nashville. But it was still an awesome day.
And he talked about it for weeks. I’m already looking forward to our next big event together. I may wait a few more years before attempting something on this large of a scale again, though.
6) SUPER BOWL XXVII BuffaloBills vs. Dallas Cowboys Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California
With the Cowboys not having made the Super Bowl since after the 1977 season, my dad said “they may not make it for another 15 or 20 years, so we better go this time.”
After winning the NFC championship, he found tickets, grabbed a hotel room in Fullerton, and booked roundtrip airfare to LAX. Everything about the game was larger than life, including the NFL Experience theme park outside the stadium, the halftime show (featuring Michael Jackson pre-pedophilia accusations), and the Cowboys’ blowout victory.
After the game, we headed back to LAX for the red-eye to DFW. At the time, I was writing a weekly column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s “Class Acts” section, so I took care of that on the flight. We drove straight from the airport to Shackelford Junior High (yes, my dad made me go to school), where I wore my new Super Bowl sweatshirt and was the envy of every kid there.
It is impossible to narrow the Olympic experience down to just one of the events. In fact, I don’t really remember any event in particular as being more spectacular than the others, but we took in a lot of great stuff.
Every event was part of a ticket lottery, and we got very lucky, getting to go to several Dream Team basketball games, some swimming and diving, plus a lot of sports we had never seen before.
One of those was field hockey between India and Pakistan. It is the national game of those countries, who are always on the brink of war, which made it especially interesting and kinda scary to be there.
We also visited Centennial Park a lot and were there just hours before the bombing. It was surreal waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the breaking news, then going to the events the next morning with everything under extra security.
This was the shortest experience of anything on this list.
This game was not scheduled for TV, but it was very rare that we did not keep up with a Rangers game in our house growing up. We had this one on the radio, and when it got to the end of the 7th inning, and Nolan still had the no-no going, my dad yelled “let’s go!”
We got in the car and sped to Arlington Stadium, listening to the radio as we drove, fully ready to turn around if Toronto got a hit. We got to the park, found a parking spot, and ran into the stadium in time for the 9th inning (nobody was guarding the entrances – everyone must have gone inside to see history).
We watched the final three outs, jumped and screamed as Nolan finished off the Blue Jays, and then sprinted back to the car and headed home.
2) MARK MCGWIRE’S 60TH, 61ST, AND 62ND HOME RUNS Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals / Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Missouri
Knowing what we know now about McGwire’s PED use (and the fact that the record was broken again just a couple of years later), some devalue this event. But nothing could change the excitement of those days for me.
I was going back and forth from Columbia to St. Louis every day, seeing something amazing. I’d like to think I am usually pretty neutral, and able to contain my emotions when I’m part of the working media, but I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face in the press box after each one of these homers.
Following the post-game press conference after number 62, I headed back to my car and turned on KMOX, where I heard the legendary Jack Buck say it was the most exciting sporting event he had ever witnessed. Having barely started my career, I thought it was all downhill from there.
My grandfather was the original team doctor for the Rangers in 1972 and was succeeded by my dad and uncle in 1985.
The team was a huge part of my life, and for so many years, the Rangers were just plain horrible. Still, that didn’t keep us from loving this ballclub. My dad, mom, brothers and I went to spring training every year, and up to 60 games a summer.
To see them finally reach the World Series was almost hard to believe. No matter what, I knew I had to get to Arlington to see the first game.
Everything about it was incredible, but the best part was experiencing it with my grandpa and dad. I don’t know anything could have lessened the experience, but the Rangers winning that night elevated it to an even higher level.
You’ll find it among shows focusing on the Power Five leagues by searching for Landry’s Football Conference Call wherever you consume podcasts.
The Group of Five has shrunk to the Group of Three this fall. The MAC announced its decision to cancel fall football on Aug. 8, with hopes of playing in the spring. The Mountain West did the same two days later. The lone exception is the Air Force Academy, as the Falcons will play its two games vs. service academy opponents this fall.
New episodes of Group of Five Live will be released every Monday and Friday. Each Monday, we’ll look back on the weekend and preview upcoming mid-week games. Fridays, we’ll look ahead to the Saturday slate.
This week, the Thursday schedule features two games: Central Arkansas at UAB, 7 pm Central, ESPN3. South Alabama at Southern Miss, 8 pm Central, CBSSN.
After the introduction, I’m joined by UAB radio color analyst Steve Irvine (3:59). If there’s any team and coach prepared to handle this crazy off-season, it’s the UAB Blazers and Bill Clark. The program was shut down in 2015 and 2016, only to be reborn in 2017. By 2018, the Blazers were Conference USA champions and Boca Raton Bowl winners.
Then you’ll hear my chat with South Alabama radio play-by-play broadcaster J.D. Byars (12:53). The Jaguars are coming off a 2-10 season and will face Southern Miss for the first time this week. After that, they’ll return home to Mobile for the grand opening of a new on-campus stadium, hosting Tulane on Sept. 12 in front of a 25% capacity crowd.
Hosts Chris Mycoskie and Aaron Arruda begin with the biggest sports story of the week. In the first game of Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds vs. Kansas City Royals doubleheader, FOX Sports announcer Thom Brennaman issued a gay slur when he thought the broadcast was still in a commercial break (2:00). As it turned out, the MLB.TV feed carried his comment live. Brennaman left the booth during the second game, but not before Nick Castellanos hit a home run mid-apology. He’s subsequently been suspended from Cincinnati regional broadcasts, plus FOX pulled him from NFL games.
