Fern Park lawyer still finds time for gridiron glory Fern Park lawyer still finds time for gridiron glory Mark D. Killian Managing EditorForget the rocking chair and remote control.At a time when most guys his age have left contact sports behind to chase a little white ball around a golf course, Fern Park lawyer Chris Morrison decided there was still some gas left in the tank.So last year Morrison, who will be 39 next month, tried out for the Orlando Starz, a minor league football team in the Southern States Football League. He made the cut, and almost 20 years to the day that Morrison played his last game for the Winter Park High School Wildcats, he again buckled-up his chin strap and hit the gridiron to compete against guys half his age and near twice his size.“They can’t see my age through the face mask, but they can see my size — I’m all of 5’8, 170 pounds,” said Morrison, who leads his team this year with 35 receptions and averages slightly more than seven yards a catch.“Fortunately the offense we run lends itself to a receiver of my type, which is the get-open type,” said Morrison, a former Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division board member.So what persuades a man to risk not only his memory of himself as a fine young athlete, but, well, his memory?“At an age when many competitive sports have been foreclosed to me, minor league ball gives me a forum to compete – especially in the sport that I love,” said Morrison, who describes himself as “short, slow, and old.”“Clearly, the best thing about playing football is the team atmosphere and camaraderie. You’ll meet friends and experience events unlike any others.”Starz Coach Steve Casteel said Morrison’s participation is an inspiration for the younger players, many of whom played in college and some who have limited pro experience.“This semi-pro football thing is really a bunch of guys who love to play the game and [Morrison] is one of them,” Casteel said. “He works his butt off in practice, he brings good leadership, he leads by example, and he plays hard.”Morrison admits to having his “bell rung more than my share of times,” but he loves the game and his teammates and tries to act as a role model and mentor to the younger players.“I try to get them to think seriously about their careers away from the field and teach them by example that your work ethic off the field must be as great as on the field,” said Morrision, who also has a front office role with the Starz as director of football operations.“I’m older than some of their fathers. They see a guy out here who is a successful business man, who has worked hard in school, and can still go out there and play the game hard — and if that makes them look differently at what they are going to do in the future, I’m all for it.”The SSFL (www.ssflonline.com) has 11 teams across the state from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale to Naples and a myriad of places in between and plays from January through April. The league also this year will stage an all star game May 11 at Miami’s Historic Orange Bowl Stadium.Since high school, Morrison has kept active in sports, playing intramural flag football at the University of Florida and recreational leagues since then. Then one of his buddies convinced him to try out for the Starz.“I did pretty well in the agility drills, I can still run a pretty good 40-yard dash, and I figured I would give it a try,” said the Nova Southeastern University law graduate.Coach Casteel said he was surprised by how well Morrision could still play, but he has coached long enough not to make judgments based on appearances, but evaluate players on how they perform on the field.“He is a possession receiver,” Casteel said, adding that he is not as slow as one might think of a man getting up there in football age.“He has good quickness and plays the game very intelligently.”After the Starz’ Saturday night games, however, age does seem to creep up on the general practitioner whose favorite NFL player is Jerry Rice, who is still going strong at 40.“Let’s put it this way: I’m not spending the time in the office on Sundays that I used to,” Morrision said. “I’m very sore.”He says his partners and office staff can’t wait until Mondays to evaluate his physical health.“Everybody at the office gets a kick out of me coming in Monday morning to see what is going to be hurting that week,” Morrison said.“Am I going to have a black eye, are my fingers going to be all mangled, am I going to be limping? They mostly shake their heads and think I should grow up.”Does being trained as a lawyer give Morrison any on-field advantages? Not really, but after a 24-21 overtime victory against cross-town rivals, the Orlando Panthers, on March 22, one of the young Panthers told Morrison he played the game like a lawyer.“I had to think about that for a while,” Morrison said. “Are my skills that bad? But what he was saying was I’m a thinker, I’ll get to the first down when we need to, I’ll get open by finding the little dead spot to sit down in and catch the ball. All the players say I never take a hit, that I can really manage to avoid getting hit. I just tell them that is old age, self-preservation.”Does the “stately old gentleman of the league” have another season or two left in him?“I think I can squeeze out another year,” Morrison said. “I absolutely will be back next year, barring some kind of unusual circumstances.”Besides, he said, “I’m having the time of my life out there.” April 15, 2003 Managing Editor Regular News
The Trojans will travel across town to Spieker Aquatics Center to take on rival UCLA Saturday at 4 p.m. This will be the Trojans’ final regular season game before they vie for the MPSF championship the following week. For the 22-1 Trojans, moving forward means pursuing a seventh national championship. Each upcoming contest is an opportunity for the team to improve against conference opponents that they may meet again in next month’s NCAA tournament. The Sun Devils simply had no answer for the Trojan offense. While Arizona State’s defense conceded just 6.90 goals per game entering Saturday’s match, the Trojans quickly surpassed this mark. Nine different Trojans contributed at least 1 goal, while five Trojans had multiple-goal performances. Junior utility Maud Megens led the charge with 4 goals, while junior driver Kelsey McIntosh put up 3. In contrast, the Trojans appear to be gaining momentum since their narrow loss to Stanford two weeks ago. Their dominant performances these past two weekends, including last weekend’s 8-3 win against Cal, are promising for a team looking to bring home another championship. As Saturday was Senior Day, it was fitting that senior driver Courtney Fahey made some big plays for her team early on. Fahey drew an exclusion to open up the scoring for the Trojans, who surged to a 5-1 lead by the end of the first period. After the Trojans scored 3 more unanswered goals in the second period, the game seemed all but over heading into the final two frames. The team’s more experienced players, including Fahey and Longan, have been essential in guiding these younger players through the end of the regular season. After the mid-season departure of head coach Jovan Vavic last month due to his alleged involvement in the admissions scandal, their leadership has been integral to the team’s continued success. “Each and every one of the girls stepped up into a role that they had to play to help us move forward,” said freshman two-meter Tilly Kearns in a video released by USC Athletics prior to the Stanford game, just two weeks after Vavic’s departure. Freshman utility Bayley Weber scored 2 of USC’s 17 goals against Arizona State Saturday. (Daily Trojan/Ling Luo) Along with maintaining offensive command from the start, the Trojans held strong on defense. While Arizona State was averaging 9.71 goals per game coming into Saturday’s game, the Trojans held the Sun Devils to just 3. Senior goalie Amanda Longan played a crucial role in shutting down the Arizona State offense with 10 important saves. The No. 2 USC women’s water polo team achieved a decisive 17-3 victory over No. 10 Arizona State Saturday at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, improving its record to 22-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play. Saturday’s game snapped a two-game winning streak for the visiting Sun Devils, who now sit at 12-10 overall and 1-3 against MPSF competitors. Arizona State also lost to USC earlier this season at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational by a score of 7-1. The Trojans’ dominance on Saturday was fueled not only by its starters and veteran players, but by its young talent. Redshirt sophomore goalie Holly Parker entered the game for the final six minutes of play, giving up only a single goal while making three huge saves. Meanwhile, sophomore driver Verica Bakoc and freshman utility Bayley Weber added 2 goals apiece to the Trojan total. read more
Three matches of 2nd pre-round of BiH handball Cup were played, and Bosna, Krivaja and Čapljina were victorious.HC ”Bosna” defeated ”Leotar” from Trebinje with 27:26; HC ”Krivaja” defeated ”Gradačac” with 37:30, and ”Čapljina” defeated Kakanj 39:28.The continuation of 16th round of BiH handball Championship is to continue next weekend.