"You don't have to be big to play soccer," says 5-foot-4, 140-pound Billy Ronson, who has been demonstrating precisely that with the Blast for six years. "What counts is your desire."
Ronson, who leads the Blast in scoring with 29 points on 10 goals and 19 assists in 15 games, yesterday was named the team's Player of the Quarter. He had a franchise-record six-assist performance on Oct. 27 in the 13-9 win over St. Louis in the home opener.
"I don't think about what I'm doing different," says Ronson, who is 34 but still has to show ID sometimes to buy alcohol. "I just go out and play."
Ronson and his wife, Julie, are from England, but they've bought a house here and intend to stay in Baltimore.
"She's learned to enjoy the American way of life," Billy says. "She plays tennis and goes to the health club."
Also at yesterday's press luncheon it was announced officially that the Blast will host the Major Soccer League All-Star Game in mid-February of 1992.
* There's no question that winning cures a lot of ills, as Loyola College's basketball team is proving. The Greyhounds have suffered the last two seasons (8-22 followed by 4-24), but they're 4-4 now after beating American U. by 20 this week.
So there's a new, upbeat attitude at Evergreen -- and a new appreciation for second-year coach Tom Schneider. That pleases those who've gotten to know him. Tom's a good man.
Princeton, one of the most interesting college basketball teams in the country, will play Loyola next winter in Reitz Arena. We'll be seeing a lot of Princeton in the next week as the Tigers play two games on ESPN. They'll be at Rutgers Saturday at noon in a battle of unbeatens and at defending NCAA champion UNLV next Wednesday night.
Three things set Princeton apart. There are no athletic scholarships there. It takes a ton of brains for a student to get in the school. (Gilman School grad Matt Eastwick, who starts at power forward, scored a perfect 1,600 on his SATs). And Princeton has a coach, Petey Carril, who must be a genius. He'd have to be to have come within a whisker of eliminating Georgetown from the NCAA tournament two years ago. Opposing coaches with vastly superior talent are driven crazy by Carril's style.
Princeton this year doesn't play its first home game, after 10 on the road, until Jan. 11 against Ivy League co-favorite Yale. Nevertheless, Carril's team is 6-0. Rutgers is 5-0.
* The Orioles' Phil Itzoe is a most worthy recipient of the Donald Davidson Award as the major leagues' No. 1 traveling secretary. Chuck Thompson, who was in a position to know, always referred to Itzoe as "the king of the traveling secs." Chuck was right, and so was the Marriott Corp., which sponsors the Davidson Award.
* The lacrosse world is shocked over the death Tuesday night of John "Bucky" Neutze. A bachelor, he was 48 and died in his sleep. During a quarter century as a lacrosse official and a shorter period officiating football, Neutze was always in the middle of the fun, whether it was at the annual Southern Lacrosse Officials' parties, at the refs' weekly meetings, at the Final Four or anywhere the sport took him. I know I'll miss him.
* Coach Phil Albert, in a speaking engagement at the York (Pa.) Quarterback Club this week, said that football is "alive and well" at Towson State after the University Senate's 12-6 vote to keep the sport.
Albert said every fan realizes Towson State has produced two players now playing in the NFL, Dave Meggett and Sean Landeta, both with the New York Giants. "We have a third Towson graduate playing in the league," said Albert, "but RTC nobody seems to know him." No one in the banquet room did. Neither did I. He was referring to Dan Eisenhooth, who played for Albert from '83-'85 and is now an offensive lineman with the Indianapolis Colts.