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Punting pizzas

You know, you can't really blame Ray Guy for being a little bitter.

After all, he redefined his position in the National Football League, creating the concept of "hang time" and giving his special teams players a shot at stifling any punt return.

Yet, as has become a Super Bowl weekend tradition, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced another class of players, and our local legend is on the outside looking in.

Mr. Guy's reaction to this year's news was similar to his feelings in the past: "If that is not a position, don't have it. If it's not important, why in the hell have them? Why spend the time drafting them? Why spend money on them?"

This year, Mr. Guy made it to the final cut, where a field of 15 was culled to just six. Some - and admittedly, more folks than in years past - said this could be the kicking legend's year.

And while support for Mr. Guy seems to be growing - sports writing legend Furman Bisher is now in his corner - there are others who are not as open to the idea of the former Thomson Bulldog entering the Hall.

One is Paul Zimmerman, who writes for Sports Illustrated.

He openly admits he starts each ballot session with a giant X next to Mr. Guy's name, saying that all the punter ever did was hit the scoreboard in the Superdome. He criticizes Mr. Guy for never hitting a "coffin corner" kick and spending all his time booting the ball into the end zone. (Which is actually not true, Guy pinned 210 punts within the 20 during his career, compared to 128 touchbacks. And perhaps one of his most famous punts crammed the Redskins on their own 12 in the Super Bowl XVIII, setting up an interception that helped seal the game for the Raiders. Oh yeah, he also never had a punt returned for a touchdown. But what do I know? I don't have SI on my resume.)

Meanwhile, I spent part of my Monday working tables at Thomson's Pizza Hut for a good cause. The Dearing Elementary Dream Team - their annual Relay for Life effort - took over the dining area of the restaurant for the evening, taking tips and part of the night's sales as a fundraiser.

Such events serve a dual purpose for me. Of course, I always have a lot of fun interacting with folks. But most of all, I'm thankful for the newspaper job that I get to go to every day because I certainly can't fall back on waiting tables.

Just ask Peneka, Raynard, Phyllis and the rest of the Pizza Hut folks who had to clean up some of my messes Monday night. I can't thank them enough for turning over their restaurant to a bunch of amateurs - and the generous donation of time and money they made to a great, great cause.

Web posted on Thursday, February 07, 2008

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