All right, sports fans, it's time once again for another session of those "Q's without A's" and a look back to some interesting responsesfrom last Friday's questions without answers column.
Let me remind you guys to call with your answers, opinions and questions. Just buzz my 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499.
A couple of "Q's" in Friday's column drew quite a bit of response, and because the 24-hour Sportsline serves as a sounding pad, you get what I get. The input, whether we agree or not, is always appreciated.
* First, the "Q," what does that "X" mean on all those baseball caps I keep seeing? There was a lot of response to that one, both on the Sportsline and in person.
The "X" stands for the late Malcolm X, about whom Spike Lee is producing a movie.
I often raise questions to see how many people actually know the answers and to provokethought on a particular point.
After one elderly gentleman told me he thought it stood for the bones (X) of the LA Raiders football team, I wondered how many other people didn't know.
I was amazed at the number of people who thought the "Q" was rather brazen and that it would tick off some black people.
Mary Ellen Towns of Arundel High called and said, "It makes me nervous sometimes reading your articles. Pat, are you living in a cave?
"I believe black athletes and your black readers are going to be extremely upset by that statement.Geez-a-whiz, Pat, the 'X' stands for the Spike Lee film, 'Malcolm X.' "
I admire Mary Ellen for taking the time to call and certainly for being concerned. The response was to the contrary.
Several people called and politely told me what it meant. Thank goodness no one took it as a demeaning "Q," because it wasn't.
The best response came from Old Mill parent Toni Shepherd, the mom of outstanding Patriots athlete Eric Shepherd and former star running back Craig Powell. Ifrequently hear from her and value her opinion, because she is the kind of mom every kid should be so lucky to have.
"In our household, we use the newspaper as an educational tool and getting teen-agers to read is like pulling teeth," she said.
"The 'X' symbolizes Malcolm X, the African-American leader in the Muslim religion. Spike Lee's movie has brought about an awareness among our youths. The next time you see anybody wearing something symbolizing their culture, ask them the significance.
"If they can not give you a legitimate answer, they should not be wearing that particular item until they know whythey are wearing. I give them a long lecture of the reason why they are wearing it and what it stands for."
Shepherd, who grew up during the sometimes tumultuous '60s and '70s, said, "There was a heightened awareness of our black culture. I think our youth need to get back to that and be knowledgeable of the culture."
* As for the "Q" on indoor track raised by Old Mill coach Gary Bater about what more than 600 kids would be doing if there was no indoor track season, I threw in a few tongue-in-cheek remarks listing other things, including getting a life, and also, called the sport rehearsal for the outdoor season in the spring.
Well, that really set off Charles Speight, who called the Sportsline and let me have it.
"Your comments are completely inappropriate and ignorant," said Speight. "These are the same stupid comments you made about JV football not being the real thing.
"Why don't you get a life. These kids work hard, and they reap some doggone good accomplishments, and they don't need an idiot like you who has no concept of track evidently, or prep athletics apparently, to make such stupid, irresponsible comments."
With all that in mind, who do you think offered me the nicest Christmas gift of all (though I have yet to receive it) as a way of reciprocating my including him on my exclusive Christmas list that ran Sunday, Dec. 22?
"I would like to some day publish a bumper sticker for you that would say 'I sometimes brake for cross country runners,' and yes, I really would like an autographed picture of Pat O'Malley in a Patriots joggingsuit getting ready to pole vault," said Bater.
* One other "Q" from last week that got quite a bit of response was about what the state sport should be. It already is jousting, and believe it or not, there is a movement to make duckpin bowling the state sport.
As usual, the calls to the Sportsline were for that other spring sport, lacrosse, and the guys tried to hurt with comments like, "You know lacrosse has it all over baseball."
* Did you know three Severna Park residents play roles in one of the most successful youth ice hockey teams on the Eastern Seaboard, known as the Little Caps?
Brad Thompsonis head coach of the 15-and-under Bantam ice hockey squad that drawsplayers from Virginia and Prince George's County. Thompson's son, Chris, is a defenseman on the team, and their neighbor Jon Sakalis is acenter.