Chris Reckling

Can Hampton beat Duke?

March 14th, 2011 at 5:36 pm by under Sports

You get your bracket and fill it out. Lets face it, the easiest pick is the number 1 seed beating the 16. It’s a no brainer. But one day,  David will sleigh Goliath. Is this the year? Probably not, but there are four 16 seeds looking to make history.

Which brings us to little Hampton University. The Pirates will lineup, toe to toe with the giants of the ACC and college basketball. Yes, one would think the Blue Devils will have a cake walk with the little MEAC school, but crazy things happen in the tournament. Back in 2001, Hampton shocked the college basketball world when the Pirates, a 15 seed knocked off number 2 seed Iowa State. Hampton is just one of 4 teams seeded 15 to knock off a number 2. So history is on the side of the Pirates.

But will history repeat itself Friday when the Pirates play the Blue Devils? Probably not, but don’t be surprised if Hampton gives Duke a great game. How is that possible? The big thing Duke has to guard against is the post ACC tournament hangover. Teams that make it to the championship game normally get off to a slow start in the NCAA tournament. Will the intensity be there for Duke? Yes,  Hampton won the MEAC championship, but this will be the biggest game many of the Pirates will eve play, so they will be ready.

Remember one thing about this Hampton team. They can shoot. Kwame Brown, Darrion Pellum and Brandon Tunnell can shoot. Brown has the green light to shoot from just about anywhere on the court and is comfortable shooting beyond the NBA three point arc. If Hampton can block out the big distractions that come with playing in the big dance, than they may just have a shot at making history and pulling off the big upset.

Who should win the Daytona 500

February 16th, 2011 at 5:58 pm by under Sports

So who is gonna win the Superbowl of  NASCAR racing? Which driver will be standing tall Sunday evening when the dust has settled down in Daytona? Will it be another surprise winner ala Jamie McMurray in 2010 or will it be a title contender?

The Daytona 500 is famous for throwing last lap curve balls. Ryan Newman taking the checkered flag in 2008 or Ward Burton winning back in 2002. Yes a win at Daytona can make a drivers career. Just ask Ward. If you can understand him, I’m sure he would say his 2002 victory was the biggest of his NASCAR career.

Before we get to who should win Sundays race, how about somebody who many will be rooting against. Of course that would be your champion Jimmie Johnson. With the sports popularity sagging and ratings dropping, this is a very important season for the sport. NASCAR needs something fresh. Something new. Same old song will not go over too well for the diehards who are hanging on to a sport passed it’s prime. So if JJ takes the checkers Sunday, you know NASCAR officials will be boiling in their Budweiser!

NASCAR needs a popular winner this year. Thats why I think Dale Earnhardt Jr. should get the win. In the past, Junior was allways a favorite to win on the super speedway. But latley, Junior hasnt sniffed victory lane. A win this year on the 10 year anniversary of his fathers death at the famed track is the shot in the arm NASCAR needs.

The week got off to a great start for Junior when he captured the pole position for the big race. However, a wreck in practice has sent Junior to the back of the field. Not a big deal at Daytona, but a lot can happen when your last in line.

Will Junior get the win and kick off the season with a bang?  Probably not. But it’s the story that most race fans and reporters are dreaming of.

Passing the Polygraph

January 12th, 2011 at 2:45 pm by under Sports

Have a seat. Don’t mind the whoopie cushion. Or the tiny camera staring back at you. It’s all part of the polygraph experience.

Yes it’s a story that I’ve been wanting to do for years. Just once I wanted to be in the room with a fisherman who stands to take home a ton of money for three fish they he caught. How would he react? Was he nervous? Was he telling the truth?

Wave Runner captain Pat Foster was that lucky fisherman. He calmly came into the room at an oceanfront hotel. Sitting in the corner was the hot seat. David Goldberg greeted Foster as he came into the room. It’s Goldberg’s job to sniff out a rat! If your lying, Goldberg will know. He’s very sure and and confident about today’s polygraph test.

Goldberg sat Foster down. Don’t mind the “ass pad” which is there to detect any tightness. It’s just one of the many detectors that will soon be hooked up to Foster. Goldberg explained to Foster what he was going to ask of him and told him the rules in which he would conduct himself. Once Foster agreed to be tested, he was hooked up like a 30 pound rockfish. Hand sensor’s, blood pressure arm band, straps across his chest. Just relax Pat, it will be over in moments.

