Thanksgiving Week Sidelines, by Mike Ashley


By Mike Ashley

CUTTING EDGE: I’ve seen Duke basketball play a couple of times now. The scouting report is that these Blue Devils are long and athletic and several of them are old enough to shave.

PASS EVERYTHING: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – a license to feast and football. It’s all gravy after that. No, really. All gravy. I’m like one of those running backs that get stronger as the game goes on.

OH, OH THERE GOES GIANCARLO: MVP/MLB trade-target Giancarlo Stanton going to Boston’s Fenway Park would be like Godzilla getting traded back to Tokyo.

BROWN OUT: Has anyone evaluated Cleveland Browns management for head trauma? Just asking.

TIMEOUT FOR TRIVIA: What year did the Detroit Lions play their first Thanksgiving game?

GUILTY PLEASURE: My favorite part of the amazing ESPN “College GameDay” open is the clip of an anguished Nick Saban on the sideline. Sorry, but I just know Nick is overdue to tell sportswriters how to do our job again.

THE BUCK STOPS HERE: I have to think the amazing Giannis Antetokoumpo would be brought up more often on the short list of the NBA’s very best players if his name weren’t so long. 

OPEN DOERR POLICY: Bobby Doerr, an all-star second baseman and the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame, at 99, passed away last week. Doerr teamed with Ted Williams to make the Red Sox one of the most popular teams in the 1940s. Rival New York Yankee Tommy Henrich said that Doerr was “one the very few men who played the game hard and retired with no enemies.” We should all aspire to such a tribute. 

EVERYTHING COMING UP SHAMROCKS: Now Boston fans hope Gordon Hayward doesn’t make a miraculous recovery and come back so soon he messes up the Celtics’ chemistry.

FOUL TROUBLE: In somewhat of a disappointing note, China is counting the return of the three UCLA basketball players as part of a new trade deal.

JAYHAWKING VIOLATION: Lost in the Baker Mayfield mess is the fact Kansas players started the ruckus by refusing to shake hands. Still, an Oklahoma player should know what’s OK.

PUT UP YOUR DUKES: In case you missed it, defending national champion James Madison received the No. 1 seed in the 24-team Football Subdivision Championship. Little known fact -- I once won the subdivision championship at a local deli.

TRIVIA ANSWER: It was 1934, not long after the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Motown, that they first teed it up on Thanksgiving and started a wonderful tradition, playing at the University of Detroit Stadium and then moving to Briggs Field in 1938, the Pontiac Silverdome in 1975, and finally Ford Field in 2002. Pass the cranberries

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Ashley has covered college athletics for over 30 years. He has worked in the athletic departments at Virginia Tech, Radford University and Marshall University, in addition to freelance work from his Northern Virginia home. Ashley has also worked as a stand-up comic, and has been a regular on many radio stations throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. His work appears in Terrapin Times (covering the University of Maryland), NCAA programs, Blue Ribbon YearbooksAthlonLindy’s, and on bathroom stalls in major sporting venues. He has also co-authored a book on the golden age of Virginia Military Institute football, “Best Regrets: VMI’s John McKenna and The Lost Age of College Football.” Previously, the Salem, Va., native has helped author books on the New York Yankees, Emmitt Smith, Maryland’s 2002 NCAA basketball championship, and published a book on the history of Radford University.

William Roth