Herb Benham

Tracy Burrell, who some call the modern-day mother of the Bakersfield Racquet Club, recently had Court 6 named after her. 

I’d like to say the World Series is something we can agree on but if you’re not a Rays or a Dodgers fan, and hold one or both in low regard, this may not be true and we’re back to eyeballing one another across the aisle.

However, if you are a sports fan, a baseball fan and a fan of good live TV during the fall then maybe we can inch closer together, and wouldn’t that be refreshing?

The Series is a game apiece, with the third game Friday and even though I am a Dodgers fan, I’m not fond of the Southland sensibility reinforced by some of the L.A. sports writers that says the Dodgers deserve to win because they are the Dodgers and haven’t won a World Series since 1988.

“Deserve"? That sounds like entitlement or birthright rather than having anything to do with effort, teamwork and team spirit.

The Dodgers have those three attributes, as do the Rays, so either team would be deserving, but often it seems what separates the winner from the loser is almost team magic. The team that has everything else and they like each other, are rooting for each other and are happy to have made it that far (maybe not the Astros).

Most things in life can be explained through a Seinfeld episode or a scene from “The Best of Times.” Sometimes success can come down to a change of weather, a rainstorm and a lucky hat.

The World Series slows time down. Slow is good. Right now, slow hits the spot.


The oddest sounding columns occasionally get the most response. The ones before I write them, I think, “You’re really not going to do this, are you?”

The column on having 11 water bottles in the fridge and experiencing the crackling water bottle syndrome in the middle of the night guaranteed to wake up your partner garnered several responses, the first from Elden Miller.

“Like you, I am a cold water guy. My wife tells me that room temp is better, but she is wrong. I have done some public speaking in the past and a mentor of mine once told me cold water would cause your throat to seize, but he was wrong too.

“Like you I used to drink bottled water and struggled with keeping it at the right temperature. I’d buy a case and fill an entire shelf in the fridge. A few years ago, a friend I was visiting on the East Coast introduced me to a Yeti water bottle. Now my fridge has space and when I reach for it on my nightstand, the water is cool and stays cool for hours.”

I’ve heard good things about Yeti but I had one and it leaked.


The column on pomegranates tickled the old memory bone for Theresa Souers, a friend who grew up in Bakersfield and now lives in Lake Tahoe with her husband, Don. Theresa was visiting recently.

“I haven’t seen one of those since I was a kid,” she said, looking at our trees.

You may not remember everything about your childhood, but you probably remember the pomegranate tree if you had one. Pomegranate trees may be the only thing Lake Tahoe doesn't have.


Tracy Burrell, formerly Tracy McNair, recently had Court 6 named after her at the Bakersfield Racquet Club. She has been a fine player all her life (she was ranked No. 3 in the country in the U18 doubles) but as good a player as she has been, she’s even a better person. True, blue Bakersfield. Some people see Burrell as the current mother of the club.


Layne Smith offers a correction on the column about the newest “Father of the Bride”:

“This morning you wrote about weddings during this pandemic and the new 'Father of the Bride' on Netflix. Unfortunately when you say the original 'Father of the Bride' was 30 years ago, you are actually off by about 40 years. The original was made in 1950! If you haven’t seen it, please find time. As much as I did enjoy the 'remake' with Steve Martin in 1991, the original with Spencer Tracy is classic.

"Enjoy your youngest son’s wedding next year and all those in between.”


Musical recommendation of the week and I’m probably the last to hear about Tyler Childers, sort of a Chris Stapleton singer-songwriter. Listen to the song “Feathered Indians.” It has one of the great first lines on any song I’ve heard recently.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.