Some random observations while feeling bad for all the folks who work overtime on Penn State football weekends. Four straight home games to start the season is fun for fans, but it is a lot of work for the stadium crews, police, restaurant and hotel staffs. They are all part of what makes football weekends so special, and they are probably ready for a well-deserved break. Hopefully the Lions will be 4-0 when the team hits the road and those folks get a rest.
While it is a bummer to see the Steelers lose a last-minute heartbreaker, it is great to see a District 6 product suiting up on Sunday's in Chicago. Kicker Robbie Gould proves that stick-to-itiveness pays off. In high school, he played multiple sports at Central Mountain before walking on to the Penn State football team, and then going on to the NFL as a free agent. He'd been released by Cleveland shortly before the 2005 season. While working construction back here in Pennsylvania, the Chicago Bears came calling. Since then, Gould has played in the Super Bowl and been selected to the Pro Bowl, not to mention becoming a millionaire. He gives hope to lots of other Pennsylvania kids dreaming of wearing a professional football uniform someday, or achieving any other goals they might dream up.
Kim Clijsters is another inspiration, the first "mom" to win a grand slam tennis event since 1980. With her 18-month old daughter, Jada helping her celebrate, Clijsters seemed shocked by her own success, her run through the U.S. Open labeled one of the greatest comebacks in tennis; she knocked off both Williams sisters on her way to the title. Clijsters reminds us that mom's have dreams, too, and achieving them may be even more rewarding when shared with sons and daughters.
Coquese Washington is another new mom. The Lady Lion basketball coach gave birth to daughter, Rhaiyna in July. A month later, she was on the golf course, raising funds for the Women's Resource Center, as part of the tournament that bears her name. Of course, she's also getting the Penn State women ready for the upcoming basketball campaign. "Mom" is just one of many hats that Coach 'Quese wears with grace. She sets an example for not only her own children, but for her players, her program, and beyond, to pursue excellence while also giving back to her community.
"Pinch me, I'm sure I'm dreaming," is what Mark Martin said in victory lane on Sunday. Martin leads NASCAR's Championship Chase after taking the checkered flag at New Hampshire. Just two years ago, the grey-haired driver was semi-retired. Now, he's signed a contract extension to continue to run full-time with Hendrick through 2011. Here's hoping Martin can finish strong in this special year, and celebrate his first career Sprint Cup Championship just eleven months after celebrating his 50th birthday.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.