Wally Watch: Where we read Wally Hall so you don't have to.
Primary Theme: The Kentucky Derby sure is fun. But, things ain't like they used to be.
Key Elements: A virtuosic combination of name-dropping and nostalgia that only the sports editor of the state's largest newspaper could pull off.
The Odd Couple?: When Wally writes "A couple of years were spent crashing in Randy Moss’ room", we know he's not referring to THAT Randy Moss, but you have to admit it's a pretty amazing image. In fact, we'd pay a substantial sum to be a fly on the wall watching the antics caused by those two rooming together.
Grammar Alert #1: "My financially favorite race was 1987."
Names Dropped: Rex Nelson, Randy Moss, Kane Webb, Spider Webb (!), Jeff Krupsaw, Kim Brazzel, Angel Cordero, Ray Lincoln.
Aspiring Journalists, Take Note: In true Wally fashion, this super-brief paragraph appears out of the blue with no apparent connection to the words immediately before or after it: "Once I got a call from an old friend; he was there on his honeymoon. Now Jeff Krupsaw is the deputy sports editor at the Democrat-Gazette." After reading it through several times, our only conclusion is that Mr. Krupsaw's current career path owes a lot to that timely phone call.
Grammar Alert #2: "Wednesday, three couples, personal friends, left for the Derby." (that's a full paragraph, by the way)
Our Analysis: There's probably a worthwhile point buried somewhere in there about how corporate influences have changed our most beloved sporting events, but of course Wally takes about six personal detours too many to make any of that really hit home.
However, as far as Wally columns go, this one is pretty innocuous. Although the random name-dropping (at this point, if you're even a casual acquaintance of Wally and haven't been referenced in his column, you're probably doing something very wrong) gets a little old, he manages to stay away from the tendencies towards innuendo and preachiness for which he's so beloved.
In the end, though, we were a little disappointed that he couldn't fit at least one reference to a lavish meal (preferably Mexican food) he enjoyed during his Derby travels. And most of all, we're finding ourselves wishing we lived in a world where Wally Hall was buddy-buddy with the football playing Randy Moss rather than the sportswriting version. One can dream...