Schu Strings: More than just football in the fall

Naturally, most Arizona sports eyes are focused on the upcoming football season, but there are other interesting Wildcat happenings on tap.<BR> Overall, it should be an entertaining fall sports campaign on the UA campus. Aside from an Arizona football team with the ingredients in place to score in bunches, yet still must find answers on the defense and special teams, other athletic endeavors could prove rewarding for Wildcat fans.

David Rubio's volleyball team is going to garner a lot of attention. Fresh off its first Final Four appearance, Rubio welcomes the nation's top ranked recruiting class to Tucson. Old Pueblo native Bre Ladd enters the program as the country's top prep recruit. Kim Glass, the Pennsylvania Player of the Year, is ranked second in the same category. And with the return of Lisa Rutledge, Stefani Saragosa and Shannon Torregrosa, an imposing offense should not be an issue.

Dana Burkholder returns, but in a volunteer coaching capacity, so finding a competent replacement for her on the court will prove critical.

Arizona is ranked sixth in the preseason polls. It has been rated in the top 10 for 30 consecutive weeks.

Who's that new man calling the shots for cross country? Former Washington State head coach James Li replaces Wildcat fixture Dave Murray at the helm.

"We're very excited to have someone of James Li's caliber come to Arizona. James' philosophy of developing speed and power in distance runners matches my own emphasis in distance training," said UA track and field coach Fred Harvey. "His abilities as a coach will honor the accomplishments that (longtime UA mentor) Dave Murray brought to the programs. He has coached world class athletes and I'm confident that he'll coach many more here at Arizona."

The youth movement is in full bloom for the UA soccer team. If third-year coach Cathy Klein is to put the program in the right direction, the 19 freshmen and sophomores on the roster will play a major role in that undertaking.

"This is the most talent that we've ever put together. It's also the youngest team we've had, in terms of brand-new players and first-year newcomers," Klein said. "Our returnees must step up and lead this team in the first few games. Our new people have to come in fit, acclimate quickly and play hard from the very first practice."

Sophomore Candice Wilks returns as Arizona's leading offensive option. The UA looks to improve on last year's 5-12-1 record.

Timmy is dead. I am saddened, for Timmy is dead. Who is Timmy? Timmy was an innovator. Timmy was a trendsetter. Timmy transformed a stale medium and provided it with a vast landscape of possibilities.

Timmy was Josh Ryan Evans, the little mannequin/human combination from NBC's groundbreaking daytime soap opera Passions. At the risk of realizing you aren't going to believe me when I say my actual viewing of this show is limited, from the small doses I have experienced, Passions is nothing short of brilliant.

For decades, soaps have had conniving characters and backstabbing plotlines, but only until recently has it ventured into other-worldly realms. And Passions led the foray. Sure, on the surface it looks like a show with a bunch of hot, not-so-talented actors lamenting their romantic life circumstances with not-so-good, cheesy afternoon TV dialogue.

But Passions is so much more than that. It features a zombie, but not your typical George Romero zombie. A hot zombie. And she's evil, but hot. And she's a zombie. How cool is that? Then there's the witch woman who seems constantly uneasy about her role in attempting to make the lives of the romantic couple in question oh so turbulent. This is where lovable Timmy came in.

Timmy would act as the witch's conscience, and together they would battle the evil, yet hot, zombie in an effort to make the earthly romance right again, thus assisting the terran brethren toward a life of bliss and soap-opera happiness.

Passions is sort of the Clash of the Titans of afternoon soaps. Other-worldly beings attempt to guide the destiny of love-struck humans. Sheer brilliance.

But alas, without little Timmy, who was such a presence in every scene, especially that memorable sequence where he was chased by the possessed vacuum cleaner (that will be a moment of glory clip on the Daytime Emmys for sure), I can't imagine the show will ever be the same. I lament the passing of Timmy. I lament the passing of the most influential little man since Billy Barty. I lament the passing of the man who set a standard in soap opera occult. Vampires. Space aliens. Sure that's all well and good, but it ain't Timmy. May he guide many a romance to a happy conclusion in his post-earthly existence.

[John Schuster is an editor/columnist for Cat Tracks and apparently has too much time on his hands during the day.]

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