Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2006

Here are a few bulldog tales

April 20, 2006

There have been too many stars align here lately not to share a few bulldog tales.

The first is a bit of believe it or not, but I believe it. It came about as a result of the ongoing outbreak of mumps that have hit Douglas County hard, grazed Baldwin City a little (so far, anyway) and absolutely gone wild in Iowa.

Mumps aren't that big of a deal -- especially if you don't have them. But, it's not a pleasant thing to go through and you sure have to stay away from people for awhile. However, they're not deadly.

It has amazed me how in this day and age that an "old" disease like mumps has gone wild. I've learned a lot. I thought if you'd had your kids immunized, they were safe. Well, not only do they need a booster, but the vaccine is only good for 95 percent of the population. Maybe it's just that 5 percent that are getting them.

There are also a couple of old wives tales that have fallen by the way-side. Officials say you can, indeed, get the mumps, even if you've had them before. The "sterility" scare for older males, however, isn't true -- for the most part, anyway.

I'm just watching the whole outbreak unfold and am notified every day by the Douglas County Health Department on how many mumps cases there are. It's interesting. And, yes, I've checked. My college-aged sons, who are in the most vulnerable category for the disease, have both had their boosters. I'm thankful for that.

I'm also thankful that Becky McMillen shared the best mumps story I've ever heard. She thought it was timely and I did, too. Seems that her well-known relative Chet McMillen had a bulldog that came down with the mumps back in the 1960s. There was a picture of the dog, with his even more swollen than usual jowls, in the paper.

She's still looking for the picture. I'd hoped to be able to use it this week, but maybe it will turn up yet. But, if I couldn't share the picture, I at least had to share the story. A bulldog with mumps? How fitting, especially with a "suspected" case now reported from Baldwin High School which, of course, is the home of the bulldogs.

Oddly enough, her tale started wagging the bulldog update tail. That same day I had an e-mail from the University of Arkansas about Eric Brown, a 2002 graduate of BHS, coming to the Kansas Relays this weekend. Brown helped the Bulldogs win a pair of state track titles by winning the javelin competition.

He has since taken his talents to Arkansas where his success with the spear and titles has continued. Brown has broken the Arkansas record in the javelin, among many accomplishments, and has helped the Razorbacks win national titles. All tolled, Arkansas has won 41 national track titles. That's amazing.

Brown has also competed at every level of the sport, including Olympic tryouts, national meets, etc., etc. This year he's the No. 1 ranked javelin thrower in the country. He always enjoyed the Kansas Relays when he was a Bulldog and it's only fitting that he compete there again during his senior year.

But, that's not all the Bulldog news. Not even all the Bulldog javelin news. Rosemary Murphy stopped by the office Monday. She and her husband, Jack, had just returned from Rhode Island where they had watched their son, Hugh Murphy, another 2002 BHS grad, throw the javelin for Brown University. Because of an arm injury, Hugh hadn't thrown competitively for two years. He made the best of his return by winning the meet and he's currently the top ranked javelin thrower in the Ivy League.

It was so good to hear about Hugh. I know it's been hard on him not to compete. I told Rosemary about Brown's return and asked her if Hugh was going to the Kansas or Drake Relays. She said Hugh didn't know how he'd be doing by now, so he didn't make plans to attend either meet. We agreed that it was too bad that the one-time, one-two punch of Bulldog javelin throwers couldn't have met up for a grand homecoming at the relays. But, they still might meet up at nationals.

But, there is another Bulldog who will be going to the Drake Relays. That's Matt Noonan, yet another key cog in that track and field dynasty that graduated from BHS in 2002. He's a long-distance runner at the University of Missouri and has done quite well for himself in his college career. He will be meeting up with my oldest, Brett, there. Brett was chosen as Drake Relay Host, which is basically homecoming king.

That's capped quite a spring semester for Brett. He's been accepted by all 15 of the top law schools in the country and he's inches away from choosing Harvard. Only a last-gasp offer from Yale might stray his course.

It's hard to believe these Bulldogs are seniors in college and graduating. It seems like only yesterday they were leaving BHS. Time flies when you're having fun ... and you don't have the mumps.

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