Then politics take over the show, starting with the selection of Kamala Harris as the Democratic VP nominee (14:20). That’s followed by a review of the Democratic National Convention (18:35), including the production value and the biggest speeches.
Looking at today’s hyper-partisanship, Brian believes George Washington would be baffled and hurt (39:15). Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton despised each other and likely wouldn’t have a problem with the current state of affairs.
To contrast the first president of the United States with the man currently holding the office (40:49), Brian says Washington was incredibly conscious of every single thing he did and said, being very careful about his words and actions. Washington knew he was setting an example. It’s clear that’s not the case with Trump. He wants to get his point across and doesn’t seem to take great care in the manner he uses to do so.
The biggest match-ups in Dallas-Fort Worth will be featured during coverage of high school football on CW33. The 2020 schedule features 18 games, all broadcast live.
The season begins Sept. 25 with Dallas Jesuit visiting Flower Mound Marcus. The Rangers will send defensive stars Robert Fitzgerald and Peter Melle after Marauders QB Garrett Nussmeier, who is bound for LSU in 2021.
Next up on Oct. 2, nine-time state champion Aledo hosts Frisco Lone Star. The Bearcats appear to have all of the weapons needed to win a third consecutive title, including LSU commit WR JoJo Earle. The Rangers won their first 14 games last season, powered by 50 touchdown passes by Garret Rangel.
Five-time state champion Allen visits Cedar Hill Oct. 9 in one of the region’s most-anticipated early season affairs. Tennessee-bound quarterback Kaidon Salter leads the Longhorns’ offense, while the Eagles’ defense counters with star linebackers Levi Tupou and Link Smith.
Non-district competition concludes with the Arlington Lamar Vikings visiting Prosper Oct. 16. The spotlight will shine on Lamar receiver Cameron Brady, who holds offers from Ole Miss, Arizona, and Arkansas among others. When the Eagles are on offense, quarterback Jackson Berry will draw a ton of attention. The superstar signal-caller racked up 45 total touchdowns last season.
District play begins Oct. 23 when Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath meet in the annual I-30 Classic. The Yellow Jackets return quarterback Braedyn Locke after he threw for 53 touchdowns a year ago, while the Hawks are anchored by all-state offensive lineman Hunter Smith.
The Burleson Centennial Spartans have been consistent over the past five seasons, reaching the area round in four of those campaigns. They’ll travel to face Birdville Oct. 30, with offensive linemen Seth Rangel and Brock McDonnell clearing plenty of room for the Hawks’ running attack. Then on Nov. 6, Hebron heads to Plano.
With a staggered start to this year, Nov. 13 presents an opportunity to dip into postseason play. Class 4A is scheduled to begin its state playoffs with the bi-district round, and CW33 will feature one of the top match-ups pitting Dallas-Fort Worth teams against each other.
Class 5A/6A play returns to the airwaves as the regular season reaches crunch time. On Nov. 20, Lovejoy faces Frisco at The Star. The Raccoons are led by reigning district defensive MVP Chase Lowery. McKinney and McKinney Boyd meet in District 5-6A on Nov. 27.
The regular season for 5A/6A concludes Dec. 4 with a game yet to be determined, as CW33 plans to highlight a battle with implications towards a district title or the playoff picture. Coverage then continues deep into the postseason, culminating with 5A/6A state semifinal matchups. The station will feature at least seven playoff games from the state’s two largest classifications Dec. 11 through Jan. 9.
The CW33 High School Football Showdown crew includes longtime voices of DFW high school football Doug Anderson and LaDarrin McLane, returning for their 15th consecutive season in the broadcast booth together. Chris Mycoskie is back to serve as the sideline reporter.
In addition to television coverage on CW33, the broadcasts will be available digitally via CW33.com and the CW33app.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ON CW33
Sept. 25, Dallas Jesuit at Flower Mound Marcus
Oct. 2, Frisco Lone Star at Aledo
Oct. 9, Allen at Cedar Hill
Oct. 16, Arlington Lamar at Prosper
Oct. 23, Rockwall-Heath at Rockwall
Oct. 30, Burleson Centennial at Birdville
Nov. 6, Hebron at Plano
Nov. 13, UIL State Playoffs – Class 4A Bi-District
Nov. 20, Lovejoy at Frisco
Nov. 27, McKinney Boyd at McKinney
Dec. 4, Regular Season Finale (Matchup TBD)
Dec. 11, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Bi-District
Dec. 18, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Area
Dec. 19, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Area
Dec. 26, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Regional
Jan. 2, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Quarterfinal
Jan. 8, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Semifinal
Jan. 9, UIL State Playoffs – Class 5A/6A Semifinal
Judge’s comments: A dramatic, detailed story about Tiger Woods’ historic march to his fifth Masters championship. The well-written lead describes the golfer playing with Woods as wearing “the sorrowful, caged look of a guy caught at an opera he didn’t want to attend, much less be in.” The writer also sprinkles the story with historical perspective.
2. Larry Holder, The Athletic New Orleans. Story on Saints vs. Rams regular season game in which Drew Brees suffers injury.
