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Through the use of my own sports machine …

On a summer night like tonight, when I was much younger, I was lucky enough to stay up past 10:30, just in time to watch “The George Michael Sports Machine.” It was basically a 30-minute national and world sports roundup hosted by the late Washington, D.C., sportscaster — no, not the pop singer — designed for homes like mine that didn’t have access to “SportsCenter.” It aired Sunday nights from 1984-2007 in syndication.

Coaches’ poll resonates more than previous ones

LITTLE ROCK — Spotted in January, a way-too-early Top 25 began with TCU. Another one in May was risk-free, endorsing Ohio State. Both were dismissed out of hand. Available online and in various publications, other predictions were given a cursory glance at best.

‘Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation’ will keep you on the edge of your seat

In addition to going Clear, Tom Cruise has also gone clean — as in clean out of his mind. His oft-repeated death-defying stunts in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” are clearly the actions of a crazy person. Has he no sense of self-preservation? Apparently not, because the world’s most famous Scientologist (and rare achiever of the religion’s goal of getting “Clear”) is willing to do just about anything to entertain the pants off of you. And he succeeds at every turn, whether it’s clinging to the fuselage of an ascending airplane in Minsk or racing motorcycles at 100 mph along a narrow, snaking road in Morocco. He even holds his breath for more than three minutes under water — in a whirlpool! Which is only right since we have to hold ours for two whole hours, as “Rogue Nation” delivers thrill after thrill to the point where your nerves can’t take it anymore.

Sequel intriguing, but no ‘Mockingbird’

Some published novels should never see the light of day. Ernest Hemingway’s reputation has suffered from the posthumous release of such wretched drafts as “True at First Light.” Papa Hemingway didn’t release them in his lifetime, and we can tell there was a good reason.

First-Year Champions

The Arkansas Lady Cardinals won the Hoop Play National Championship in their first year of existence. The tournament was held the weekend of July 18-19 in Russellville. The team is comprised of eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders from Watson Chapel, Pine Bluff, Dollarway, Jack Robey Junior High, Rison, Star City and Woodlawn. The Lady Cardinals lost their first game of the tourney to the Arkansas Sting by 15 points, and then defeated the Arkansas Chaos by 10. The team finished pool play with a 1-2 record after losing by five points to the Tennessee Team Dez. In bracket play, the Lady Cardinals knocked off the Arkansas Storm, 36-24. In the semifinals, edged out the Arkansas Hoyas, 39-35. The Lady Cardinals won a defensive battle with the Arkansas Intensity, 27-26, to win the championship. Those pictured are, first row from left, head coach Yolanda Scott, Amber Witherspoon, Kyamber Jackson, Kyaira Jackson and Jada Anderson; second row, Tymesha Cole, Sarah J. Linsy, Sana Ragland, Kierrie Brice, T’aja Williams and Kyaira Brice. Coaches Demetrice Nelson, left, and Charles Witherspoon are in the back row.