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The beginning of the end is here -- and it's not the apocalypse

Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at 6:24 PM

There are very often strong signs of the beginning of the end.

And in the case of spring sports those signs are rapidly approaching, like the thunderstorms that have once again played havoc on the softball sectional.

Whenever I hear talk of the Indy 500, the MLB All-Star Game, the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals it reminds me that we will soon be in that hiatus.

You know that wonderful time when we as prep sports writer we get to recharge our batteries, clear our heads and gather our full thoughts.

To put in perspective how the cycle works let me lay an example on you that gearheads -- of which I am a proud representative -- can relate to.

Think of the time after spring sports as that first week at Indy. You know where you get your credentials, plan your visit, make your reservations, etc., etc.

Then you have the first signs of fall sports. When the football and volleyball teams begin their workouts. The cross-country teams tune up and the girls golf teams start swinging.

That phase is like the early practice sessions before the flurry of qualifying.

It's immediately followed by the previews of fall sports which is in the same class as the actual qualifying. You make a run, set the bar for the best standard and proceed to break it with each and every story.

Then comes the start of fall sports -- or in the vernacular of racing -- the dropping of the green flag.

It comes shortly after the preview of the first week of the football season. Kind of like the pace laps that bring the field to speed.

As fall sports unfold, like the early laps of a race, you get a feel for how the athletic programs at each of the participating schools will do that year.

Football and volleyball are good indicators as to what kind of athletes each school has. Throw in cross-country, tennis and golf and you get into the pace of the race.

As fall starts to wind down with the postseason events that we cover, it marks the first pit stop or maybe the first caution flag, depending on how the local teams have done.

Then after a short stop we move into the longest segment of sports in the area, the winter sports.

It usually only includes boys and girls basketball, but it certainly consumes the most time.

And like the middle of a 500 mile race the flow and tempo can be considered steady and consistent. It also helps reaffirm or displace your earlier evaluation of how the athletic programs will do through the entire school year that you made back in the fall.

Midway through the winter season you have the next pitstop or caution flag, the winter break.

It's a time when teams hope to get healthy, get back on track or just find a way to improve. Much the same as pit crews do during the middle of a race.

You know, when they hope to improve track position or make adjustments to their entry.

Then comes the slowly developing and waning end of the winter sports. There's a flurry of activity, much like a driver making a move in the latter stages of a race to position themselves for a run to the finish.

After another short pitstop or caution flag, we come to the hectic ending that is spring sports.

There's a short flurry of action highlighted by the shortest of all seasons that sets us up for the grand finale of the school year.

When the final team has crossed the finish line in one of the many spring sports, they pull off the course, set back and patiently await the next race -- or in this case the start of a new fall season in the near future.


I'd like to express my thanks to the fine folks at the Terre Haute North Track Sectionals.

Especially to the young lady who gave me valuable assistance when I was trying to keep up with the final results.

Jessica, as I recall and since I lost the paper with her name on it, is an education major at Indiana State and for her help I am forever thankful.

I wish her well in her studies and hope to run into her again in the future.

Rick is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. Or he can be reached by e-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.

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