3. Brooks Kubena, The Advocate. Story on Saints controversial loss to Rams in NFC Championship Game.
HM. Amie Just, The Advocate. Story on Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater leading the team to a fifth-straight win.
COLLEGE EVENT – CLASS I
1. AMIE JUST, NOLA.com / The Times-Picayune. Story on LSU’s senior gymnasts at the NCAA Championships.
Judge’s comments: Vivid story-telling that captures a big moment. It’s one thing to paint a picture but this story went beyond that with depth. It read quickly, always the mark of a well-written story.
2. Jerit Roser, TigerDetails.com. Story on LSU’s first basketball title since 2009 amid a protest atmosphere.
HM. Brooks Kubena, The Advocate. Story on LSU taking down Alabama for first time since 2011.
PRO/COLLEGE EVENT – CLASS II
1. CHRIS SINGLETON, The Courier/Daily Comet. Story on New Orleans Saints win over the Houston Texans.
Judge’s comments: The writer had a game-winning 58-yard field goal with which to work, but he/she nailed it with this story about the lack of “panic” the Saints felt in the final seconds. Good quotes. Good description of the kick.
2. Mike Gegenheimer, The Courier/Daily Comet. Story on Nicholls football wild win in River Bell Classic
3. Raymond Partsch III, The Daily Iberian. Story on Texas’ victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
PREP EVENT – CLASS I
1. ROD WALKER, The Advocate. Story on Newman quarterback Arch Manning’s first high school football game.
Judge’s comments: By far the best in this category. The writer captured the debut of the heir to the throne of Manning football royalty with a tale so engaging I temporarily forgot I was judging a contest. It had all the details that put me in the moment, but also captured the grandness of the spectacle. Perhaps most important, the writer managed to craft it clearly without trying to compete with the story itself. And he didn’t bore me with inane statistics. Hallelujah!
2. Adam Hunsucker, Monroe News-Star. Oak Grove blows out White Castle in Class 1A championship game.
3. Bruce Brown, The Daily Advertiser. Acadiana Rams get sloppy for one quarter but hold on for artistic victory.
HM. Luke Johnson, The Advocate. Column on how Saints season appeared over after Drew Brees injury.
COLLEGE COLUMN – CLASS I
1. LES EAST, SaturdayDownSouth.com. Column on LSU athletic director Scott Woodward and the Tiger Athletic Foundation.
Judge’s comments: This column takes a strong stance on an important topic and is written by someone who knows the subject extremely well. It is informed by research that produced salient facts used skillfully to support the author’s point. I appreciated that (the) author made an effort not to demean the value of football in comparison to education — which would have been a too-easy choice — and instead emphasized how they had, previously, been symbiotic at LSU.
2. John Marcase, The Town Talk. Column on LSU football loud on and off the field.
3. Scooter Hobbs, Lake Charles American Press. Column on LSU enters new world with clutch win over Texas
HM. Scott Rabalais, The Advocate. Column on LSU basketball team losing without suspended coach Will Wade.
PREP COLUMN – CLASS I
1. JOHN MARCASE, The Town Talk. Column on LHSAA forcing Vidalia football coach Dee Faircloth to retire.
Judge’s comments: The first-place story is a fantastic demonstration of how to call out a clearly flawed rule, and the writer just so happened to have a fantastic example to lead with.
Judge’s comments: Who doesn’t like a good “Booger” story? And certainly, this is one. The writer does a good job of introducing us to Booger and explaining the nickname, while also providing insight into what makes him, well, “Booger.” Nice work.
2. Les East, Crescent City Sports. Story on professional baseball’s departure from New Orleans area.
3. Amie Just, The Advocate. Story on Demario Davis and how his faith led him from jail to New Orleans.
HM. Glenn Guilbeau, USA TODAY-Louisiana. Story on Saints JV team playing well without Drew Brees.
COLLEGE FEATURE – CLASS I
1. LUKE JOHNSON, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune. Story on legacy of Delgado baseball coach Joe Scheuermann.
Judge’s comments: This profile brings a family’s generations-long devotion to light. The lede drew the reader in, the stories painted a picture and the tempo of this story was perfect from start to finish. It made you care about the Scheuermann family – and about Delgado baseball.
2. Brooks Kubena, The Advocate. Story on why and how Joe Burrow can lead LSU.
3. Jeffrey Marx, The Advocate. Story on LSU gymnast Lexie Priessmann.
HM. Teddy Allen, The Shreveport Times. Story on Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Nitz.
PREP FEATURE – CLASS I
1. ROBIN FAMBROUGH, The Advocate. Story on Catholic-Pointe Coupee David Simoneaux juggling triumph, tragedy.
Judge’s comments: This piece perfectly sets the scene with details includings sights and sounds that connect you to the setting. Quotes are perfectly woven in, offering insight that couldn’t be found elsewhere and helps the reader develop an emotional connection to what they’re reading.
2. Larry Holder, The Athletic New Orleans. Story on kicker Manuel Pastor, foreign exchange student to eliminate Peyton Manning, Newman.
3. Lamar Gafford, The Town Talk. Story on Peabody basketball coach Charles Smith before induction into Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
HM. Jeff Duncan, The Athletic New Orleans. Story on Newman School quarterback Arch Manning.
