Finding Mudville

  • Wednesday, May 29, 2013

While it is only a slight pause, it is a pause.
The pause spans the time it takes to kick your baseball spikes or track shoes and lace up your football cleats. That’s how long it took the spring sports to pass the baton to the summer sports season.
The state track meet hadn’t even been held and Berkeley boys track Coach Greg Christensen was on the practice field eyeing his defense on a Friday. Christensen also doubles as football defensive coordinator in the fall.
It’s not just the coaches who do double duty. The Berkeley boys baseball team was eliminated from the Class AAA playoffs on Friday and players who also play football were on the practice field the following Monday.
“Just lacing up a different pair of shoes today,” said BHS two-sport star Dylan Baker.
It is hard for a student athlete to compete in multiple sports these days.
When I was in high school, you played three sports just to keep from being bored. Around my house if you got bored, Mom would put you to work. I decided I’d rather run 3.5 miles every day at cross country than vacuum my bedroom or clean the toilet.
I ran cross country (for about a week) in fall, played basketball in winter and baseball in spring when I was in high school. After school was out in June I played Connie Mack baseball (my version of travel ball) through Labor Day. Football practice and fall sports practice didn’t begin until sometime in mid-August. School didn’t even start until after Labor Day.
I remember never going to a high school football game without a jacket. It was already cold by the time football season started in Indiana.
Not so these days.
Not only do you have travel ball for baseball and softball, summer track for the runners, and AAU basketball for the round-ballers, you also have summer weight training for every high school sport, baseball and basketball camps, passing leagues, football camps, and practice. Somewhere in all this, the family must squeeze in a week’s vacation at the beach.
These days travel ball tournaments become your vacation.
For me, now that I’m much older and grayer than I was in high school, I write about your kids playing now that mine are grown and married, and I’d need a cutoff man to get the ball from the mound to the plate. I get to take a little bit more of a deep breath between spring and summer sports seasons than today’s kids do.
I can think of far worse ways to earn a living than writing about high school sports. Covering sports over four schools is a logistical challenge and while I’m one guy I can’t do it alone. 
So during this deep breath I want to take the next 40 words and thank some parents who helped make my job a little bit easier: Berkeley’s Denise Kullnat and Con Salisbury; Eric Murrell from Cross; Rabun Roberts from St. John’s – and I’d be totally lost without Rabun’s stats on Friday nights. Plus the coaches and athletic directors who take the time after games and on the phone to talk to me when they’d much rather be doing something else.
So, deep breath taken, thanks guys. Now, let’s get on to fall. 

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