IT WAS A Saturday in late March, a quarter of a century ago. I had dinner with my family at a Chi Chi's in Franklin Mills Mall that hasn't been there for about two decades now. And it's called Philadelphia Mills these days. I was covering the Duke-Kentucky NCAA East Regional final later that night in South Philly, so I had time to enjoy a comfortable meal with my wife, parents and two children, then aged 8 and 6. Pass the salsa, please.
MARK FERRANTE knew this head-coaching thing was bound to feel different. He just wasn't sure exactly how, or by how much. But when Villanova's first new football coach since 1985 took his team on the field Sunday for the first of 15 spring practices, he finally could tell.
BUFFALO, N.Y. - So you thought that just because Villanova finally won a second-round NCAA Tournament game last March then proceeded to win four more times over the next two weeks meant the Wildcats would never have to answer any more questions.
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Villanova Basketball. How many times have we heard those words over the years? The over-under is mind-boggling. And, of course, we've all taken turns snickering at the redundancy from class after class of Wildcats. But it's their thing. And when you're cutting down the nets at the end of the Madness instead of getting eliminated in the second round again, well maybe we snicker a little less. Or even a whole lot.
FOR SOME reason that I've yet to figure out, I've done reasonably well on these Super Bowl prop bets. Which, of course, are for chuckle purposes only. Anyone can back somebody to win. But what other game lets you take a stand on anything from the coin toss to the halftime show? As long as it's all in fun and gives you something to cheer for other than more cold beverages. So bring it on.
THERE WAS a point Sunday afternoon when Villanova's Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins were shooting a combined 0-for-14. And hardly coincidentally, the soon-to-be-not-top-ranked-anymore Wildcats were losing by double digits in the second half to No. 12 Virginia in South Philly, in a matchup that sure felt like it was the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight come early.
JAVON BAUMANN has always had a special spot in his soul for all things culinary, as much as he does for playing basketball. Growing up in Solms-Oberbiel, a small town about 45 minutes from Frankfurt in southwest Germany, he had a friend who was a baker and owned a restaurant. That's where he did his first internship, when he was in 10th grade, working mostly as a line cook.
MEGHAN CREIGHTON was in second grade when a friend of one of her three older brothers, Evan Brady, was diagnosed with bone cancer, a disease that four years later would take his life. But not his spirit. So a group of families and friends soon started "Evanfest" to raise money to help others with children battling life-threatening illnesses. Her family was among them. And in the decade since then the volunteer-driven organization has raised in the neighborhood of $1 million.
ZACH ROSEBERRY is not a tattoo type of guy. But he does have one, which you can't help noticing, on the ripped upper part of his right arm. And it means the world to him. The Delaware Valley University senior got it on his 16th birthday as a tribute to his older brother Trae, who had died in a car accident two years earlier. Zack didn't just lose his only sibling that tragic night. Trae was also his best friend, mentor and inspiration. So Zach decided to honor him forever, in a way for everyone to see.