Had a great chat with former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, who is partnering with the Austin school district and Eastside Youth Services and Street Outreach to make some much-needed improvements to the Eastside Yellow Jacket Stadium and track at the old L.C. Anderson High School.
After his sophomore year at Anderson, Henderson moved to Oklahoma City to live with his grandmother — he later attended Langston University before being drafted by the Cowboys in 1975 — but he returned to live here after his NFL career ended. He has kept a low profile but has always been a lover of community, particularly East Austin.
He will spend 42 hours this week — 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday — at the Anderson track, where he will sign copies of his 2001 book "In Control," which chronicles his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, for a $10 donation. Proceeds will go to ESYSSO to help resurface the track.
"The bad news is the track is torn up," said the 62-year-old Henderson, who splits time between homes in Austin and Florida. "The good news is the track is torn up, which means people are using it. I've gotten several estimates, and it's going to cost $100,000 to fix it up."
Henderson added that anyone struggling in recovery will receive a free autographed book. He encourages the public to come out and support the project or just stop by for a handshake.
This is Henderson's second project involving the track and the stadium. He rebuilt the stadium and football field in 1994, then fasted for an entire week and raised $250,000 for improvements in 1997.
Anyone interested in donating to the project can do so by mail: ESYSSO, P.O. Box 1415, Austin, TX 78767.
Did we miss the NBA Finals? No. Just feels that way.
There was nothing that could be done about this gap between games since the conference finals were pretty noncompetitive, but now that Game 1 is almost here, the question I can't wait to see answered is, "How much?"
How much will we see LeBron James guarding Stephen Curry?
How much will the layoff affect these teams?
How much will we see Steph's 2-year-old daughter at postgame pressers?
On that last question, you can count me as a card-carrying member of Team Riley. Curry's daughter is absolutely adorable, but he could really help the writers there by leaving her with the family for the five minutes it takes to answer questions. Not that he cares about non-television media — she's great for the cameras — but many of the writers are on brutal deadlines created by these 8 p.m. tipoffs and need every single minute after the game.
Finally, some real hope for American men's tennis.
Jack Sock went down in four sets to the great Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday but showed the kind of moxie we need to see if this country is to regain some international respect in the men's game.
Sock lost 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Not lost in Rafa improving to 70-1 all-time at Roland Garros was Sock coming very close to handing him that second loss. The first two sets were a wash, but Sock grabbed the third set and had the king of clay looking absolutely unsure of himself.
Sock, who's only 22, is ranked 37th in the world and has the game to become a top-five player — a booming forehand, thunder from an improved backhand and just enough nastiness — I like that — to give the big boys something to worry about. After losing to Roger Federer in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, Sock won his first ATP title at the U.S. Clay Court Championships over fellow American Sam Querrey in Houston. All of this after he missed the first two months of the season following hip surgery.
John Isner (ranked 16th) and Querrey (38th) are good players, but at 30 and 27 years of age, respectively, they have already shown us their best, which falls short of winning a major.
While the U.S. men are now 0-46 in grand slams dating back to Andy Roddick's 2003 U.S. Open win, Sock brings with him some hope for the future.
If he keeps his wits about him and continues to develop a better on-court mentality, he could be the American to break that long drought.
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