Don't write off Arkee

JOHN SHORT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:09 PM ET

All the right things are being said about rookie Arkee Whitlock's on-field misery against the Montreal Alouettes.

Cheer up, he was told after the first potential pass bounced off his hands. Things could be worse.

So he cheered up for a minute and things got worse.

Now the public perception is that things are getting better again for the young Eskimo. Perhaps Whitlock won't start next week or the week after but the professional attitude of head coach Richie Hall is a virtual guarantee that he won't get his walking papers after one lousy game.

Years ago, Eskimo coach Ray Jauch was faced with a similar issue.

A promising defensive back named Joe Hollimon was so inept in a preseason game that a bunch of media wretches expected Jauch to dismiss him before the team went home.

Jauch shocked us. "Hollimon will be an Eskimo for a long time," he said, "and he'll be a big star in this league."

Check the roster of those great five-in-a-row Eskimo teams. Jauch, as usual, was right.

CFL IS, WELL, WACKY

It's a good thing for the ego of Western Conference fans in the CFL that the Argos were terrible yesterday.

The West never loses four in one weekend against the East -- well, hardly ever -- because the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are perennially lousy.

This weekend, the West was as bad as the East has ever been: Eskimos unable to score against Montreal; B.C. embarrassed by Hamilton; Henry Burris absolutely inept against Winnipeg.

All of which proves nothing, except that the CFL will be as upside-down and inside-out as it has ever been.

One guarantee is already in place: A truckload lot of excitement is due before November.

HINTON AIMING TOO HIGH?

I've been a fan of Sheldon Hinton for a lot of years, so I hope he isn't reaching too high with his next boxing endeavour.

Monte Barrett is ranked 23rd among the world's heavyweights. Boxrec, an international rating service, lists Hinton more than 200 spots further down the ladder.

Hinton is much sharper than his critics are likely to concede, but it's worth noting that Tye Fields, an easy winner in his first Edmonton appearance several weeks ago, was stopped by Barrett a few years ago. That fight lasted only one round.

MAJOR BLOW TO ACAC

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference has suffered a big blow: Bill Persley has told Portage College officials that he will soon retire as president.

Not always do outsiders see presidents as having a major link to sports, but Persley was the moving force behind one of the ACAC's most recent positives: he led Portage toward the creation of a hockey team that was immediately popular in Lac La Biche and intensely competitive on the ice.

Executive director Bob Day called this the most positive step in ACAC sports for several years.

Persley also developed a series of fund-raising events -- Frank Mahovlich, Ken Dryden and former Eskimo Kavis Reed have been popular speakers -- that allowed his school to provide scholarships for top athletes, just as other ACAC schools have done for years.

Persley will continue as chair of Alberta's Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, so his plans to do a lot of golfing near Kelowna and Phoenix are still in the future.

Persley's decision was somewhat expected.

Something else entirely is the resignation of Les Butler, who arrived many years ago as racing manager at Northlands Park and ultimately became the organization's vice-president of racing and gaming.

Given the state of the racing industry in these parts, my only shock is that he stayed so long, because other casinos and racetracks openly wooed him.

JCSHORT@SHAW.CA


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