Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois on January 28, 1988 · Page 14
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Journal Gazette from Mattoon, Illinois · Page 14

Mattoon, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 28, 1988
Page 14
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B-l-Mattoon, (II.) Journal Gazette-Thursday, January 28, 1988 Jimmy 'The Greek' had another message to offer By BEN WATTENBERG Newspaper Enterprise Assoc. So Jimmy the Greek was fired by CBS. He said offensive and erroneous things about black athletes: that they're so good because they were "bred" that way in the days of slavery, that such breeding led to "big thighs" and that "they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs." 1 Jimmy was mediately denounced for racisim, let alone faulty history. He deserved to be fired; a public figure can't say things like that in a racially, ethnically and religiously sensitive society and expect to be a commentator on a national network. One strike and you're out. But Jimmy the Greek also said some other things in his ill-fated interview with WRC-TV in Washington. He said one reason .that blacks are better athletes is because "they practice and they play, and they practice and play. They're not lazy like the white athlete." A few minutes after that inter- view, Jimmy i talked to the Washington Post, apologized for his remarks, and said, "I was trying to emphasize how much harder so many blacks work at becoming better athletes. And they work harder because they are hungrier." Aside from the calumn about lazy whites which I guess makes Jimmy the Greek both a one-shot and anti-white racist and a one-shot anti-black racist there is some interesting sociology that goes with his remarks. We are, after all, going through a great debate in this country about poverty, particularly black poverty. In America, underprivileged peoples have long looked toward athletics as a way out of poverty. In the early part of this century, for example, the best boxers tended to be Jewish, Irish or Italian. Today, boxing is dominated by blacks and Hispanics. There is something that is, at once, remarkable, stirring and sad about the abundance of black athletes in the big-money spectator sports. You can call an athlete a "jock" if you want, but remember that it Usually takes great talent, discipline and intelligence to be one of the best athletes in a nation of a quarter of a billion people. That so many blacks have succeeded so quickly, in leagues that were once lily-white is not a testament to their thighs but to their intense motivation. The rewards these days can be fantastic for the big stars many millions of dollars and there's even good money for journeyman players. The players deserve the money because there is also an inherent tragedy in professional sports. No matter how talented, only a few people make the grade perhaps a couple of thousand in all sports at any given time, only a small number of whom are stars. The career of a pro athlete is typi- Macciocchi finally has peace of mind By CARL WALWORTH Staff Writer CHARLESTON - The pain is subsiding for Vince Macciocchi. For the first time in two years he can practice and play basketball about as well as he once did, with the exception of a burdensome brace that engulfs the area around his left knee. And, having convinced himself and others he can still play, the 6-' foot-7 Macciocchi again has peace of mind. Now a junior on the Eastern basketball team, Macciocchi has overcome more than his share of misfortune and earned a spot as the starting center. He scored in double figures in three of the last six games and is the team's third leading scorer with an 8.5 average. He had a season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds against St. Louis University and came back with 16 points and eight rebounds against Northern Illinois. Those are signilicant accomplishment for Macciocchi. He had major knee surgery that sidelined him for the season two years ago. As he was starting to get back in the lineup, he had an appendectomy in the middle of last season. "It's great to be able to contribute to the team," Macciocchi said last week from a seat in the training room under Lantz Gym, a place he's become all too familiar with. "The success we've had has eased my mind. I can still play. This year has been all positive." Those comments came before Eastern's losing streak hit four games with losses Saturday to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Monday to Southwest Missouri. But from an individual standpoint, just being able to play is poa-itive for Macciocchi. Coach Rick Samuels conceded Macciocchi's return wasn't something he counted on. "The percentages of him coming back and doing what he's doing this year certainly were against him," Samuels said. "We've seen from his injury it takes awhile to recover from that type injury. He battled pain all last year. He's had great determination coming back." The pain began before his sophomore season. - As expected, Macciocchi didn't play much as a freshman. He was ready to start at power forward as a sophomore when, two weeks before the season opener, he completely detached the ligaments on his left knee. "That would have been great experience as a sophomore, playing between KeVin Duckworth and Jon Collins," Macciocchi said. Both were senior front-line players who were drafted by the National Basketball Association. Instead Macciocchi sat out the season, started the tedious process of recovery and retained three years of eligibility. ' At first the recovery involved stretching , the knee daily and gradually rebuilding its strength in the weight room. He added to that daily work on a stationary bike. It amounted to about two hours a day. While his teammates were at practice, Macciocchi was in the