, Corbin, KY

November 6, 2012

A few ramblings and a very, very big thank you

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — I suppose that since it’s been a few days since my last column, I deserve the right to ramble on a bit. I’ll do just that as I clear my thoughts.

• Football season over for some

As the high school football season came to an end for some of our local teams last Friday, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit down for some of the local athletes.

For a lot of them, other than a weekend flag football league when they go off to college, Friday was the last time they will play football in their life.

Sure, there are a few kids who will go on to play at the next level and we may even have a few dark horses who go on to have a quality college career, but the reality of the situation for most of them is that football is over, period.

When you think about anything that you’ve loved or devoted any significant amount of time to being over forever, it’s a little sad.  

Shortly after one of our local teams’ game was over, I read a Facebook post by a team mom and it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. Not only for the mom, but for all the kids who have used football as a way to vent or get away from their every day life over the course of the past four years.

There are kids who have super lives and don’t really put football high on their list other than another social thing when compared to the rest of what goes on from day to day.

But then there are high school kids that use football to get away from things like a rough family life or a bad relationship that has just ended. Maybe there’s nobody to spend the afternoon with them after school, so they started going to practice and they liked it.

The point is you never know what kids are going through and to some, sports is just that, a sport. But to others, it may be the only good thing they have in life in that particular moment. It’s important to make sure that student-athletes enjoy their time as athletes so they can be better people and learn life lessons when they move on from a particular sport.

In the end, playing high school sports is just like being in another classroom. Some are going to pass and some are going to fail. But most kids will remember their teachers (or coaches) for a long time.

Hats off to all the departing football seniors from this season. Your work was appreciated.

• Almost time for high school hoops

As I write this column, I’ve just finalized a list of athletic directors and coaches that I’ve been told to contact to set up times for team pictures, rosters and interviews for our upcoming basketball preview section.

It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks, we’ll be sending our section to the printing press as it will be printed on the Friday after Thanksgiving, as always.

I was not really in the loop last season when it comes to high school basketball for most of the season, but when it came time for the region tournament, I was right there watching our local teams as they battled for a trip to Rupp Arena.

The North Laurel Jaguars shocked just about everyone in the Tri-County when they punched their ticket, earning the school’s first ever basketball region title.

For quite a few years, North Laurel always came across as the little brother, maybe even the stepbrother, when you consider all things.

I always like North Laurel coach Jim Conway when he was in charge of the Jaguar program and I feel like he always did a top-notch job at running the program. On the outside, we never really know why schools make coaching changes, but we are usually the first to criticize or question the move and subsequent replacement with what little knowledge we usually have.

The knowledge I have of current North Laurel head coach Brad Sizemore is just what I can recall of him on the South Laurel sideline with former Cardinals coach Steve Wright. Sizemore was a part of the 2005 team that won a state title and remained a part of the staff before leaving to take a head coach position at Garrard County High School for the 2010-11 season.

He seemed like a fiery young coach when he dealt with Cardinals’ players as an assistant and that showed again last season when he helped guide the Jaguars to the region title. I’m looking forward to seeing whether North Laurel’s run was just a one-time show, or if Sizemore can recreate the magic. When I think about it, I’m looking forward to see all of our teams this season.

When does the season start again?

• Heartfelt thanks

I want to thank each and every person who sent me a text message, Facebook message, a phone call or just a shoulder to lean on when I lost my mother a few weeks ago on October 20.

I’d been very fortunate in my life, never losing any of my immediate family members until my mother’s passing. Not that you can ever prepare for something like this.  

I’ve summed it up the best I know how a few times as follows; No matter how prepared you think you are for what life has in store for you, there is always something that can really knock you on your rear-end.  

With that said, you should always tell those you love how you feel. It may be the last chance you have to do so and if you don’t, you will regret it.

My mother’s passing was unexpected to everyone and I’m told, although I can’t imagine a death ever being easy, that it can be much harder to deal with when it happens so sudden and unexpected.

You don’t have an opportunity to say goodbye or anything else you may have been waiting for the right moment to say. Like almost everything else in life, death is unpredictable and sometimes we see it as unfair.

That may be how we see it, but for the departed, sometimes it was the best thing to happen. If they’re sick, they’re no longer going to struggle. If they’re in pain, their pain will be a thing of the past.

Again, thanks to everyone who had a kind word to say in such a tough time. I had no earthly idea that so many people would think of me when I needed a friend. From my coworkers and ballpark buddies, to family and friends, I am extremely greaful to have people in my life who care.