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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weather part of life, sectionals

Posted Friday, February 25, 2011, at 6:19 PM

It is hard to believe it has been just a little more than three weeks ago when freezing rain and school cancellations dominated our conversions.

Although I am not the biggest fan of rain, I'm happy that the word freezing is not part of it as we have seen more clouds than sunshine this week. The snow early Friday morning, that disappeared by noon, was just a hint that mother nature is not done with us yet.

I was part of the unfortunate few in the area less than a month ago that was without power. As it turned out, it was only for 22 hours, but it was enough to spend one night under four blankets. I couldn't sleep and had to sit up and listen to the limbs creak and crack and eventually fall off of our 150-year old oak tree, hoping they didn't hit the house. (A deal to cut them fell through a couple of years ago, but that is another sad story).

On our second night, arrangements had been made for the Hargis family to stay at 79 S. Main St. here in Linton at the Greene County Daily World office. During that unusual week when we were putting the paper to bed during the day instead of at night -- when life in the Wabash Valley seemed to come to a crawl and did not even resemble normal -- it seemed like a viable solution, considering we would have access to heat, cable, Internet, phone, refrigerator and sleeping bags and a blow up bed provided by editor Chris Pruett.

Also I could work on writing stories for the girls basketball sectional preview section. You have to love those multi-tasking skills.

But just about the time we were getting settled in, a friend called about 7 p.m. to say our lights were back on. Part of our neighborhood was without power and part had all the comforts of home all along.

After about 3 1/2 hours of getting everything back in the fridge and freezer and unloading the car, toting all of our blankets, pillows and belongings back in the house, the freeze out of 2011 was over for us.

We managed to make it through the week and Rick Curl and I finished the preview section and we even had some games on Friday night. After a three-inch snowfall on Saturday had melted away that night, much like the one Friday morning, the girls sectional went off without a hitch from mother nature the next week. What a break for all involved.

With all of that aside, Tuesday will be the first day of March and the first day of the sectionals for local boys teams, so we can see if it comes in like a lion or lamb --as the old saying goes -- both on and off the court.

I can tell you without fail that we are not done with cold weather, but saying the word March just sounds better than January. The forecast calls for a sunny sky and 46 degrees on Tuesday. I will take that on the opening night of area boys basketball sectionals in any year.

Wayne Fuson, who was sports editor at The Indianapolis News for several decades, used to come out with a column at this time of year, reflecting on the weather during the boys basketball state tournament.

I wished I had a copy to examine. I was glad I missed most of those snowy events, although I do remember some sectionals when the mercury was near 70 degrees. The tough choice was whether to stay home and play basketball or watch Mooresville get beat in the sectional.

I remember a friend of mine telling me he got snowed in a gymnasium for a couple of days during at the Martinsville Sectional in the early 1960s.

It is not always the weather that can affect a state tournament. Pruett can tell you about the coal strike in 1978, which only delayed but did not stop him and his beloved Eminence Eels from winning the Martinsville Sectional.

It was just three years ago in February when a tornado went right over Guy Glover Gymnasium during a first-round game at the Bloomfield girls basketball sectional, and touched down in town. Those in attendance, including myself, got very lucky that night.

It was during a girls basketball sectional in 1998 at Clay City when it snowed about four inches on the first night of the tournament. But it did not start until about 4:30 p.m., too late to call it off.

That turned out to be one very slick evening. I was on my way home and I slide through a curve, virtually traveling side-by-side with a school bus. I was so close that my fingers could have easily touched the metal as we seemed to round the curve as one.

I was in a borrowed vehicle, so thankfully my truck did not trade paint with that yellow and black bus and eventually, after coming up for air, I had a safe, if not uneventful journey home.

So whether it be freezing rain, snow, gloom of night or any other man-made or natural disasters, life continues and basketballs keep bouncing and clanging off of metal rims and swishing through nylons nets.

Good luck to your teams and be safe, at home and on the road.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at hargisbj@gmail.com or (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.

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