It’s been a while since I typed an RR&R column. One reason has been lack of space in the sports pages.
But that’s OK because I’d rather fill our sports pages with the names of our local-area athletes and their exploits rather than with some of my musings.
However, there comes a time when I feel some things must be stated, no matter how unpopular they might be.
John the Baptist was not popular among some folks. He was jailed and eventually beheaded on the orders of King Herod.
Now, in no way am I putting myself on the level of John the Baptist. But sometimes I feel like a lone wolf howling in the desert.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve “collected” some issues I wish to address, and since there’s plenty of space in today’s sports pages, I’ll deal with them now.
First of all, for the life of me I can’t understand why the IHSAA allows girls golf sectionals to be contested on Fridays and Mondays, which are school days in the fall (late summer). I thought the IHSAA was a proponent of academics.
I don’t have a real problem with boys golf sectionals in the late spring (early June) being contested on Fridays and Mondays, because school is out for the summer by then.
Now, if a girls golf sectional were rained out on a Saturday (the day when all of them should be contested), I have no problem with Monday being a make-up date for it.
But to deliberately schedule these sectionals on Fridays and Mondays is not necessary. If there is a Saturday conflict on a golf course scheduled to host one of these sectionals, have the sectional moved to another golf course that has no conflict. There are plenty of them around this state.
I don’t think any of the girl golfers minded missing a day of school to play golf. If I were still a student in high school, I would have jumped at the chance to do the same thing.
But as a former college business instructor for 20 years at five different institutions of higher learning, there were countless times I encountered recent high school graduates unprepared for my introductory courses, some with no prerequisites. Taking away a day of school doesn’t help in that regard.
On an episode of the old sitcom “Leave It To Beaver,” Beaver and Larry ditched school and ended up appearing on TV. Ward made Beaver go in to talk to his teacher, Miss Landers, after school to explain his behavior that day.
Miss Landers wasn’t mad, but was a little disappointed in the Beaver and what she told the Beaver has stuck with me over the years.
“You didn’t do anything to me, Beaver,” she told him. “You did it to yourself. It’s as if you deliberately took a day out of your life and threw it away. There’s so much to learn and only so much time to learn it.”
Now, I’m not stating playing golf is a waste of time, but it’s not the same as being in a classroom.
Another thing that’s bad about holding golf sectionals on Fridays and Mondays is that it’s a workday for most folks.
I couldn’t be at either golf sectional this past Monday because I had a Tuesday sports section to prepare and worked in the office almost until 3 pm on Monday to get it done.
It’s also a safe bet that some of the parents, grandparents, and friends of the players had to take a vacation or personal day off from their work to see the girls play.
I wish the IHSAA would go to a “Saturdays only” policy for girls golf sectionals, but I won’t hold my breath over it.
I think the new Luddy Tennis Center on the campus of New Castle High School is a fine facility and a major upgrade from the old tennis courts. But it isn’t perfect.
First of all, there is not enough parking at the new facility. Most folks have to find parking nearby because there are not enough parking spots at the LTC.
Parking at the adjacent Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame museum should not be an option unless it is closed. Folks who can’t find a parking spot at the LTC should park along Trojan Lane or in the Fieldhouse parking lot.
My suggestion is to build a sidewalk from the Fieldhouse parking lot to the LTC so people can walk safely there.
There is a “graveyard for tennis balls” at the Luddy Tennis Center off the far northwestern court (court No. 8, I believe).
If a player hits a ball over the fence on the west side of that court and it doesn’t get lodged in the rocks somewhere, good luck retrieving it from that deep ravine.
When the New Castle boys tennis sectional begins next week at the LTC, I suggest that both semifinals matches on Thursday be contested starting at 4:30 pm
There are eight courts there and both matches can have four of the five flights going at the same time. When flights get completed, the remaining two flights can take the court.
That should get everybody home at a decent hour and there will be no more waiting around until 9:30 pm for the last flight to finish.
As President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Don’t tell me it can’t be done.”
There is something I would like for the IHSAA to consider regarding its boys and girls tennis tournaments.
If the team winner of a match has been decided (at least three points earned) and any flights that remain playing do not involve undefeated No. 1 singles players or no. 1 doubles duos, call the other flights a draw (tie) if they extend beyond two hours and into a third set.
Several times after the team winner has been decided, I have witnessed, let’s say, a No. 3 singles flight extended into a third set after two hours where both players are “scared” about losing a point and play conservatively without taking chances. A ball could be hit back-and-forth across the net 100 times (or more) before a point is decided.
To me, that is not exciting or entertaining tennis.
When I went down to North Decatur High School on Sept. 9 to cover Shenandoah’s football game at Ed Kaelin Field, I didn’t have a seat in the press box but at a table outside the press box.
I didn’t mind. It was a great night for football weather-wise, and I had an unobstructed view of the field even though the place was packed.
However, one thing I did not understand is why North Decatur’s public address announcer did his job the way he did.
Before the game, he did introduce the names of the Shenandoah players starting on offense or defense (I forget which Raider unit it was), but after that no mention of any Shenandoah players at all.
He mentioned the names of the North Decatur players when the host Chargers went on offense or defense.
My table was located at one end of the field. Shenandoah runs a lot of misdirection plays on offense and at times it was difficult for me to see which Raider player carried the ball. I got no help from the PA announcer.
I encountered the same thing at an Eastern Hancock home baseball game last March when the PA announcer(s) never mentioned any Tri players coming to bat or any Titan pitching changes.
Is this any way to treat one’s guests?
When I do the public address announcing, which I have done for five of our six local-area high schools at some point, I always mention the players from both teams. When I write my sports stories, I always mention the players from both teams, even from the non-local team.
I read a sports coverage story last winter written by a reporter from the Indianapolis Star, and not once did he mention a player from the team that was not local. What is that? Is that good reporting?
Riz was brought up to treat people with respect. Sometimes I might slip up, but for the most part I like to think I do that.
Before I end this column, I want to express my appreciation to the folks at Tri and Blue River Valley High Schools who brought me a bag of popcorn and a bottle of a soft drink when I showed up to cover one of their athletic events.
I think it shows they appreciate I am there to cover their teams. Right now, those two schools are the leaders for the RR&R hospitality award for the fall sports season.
Well, this is all for today until next time, whenever that may be.
David Risley is sports editor of The Courier-Times