Leader Blues

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SPORTS >> Snow days don’t freeze imagination

By TODD TRAUB
Leader sports editor

I’ve got to hand it to the local school administrators and athletic directors for the prompt way they got those snowed-out basketball games rescheduled and, in many cases, already played.

The people in charge realized the season was winding down — the smaller classifications began their conference tournaments this week — and with sites and dates set for regional and state tournaments and state finals, and with some schools playing previously scheduled makeup games at the end of the regular season, the latest round of postponements had to be made up whenever possible.

The situation probably wasn’t solved to everyone’s satisfaction. Former Lonoke girls coach Darryl Fimple, now at North Little Rock, told me at Cabot on Friday his team was playing its second consecutive night.

As a sports editor, I am particularly grateful to Fimple’s old employer Lonoke, which got in a couple makeups with Clinton a week ago to give us something live to cover for The Leader. Cabotalso got in games on Wednesday and had just a one-day hiatus before facing North Little Rock on Friday.

When rumors of more snow began to flutter around late last week I nearly panicked. After all how many postponement/rescheduling/state of the program stories can you write?

In my distressed state I threw out a lifeline on my Facebook page.

“If it snows again,” I wrote, “and more basketball games are canceled, and I don’t have anything to put in my sports section AGAIN I swear I’m going to start making stuff up. If you read about a basketball player being carried away by an enormous bird, you’ll know the fix is in.”

Apparently most of my friends were as bored or afflicted by cabin fever as I was, because they chimed in with ideas ranging from the ridiculous to the really ridiculous.

Some of the printable suggestions included an offer for me to cover a friend’s game of chess with his wife; an offer from a fellow editor in Colorado — where games don’t get snowed out — to send me some material; a suggestion I write about clowns in the sewer, Stephen King style and a recommendation I write about the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers or Bill Belichick, like all sportswriters do when they’re bored.

Boy, it’s like a college creative writing professor once said to me “when your back is against the wall you just plot, plot, plot.”

I also read a lot of Facebook updates from people who see snow in winter and automatically think it disproves the theory of global warming. As if years of science, study, observation and measurement can be debunked by a guy using his debit card to scrape off his windshield.

Let me get this straight, if it snows, it means there is no global warming. So, using that logic, when the snow melts, it must mean global warming is back on, right?

Anyway, you think a lot of weird thoughts when you’re snowed in.

For example, I actually started missing Jacksonville’s pregame warm-up music, which should come with a parental advisory label; having to park far away at Abundant Life because the Owls always have an early-arriving crowd, and that weird yellow glow that suffuses the inside on North Pulaski’s gym.

Seriously, I’m hoping we’re back to stay now, because I’d hate to see another interruption to this basketball season. I mean, look at what we have going on here.

Lonoke’s girls are the 2-4A Conference champs and the top seed to this week’s district tournament as they try to reach their fourth straight state final and finally win one; North Pulaski’s boys were perfect in the 5A-Southeast entering Tuesday, No. 1 in 5A and looking for a finals return of their own and the Abundant Life boys are No. 2 in Class 2A, the 5-2A North champions and the top seed in that district.

The Riverview boys are No. 3 in 3A and it remains to be seen if defending 6A champion Jacksonville can regroup with a mostly new starting lineup and make a push in the postseason. And maybe some other area team, boys or girls, pulls it together in the postseason, peaks at the right time, gets a good draw and makes a run.

To an ex-Yankee carpetbagger like myself, our recent weather is probably supposed to be a tiptoe through the tulips. But with all this basketball awaiting us and with baseball just around the corner, the next time I hear the word “snow” it better be followed by “cone.”