With a couple more somber elements than usual, here is another installment of "David’s Citations," for the interesting and inspirational from the sports scene:
YEAR OF THE BEARS, GOLDEN LIONS AND RED WOLVES: The University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Arkansas State all won conference championships and advanced to the postseason.
AND A BEAR CONNECTION: Both UAPB and ASU had former UCA players in major coaching roles. Monte Coleman is head coach of the Golden Lions, and John Thompson serves as defensive coodinator for the Red Wolves and will serve as interim head coach for the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
COLOR COMMENTARY: Last weekend, Sam Houston State took on Eastern Washington in an NCAA FCS playoff game on Eastern Washington’s bright red turf, which can hurt your eyes, especially with Sam Houston’s uniforms with orange touches. A few clicks away on the cable, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was played on Boise State’s blue turf. All one needed was for UCA to host a game on its purple-and-gray stripes and you had the new-age football color wheel.
THE HEISMAN CONNECTION: The last two Heisman Trophy winners have played at schools only a short distance apart (quarterbacks Robert Griffin III at Baylor and Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M). Another thing they have in common were both were recruited as defensive backs by the University of Texas.
IN MEMORIAM: Thoughout the sports world this past week, different teams, pros to high school, have made gestures of sympathy toward the families of murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary and folks at Newtown, Conn.
A rival girls hockey team had "Newtown" printed on one side of their sticks and the name of one of the victims of the tragedy on the other. ... Before a wrestling match, another rival school of Newtown’s district presented each competitor with a vase with green and white carnations (Sandy Hook’s school colors). That team will wear green shoelaces the remainder of the season in tribute ... Before a UConn’s women’s basketball game, 26 candles, representing each of the victims, were brought to midcourt ... The Providence College basketball team wore green jerseys with Sandy Hook above the numbers and 26 empty seats (adorned with flowers) were blocked off in its arena, symbolizing the void left by the tragedy ... Baylor and Tennessee women’s basketball players wore commemorative T-shirts.
And VICTOR CRUZ: It became well known that the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz was the idol of Jack Pinto, one of the victims. The young boy was buried in Cruz’ replica jersey. Quietly and unannounced, Cruz showed up at Pinto’s funeral in Newtown and gave the cleats and gloves he wore in the previous Sunday’s games (marked "My Hero" and "RIP, Jack Pinto") to the youngster’s parents. Cruz later told reporters it changed his perspective on life. "Just how short life can be," Cruz said the experience taught him. "How much you have to cherish every moment and how much you have to cherish every opportunity you get with your family, and never take anything for granted because just a day at school could change all of that."
Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org