Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaspers Have Grown beyond Expectations

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaspers Have Grown beyond Expectations

Article excerpt

I never thought it would fly. I thought it would end up right

alongside the Cross Florida Barge Canal and the Florida Marlins

in the Sunshine State scrap heap of overly ambitious ideas.

A fancy-shmancy statewide sports awards television show

originating from Jacksonville? Come on.

Miami, maybe. Orlando, maybe. Tampa-St. Pete, maybe. Those are

the cities that always get these grandiose, star-studded

extravaganzas. Not Jacksonville. No way. Jacksonville has always

been perceived by its more "cosmopolitan" neighbors to the South

as the persecuted, provincial North Florida/South Georgia

bordertown. Although it is far and away the most livable,

lovable major city in the state, Jacksonville has never been the

most glitzy or ritzy.

But tonight, there will be glittery gowns and tailored tuxedoes

and red carpets and paparazzi and superstars being escorted to

and fro in stretch limos. There will be lights, cameras and

action as the inaugural Florida Sports Awards are presented at

the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

You want sports stars? Warrick Dunn, Tim Hardaway and Charlie

Ward will be here.

You want sports legends? Walt Frazier and Bobby Hull will be

here.

You want sports non-legends? Sam Wyche and Greg Huntington will

be here.

You want local flavor? Tom Coughlin, Wayne Weaver, Mark

Brunell, Tony Boselli, Jimmy Smith, Mark McCumber, Hugh Durham

and Artis Gilmore will be here. So will the Bragans. And Sam

Cowart and Fred Weary are jetting in from mini camps in Buffalo

and New Orleans, respectively, to be here.

You want movie stars? Well, there are none of those, although

Linden Ashby, who plays Doctor Cooper on Melrose Place, will be

here.

Even Alonzo Mourning will be here, if, in fact, he is well

enough to travel following the surgical procedure to have Jeff

Van Gundy removed from his ankle.

Frank Wrenn, the vice president of the Florida Marlins was

scheduled to be here, too. However, because of cost-cutting

measures, he may be running a little late. When last seen, he

had his thumb out just north of the Turkey Lake Service Plaza on

the Florida Turnpike. …

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