#TBT When Hockey Invaded the South… A look back at the 1972-73 Atlanta Flames

#TBT When Hockey Invaded the South… A look back at the 1972-73 Atlanta Flames

When the National Hockey League awarded an expansion franchise to Atlanta Hockey, Inc. on November 9, 1971, ice hockey was an unknown entity in the land of Bulldawg football and Braves baseball. The mere mention of ice sends panic rippling through Southern minds—rightfully so—and the thought of someone actually skating on that surface while attempting to play a game that seemed the combination of basketball, soccer, and roller derby provoked extreme skepticism. When Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion was signed as Head Coach of the new franchise signed in May, 1972, the news received little notice in Atlanta. The naming of a coach for a nameless hockey team meant little to those in the South. Two weeks later Atlanta Hockey, Inc. became the Atlanta...

Read More

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Sports, I Learned from My Grandmothers

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Sports, I Learned from My Grandmothers

Fondest childhood memories growing up in Chicago revolve around the proximity of both sets of grandparents—my mom’s parents lived right next door in (at the time) a rather pastoral setting west of Chicago; my dad’s parents were close by in another suburb. So, as kids, we spent a great deal of time with both, as well as with a bunch of cousins. My grandmothers introduced me to baseball rivalries very early in life. In Chicago you are either a Cubs fan or a Sox fan. Rarely both. My “Next-Door Grandma” was a diehard White Sox fan; my “Nearby Grandma” was a rabid Cubs fan. They just ignored that “other team” and concentrated on much more important rivalries—like the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Braves, and...

Read More

The Agony and The Ecstasy. Repeat.

The Agony and The Ecstasy. Repeat.

Not exactly a calm week around here. Kinda like that iconic opening sequence from The Wide World of Sports: The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat. Only in this case, reverse that order. Two sports currently monopolize the televisions in this home: Hockey and NASCAR. With the Stanley Cup Final underway and NASCAR mid-season, no time for anything else. This year the Stanley Cup Final is personal—The New York Rangers defeated Les Habs to advance to the final—the first time having an emotional connection to a team competing for sports’ most coveted trophy. Should have been prepared for a rocky Final when Sports Illustrated decided to feature the New York Rangers on its pre-Stanley Cup Final cover. The dreaded Jinx now haunted Rangerstown, mocking the...

Read More

It’s Getting Ugly Around Here. #BecauseIt’sTheCup

It’s Getting Ugly Around Here. #BecauseIt’sTheCup

Definitely accustomed to living in a home where sports rivalries often divide the ranks. In Chicago, you’re either a Cubs’ fan or a Sox’ fan. Pretty simple, because in the days before inter league baseball, the only time the two sets of fans faced off was the annual Cubs-Sox exhibition game… and, really, not that much to get excited about. Now, the Cubs playing the White Sox in the World Series would be a totally different matter, but (face it!) the odds of that happening are less than slim-to-none. Migrating South to Atlanta brought new rivalries. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. UGA Bulldawgs. Georgia Tech vs. Duke. ACC vs. the SEC. NASCAR presented no problems—Dale Earnhardt, Sr., then Dale Jr. led the list of favored drivers. And we...

Read More

The 3 Car Returns to Daytona, But in the End the #88 Captures the Flag

The 3 Car Returns to Daytona, But in the End the #88 Captures the Flag

Last week, if you read or listened to coverage of the Daytona 2014 SpeedWeeks events leading up to the “Great American Race,” conversation revolved around the controversial return of the #3 car to Sprint Cup Racing. Throughout his career, Dale Earnhardt, Sr.—the Intimidator=#3=Daytona—owned the crowd. A bronze statue welcomes fans to the Speedway where he died February 18, 2001. It’s impossible to see the #3 without thinking about Earnhardt. Everyone knew the day was coming… Austin Dillon, grandson of Richard Childress, the owner of NASCAR’s #3, had raced with the 3 and won championships in both the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series. No doubt he’s ready to move to Cup racing… but would the #3 car...

Read More