Saturday’s induction into the sports writing part of the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame is a cherished honor.
I covered some of this territory in my acceptance speech, but here are a few memories that popped to mine in a professional career spanning 40-plus years, 30 of them in Conway. It’s hardly all-emcompassing, just a sampling of some great moments.
WEIRDEST EXPERIENCE: Taking a hurting Russian player, in town for an all-star game, to the dentist for an emergency root canal.
AN EXPERIENCE PROBABLY NEVER TO BE EQUALED: Covering back-to-back ties in national championship football games (UCA, 1984-85).
AN OFF-FIELD EXPERIENCE MAYBE NOT TO BE EQUALED: Flying to ballgames on two airplanes that had to be jump-started.
BEST ALL-DAY FEAT: Doing game stories on two football games in two different states (Missouri and Arkansas) on the same day.
BEST MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Performing as a guest "musician" for the DePauw University pep band for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
MOST MEMORABLE SPORTING EVENT: Covering the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS VENUE: Pebble Beach (site of the 1999 U.S. Amateur golf tournament). Salt Lake City and a UCA game in Portland weren’t bad either.
MOST ‘PINCH ME I’M HERE’ EXPERIENCE: Covering a UCA basketball game agaisnt Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
MOST ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE ‘BEFORE THEY WERE STARS’: Watching Scottie Pippen, Peyton Hillis and Bryce Molder in their developmental stages.
MOST INCREDIBLE ENDINGS: Arkansas’ Miracle on Markham I and II.
BIGGEST UPSET: Watching Gardner-Webb defeat Kentucky in basketball.
MOST MEMORABLE GAME and MOST MEMORABLE PERSONALITY: Too numerous to mention.
MOST MEMORABLE AND FRIENDLIEST TAILGATE EXPERIENCE: University of Montana fans, particularly offering UCA players beers as they walked through the tailgate area before the game.
MOST MEMORABLE RAZORBACK EXPERIENCE: Orange Bowl, 1978
MOST MEMORABLE UCA EXPERIENCES: Football games against North Alabama, Valdosta State and Montana.
MOST MEMORABLE HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: Covering an NCAA Division III basketball game between Hendrix and Emory University in Atlanta — with a broken wrist.
BEST TRANSITIONAL EXPERIENCES: UCA from NAIA to NCAA II to NCAA FCS. Hendrix from NAIA to NCAA III. Central Baptist College from Arkansas JC league to independent to National Christian College Athletic Association to NAIA. Arkansas from Southwest Conference to Southeastern Conference.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or email@example.com)