News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 10, 2009

Amey Takes Aim: South’s Hunter Bullock’s joy for athletics is refreshing

Hunter Bullock didn’t win the state mental attitude award for girls high school tennis like I had instructed her to do on Saturday, so you’ll have to get this information some other way.

Terre Haute South’s No. 1 singles player the past three seasons is working her way up my long list of favorite athletes, not only because of her considerable athletic gifts but also because of her blithe spirit. She competes very hard, but she competes with joy. My goodness, is that refreshing.

One of the South dads and I were bemoaning missed opportunities at one point Saturday afternoon at the state finals, and he mentioned his theory that in a lot of girls tennis matches, the worst thing a player can do is get ahead.

Then, he said, she gets careful and starts playing not to lose. I found it very hard to disagree.

In most of Hunter’s matches, however, I usually have to look at the scorecards to see which player is winning. Her approach to every point is the same, and her body language rarely changes.

If she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, however, she does display some of it on her wrist. That’s the convoluted point this article is trying to make, because she’s also made some fans at the C.A.N.D.L.E.S. museum.

Hunter Bullock’s joy doesn’t extend to the situation in the Sudan. She’s been wearing a green “Save Darfur” wristband all season, and she’s not the only one.

“Hopefully [by wearing the wristband] it will get people’s attention to help [the people of Darfur] out,” she said after her final high school match on Saturday. “They’re giving [the wristbands] out at the holocaust museum, trying to prevent another genocide.

“All the girls on [South’s] team have one, people at [Terre Haute] North have them, and we’ve gotten our whole school involved.”

Sounds like she’d have made a good choice for that mental attitude award herself. And, while this is risky to predict because of my lack of tennis expertise, I also think she still isn’t as good a player as she’s going to be; she has the strokes, and she gets to a lot of balls. Once she starts hitting those lines, her ceiling as a player could be pretty high.

Just so long as she still enjoys it when she reaches it.

• In other tennis news — Congratulations to Amber Dickerson of Sullivan, a first-team academic all-state selection, and to Allison Stearley of Northview and Bailey Maryfield of Bloomfield, who received honorable mention.

Qualifications for those teams are a grade-point average of at least 3.6 out of 4.0 and a score of 1100 (on the 1600-point SAT), 1650 (on the 2400-point SAT) or 24 on the ACT.

• Go Indiana All-Stars — Good luck to Dragana Grbic and Jake Odum this week as they prepare for and compete in the all-star basketball series against Kentucky.

Games against Kentucky are Saturday night in Conseco Fieldhouse and Sunday at Bellarmine University in Louisville. Yes, the schedule is more compact and therefore ends earlier this year than in previous seasons.

I’m sure there are good reasons for those changes. With so many high school events still going on, however, enhanced media coverage will not be one of them.

• And if it’s June, it must be … time for football.

Reserve the evening of June 27 on your calendars, because that’s the date of this year’s Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game.

Construction at Indiana State’s Memorial Stadium means the practices and games will be at Terre Haute South this year, practice starting June 21 and the game at 7 p.m. on June 27. The annual banquet is 6 p.m. June 26 in Hulman Center.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.