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So many celebrations, so few sports writersPosted Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at 9:46 AM
I want to take you the reader inside my world for just a little while. I want to give you a taste of what it's like to be in my shoes, to be a sports writer who covers primarily prep sports for the Greene County Daily World.
As anyone who's ever been involved in high school sports knows, there are just a few things you can take for certain each season.
First of all during football there will be a homecoming game and in most every sport there will be a senior day.
While to the outsider these may seem like harmless enough events. Nothing out of the ordinary.
But for a sports writer that may not be the case as I hope you will see if you read further.
I graduated from a high school that is known for it's homecoming celebration -- Vincennes Lincoln High School -- so nothing that I have seen will surprise me when it comes to celebrating that annual trek to return to your old school.
We have a parade that includes not only the football team and cheerleaders, but several returning classes, local churches and businesses (including banks, who never seem to give out free samples) and other civic groups.
We have an alumni of the year who comes back and is honored, ect.. so I'm not surprised by any activity.
The trouble is, ever since I've been in this business I never get to go my own homecoming football game.
Now granted, the Alices were to put it mildly, bad this year.
They were smoked in their own homecoming game 46-7 by Washington. But that's neither here nor there.
The fact still remains that I don't get to attend my own homecoming game, but boy do I get to attend others.
High school football season began on August 20 and the regular season wrapped up this past week.
Starting with the Union (Dugger) at Tecumseh game on September 10, I've attended five homecoming games. Then just for good measure, I've also attended four senior night events, two in football and two in volleyball -- that I can remember.
Former Indiana University and current ESPN analyst Lee Corso once said that when he coached the Hoosiers he "saw more beauty queens than Bert Parks", well I'll take it a step further and say I've probably seen more beauty queens than Lee Corso.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against homecoming queens or their courts. I have nothing against honoring seniors for all of their hard work and most of all I don't mind that those ceremonies take place every year.
In fact, in most schools they take place at least twice a year. Not in mine, but in most.
See at Vincennes we didn't and still don't have a homecoming basketball game. But that's fine.
I guess the going to five different homecoming games is just one small part of the overly glamorous life of a hometown sports writer.
Speaking strictly for myself, some of the most exotic and exciting places have been frequented by yours truly.
I mean I've filed stories from convenience stores, truck stops, restaurants, the front seat of my car and from a parking lot or two.
I've written stories in motel rooms, hotel lobbies and have witnessed games from the roof of press boxes. So, the worst thing isn't the five homecoming games, the countless number of homecoming queen candidates and the never-ending sounds of clapping as the queen is crowned on a football field somewhere in the state of Indiana.
Maybe the worst thing is not being able to remember the names of all the queens and kings I've seen crowned.
I remember certain details about the events, like at Wood Memorial this year when all of the queen candidates wore the same dress and boots -- exactly the same.
Or that most homecoming kings are not the one who escorts the would-be queen when they are introduced to the crowd.
Perhaps what stands out the most is that no matter how you look at it, how much you like or dislike the homecoming celebration (and I don't know too many folks who don't like it), it's as much a part of the game as the game itself at this level.
But there remains one simple, yet complex question among all the floats, crepe paper and poster board:
Do you have to schedule it when I'm covering the game?
We'll leave it at that for now.
Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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