Man, it’s been a busy two-plus weeks. Between county tournaments, sectionals, and state finals, I’ve covered seven events over that stretch, most of which were terrific events to write about.
In the county baseball tournament, I had a preliminary round game that was run-ruled after five innings because of a 14-0 rout. Three days later I covered the title game that was an excellent 5-4 game that ended with the tying run on third base. The pitcher I saw that day <em>might</em> get drafted this week, but will play D1 baseball if he doesn’t. He was fantastic and was great to talk to after the game.
The highlight of that game, though, was sitting in front of some parents of FC players who bitched about everything. I’m 99% sure they didn’t know who I was or who I work for, but when I sat down one dad was asserting, loudly, that our paper would write more about the biggest school in the county, CG, not making the title game than the teams that were playing. Our paper has a reputation for covering CG more than the other five schools in the county. But CG is also the biggest school, competes in more sports, and is generally more successful than any other school in the county. The “bias” they see is more a matter of us having to cover more events that CG competes in.
Anyway, you can comment on stories on our paper’s website. There are almost never any comments on my stories. The photographer shooting the title game misidentified one of the FC players in a picture attached to my story. Whoops! When I checked the website Monday morning there were two comments on the story ripping us for the mistake. One of the commenters was clearly the loudmouth I sat near on Saturday, as he repeated some of the cracks he made at the game in his comment. Never mind that we published a glowing article about his son’s team winning their first county title in a decade. It was important to get his “clever” shots at the paper onto the (virtual) public record.
Fortunately, as my editor told me later, another dad of an FC player left him a message thanking us for taking the time to cover the game and complimenting me on the story. Even Stephen!
Two nights later I covered a softball sectional. The team I covered had been ranked #1 in the state a week earlier but lost their final regular season game and fell to #3. They won ugly the night I had them and their season ended in an upset the next night.
While they were losing, I covered a phenomenal sectional baseball game on the west side. The game ended 1-0 in eight innings after the center fielder for my team lost a ball in the lights and let the winning run score with two outs. The winning pitcher went all eight innings, allowed only three hits, just two runners to reach third base, and struck out 11. My pitcher also went the full eight and struck out 18. Eighteen! He gave up eight hits and the saw runners in scoring position with less than two outs in seven of eight innings. But each time he got into trouble, whiff, whiff, whiff. Inning over. Well, except for the last inning.
The big bummer of the game was it poured two hours before first pitch, more or less flooding the infield. First pitch was pushed back an hour so they could get it playable. Between the delay and the extra inning, the last out was recorded at 9:20. I had a 10:00 deadline. And coaches always talk to their teams forever after the final loss of the season. I had to run to my car and write as quickly as possible without getting quotes from any coaches or players. Which sucked, because it was a fantastic game and deserved more than my quick write-up.
Somewhere in there I had a sectional tennis match, and I had the same team, GHS, last Friday in the state quarterfinals. They feature twin sisters as their top two singles players, and neither girl had lost a set or match all season. The #1 singles girl lost a set Friday, but came back to win her match. Her sister wrapped her match up in about 40 minutes. Their opponents knocked out the two doubles matches in about an hour. Which left the #3 singles girls to determine who would go to the semifinals. My girl was up 5-2 in the first set and blew it. She won the second set pretty easily. Third set excitement! It was close through the first four games but my girl wilted and lost 3-6.
And then, finally, Saturday I covered my first ever track meet. It was an important one, too. I went down to Bloomington for the girls state finals. I was kind of dreading it as the storms which pounded Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri Friday were expected in southern Indiana Saturday afternoon and evening. When I got to B-town it was overcast and sprinkling. A couple times it rained a little harder but the radar kept showing the rain falling apart and moving away. Eventually the sun broke through the clouds and it turned into a glorious evening.
I only had a few competitors to be concerned with. My high jumper, just a sophomore, took second and was great to talk to after. One of her teammates took fourth in the 1600, her third-straight top five finish, and eighth in the 3200. The top eight get medals and these were the fifth medals of her career. She’s running in college next year and was also great to talk to.
Other than them, I watched a 4×800 relay team run the fastest time in the US this year, and the 8th fastest high school time ever recorded. They took ten, TEN!, seconds off the previous state record. The girl who won the 3200 lapped one runner, nearly caught another, and had the crowd on their feet as she came up 0:02 short of breaking the state record.
And it was just a fun day. There are all kinds of different bodies at a high school track meet. There are some large ladies tossing the discus and shot put around. There are some girls who are ridiculously muscular for being 16, 17, 18 years old. And there are girls who don’t look like much until they start running. That 4×800 squad featured twin sisters who weren’t super tall or have popping muscles or anything like that. They looked like normal girls from a little town in Indiana. But on the track they fly. Each sister won an individual state title to go with that relay win.
That will do it for the 2012-13 academic season. Football is only 10 weeks away.