Judge’s comments: This is the kind of story people naturally gravitate to, one that finds the subject, who has enjoyed great success, take a step out of his comfort zone for personal reasons and finds success again. Here’s a tip of the cap to Fletch, and to the writer who told his story in fine fashion.
2. Chris Singleton, The Courier/Daily Comet. Feature on death of Assumption High athlete Tyran Cassie.
3. Mike Gegenheimer, The Courier/Daily Comet. Feature on Nicholls wide receiver Mason Roberts set to join Secret Service.
HM. Jake Martin, Ouachita Citizen. Feature on Graves duo shares bond over playing days.
BREAKING NEWS – OPEN CLASS
1. TIM BUCKLEY, The Daily Advertiser. Coverage of the death of Ragin’ Cajuns baseball coach Tony Robichaux.
Judge’s comments: The obituary, through an industrious use of clips and current interviews, took a full account of a man who might have been well known as a successful baseball coach but told readers much more — about his folksy manner, the conflict about missing his boys youth baseball career, and how the sport was a vehicle for him to connect with his players.
2. Robin Fambrough, The Advocate. Story on select schools forming LSA to execute logistics of stand-alone playoffs.
3. Rod Walker, The Advocate. Story on prep coaching legend Otis Washington passing away at age 80.
HM. Glenn Guilbeau, USA TODAY-Louisiana. Story on firing of LSU athletic director Joe Alleva.
GENERAL SPORTS – OPEN CLASS
1. JEFF DUNCAN, The Athletic New Orleans. Investigative story on the Carver High School football stadium.
Judge’s comments: Superb job of covering this story from every angle. The writer interviewed everyone connected with the story. Author did an excellent job of trying to explain something that is unexplainable. Or, more accurately, inexcusable.
2. J.J. Marshall, DesignatedWriters.com. Story on remembering sports writer Buddy Davis.
3. Rod Walker, The Advocate. Story on death of famed PGA Tour caddie Alfred Dyer.
HM. John Simerman, The Advocate. Story on how failure at track can end in heartbreak for Louisiana race horses.
OUTDOORS WRITING – OPEN CLASS
1. RAYMOND PARTSCH III, 1037TheGame.com. Feature on impact state’s first Bassmaster Classic champion has had on state championship-winning fisherman.
Judge’s comments: Good story about the relationship between a man and his grandson, and not just the typical guy bragging about his grandkid. Good job providing background on both individuals and plenty of excellent quotes.
2. Tony Marks, Ville Platte Gazette. Feature on Lafayette teenager killing an alligator at Miller’s Lake.
3. Joe Macaluso, The Advocate. Falling from a tree stand can put you in the ER – or worse.
HM. Don Shoopman, The Daily Iberian. Story on Loreauville outdoorsman, son, friends enjoying bountiful dove hunt.
1.THE DAILY ADVERTISER. 10th Anniversary of Saints Super Bowl season.
Judge’s comments: Getting the fronts from the other Louisiana newspapers from that day was a wonderful touch. Alternating those pages with the original content kept things fresh and interesting. The mix of stories did a nice job of connecting that 2009 team to the current team. A great concept executed extremely well.
Judge’s comments: Very slick design! This looks like one of those glossy preview magazines you see on a store shelf. Great use of colors throughout and nice little touches, like the little football shape cutout for the page number. The writing is concise and ‘big picture.’ This is something to be proud of.
2. The Daily Iberian. 2019 High School Preview Section.
3. The Courier/Daily Comet. 2019 Football Preview Section.
COLLEGE/PRO – OPEN CLASS
1. DAVID GRUNFELD, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune. Photo from NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and L.A. Rams.
Judge’s comments: No brainer here… a great action photo that tells the story, and elicits a blood pressure raising reaction from every Saints fan ever. While there are earlier images of the Ram taking the Saints’ receiver out of the play before the ball arrives, clearly making it pass interference, this image still gets the story told.
2. Bill Feig, The Advocate. Photo of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow being carried off the field after another victory.
3. Travis Spradling, The Advocate. Photo of LSU quarterback gesturing to the North end zone Student section.
HM. Clint Domingue, 1037TheGame.com. Photo of UL’s Trajan Wesley driving to the basket against Southeastern Louisiana.
PREP/AMATEUR – OPEN CLASS
1. BILL FEIG, The Advocate. Photo of LSU signee Rammie Noel leaping over a goalie en route to scoring a goal during a soccer club match.
Judge’s comments: Clearly the best of the bunch. Action, overachieving, scared, determination, and rejection all in one photo. Best sports image that I judged in any category.
2. Hilary Scheinuk, The Advocate. Photo of University High quarterback Tanner Lawson losing the ball on a sack by a Madison Prep player.
3. Travis Spradling, The Advocate. Photo of couple from Plaquemine crossing the finish line of a 10K.
HM. Tony Marks, Oakdale Journal. Photo of the Oberlin baseball team winning state title.
1. THE ADVOCATE
Judge’s comments: The Advocate is considered one of the best papers in the country, and the examples in this entry shows why.
2. Lake Charles American-Press
3. The Daily Advertiser
1. THE COURIER / DAILY COMET
Judge’s comments: In a very tight race, The Courier/Daily Comet wins out by having the best mix of immediate content packaged with coverage from previous days.
