Atticus Finch a role model worth paying attention to

Monday, June 23, 2003

The passing of Gregory Peck last week had no immediate impact on the world of sports. Maybe that's the problem. The gentlemanly Atticus Finch has passed on without passing on anything about decency to this generation.

I don't want that to sound like a fuddyduddy, because I'm not old enough to be one yet.

But Peck was an icon of the silver screen, much like Sammy Sosa is an icon in baseball. Peck realized his role off the screen, and he played it with dignity.

Should Sosa be punished more because he's in a brighter spotlight than the rest of us? No. Surely Atticus would have taught us that much -- that Sosa was only obeying the laws of human nature.

But Sammy is certainly making it difficult to forgive and forget when he plays the race card or uses a testimonial from Bill Clinton to defend his image. And appealing his eight-game suspension doesn't bolster his integrity.

Speaking of bolstering: I'm extending The Week Ahead an extra week in light of a much-needed vacation in Miami this week. So I hope this will last you for two weeks. If not, just read the column twice, or maybe throw a The Week Ahead reading party and dig out some old favorites.

Until then:

Todayn Go check out the doubleheader between Perryville and Ford and Sons' Cape Girardeau Senior American Legion. Cape has been on a roll after a slow start and could use a continued boost from the fans. Plus: No corked bats. It's P'ville at Capaha Field at 6 p.m.

Fridayn The Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals are in St. Louis this weekend for the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series. Qualifying is at 4 p.m. Friday; 4:15 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The Memphis Redbirds are proclaiming this as Little League Weekend, and it starts with Reggy. Reggy, some kind of pink, furry thing, will be at the game to entertain fans. The game is sponsored by KFC, so I hope they fry him during the game -- it would probably taste better than what they already serve. The Redbirds host the Nashville Sounds at 7:05 p.m.

Saturdayn If Auto Tire and Parts Racepark really does decide to change its race night, it won't have to compete with events like this: Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart will be at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., behind the wheel of UMP late models on Fan Appreciation Day. Grandstand admission is $5. For details or tickets: (636) 479-3219

July 3n The Cards host San Francisco, and there should be plenty of fireworks for the final game of the rematch series from last year's playoffs. Also, all fans 15 and under will receive a specially designed youth-sized Cardinals baseball cap. Giants at Cards at 1:10 p.m.

July 5n What more could you ask for out of a promotional night? It's Jersey off the Back Night, Run the Bases Night, and Get Grizzled Night (which is not condoned by me if it's what I think it is). And by the way, two crosstown rivals will square off to play baseball. The Gateway Grizzlies host the River City Rascals at 6:05 p.m.

Down the roadn Andy Roddick will be on the court soon for the St. Louis Aces (July 12, in fact). But the hotter ticket later next month: Anna.

David Wilson is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian and a student at Central High School. His column appears every Monday (well, except next Monday).

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