The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


November 18, 2013

The best and worst of sport

ENID, Okla. — He stood in the early morning chill, bathed by harsh network TV lights illuminating the pile of twisted junk behind him.

Twenty-four hours earlier, that twisted pile of junk was his family’s home.

Scott Gundy’s house was destroyed by a tornado that swept through Washington, Ill., on Sunday, part of a rare November severe weather siege in the upper Midwest.

The scene was all too familiar to residents of Moore, Oklahoma City, El Reno and the other places affected by the deadly spring 2013 tornado outbreak.

Struggling against tears, Gundy spoke of being thankful he and his family were safe, and said he was ready to begin the long, painful process of rebuilding.

Then he said this.

“We’ve got a badass football team that’s 11-0 and going to play in the semifinals this week. Hopefully that will pick us up a little bit,” said Gundy.

That is sport at its very best. It is a rallying point, offering a sense of pride, a feeling of community. It can take us away from our everyday troubles and give us something positive on which to focus.

Then there is the other side of the coin.

Last weekend, 9-1 Winston-Salem State and 9-1 Virginia State were supposed to play for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship.

This is Division II, small school football, with a 36-scholarship limit and total athletic budget that wouldn’t cover Nick Saban’s base salary. There is no regular national TV coverage, no ESPN Gameday, no BCS, no Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger. This is light years from the big-time.

But things got way out of whack last week when, at a pre-game banquet celebrating the two teams playing for the CIAA championship, a group of as many as six Virginia State players jumped Rudy Johnson, Winston Salem State’s quarterback, in a bathroom and punched, stomped and kicked him. Johnson was left with a black eye, cuts on his face, a headache, sore back and sore ribs.

Virginia State was banned from competing in the NCAA Division II playoffs, and one of its players was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.

Virginia State’s coach said there was a rush to judgment and classified the incident as a fight and not an assault.

What sparked the incident is unclear. Perhaps the young men were debating the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever sparked it, the entire affair is ridiculous.

Sport is supposed to teach us to compete, to work hard, to work together, to persevere, to never give up. But it also is supposed to teach us sportsmanship, to play hard, to give it our all, but to be gracious in defeat. And, in this case, nobody had been defeated yet, this was at an affair prior to the game.

Football is athletic competition, it is entertainment, it is not life and death. It is something to savor, to relish, to rally around, to take our minds off our worries, not to shrink from in disgust, to draw back from in horror.

Note to the CIAA: Forget the luncheon before next year’s championship game, unless you hand out boxing gloves, trunks and headgear along with the napkins, knives and forks.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at

Text Only
  • Christian Voitik Missed chances, controversial call end Majors' season

    For the second time in a little over 24 hours, the Enid Majors had a lead in the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament, and for the second time they couldn’t hold it.
    On Wednesday, it ended their season.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Minors fall in Alva

    The Enid Minors became the first of the South Plains Regional’s two co-hosts to be eliminated, spoiling a 5-0 lead to fall 9-7 to Texas Stix Black Wednesday in an elimination game in Alva.

    July 23, 2014

  • David Clyde Ex-MLBer goes from pitching phenom to Connie Mack coach

    David Clyde was a picture of contentment after his Houston Miracles shut out the Texas Stix Black of the Dallas area 4-0 in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Majors fall Majors stumble late, fall to regional losers' bracket

    Cherry Creek, Colo., broke out for six runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over the Enid Majors in the first round of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bob Stoops Sooners, as usual, managing expectations

    High hopes are always attached to Oklahoma and this year is no different with the Sooners entering the 2014 season as a consensus pick to reach the first College Football Playoff.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mike Gundy Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Charlie Strong Texas’ Strong prefers not talking national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • A new ACC? New ACC settles into era of stability

    Welcome to the new Atlantic Coast Conference.
    It’s where a founding member is out, a fast-rising program is in, Notre Dame is there, too — sort of — and nobody else is leaving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devonte Fields TCU’s Fields investigated for alleged assault

    TCU suspended defensive end Devonte Fields on Tuesday pending the results of a police investigation into whether he punched a former girlfriend in the head and threatened her with a gun while shouting, “I should blast you!”

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minors lose in first round

    Wren Perry and Garrett Scudder combined for a two-hitter as the D-Bats Gallegos of Dallas run-ruled the Enid Minors 8-0 in six innings in the first round of the South Plains Regional Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

    July 22, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos

Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at