Thursday, July 19, 2018

If anyone needs a sidekick on an upcoming alligator hunt, I'm game!

Now that we’ve got the Fourth of July holiday behind us, the minds of most sports fans in our area are turning more seriously towards football, especially high school and college football.

Both of our local high schools are currently going through summer workouts in preparation for the coming season, and they’ll start preseason practice in less than three weeks. Hillcrest High School students will return to school on Aug. 6, and Sparta Academy students will go back to school on Aug. 9.

By that time, preseason practice will be in full swing, and both teams will be putting the finishing touches on plans for their opening games. Sparta is scheduled to open their season at Cornerstone Christian on Aug. 17, which is the earliest regular season opener in school history. Hillcrest will begin regular season play on Aug. 24 at Greenville High School.

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Alabama’s annual alligator hunting season is right around the corner as well. While alligator hunting isn’t allowed anywhere in Conecuh County, it is allowed in Monroe, Covington and Wilcox counties.

I’ve always wanted to go on one of these alligator hunts, not to hunt and kill an alligator, but to see firsthand how it’s done and to write a story about it for the newspaper. I try not to invite myself anywhere that I’m not asked to be, but if any of you alligator hunters in the reading audience want a sidekick on one of your hunts, please let me know.

I came real close to going on one of these hunts several years ago when Michael Landon extended an invitation to me, but I ended up not being able to go. If memory serves me correctly, I had to pull mandatory concession stand duty for my son’s youth football league on that day, which kept me from going. Again, if memory serves, Michael told me that I didn’t miss much that night since they didn’t end up catching an alligator.

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This week also marks the half-way point of the Major League Baseball season. The MLB All-Star Game was scheduled to be played on Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and the annual Home Run Derby was set for Monday.

The Home Run Derby has garnered a lot of increased interest over the years, and this year Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman was one of the six contestants. The other contestants were Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar, Houston’s Alex Bergman, Washington’s Bryce Harper, Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins, Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez, both of the Chicago Cubs.

Just eyeballing the names on that list, I lean heavily toward Freeman and Harper, who are two of the best players in the National League these days. Of the two, even though I’m a Braves fan, I’ve got to give Harper the edge in the Home Run Derby. He’s what I call one of baseball’s “villains,” but he can sure play. People love to hate him, but they’d change their tune if he was on their favorite team.

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