North Sports Report - April 10, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Inspiration – The Historical Role of Athletics

Did you follow The Tennessean’s series on women’s basketball and great local athletes during the Women’s Final Four? Journalists Mike Organ (DuPont High grad) and Jessica Bliss captured the amazing history of women’s sports in Middle Tennessee. The articles list some of the most influential athletes in history, including MNPS legends Marynell Meadors (Hillsboro); Carolyn Aldridge (Glencliff); Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch); Pam Chambers (Madison); and Ann Hutcheson Price (Hillsboro).

Tuesday’s front page article explained how athletic competition inspires ambition and creates better leaders. Sports columnist Christine Brennan is quoted, noting that it is more than a game: “It’s about creating better people.” The host committee for the Final Four organized a session to utilize the lessons of athletics to help girls “develop a vision and voice, become an ethical leader, promote wellness and health and turn their vision into action.” The lessons translate from the basketball court to real life and help inspire a generation of girls who will make a difference.

Walter Fisher Sr. helped coach Hillsboro to a victory in this year's Retro Classic in his first trip to the historic Litton Gym since scoring 35 points as a star for the Pearl High Tigers.

And, there’s no need to wait for a seminar or big event to see inspiration in action. This basketball season, the North Sports Report had the good fortune to visit briefly with Walter Fisher Sr., an assistant coach for the Hillsboro boys basketball team. Mr. Fisher started for the 1966 Pearl High School team that is generally considered the best in Nashville’s history.

Playing during the first year of integrated competition and making their first trip into gyms of all-white schools, Mr. Fisher and his Pearl High teammates were not always treated with courtesy and respect. “Before the game, the crowd would call us all sorts of names, and then we would start dunking and everything got real quiet. By the end of the game, they were patting us on the back and telling us how good we were.” Sometimes, playing the game makes a statement and teaches a lesson beyond what any classroom can convey.

In January of this year, the Pearl-Cohn basketball team donned throwback Pearl High uniforms, and Mr. Fisher met with the players prior to the game. “He told them what it means to wear a Pearl uniform,” Pearl-Cohn Coach Raymond Pratcher succinctly explained. That’s a lesson we all should learn.

Alumni Alert – Hunters Lane Alum: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

The Masters at Augusta National is the most prestigious and tradition-filled golf tournament in the world. For the fifth year, sportscaster Grant Boone, a member of the very first class at Hunters Lane, will be a part of the CBS coverage and will anchor the 11th through 13th holes, famously dubbed “Amen Corner.”

That’s right, Hunters Lane Warrior Grant Boone will provide TV commentary at the Masters. You can watch each group navigate Amen Corner live on the CBS Sports website.

Next time you see Grant, ask him to tell the story of how his golf coach at Madison High School, the legendary Bill Brimm, helped him get started in broadcasting.

April Showers Bring …Rain Delays

Occasionally, the weather will interrupt an otherwise splendid plan to enjoy high school spring sports, leaving the North Sports Report at the ball field just hanging around, nothing to do but frown … cue The Carpenter’s.

(Editor’s note: omit link to the Carpenter’s classic hit “Rainy Days and Mondays” – it’s too sad.)

No worries, I’ll make it back for the make-up.

(Editor’s note: omit link to the hilarious HR Pufnstuf scene where every time someone says “make-up,” Pufnstuf hits Witchiepoo with a giant powder puff – it’s too weird.)

Alumni Alert – NFL Draft Day Coming for 2010 Maplewood Grad

So, the NFL Draft is less than a month away, and 2010 Maplewood scholar-athlete James Stone will be ready for the call. says that one of his strengths is “intelligence.” In perusing the various analysts’ predictions and mock drafts, the North Sports Report noticed one that had him going to Jacksonville and another to Cincinnati. Are you listening, Tennessee Titans?

MNPS: The First Choice for Inspirational Leaders