2. The Daily Iberian
3. Ouachita Citizen
PREP WRITER OF THE YEAR
1. ROBIN FAMBROUGH, The Advocate.
Judge’s comments: Impressive diversity in this group of stories. From a moving story on the death of a coach’s mom due to Alzheimer’s disease to a very vivid retrospective on Augustus’ legend to pointed criticism of the LHSAA split championship format, the writer shows depth, versatility and the ability to recognize a good story.
2. Les East, Crescent City Sports/Varsity Sports Louisiana.
3. Eric Narcisse, The Daily Advertiser.
HM. Jim Derry, St. Tammany Farmer/The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.
1. JAKE MARTIN, Ouachita Citizen
Judge’s comments: I liked this selection of stories and the themes of dealing with failure and falling just short of winning titles in the baseball and softball stories.
2. Bobby Ardoin, The Daily World.
3. Chris Singleton, The Courier/Daily Comet.
HM. J.J. Marshall, Minden Press-Herald.
COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR
1. SCOTT RABALAIS, The Advocate.
Judge’s comments: This columnist captured three events with great perspective and stylish writing. He hit the key points in the events and molded them into a mosaic of words that provided opinion and insight to his readers. Lots of historical perspective in the columns and a rhythm in the writing.
2. Larry Holder, The Athletic New Orleans.
3. Lenny Vangilder, Crescent City Sports.
HM. Les East, Crescent City Sports/Saturday Down South.
1. MIKE GEGENHEIMER, The Courier/Daily Comet.
Judge’s comments: I liked that there were strong opinions clearly expressed in all of the columns. Whether you agree or not, it’s always good to know where the columnist stands on the topic.
2. J.J. Marshall, The Minden Press Herald.
3. Raymond Partsch III, The Daily Iberian.
HM. Kelly McElroy, The Courier/Daily Comet.
STORY OF THE YEAR
JEFF DUNCAN, The Athletic New Orleans. Investigative story on the Carver High School football stadium.
Judge’s comments: Lot of excellent entries, as usual, and difficult to compare the apples and oranges of gamers and columns to features. But one entry stood out for the depth of the reporting and its investigative tone. At first, I thought the story about George Washington Carver High and its football stadium was going to have a happy ending. Then the writer got my attention by telling me the stadium hadn’t been built and more than $1 million went missing. The mystery grabbed me.
It was a difficult, complicated narrative to tell but it was done well and kept me on edge. The amount of reporting required far exceeded the other entries and the writing was smartly matter-of-fact, a reader-friendly method with a story of this length. I wanted to know who did what to whom and the writer painted a pretty clear picture of that but did it in an objective way that allowed me to draw my own conclusions on who were the real culprits and villains.
Ultimately, it’s a story of another epic fail caused by a government getting involved. Quotes aren’t often great kickers but this one, “It’s weeds,” said it all in two words. A great job of organization, reporting and story-telling. My message to the writer: Thanks for writing this piece.
SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR
CHRIS SINGLETON, The Courier / Daily Comet
Awarded to the writer who accumulates the most points (points awarded on a 3-2-1 basis) in regular writing categories. Points are NOT awarded for Prep Writer of the Year, Columnist of the Year, or Story of the Year.
Chris Singleton 9 (two 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd)
Raymond Partsch III 8 (two 1st, two 3rd)
Jeff Duncan 6 (two 1st)
Rod Walker 6 (one 1st, three 3rd)
Teddy Allen 6 (two 1st)
John Marcase 5 (one 1st, one 2nd)
Mike Gegenheimer 5 (two 2nd, one 3rd)
Robin Fambrough 5 (one 1st, one 2nd)
Les East 5 (one 1st, one 2nd)
Amie Just 4 (one 1st, one 3rd)
Larry Holder 4 (two 2nd)
Scooter Hobbs 4 (one 2nd, two 3rd)
Luke Johnson 3 (one 1st)
Tony Taglavore 3 (one 1st)
Tim Buckley 3 (one 1st)
J.J. Marshall 3 (one 2nd, one 3rd)
Brooks Kubena 3 (one 2nd, one 3rd)
Jim Derry 2 (one 2nd)
Jerit Roser 2 (one 2nd)
Tony Marks 2 (one 2nd)
Adam Hunsucker 2 (one 2nd)
Bobby Ardoin 2 (one 2nd)
Joe Macaluso 1 (one 3rd)
Lamar Gafford 1 (one 3rd)
Jeffrey Marx 1 (one 3rd)
Bruce Brown 1 (one 3rd)
(points awarded on a 3-2-1 basis except for Story of the Year)
The Advocate 38 (six 1st, five 2nd, 10 3rd)
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune 12 (three 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd)
The Athletic New Orleans 12 (two 1st, three 2nd)
The Daily Advertiser 9 (two 1st, three 3rd)
DesignatedWriters.com 6 (one 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd)
The Courier/Daily Comet 22 (four 1st, three 2nd, four 3rd)
The Daily Iberian 10 (one 1st, two 2nd, three 3rd)
Minden Press-Herald 5 (one 1st, one 2nd)
Ouachita Citizen 4 (one 1st, one 3rd)
The Daily World 4 (two 2nd)
318 Forum Magazine 3 (one 1st)
BEST SPORTS TALK SHOW (SOLO)
1. MATT MOSCONA (host), After Further Review, 104.5 ESPN, Baton Rouge
Judge’s comments: This entry had great energy, great cadence, and I love the random rant basically ripping Ohio State. This host showed passion, stated facts, and really captured me with his confidence on the microphone. Very, very entertaining.
