Creeping up on my own milestone

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 6, 1999

I turned 42 years old on Thursday. That turn was as painful as it is sometimes to get out of bed in the morning.

Of course, 50 years old seems to be getting here pretty quick. Half century. Ouch!

Then again, it’s been a great half a century.

Email newsletter signup

I get to thinking sometimes about how people managed back in the early 1900s.

No cars, no television (that’s enough right there).

I can’t imagine a Saturday or Sunday without being able to watch football – not to mention Monday Night Football.

That just didn’t seem right at all at the time, but look what it’s become.

We couldn’t watch it in Vidalia because there was no ABC station at the time so it meant piling over to my grandmother’s every Monday night to watch a game.

And this was a school night.

I don’t really think my dad minded that much actually and mom knew she didn’t have a chance against three boys (my oldest brother just started college).

Listening to Don Meredith was worth the trip for my dad. They just don’t make them like Dandy Don anymore. Or like Howard Cosell, who made it interesting in other ways.

Nowadays football is on almost four times a week.

And then came along ESPN. Remember when it first came out and all they had was Australian Rules Football and lacrosse?

Talk about coming a long way baby.

I must admit I used to enjoy listening to the Houston Astros on the radio in the mid-19660s, even keeping score on my Stat-O-Matic scoresheets.

That was a board game. You can probably find those on your computer somewhere, or something like it.

I even had to endure that irritating whining noise that you used to get with the Alexandria radio station that broadcast Astro games.

And then when color TVs came along we got to see how colorful the teams looked – that was unbelievable.

I remember watching the Heidi game (a thrilling New York Jets-Oakland game interrupted by the movie Heidi) in black and white. Let’s see networks try and interrupt a football game now.

I have been lucky to see some great athletic endeavors.

But it would have been great to have been living about the time Babe Ruth was terrorizing pitchers.

Not to mention living when Jim Thorpe or Jesse Owens were charming a nation.

But we’ve certainly been blessed with the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run chase. You can talk about the baseball all you want, but nobody else is doing it.

And such achievements as Joe Namath, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan and Vince Lombardi.

The first jersey I ever owned was of Bart Starr. You couldn’t help but love the Packers back then.

Of course, I realize things will change.

As much as I feel like we have it made now, who nows, people may be transporting themselves to and from games in the future. After last week’s traffic jam after the Natchez High game that would be a blessing.

You’ll probably be able to watch 20 games at once on your own television -&160;or even your watch.

And who knows what types of records will be broken in the future.

But I’m not going to complain, just like someone 50 years ago enjoyed the times they were in. The world of sports has been fantastic. And it’s going to get even better. We’ll catch up again next year at about this time.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at or by calling 446-5172 ext. 232.