Ron Solt, the former Maryland offensive guard now with th Philadelphia Eagles, is one player who definitely rates the Ed Block Courage Award he'll receive at tonight's banquet at Martin's West.
Solt's seven years in the NFL, after a smooth and successful career at College Park under coach Bobby Ross, have been a real test of Ron's heart.
First, he was drafted by and signed with the Colts -- Bob Irsay's Indianapolis Colts, around whom there is constant controversy.
Then Solt was acquired by the Eagles during the 1988 season, played in one game and hurt his knees. Surgery was performed on both. The next year he had to sit out a month because of a positive steroid test. Last season, of course, the Buddy Ryan circus collapsed in Philly.
Football was never like that for Solt at Maryland, but he has it together now as he looks forward to the '91 season under new Eagles coach Rich Kotite. One good thing has come out of the hardships, according to Solt.
"In the past," he says, "I relied strictly on my strength. But I've learned to use more technique. I've learned to be sharper mentally to compensate."
* I was proud of Brooks Robinson at lunch the other day with super Oriole booster George French. I mentioned that it bothers me when Oriole fans shout "Oh!" during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"It bothers me, too," said Brooks, who's old enough to remember what it was like at Memorial Stadium before the fans showed their lack of respect for the national anthem and, in effect, the nation.
I'm hoping the new wave of patriotism in the wake of the Persian Gulf war will lead Oriole fans to stop the inappropriate cheer. Baltimore, birthplace of the anthem, is the last city where fans should degrade it.
* The early-early reviews on the work of new Orioles announcer Ken Levine are less than raves. People tell me they don't care for his voice -- especially compared to Jon Miller's rich tones. One listener said: "I haven't heard any baseball yet. All I've heard is comedy." Said another: "It's early. Maybe I'll get used to the new guy. But I heard Jon Miller for one minute and I knew I liked him."
* ESPN makes me laugh when it talks about the "dynamic" addition to its college football package for the '91 season: six Thursday night games.
Explains ESPN's Loren Matthews: "This creates opportunities for and-coming schools who ordinarily don't get much exposure."
Up-and-coming? Like Georgia Tech and Virginia, who'll meet on ESPN on Sept. 19? Like Miami, Tennessee, UCLA and Texas, who are also in the package? Thursday night college football stinks.
* Dick Rudolph was deeply disappointed at the lack of recognition given ex-boxer Jack Portney, from Baltimore, when he died last month. Said Rudolph, who saw Portney fight numerous times more than a half century ago:
"Jack Portney fought and beat some of the greatest fighters in the world. He beat some of them right here at Carlin's Park [at Park Circle]. Jack could never beat Kid Chocolate, though. But Kid Chocolate was the featherweight champion of the world."
* Roy Simmons, who coached Syracuse to the NCAA lacrosse championship the past three seasons, had a major surprise TC when his team lost, 10-3, Saturday at North Carolina. Said Simmons: "I'm not as surprised that we lost as I am that we were held to three goals."
The Carolina defense that held the Orange down has two starters from Baltimore -- Calvert Hall senior Bryan Kelly, son of former State Sen. Frank Kelly, and Gilman's Alex Martin, son of nationally ranked squash player Sandy Martin. The other defensive starter for the Tar Heels is senior Graham Harden, from Deerfield Academy. The goalie, who had 16 saves, is Andy Piazza, from Oceanside, Long Island.
* I realize Tony Seaman is in his first year as lacrosse coach at Johns Hopkins, but there are some basic things about the place he still needs to learn. For instance, after Saturday's 22-5 win over Washington College, Seaman said: "Let us prove ourselves on the field, not just because we wear the blue and gray from Johns Hopkins."
Hopkins' colors are Columbia blue and black.