2. Raymond Partsch III (host), Louis Prejean (producer), RP3 & Company, 103.7 The Game, Lafayette
3. Ben Love (host), Clint Domingue (producer), Bumper to Bumper Sports, 103.7 The Game, Lafayette
3. Jordy Culotta and T-Bob Hebert (hosts), Off the Bench, 104.5 ESPN, Baton Rouge.
HM. Don Allen, Glenn Quebedeaux, Bruce Brown, Tom Brown and Bobby Ardoin (hosts), Clint Domingue (producer), Five Guys, Stories & Lies, 103.7 The Game, Lafayette.
BEST LIVE BROADCAST TEAM
1. Carencro High School Football, Ben Love and Blaine Viator, Z105.9 FM.
Judge’s comments: “I liked the chemistry between the play-by-play announcer and color analyst. Nice inflection on the big plays, good facts, and I felt like I was updated with stats and game log. Loved the pacing and excitement of the play-by-play announcer in this entry.”
2. Captain Shreve High School Football, Tony Taglavote and Jimmy Martin, The River 95.7 FM.
3. Lafayette High School Football, Raymond Partsch III and Chad Jones, The Rewind 97.7 FM, Lafayette.
HM. St. Thomas More Football, Danny Jones and Sam Heinen, 103.7 The Game, Lafayette.
Judge’s comments: “High Energy, attention driven content, kept my attention through all 5 minutes. Audio quality was perfect. Great chemistry. I learned several things during the podcast, mixed player perspective without sounding smarter than the average fan. Brought the content to my level.”
FEATURE/RELEASE (FOOTBALL) 1. CODY WORSHAM, LSU. “That’s Joe” (Prelude). Judge’s comments: Writer took advantage of LSU’s massive budget to travel with a video crew to Burrow’s Ohio hometown and write a thorough 10-part series that told you everything about the Tigers’ Heisman Trophy winner in the making. Even the synopsis story he entered for this contest was more than 6,200 words. But it was well-written and had a great flow. 2. Jason Pugh, Northwestern State. Williams’ death latest test of Demons’ tightly knit family. 3. Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech. Lewis Shows Leadership Through Adversity.
FEATURE/RELEASE (BASKETBALL/BASEBALL) 1. KANE McGUIRE, Louisiana Tech. Hall of Fame: Randy White. Judge’s comments: Great insight mixed with needed perspective on this former LA Tech basketball star being inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. Writer did excellent research and it showed. 2. Jason Pugh, Northwestern State. Demon baseball alumni deal with alternate spring reality. 3. Kent Lowe, LSU, Memories Plentiful of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
FEATURE/RELEASE (WOMEN’S BASKETBALL, SOFTBALL) 1. ED CASSIERE, Xavier, Moore takes her talents to 1 Drexel Drive. Judge’s comments: Great lede – “There are no winged horses flying above Xavier University of Louisiana’s Convocation Center . . . and no leprechauns lurking in the Washington Avenue Canal that divides the campus. But check out this rarity. . . ”drew readers into the uniqueness of Xavier women’s basketball signing Shaelynn Moore, a graduate transfer from rival Dillard. 2. Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech – Louisiana Tech pulls upset over Blazers.
ALL OTHER SPORTS/STORIES 1. MALCOLM BUTLER, Louisiana Tech. Lincoln Parish Buddy Davis passes. Judge’s comments: It was an obituary that read like a Who’s Who tribute to one of the best and most beloved sportswriters ever in Louisiana. When you have coaches and athletes praising you as did Davis, you know you’ve done something right in your career. 2. Harrison Valentine, LSU. Consistency, Maturity Key in Kiya Johnson’s Fast Start at LSU. 3. Matthew Bonnette, McNeese. Macintyre Ties for 6th at The Open Championship.
(Award given to school department) 1. LSU. Judge’s comments: Both of LSU’s entries jumped out at you. There was the simplicity of a poster of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow in his white LSU jersey and his Heisman Trophy at his feet contrasted against a purple background ghosted with a few pictures of him and several relevant phrases. Then, there was the national championship game poster celebrating the win over Clemson featuring 19 pictures from game night and a montage of 20 players as well as Ed Orgeron’s One Team One Heartbeat in a signature that may or not be his. The national title poster is over-the-top too busy, but considering the magnitude of the victory and the fact so many players contributed, it works. 2. Louisiana Tech 3. McNeese
COLLEGE STAFF PHOTOS
1. DARRELL JAMES, Louisiana Tech. Softball player makes diving outfield grab. Judge’s Comments: Is it luck? Is it great timing? Is it camera operator precision? Probably all of the above when the spectacular play is made and someone is there to get it at its right moment. That’s what happened here. Of course the player has to contribute here as well to allow this perfectly framed and focused shot. 2. Gus Stark, LSU. Emotions of Javonte Smart and Arkansas bench contrasting as horn sounds. 3. Raymond Stuart, McNeese. Flying dunk by McNeese player over opponent.
