Running full speed toward a weekend to remember

October 06, 2005|by ANDY MASON

This weekend is it - seemingly the biggest sports weekend of my fall.

(Although I should probably use the word "autumn" because a "fall" definitely is not on the itinerary.)

Am I heading to Denver to watch the Washington Redskins try to stay unbeaten? Or to the Windy City for the world-class Chicago Marathon? Or to Boston for the battle of the Sox at Fenway Park?

No, no and no.

I'm traveling north on I-81 to spend the weekend in beautiful Scranton, Pa. - the hometown of Syracuse hoops star Gerry McNamara. However, basketball isn't on the itinerary, either.

Saturday night I'll be all revved up in front of the TV in my room at the Holiday Inn, rooting on No. 16 Penn State in its prime-time Big Ten showdown with No. 6 Ohio State. A few hopefully restful hours later, I'll be on the starting line for the 10th annual Steamtown Marathon - 26.2 miles of scenic Pennsylvania countryside.


If all goes well, I'll complete the marathon faster than the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes play their four quarters. Of course, I'm banking on Ohio State being forced to pass for much of the fourth quarter.

If the Buckeyes are just running, it might be more painful than my run, even in the later miles when I'm out of timeouts.

- So the hockey season is under way. I, for one, am at least one sports fan whose NHL enthusiasm hasn't been affected at all by last year's lockout.

I never had any to begin with.

- So free agent Sammy Sosa says he wants to return to Baltimore, partly blaming his poor 2005 production on adjusting to the American League.

I think he would have had "adjustment" issues had he stayed in the NL.

- A lot of credit has been given to Penn State's Freshmen Flyers - Derrick Williams, Justin King, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood - for the resurgence of the Nittany Lions.

Freshman kicker Kevin Kelly hasn't been bad either, going 8-for-10 in field goal attempts. PSU only made seven field goals all of last year.

A kick could be the difference Saturday night.

That might be the kick I need Sunday morning.

Scranton, here I come.

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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