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Crawford having a whale of a time

Mike Traum

Mike Crawford is back on track. After spending a couple of weeks on the practice squad, the Miami Dolphins rookie linebacker/special teamer started on all special teams last Sunday in the Dolphins’ win over Kansas City.

Back on track because he’s making things happen, as evidenced when he nearly snagged a fumble during kickoff coverage.

“That’s what I’m talking about – making things happen. I know (the coaches) are watching,” Crawford said. “There’s a lot more pressure on me this time, coming off the practice squad. They’re looking for me to perform. I just have to make it count.”



Crawford, who battled amongst a mountain of guys for the loose football, said life at the bottom of an NFL fumble pile isn’t about trading quiche recipes.

“They say all kinds of things in there – mostly stuff other than calling you by your own name,” he said.



Crawford is getting into the swing of the pro football social scene, as he spent a couple of minutes with Chiefs tight end Ted Popson (Truckee High) after the game, talking about Tahoe and other football stuff. The Whittell High graduate said he looks forward to his first roadtrip as a professional, when Miami travels to New York on Sunday to meet the Jets. The game will reunite Crawford with 1995 Nevada graduate, receiver Alex Van Dyke.

Incidentally, Crawford is pursuing a promotional deal with area car dealerships, hoping to trade his smile and notoriety for a new ride. Being the area’s lone representative in the major professional sports and arguably the most successful athlete to ever emerge from Lake Tahoe, it seems to me a deal too good for the car people to pass up.

* Reluctantly, the San Francisco Giants fade into memory of the 1997 baseball season. What an exciting run the Giants had, satisfyingly knocking off their division foes to the South.

I had the ultimate pleasure of being at the Giant-Dodger game when Brian Johnson hit the solo bomb in the 12th, giving San Francisco the momentum it needed to capture the division, while zapping the life out of the deflated men in blue. Enjoying the game at 3COM with two Dodger fans added to the smiles.

And about the Giants faltering against the Marlins. The team was obviously spent from just making it to the playoffs. Kudos to Johnny B. and the boys for going from worst to first. Say what you will, but good character reigned as the Dodgers crumbled. Goodbye, Bill Russell.

That leads us to 1998. Before the playoffs, I would’ve packaged Rod Beck and Glenallen Hill for a quality starter or consistent power hitter, no questions asked. But after watching Roberto Hernandez twice fail to deliver in the divisional playoff series, what to do now? I still think you keep Hernandez and get something of value for Beck. And even though the pitching staff picked up Shawn Estes as he limped out of the season, sign Wilson Alvarez, if possible, so the Douglas High grad doesn’t have to carry the team through another summer.

* Just a thought. I know the layout of the field makes it necessary, but watching a South Tahoe High soccer game from the home side at the middle school forces you to stare directly into the sun. The bleachers couldn’t be in a worse spot for viewing a game. Most fans stand on the opposing team’s side. It may be a great way to get the other squad’s inside secrets, but it really detracts from wholly experiencing the home team. Bring sunglasses and some serious SPF – or squint and wrinkle.

* Had a talk with a South Tahoe coach the other day. The topic – playing a game against Whittell High. The explanation is always the same, Tahoe’s got nothing to gain while Whittell has nothing to lose. The idea of a 4A school taking on a 3A school in a crosstown rivalry seems to be a great taboo. Why? I think it would do wonders for the local sporting community. Sure, some South Tahoe teams would pound Whittell, but not every year or with enough regularity to completely discredit the idea. Back in 1987, Whittell’s football team would’ve given my old Viking squad a serious run. Heck, they would’ve beaten us. We don’t need huge parades down U.S. Highway 50 or dueling mascots at dawn. The point is to foster some community-wide high school spirit. If they ever step on to the field or court, I’ll be there.


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