David Claybourn Sports Views

David Claybourn Sports Views

  They’ll be running a 5K distance. But not against each other and using a virtual format to report their times.

  That’s apparently what’s going to happen with the Firecracker 5K race in Greenville that was scheduled for Saturday morning in Greenville. After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order limiting outdoor groups of 100 or more people in the state without special permission, the city’s fireworks display and Park Street parade were called off by Greenville mayor David Dreiling.

  The Firecracker 5K race won’t happen up and down Park Street as has been the past but the entrants are encouraged to run on their own and submit their time for a 3.1-mile distance with a photo on a runner’s app.   That’s according to race organizer Pam Vierus.

  Vierus said the runners have between July 4-11 to run the distance and submit their times. Medals will be awarded to the fastest three males and females in each of the age categories, plus to the first male and female finishers.

  This could get interesting as runners run on their own or with a small group of friends. Vierus suggested groups smaller than 10 runners. The runners will have to be self-motivated and run as fast as they can, not knowing how others in their age divisions are doing.

  The general rule in running is that you can usually run faster if you have competition pushing you.

  The weather conditions could be different for one runner as opposed to other, who contended with a stronger wind or some rain.

  But at least the race wasn’t called off.

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  I’ve been enjoying watching the return of the Professional Golfers Association tour following a 91-day hiatus because of the pandemic. CBS and the Golf Channel did a great job of televising the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Fort Worth and the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C.

  Yeah, it’s different watching the players compete without a huge gallery of fans. It’s not the same when a golfer makes a 40-foot putt or chips in for a birdie from off the green and there’s no roar from a crowd.

  But this isn’t anything new to the golfers who’ve played thousands of practice rounds without any fans or have played junior or high school tournaments with only their parents or a couple of friends watching.

  It’s not new to me either not to hear much crowd noise when watching a sporting event on TV. Sometimes I prefer the sound to be off.

  It’ll be interesting to watch baseball and other sports if they return to empty stadiums. But like the golfers, baseball, football and basketball players practice without fans. The true professional can be really focused on the sport with or without fans.

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  I’ll miss watching Tarleton State compete against Texas A&M University-Commerce and other members of the Lone Star Conference in athletics. Tarleton was officially accepted on July 1 as a member of the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference.

  The Texans were in the NCAA Division II LSC from 1994-2020, claiming 36 LSC championships, nine LSC tournament championships and 14 NCAA regional titles across 14 sports. The Texans also won eight NCAA individual track and field championships under coach Pat Ponder, who previously coached at A&M-Commerce.

  Not only were the Texans very competitive on the playing field, but they brought a lot of spirit with them. Sometimes Tarleton was the only LSC team to bring cheerleaders with them to basketball games at the A&M-Commerce Field House. Their fans make a lot of noise!

  The Tarleton-A&M-Commerce rivalry was one of the best in the LSC, particularly in football and men’s basketball. Some of those games were classic and the winner usually claimed a conference championship.

  I hope this isn’t the last time I’ll see the Lions take on Tarleton in some kind of sport.

David Claybourn is sports editor of the Herald-Banner.

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