Nobody asked me but...I have enjoyed my early tours of the high school football camps at Dexter and East Prairie.
I am telling you, football just has a different type of smell. I don't know what it is, the air seems cleaner, crisp in a way. The grass is at its aromatic best. Football has a way of firing up the kids that no other sport can. It is a game of controlled aggression. A primal instinct of survival of the fittest and I love it.
Numbers were high at both camps and it got me to wondering. What is the most popular sport, as far as interest, in Southeast Missouri? I will agree that football gets a larger crowd, but I still believe that basketball is the No. 1 sport in the area followed by football. Baseball is at No. 3.
My reasoning is basically one of numbers. Not every school has a football program (shame, shame), so many in the area have never been exposed to the pure joy of the game.
I was skeptical of the level of play of the Kitty League Sikeston Bulls. But I will admit that an evening watching the Bulls is time well spent. The players give their all and play for the love of the game.
Unlike the majors, the Bulls players are accessible and eager to involve the fans. The steroids deal has left a bad taste in my mouth about professional baseball. Maybe all I needed was some pure baseball played at the lower levels. For my money, the Bulls and the Memphis Redbirds will receive my time and interest.
It sure has been hard trying to talk to Cardinal fans lately with that lump in their throats from the Albert Pujols injury.
Yes folks, Pujols is injured but the world is not going to stop spinning. The sun will rise again and they will continue with the season as planned.
I still believe the Cards will win the division. The Reds will choke and the Astros don't have the offensive power to overcome an early season slump.
Speaking of the Astros, I have not seen so much media coverage devoted to a 43-year old pitcher in my life. Roger Clemens is a testament to science...uh, I mean work ethic. Yeah that's it, his devotion to new medicine...wait, I will get it. Roger's devotion to weight training. That's the ticket.
* I predict that the Miami Heat will defeat the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the NBA Finals. Shaq is still a dominate force in the paint and the Mavs will have no answer.
Some players to watch in the finals...the Heat's Dwyane Wade is becoming a major force in the league. I am talking about top three. Sure, Wade has Shaq down low, but the way Wade slices through defenses is similar to a Chicago Bull who wore No. 23. Once Wade gets a consistent outside jumper, the sky's the limit.
The Mavericks' Josh Howard has blossomed in the playoffs. Howard can fill up the basket and is becoming a stopper on defense. Hopefully Howard will guard Wade during the series. That will be worth the price of admission.
Did anybody see the Cowboys' Terrell Owens and how dominant he looked in mini-camp? It is going to be a glorious season for the Cowboys. I will book my hotel room in Miami as soon as possible.
And finally, nobody asked me but...kudos to the Missouri baseball team for making the super regionals. Sikeston's own Jacob Priday is one of the top players for the Tigers and it will be great to see the local boy on the tube.
Priday and the Tigers will be on ESPN 2 at 9 p.m. on Friday and will face baseball power Cal-State Fullerton.