COLLEGE RADIO PLAY-BY-PLAY
1. CHRIS BLAIR, LSU. Football game vs. Florida. Judge’s Comments: I admit I wasn’t going to listen to part of the national championship playoffs, but this game with Florida may have been one of the more important. Florida about to score to tie, interception, quick LSU drive. Great emotion and crowd noise mixed well. Good cut-ins when allowed by analyst. More importantly, time and score are mentioned enough. 2. Dave Nitz, Louisiana Tech. Independence Bowl. 3. (tie) Tony Taglavore, Northwestern State. Women’s Basketball game vs. Grambling. 3. (tie) Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech. Women’s Basketball game vs. Western Kentucky.
ESPN Radio play-by-play announcer Sean Kelley returns to his broadcast position inside the NBA bubble next week. Thursday, he’ll have the Western Conference first-round matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and whoever emerges as the number eight seed (Portland or Memphis). But before heading back to Orlando, he’s talking with Aaron Arruda and Chris Mycoskie on the No Longer Neighbors podcast.
As usual, Aaron and Chris open the show with the week in review. It’s back to school time. Aaron’s wife Alicia is back on her elementary school’s campus to teach (1:05) even though students are attending virtually for the time being. Chris’s wife Cassie is teaching home school for a change, as the Mycoskies decided that was the best option for their son right now. That’s followed by restaurant talk (5:30), including COVID-19 closures and new delivery-only options. They wrap up the segment with a short conversation about the latest national anthem news surrounding sporting events, as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he’ll show grace to players who opt to kneel (12:38). In addition, FC Dallas player Reggie Cannon faced boos and projectiles in Frisco this week after he chose to kneel during the anthem.
The conversation with Sean begins with his initial arrival inside the NBA bubble (24:22) on August 4th, which included play-by-play how-to instructions from Ian Eagle. Unlike the players and coaches who could be there for three months straight, national TV and radio announcers are going to Orlando in waves.
After seeing the problems in Major League Baseball with the Cardinals and Marlins, Sean says the NBA and NHL are doing things right with the bubble (32:30). Although it’s expensive, this may be the only way to bring the risk level down to nearly zero. Sean is being tested for COVID-19 twice a week and for players it happens more often.
Sean is also the lead voice for ESPN Radio’s coverage of college football, so he’s waiting on those assignments as news plays out across the country (46:23). The PAC-12 and Big Ten announced this week they’ll postpone games until the spring, while the Big 12, ACC, and SEC still plan to play this fall.
This week’s guest is Chris Halicke, who covers the Texas Rangers beat for Sports Illustrated (21:11). While fans are banned from attending MLB games right now, he’s one of the privileged few who get to be inside the ballpark (28:30). We’ve already seen the Marlins and Cardinals suffer COVID-19 outbreaks in their clubhouses, so what is his level of optimism for the season being played to completion (35:30)?
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that a Major League Baseball bubble situation, like we’re seeing right now with the NBA and NHL, is a realistic possibility for the postseason (39:48). Halicke speculates that if the league limps to the finish line of the regular season, with a litany of positive cases, then playing in a bubble may be the only way a World Series champion can be crowned. At the time this episode was taped Thursday night, it appeared every team would be back to action on Friday. That turned out not to be the case, as the Cardinals had additional players and staff test positive for the coronavirus.
What about the NFL (44:30)? It will be very difficult. There are a lot more players and coaches involved. On the day of our recording, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers should have been opening the NFL preseason with the Hall of Fame Game. As for college football, conferences are adjusting their schedules. But ultimately, that may not matter.
Finally, Aaron is still on the mend from rupturing his Achilles last week. So how is he spending his free time without being able to move much? He bought a Nintendo Switch (58:20).
My baby brother was born six years after me. Now, six weeks after I launched my podcast with Aaron Arruda, Craig has a show of his own. He’s co-hosting Beer Flight alongside Billy Rudolph.
The Beer Flight podcast features travelers, enthusiasts, experts, and friends talking about their travel experiences and the drinks they had along the way. Craig and my sister-in-law Amy Mycoskie are the founders of Round Trip Brewing Company in Atlanta.
I do a little voice acting for the show’s opening and closing elements, playing the role of an airline pilot.
If you watch any local television in Dallas-Fort Worth, you’ve probably seen my recent commercial acting for Milestone. The spot seems to be on CONSTANTLY. It’s been running for nearly a year and I’m still regularly hearing from friends after they see it for the first time.
I play a weatherman that apparently only knows one word: plumbing!
My only commercial acting previously was during two spots for Hair Artifice, a salon in Baton Rouge. I played a caricature of myself in both. In the first, there was a scene of pandemonium over the great prices and great styles. Tony King and I went on an exclusive news team investigation for the second. The latter commercial never aired on television, as my former employer WVLA-TV pulled the spot due to my inclusion and was later sued for breach of contract.
Past that, my wife and I were extras in The Belle of West Texas at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, our local community theatre. We hoped to return every summer for the troop’s annual melodrama, but life got in the way. Perhaps one day we’ll audition there again.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, I was cast in an independent film as a police officer. Filming was delayed thanks to the circumstances. Of course, I’m hoping it gets rescheduled. In the meantime, I’ve edited my IMDB page with hopes of adding additional roles.
After going over the play-by-play of that pain, Chris talks about getting his financial house in order. He overcame a massive amount of debt with the help of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (8:05). Once he and his wife paid off nearly $30K of credit card bills, they moved to establish a six-month emergency fund. Since then, they’ve been able to buy two used cars with cash and never want to have another automobile payment. Now they’re saving for the future.