Foster was instructed to shut his eyes, so he would only focus in on the question about to be thrown across his bow. First the control questions like, “Is your name Pat?” Goldberg is saving the important questions for later and then they come. “Did you exceed the federal 3 mile line at anytime during the Mid Atlantic Rockfish Shootout on any of the days you fished?” “No”  Did you follow all local, state and federal regulations that pertain to stripped bass?” “Yes”

Goldberg asked Foster about a ten questions. Foster’s red line never wavered and he passed. His team would take home over $30,000 dollars for second place. Yes Foster was nervous. He was worried that for some reason, he would not pass and they would have to forfeit the money. Goldberg told me that an experienced polygraph administer would never fail someone for being nervous.

Goldberg has caught a few anglers lying before. It’s his job. Lets face it, anglers will stretch the truth when lots of money is on the line. Tournament director Mike Standing says the polygraph test is essential to protect the integrity of the tournament. Anglers all agree that it should be given.

As for a little fun for me, I challenged Goldberg  to a polygraph test. I tried to beat it. If you would like to know how that went, you will have to see the video story. Goldberg claims he won, but he’s wrong! For the record, I do not own a Snuggie!

Horrible Hokies

January 4th, 2011 at 11:35 pm by under Sports
Yes its a tough day to be a Hokie.

The Hokie Nation is searching for answers to what went wrong last night in the second half of the orange bowl.

Is Stanford that much better than Virginia Tech?

Is Virginia Tech football among the nations elite?

Why cant the Hokies beat a top 5 team?

If it seems like we’ve been here before, that’s because we were asking these same questions after the 2008 Orange Bowl loss to Kansas.

But last nights loss seems much different than one’s in the past.

At least the Kansas loss in 2008 was close. The Jayhawks won by 3 points.

Last Nights game wasn’t even close.

Was Frank Beamers all college coaching staff out coached by Jim Harbough’s NFL experienced staff?

Most definitely.

Was Virginia techs offensive line outplayed by Stanford’s defensive front?

Without question.

Was Bud Fosters defense unprepared to face Andrew Luck?

Take your pick on which touchdown pass looked easier to throw and there’s your answer.

The first rule for defensive backs is never get beat deep.

How can the Hokies expect to win a ball game when they cant even adhere to rule number 1 for defensive backs?

And what happened to techs talented trio of running backs. While it looks like Ryan Williams and Derron Evans will bolt for the NFL, they were a non factor in this game.

There are no easy answers to these questions and the team will be searching for them for quite some time.

This might sound like the easy way out, but here is my suggestion to Frank Beamer and his staff.

And that is to blame a wardrobe malfunction and never ever wear those awful orange helmets again.

Reynolds is coming home

December 8th, 2010 at 9:02 pm by under Sports

Mark Reynolds is coming home. O.K. it may not be home, but Baltimore, Maryland is a whole lot closer to Virginia Beach than Phoenix, Arizona. Good for Reynolds and his family. Don’t get me wrong, it was good to see Reynolds get his start with the D-Backs, but its time for a change. The poor guy is getting dogged about striking out. Big deal! An outs an out. I would rather have my third baseman swing for the fence and strike out than hit into a ground ball double play.

Mark’s father Greg told me yesterday that he is very thankful to the D-Backs for giving his young son his first big break. But even Greg was thrilled to hear the Orioles wanted the power hitting third baseman. Sure Reynolds may not have had a great year, but give the kid a break, he was injured most of the season. He still managed to pound 32 balls out of the park and knock in 85 Runs.

Reynolds is a guy you want in the clubhouse. He doesn’t take a day off. Leads by example. Not afraid to call a player out if he thinks it will help the team. He shows no fear at third. Reynolds will dive head first into the stands to make an out. He is a throw back, tough, gritty player that will make a big difference for the Orioles. Great for Baltimore. Great for Hampton Roads and all those fans who like to see local talent shine in the Major Leagues.

O.K  Mark, you are coming home, now go out there and swing for the fence. Local baseball fans cant wait to see you pound balls out of Camden Yards, Fenway and Yankee Stadium.

Tyrod Taylor has made all the right moves

December 2nd, 2010 at 12:30 am by under Sports

Good things happen to good people.

Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor is finally getting the credit he deserves.  The former Hampton Crabber was named the ACC Player Of  The Year. The voting wasn’t even close.  Taylor led the 12th ranked Hokies to the first unbeaten ACC season any team has had since Florida State did it back in 2000.

