We are just one day away from the kickoff of the high school football season.
We have been running stories this week to prepare for Friday's opener and in that morning's edition we will have a special section with rosters, schedules and some coaches' comments for each of our nine football schools.
So everything is in good shape to get this underway right? Well, not quite.
High school football games are about two hours and 30 minutes long. Most teams start at 7 p.m. Under good conditions, games will end about 9:30. Our reporters have just 45 minutes after that to get stories finished for print. Our online versions can be completed a bit later.
But it seems that the biggest heat of the summer has decided to land in Indiana on the same day as football begins.
So now the athletic directors at many high schools are doing the smartest and safest thing available to them — pushing back the start times to try and get away from some of the heat of the day. As I write this, Lapel and Elwood have already pushed 7 p.m. kickoffs back 30 minutes. Lapel has even announced a longer halftime to give players a chance to cover.
The health and well being of the players is the most important thing in all of this. There is no doubt about that.
Yet this situation wouldn't exist if the school year and the football season started at a more reasonable spot on the calendar. The fact is that we are a month away from the start of the fall.
I understand that school and the prep grid season can't wait until Sept. 22 to begin. But how about starting school just after Labor Day and actual football games that same week? That seems reasonable. Asking high school athletes to play such a physical sport in full pads when temperatures are in the mid-80s at kickoff seems less than sane. Something needs to be done.
There seems to be no end to the people who are asking me about the Tony Stewart incident. I was on vacation when it happened. It is no secret that I have him atop my list of favorite drivers. It is unthinkable to me that Stewart had any intention of hitting fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. What was in his mind during the incident is something that only he will ever know.
I am not sure that Stewart will drive again this year, but I would be greatly surprised if he quit completely. I do not expect him to face criminal charges but a civil lawsuit wouldn't surprise me. Ward certainly isn't without blame for the incident but obviously he deserved a better fate. It was a tragedy for all concerned.
Sports Editor Rick Teverbaugh's columns appear twice weekly.