weight room or the trainer's room. "I did a lot of sitting and watching while they were at practice," Macciocchi said. "I gained weight and tnat nun ray M! to Photo by Jay Kimball Vince Macciocchi rehabilitation." He stayed on campus in the summer of 1986 to continue the routine. In the fall "there were ups and downs. Some days it felt OK and other days it really hurt. " Macciocchi was starting to play a little when, on the afternoon of a game in early January, he sought treament for what he thought was a stomach ache. It turned out he had the appendectomy, which required a month and a half of rest and meant he missed the last 10 games. "I finally had my weight down and the knee had some consistency," Macciocchi said, recalling the disappointment. The rest helped the knee and he resumed workouts last spring and summer. "My knee doesn't give me any more problems," he said. He has only one constant reminder of his past troubles. "I'm looking forward to the day I can get rid of the brace," Macciocchi said. As long as he can play, though, he's willing to keep the brace. Samuels said a key to the comeback was Macciocchi getting back in shape. "One reason he's been able to come back is he's gotten his weight down," Samuels said. The coach said Macciocchi doesn't have the lateral quickness he once did, but has become an effective inside player, particujarly on offense. Macciocchi's lack of quickness hurts him defensively. "We were looking for him to play out on the floor more when we recruited him," Samuels said. "He's become a fairly effective center. He's got better awareness with his back to the basket than I thought he had." Macciocchi said he's always enjoyed playing the post. ' "I'm a much better player with my back to the basket," Macciocchi said. "If you can establish earw ly in the game you can play, size is irrelevant the rest of the game. I try to go hard to the glass early. I enjoy being able to go against bigger people and score against them." Sports Menu cally brief t- a few years for most. And then, for too many, all the years of practice and perseverance can come to little out of a big-pay, big-fame job by age 30, on the descent when most of us are just beginning to climb in our careers. Too many young students spend too much of their time and effort on the long shot of a pro sports career, and too little on math, English, history and the other subjects that yield a high percentage chance of success in a society that has come a long way in opening its doors for all with merit. Surely, it would be useful to see more black team managers, administrators and owners but the sports industry is still a tiny industry in a big country. , Now, I believe that athletics, both participating and spectating, can be a great joy. I believe that great athletes are often great ar: tists. I believe, as the coaches like to say, that sports are good training for life. But most disadvantaged youngsters black and white would be a lot better off if they practiced their jump shot a little less frequently and hit the books a little more often. Maybe Jimmy the Greek can now his free time to message across. devote some of putting that PJAMWAQY GALL Li ALL WATERDEDS REDUCED 12 Headboards to choose from $169-$309 COMPLETE ALSO SOFT-SIDE MATTRESS 1 3 9 9 Can be used on standard bed with box springs. SALE ON ALL SOLID OAK. ASII AND HARD-DOCK MAPLE TABLES..) COUNTRY CLASSIC DINING SET Finished Table 30"x48" 0ff Reg.589 AMERICANA Finished Hard-rock Maple Butcher Block 36" round Reg. M90 $399 Set with 4 chairs MANZANO Finished Oak-inlaid strips Reg.289 $229 We have oak chairs on sale to go with I woodie aBan's 702 Jgckson-Cfiarleston " Mon. -Sat. 10-5 345-9139 lira Fillli HOLIDAY MARATHON East Broadway-Holiday Road 234-2222 Full Service Gasoline at Self Service Prices Under New Management MARATHON D i TODAY 6:30 p.m.-MHS freshman basketball team hosts Shelbyville in Green Wave Gym. , 8 p.m.-MHS Lady Green Wave varsity basketball team at L bana. Jay vee game at 6 : 15. " 7 p.m.-Title game of Mattoon IESA 7th Grade Regional Tourney In Fred Hash Gym. MGUJ GTTAQ fJlADTT PGM Old Pock Milwaukee 1,99 Old loose-Com Milwaukee 6.79 ii-ii 11 Pack Mlller inn Lite Q.vv flouiov Cfouonc Pack Coolers California Coolers Bartles & Jaymes Coolers 3.Q9 4 Pock 2.49 4 Pack 2.49 Deli Sandwiches Popcorn B 5e Sausage and Discuits PGCJ C3GDQS 1321 LAKELAND Frosty Bateman Manager ,95reg. . 3-Drawer Tool Center ' Organize your tools, at home or in the shop. 3-drawer tool center is solid steel with red enamel finish. Includes 2 bulk storage areas. After $10. 00 Manufacturer's Rebate I i $1.30 reg. Waterless Hand Cleaner For tough jobs at home or in the shop. Waterless hand cleaner quickly v removes tar, oil, grease and grime. Easy on your hands because it contains conditioners. - i (o)C ii i $2.13 reg. n 6oz.WD-40 For home, shop or auto. All new 6 oz. size WD40 stops squeaks, protects metal, loosens rusted parts and frees sticky mechanisms. KI5) llncludesl - "-y Niiiif,!i!!r ii.nti" ft $27.99 reg. 22 pc. l4"-38" Drive Socket Set For jobs at home and auto repairs. 22-piece drive socket set; in chrome Vanadium steeL Most popular sizes with chambered ends. . $6119 $8.29reg, Grease Gun Make quick lube mainte nance easier with an all steel, lever action grease gun. Fits 14 oz. standard cartridge or 16 oz. bulk capacity. I $2.86 reg. 12 oz. Octane Boost Get a quick boost in engine power. 12 oz. octane boost increases horserjower. contains no lead and doesn't harm catalytic converters. H NAPA AUTO PARTS T 1904 Prairie Ave. - Mattoon, III. Mon. - Fri. 7:30 a.m. -6 p.m. - Sat. 'til 5 p.m. - Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m Prices Good Thru February 2 or while supplies lost. Phone 235-0335 WST All the right parts in ' . allthenghtplaces. 1

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