What is more impressive? Tyrod throwing 20 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. Or the kid from Hampton goes his entire college career without getting into any trouble. Long time Hampton head coach Mike Smith told me last week that Tyrod is an ambassador for the school, the city of Hampton and Virginia Tech. Tyrod still returns to Hampton High school on a regular basis and inspires many with his actions.

The cherry on top will come Saturday when Tyrod faces Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder in the ACC Championship game. Ponder came into the season as the preseason favorite to win the ACC Player of the year award. Ponder was also overhyped as a Heisman trophy candidate. Ponder is a good quarterback, but give me Tyrod any day.

How will Tyrod do at the next level? Still too early to tell. But one things for sure, there will be plenty of coaches willing to give him a shot and his charector will never come into question. Way to go Tyrod! You have made a lot of fans in the 757 very proud.

Romero made the right decision

November 23rd, 2010 at 9:03 pm by under Sports

Phoebus senior defensive end Daquan Romero just wanted to be wanted. And since he wasn’t feeling it from the coaches at The University of North Carolina, it would cost the Tar Heels.

The Tar Heels botched the first rule in recruiting…make the player feel wanted. Romero, the two time Peninsula District defensive player of the year told me today that soon after he committed to play for the Tar Heels back in May, the coaches seemed to lose interest in him. Wow! Not only is head coach Butch Davis and his staff running the football program in the ground, they can’t hold onto blue chip recruits. You land one of the top players from the top high school program in the state of Virginia, but lose him because you forgot about him. If I am Butch Davis, I would need a very good explanation.

So the Tar Heels loss is great news for the Wahoos. Give new Virginia head coach Mike London and his staff a ton of credit for continuing to go after Romero. London’s staff stuck to rule number 2 in the recruiting battle, never give up on a player, especially a player as gifted as Phoebus star Daquan Romero.

Hokies win regardless

September 5th, 2010 at 9:58 pm by under Sports
For the 4th year in a row, the Hokies kick off the season against one of the best teams in the nation. In years past it was, Southern Cal, LSU and last year Alabama.

It is a prime time match-up tomorrow night with very little sporting competition.

What better way to show off your football program than against a quality opponent in front of millions of viewers.

Unlike, Penn State, Florida and other college football powers, the Hokies will not play a patsy to start the season.

Of course I think the Hokies will win tomorrow night, but even if they don’t, something tells me, taking this game, on this stage will go along way for the Hokies in the future.

Something to bark about

June 28th, 2010 at 11:23 pm by under Sports

So much for the dog days of summer.

Yes this is supposed to be the slow time of  year in sports, but you would have never known that last week.

It all started on Sunday when the nations top volleyball players competed on national television at the AVP Virginia Beach Open. At the same time, the Sportsplex was hosting two Major League Lacrosse teams.

Star power ruled the next three up in Williamsburg at the Colonial All-Pro football camp. NFL stars Darren Sharper, Drew Brees and Troy Polamalu passed on some tips to the very lucky campers.

Monday night the United Football League announced that Hampton Roads was getting a professional football franchise and then Tuesday morning it was announced that Arena Lacrosse was being formed.

Even Michael Vick made it interesting by holding his first ever local football camp in Hampton. To help celebrate the occasion, his friends threw him a 30th birthday party in Virginia Beach that ended with a late night shootout! 

Pro beach volleyball. Major League Lacrosse. A new football franchise. NFL stars. A local shootout. With so much going on locally all I have to say is who needs the World Cup?

Shannon “The Cannon” fires

May 26th, 2010 at 9:11 pm by under Sports

When you first meet Shannon Briggs, you cant help be impressed by his size.  At 6’4, 275 pounds the Brooklyn, New York native packs a wallop! He has 48 wins, 43 by knockout. Twenty-seven KO’s in the first round alone.

Briggs is trying to get back to a championship bout. He will fight Rob Callaway Friday night at Norfolk Scope.

Enough of the boxing stuff. Moments after you meet Shannon Briggs, you quickly relize there’s much more to this man than boxing. Homeless as a teen growing up in New York, Briggs began boxing at the age of 17. He says the sport saved his life.

Briggs is the only fighter to hold the heavyweight championship and also suffer from asthma. He calls his latest run for the title, “Fighting to Breathe.” Shannon ‘The Cannon” is quick to point out that just because you have asthma you cant let it stand in the way of your dreams.

At first glance, Briggs is an imposing figure, but soon you realize this guy brings so much more to the table than a powerful punch.