Bill Lyon is a retired Inquirer sports columnist. Lyon, a recipient of the National Headliner Award and a 7-time winner of Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, joined the newspaper in 1972 and retired in 2005. He was inducted into both the Philadelphia Sports and Pennsylvania Sports halls of fame. He continues to contribute to The Inquirer on a part-time basis.
I have seen the effect of comfort dogs on the hurt and the lame, whose eyes light up and blood pressure goes down. Is there anything more enchanting than an ear being scratched and a voice cooing, "Good doggie. Good doggie."
I reached 80 the other day. I'm not sure what that means. Well, the obvious thing is that you're getting old. Eighty is old, and the woman next to me here in assisted living is 105. Kind of puts it in perspective.
Every sport has a ceremonial ritual designed to ignite the festivities. For baseball, with its quaint and charming customs, it's The First Pitch, wherein some unsuspecting soul is escorted to the mound, a fresh-from-the-box ball is placed in his, or her, hand, and he, or she, is told to throw it.
The home stretch at Belmont Park is punishingly long and relentlessly unforgiving, littered with the bleached bones of failed Triple Crown contenders, guarded by ghosts that are fiercely zealous sentinels of its reputation: Graveyard of Champions.