News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 10, 2011

ANDY TAKES AIM: A sportwriters’s lament: Oh, the games we missed

Andy Amey
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — I was already tired of winter by the time that first bitterly cold snap passed through in mid-December, so it’s safe to say the season hasn’t grown on me.

Winter is a wonderful time when there are games to cover, but boring and crappy when there aren’t any. I’m still kicking myself, and will be for quite some time, for not calling Paris last Friday, when the Tigers played Robinson — a girl-boy doubleheader, to make it worse — even though the kids from Paris didn’t have to go to school. I’d have even gone to Oblong had I not assumed Casey wasn’t going to get to play down there that night.

You know what happens when you assume.

I love the fact that those Illinois schools were able to use a little discretion, and blame the contrasting decisions on the Indiana side of the border on that deadly ailment TML (too many lawyers). And you know something else? Jenny and I love Ryan, Darcy and JoJo with all our hearts, but frankly we’re getting tired of seeing them all day, every day. At least I get to go to work.

I’m not going to rehash all the stories about how we did things when I was a kid in northern Indiana — although they are available on request any time. Suffice it to say that last week’s storm — during which we were extremely lucky, compared with what was predicted — might have kept Lowell out a day, two days max. And we’d probably have found a way to plow the parking lot.

But that was last week’s storm. We might have an even worse one by the time you read this. And even if it’s currently 50 degrees and sunny, there are already some effects that can’t be remedied.

It’s postseason for most of the winter sports, and the different rules from school corporation to school corporation regarding practice time leave the athletes involved a long way from competing on a level field.

Any loss that’s close or surprising in the next couple of weeks is likely to be blamed, fairly or unfairly, on lack of practice time. And the athletes who start thinking they are being cheated out of practice time might go into some of their most important competitions at a mental disadvantage as well.

Boys basketball hasn’t reached its postseason stage yet, but conference championships could be decided this week. Do you think coach Joe Boehler of West Vigo might have wanted a little more time than he got to prepare for Sullivan tonight? And the good news for Terre Haute North is that the Patriots control their own destiny in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference race. The bad news? They have to play arguably their two most important conference games 18 hours apart this week, with a 100-mile bus ride in between.

About the only person I know who is probably enjoying this weekend is my friend Doug Mitchell, the coach at Indianapolis North Central. Doug is one of my favorite MIC coaches, and I’m 100-percent serious about that. I know the only thing he loves more than a trip to Terre Haute is the opportunity to spend an entire weekend here, which he gets to do Friday and Saturday.

OK, I wasn’t 100-percent serious about that last sentence.

I I I

n Sluder update — Got an e-mail this week from former North Central and Indiana State distance runner Rick Sluder. He’s now the head girls track and field coach at Munster High School, where he is welcome to beat anyone on his schedule except the Lowell Red Devils in the conference championships.

He’s also been named head coach and coordinator by the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches of the Indiana All-Star team that will compete in June at the Midwest Meet of Champions at Fort Wayne.

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