Covering high school sports on deadline provides many challenges.
The biggest, of course, is trying to get a story with quotes from coaches and players about a game that ends around 9 or 9:30 p.m. filed by 10 p.m. to make our print edition. That challenge becomes even greater if the game goes to overtime or, even worse, if the earlier JV game goes to overtime.
Given the fact the job frequently requires I remain in the gym well after the game has ended, this also provides remarkable opportunities to witness things many fans don’t get a chance to see.
Many a time I’ve been alone in the gym with the custodial staff, who work very, very hard to clean things up after a game. Through conversations with these folks, I’ve learned they love sports, too — often asking me about the Colts or the Reds — root for their school and take great pride in their work.
By the way, we can all make life a little easier on these folks by taking our trash to the proper receptacle after the game.
But, I digress.
This past weekend, I also saw some pretty cool stuff after the dust had settled on two very exciting Madison County championship games, Friday at Alexandria when the Tigers edged Pendleton Heights and Saturday at Lapel as Anderson defended its title by holding off the Bulldogs.
After I had conducted my hurried postgame interviews Friday, I returned to my seat behind the scorer’s table to hammer out my Alex over PH gamer. Most of the fans had exited, but there were a few small kids on the court showing off their basketball skills for one another.
A lone Arabian player — junior Davrick Black — strolled out to the court and joined in the fun.
It should be noted Black had just fouled out in the closing seconds of a game his team lost by three points.
But there he was, decked out in his green sports jacket with a tie and hauling a backpack, dribbling with the kids, showing off a couple moves and knocking down jumpers, much to the youngsters’ delight.
He could have been off sulking somewhere, but instead he spent a few minutes with some young men who thoroughly enjoyed it. Those gestures mean a lot to the little ones, and I applaud Davrick, who did this despite just having had his heart torn out on that same court.
Also, after the girls game Saturday night, I was able to engage Lapel coach Zach Newby in some conversation. Initially, we talked about some of the stats from the game, but later he made another appearance in the gym, this time carrying a ladder.
I’d always assumed maintenance or the aforementioned custodial employees had the responsibility of replacing the nets after they’d been cut down by the champs.
But, in what seems like a little bit of insult added to injury, that’s what Newby was doing.
Maybe he suffers from a little basketball-related OCD because he told me he just couldn’t stand to see the rim without the net. That makes sense. It’s a much less appealing aesthetic for sure.
I also mentioned the girls sectional draw was just two weeks away, to which he said something to the effect of the season going by too quickly and he wasn’t ready to bid farewell to his four seniors.
Same Zach. Same.
• • •
Also, I’d like to correct a pair of terrible oversights on my part. Last week, when we unveiled our top 10 sports stories of 2019, a pair of stories were left off the honorable mention list. Both Pendleton Heights winning its second straight Madison County volleyball title and Shenandoah claiming its fourth consecutive boys basketball Henry County title should have been included, and I deeply regret that mistake.