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First, this column ... next, an Internet fan club

BIG SYDNEY:

September 30, 1999

So I'm surfing the 'Net on my day off (must have been the day I picked Berkeley Springs to beat Beall - now that was an off day), you know, just goofing, going down my list of bookmarks.

Nothing out the ordinary for your '90s kind of guy ... usenet.alt:Oreojunkie, Cindy Crawford, eBay, Yahoo! Doughnut Search, ESPN Fantasy Football '99, Cindy Margolis ... when, by a slip of the mouse, I'm connected to The Herald-Mail Online by mistake.

OK, since I'm there, might as well check out the sports page. See how the players on my prep volleyball rotisserie team are doing...

This top story looks pretty interesting. Read more? Sure (click). Hey, this guy can write. He's clever, yet insightful. Sounds like a guy I'd like to hang with.

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In fact, it sounds a lot like me.

Wait a minute, it is!

How about that? Finally, in Year 30 of Big Sydney (that's Y30BS, to you cybergeeks), your humble (yeah, right) servant's weekly missives are available worldwide, free of charge, over the Internet.

That might prove to be a mistake. I don't know how many single-copy Morning Herald sales on Fridays are generated by this column, but it's certainly enough to enable me to buy my Sno-Balls retail instead of at the thrift store. And overseas air travel will certainly take a hit; no longer will expatriate Greencastle fans in Helsinki have to catch the Concorde red-eye each Friday to get the Herald fresh off the press.

Let's see. If five weeks' worth of Big Syd columns went online, then the world must certainly know what the football fans of the Tri-State area have known for decades.

I decided to return to the 'Net to have a look at some of the more creative Big Sydney fan club sites. If there's a "Janeane Garofalo Worship Page," surely by now there must be several dozen web pages devoted to yours truly. Maybe I'll drop in on a few and e-mail some surprised and delighted fans.

So I went to Yahoo! (that's pronounced "Yah-hoo!" in 49 states and "Yay-hoo!" in the other, nearby, one) and did a search for "Big Sydney." There were three site matches.

Two of them said: "Corporate Apparel Group (CAG) - Sydney-based menswear retailers encompassing Tony Barlow, Big & Tall and Ron Bennett."

OK, that must be some kind of code to keep all but the true believers out. I opened the site; it was down for maintenance, but there was a photo of some mousse-haired male model who looked like he'd stepped out of one of those shoot-me-the-next-time-it-comes-on Gap commercials. Thing was, he wasn't wearing leather. Maybe they sent him home to change. Obviously, this is not the demographic that Big Sydney appeals to, or vice versa.

The third site was for the 562 Cabot Squadron RCAirC Band, from Sydney, Nova Scotia, described as a "forty-piece youth marching band featuring glock, trumpet and snare drummer's (sic) from the ages of 13 to 18, playing traditional and modern music with a big band sound."

Huh? Teens carrying Glocks? Is this some kind of Nova Scotian version of the Crips and Bloods?

No, it's simply the marching band of one of Canada's 400 Air Cadet Squadrons. Those are glockenspiels they're carrying, silly boy, not guns.

I opened the Cabot Squadron's Web site anyway. It listed a Sports and Recreation Page. Bingo! Here, at last, I can find a cadre of loyal foreign fans, even if they prefer their football 12 to a side on an oversized field. Lest we forget, Baltimore was once the capital of Canadian football, so maybe the Maryland connection drew them to me.

But, alas, the motto on the page read "Winning Isn't Everything."

These obviously aren't my people, either.

If there are fans out there in cyberspace, I'll find you. You already know where to find me: www.herald-mail.com/sports

On with the predictions (last week: 19-7, .731; season: 71-30, .703):

HIGH SCHOOLS




Tonight's games

Middletown 13, Brunswick 6 - Railroaders flagged down in the middle of town.

Westminster 20, Thomas Johnson 14 - No, Dear Abby was never a Westminster cheerleader.

North Carroll 27, Frederick 21 - Do Cadets grow up to be cads?

Williamsport 22, North Hagerstown 15 - Wildcats show their teeth to hungry Hubs.

Smithsburg 25, Catoctin 20 - These aren't your father's Leopards, but they're remembering how to win.

Walkersville 23, South Hagerstown 13 - Character education teaches that Lions not good for you.

Lower Dauphin 35, Waynesboro 19 - Dauphin lowers the boom on Indians.

Jefferson 21, Greenbrier East 20 - Cougars give Spartans another long bus ride home from the Panhandle.

Musselman 30, Fort Hill 27 - "The Sentinel" is my all-time favorite Richard Burgi TV series.

Greencastle 26, East Pennsboro 19 - Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Eastpennsborita goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes, "aaaah."

Phelps 26, Hedgesville 20 - The Eagles' mission, Mr. Phelps, is not to self-destruct.

Martinsburg 24, Keyser 14 - 'Dogs can outrun the Tornado.

Big Spring 31, James Buchanan 14 - Big Spring is one Pa. school where the well won't run dry.

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