This week’s guests on the No Longer Neighbors podcast are Dr. Vonni Gant and Dameon Madison from The AND Campaign. Have you ever felt too progressive for conservatives, but too conservative for progressives? The AND Campaign encourages everyone to engage in the political process with both love and truth while making all decisions from a Biblical framework.
I’m serving as the “Texas Ambassador” for BlueFrame Technology. The company rendered excellent products and services as the streaming provider for the Southland Conference during my time with the league, so I’m excited to continue my association with BlueFrame in this new role.
My primary objective is to add additional schools to the TAPPS TV Network. This service began as the solely the home of TAPPS championship events, but is now being expanded to include content produced by member schools. In addition to access to the awesome Production Truck software, joining the network allows members to stream their programming to the TAPPS apps. The apps are available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, Android, and other devices. TAPPS members can click here to learn more. Contact me with questions.
It’s worth noting that schools aren’t limited to sports. You’ll be able to use this set-up to stream fine arts, graduation ceremonies, and anything else you’d like to produce.
There are also opportunities for UIL schools and small colleges to create their own networks. Look at this information, then click “get proposal” or reach out to me directly and we’ll talk about your needs.
Aaron Arruda and Chris Mycoskie start this week’s episode of No Longer Neighbors with a lengthy discussion on the biggest news items of the week, including the Washington NFL team finally dropping its controversial nickname (3:30), President Trump serving as a pitchman for Goya Foods after some called for a boycott (14:24), a massive Twitter hack that compromised verified accounts (20:29), and the return of the Ford Bronco (26:24).
Aaron and Chris welcome in three guests from the Major League BotBall community (34:50): Eric Garment, Mark Colley, and Justin Rocke. With the real MLB shutting down in March, Gerrit Hall had an idea to simulate each team’s 162-game season and stream games on Twitch. What makes this different and special is the fact that MLBotBall uses live broadcasters. Some are pros like Justin and Chris, others are aspiring to do it as a career, while a good number have little or no experience. They just love baseball. Plus, there’s an active community with fans serving as their favorite ballclubs’ general managers.
The actual MLB season begins next week, but there won’t be fans in the stands. That means no road trips to ballgames (1:22:57). And for a lot of people, this has been a summer without vacations due to COVID-19. It put a halt to Chris and his wife Cassie’s journey to visit all 50 states (1:29:55).
On this week’s episode of the No Longer Neighbors podcast, we’re sharing our experiences with family tragedies that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, Aaron Arruda talks about his wife Alicia’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery (4:17). That’s followed by Chris Mycoskie discussing how his daughter Grace was stillborn in May, plus his wife Cassie’s life was in danger (42:42).
We begin the Independence Day edition of No Longer Neighbors with mask talk before Kyle Draper pops on (10:15). He takes us through the principles he preaches as a social media coach, including fixing your mindset (14:01), identifying your audience, video-video-video (16:40), and content compounding (19:25). Who influences his approach (33:15)? To close things out, we discuss Aaron’s obsession with buying new cars (38:28).
This week’s No Longer Neighbors episode begins with technology expert Aaron Arruda examining the ways it has changed our lives during the pandemic. Zoom has been the home of a lot of big events for Chris Mycoskie lately, including his grandfather’s funeral (4:44).
ESPN and Stadium basketball analyst Tim Scarborough joins us for a conversation (8:59). Chris and Tim were scheduled to call games at the Conference USA tournament before COVID-19 forced its cancelation. Now, Tim’s gearing up for TBT – The Basketball Tournament on ESPN, July 4-14 (13:11). He also gives us his perspective on social justice issues on the week three men were indicted in the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta (16:58). As the NBA prepares to restart, Tim believes players have a great forum to speak out and help enact positive change (18:53).
To close the show, Chris and Aaron discuss attitudes towards food during COVID-19 isolation (25:38). Aaron has been heavily into smoking meat (34:13). Is using a pellet grill cheating?
Aaron Arruda and Chris Mycoskie begin the premiere episode of No Longer Neighbors with what they’ve learned in 2020.
The Ticket’s Bob Sturm is the show’s first guest (9:35). He talks about the higher purpose he’s found to his great job as a sports radio host (16:58) and how his faith can be boiled down to “What Would Jesus Do?” (26:10). We address Steve Chapman’s column, which calls for the Texas Rangers baseball team to change its name (47:25). Plus, Chris throws out a hypothetical question about the Washington Redskins and whether Robert Griffin III could have forced that team’s name to be altered in 2012 (1:11:45).
The amount of love and support that has poured out has been nothing short of incredible. God is good. He has surrounded us with amazing people. Psalm 34:18 in action. I know the Lord is near the brokenhearted.
For as long as we’re on Earth, there will always be a hole in our hearts. We wanted to raise our sweet girl. We wanted her and Austin to grow up together, and be able to lean on each other their entire lives. A lot of tears have been shed.
But Heaven is the final destination, and our time here is a blip compared to eternity. Grace arrived there after 21 weeks in Cassie’s womb. Her body wasn’t ready. Granddad arrived yesterday morning after 100 years of a life well-lived. His body was ravaged.
I trust that God has given them both perfect eternal vessels. And I can’t help but smile when thinking about our reunion.