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Derek Belt


Sports Columns

Watching baseball with Sgt. Slaughter

By Derek Belt
Mobile Press-Register
July 9, 2007

MOBILE, ALA. — So there I was, perched high above Hank Aaron Stadium in the Mobile BayBears’ press box.

It was a Wednesday night, the Fourth of July, and my first Double-A baseball game as a Press-Register reporter was taking forever to finish.

All I could think about was my fast-approaching deadline when in walked a familiar face: Sgt. Slaughter.

The pro wrestling superstar who once battled the Iron Sheik and headlined Wrestlemania XII against Hulk Hogan pulled up the seat next to mine.

Continue reading “Watching baseball with Sgt. Slaughter”

The importance of high school marching bands

By Derek Belt
Mobile Press-Register
Oct. 28, 2006

FOLEY, ALA. — There’s 4:56 left in the second quarter and your team just kept a scoreless game scoreless by turning it over for the third time.

Not into it yet? Strike up the band.

Now there’s just 15 seconds left in a tie game and your team is playing defense deep in its own territory. Stop them here and you’re headed to overtime. Give up a last-second score and it’s all she wrote.

Need an extra boost? Strike up the band.

Whether they’re rocking out to Quiet Riot’s “Bang Your Head” during the halftime show or queuing up the fight song just after a big game, the high school marching band can make a big difference on Friday nights.

Can you imagine what it would be like without the band? They are just as much a part of the Friday night experience as uncomfortable seats, spunky cheerleaders and dill pickles on a stick. Continue reading “The importance of high school marching bands”

Going to your rival’s game in another state

By Derek Belt
Mobile Press-Register
Sept. 9, 2006

AUBURN, ALA. — This is the story of a Washington Husky all alone in the Heart of Dixie. A tale of two heated rivals sharing Jell-O shots in a foreign land.

I was fortunate enough to attend four Auburn games this year, including the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa. Each game was unique in its own crazy way, but one stands out as a game I will never, ever forget.

Auburn-Washington State. Opening day.

This wasn’t much of a contest for most Tiger fans, as Auburn stomped the Cougars 40-14 on ESPN2. For many in attendance, it was merely the beginning of another successful season.

For me, it was one of the best games I’ve ever been to. I’d stack it right up there with Saints-Falcons last year on Monday Night Football and the 2001 Rose Bowl, in which Washington engulfed Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers, 34-24.

What made it so great, you ask? Continue reading “Going to your rival’s game in another state”

Woerner has super time at the Super Bowl

By Derek Belt
Mobile Press-Register
Feb. 12, 2007

ELBERTA, ALA. – Eddie Woerner, the south Baldwin grass grower who supplied the sod for Super Bowl XLI in Miami, didn’t even get a ticket to the big game. He went anyway and had the time of his life.

“I’m starting to come back down to earth,” Woerner said with a chuckle.

Three weeks before kickoff, the game’s original turf was deemed too wet for play and Woerner’s Elberta-based Southern Turf Nurseries swooped in to patch things up. Some might say Woerner saved the day. For whatever reason, though, he was left to fend for himself on Super Bowl Sunday.

Woerner should have been allowed to watch the game from a La-Z-Boy recliner at the 50-yard line. He should have been given his own headset and allowed to call plays for the Chicago Bears. He should have at least been let into the stadium so he could enjoy the game from the stands.

But he wasn’t. The man didn’t even score an invite.

Good thing Woerner’s brother Lester had a 16-person skybox already reserved. Take that NFL. Continue reading “Woerner has super time at the Super Bowl”

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