Thursday, February 26, 2009
On the road
Saturday afternoon at around 3:35 my mind turned to when I watched “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” as a youngster.
I loved hearing Jim McKay, in the famous voice-over that accompanied the opening, saying “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
It was tough, at the state championship game in Brookhaven, seeing the Marshall Academy Lady Patriots collapse to the floor in defeat. They were in tears and their coaches, Craig Dailey and David Austin, rushed to hug and comfort them. Parents and other friends and family members did the same.
Meanwhile, the Leake Academy Rebels celebrated on the other end of the floor.
The two teams had just played their hearts out in a classic state championship game, won 39-36 by Leake.
As Ed Moak, public address announcer at Brookhaven Academy, said so well, “Nobody should have lost this game.”
And really, no one did.
Both teams gave it 110 percent. The defense was some of the best I’ve seen in any game, anywhere, at any level.
The Marshall Academy players were hurting at game’s end but they can hold their heads high. They had girls basketball juggernaut Leake Academy on the ropes and came oh so close to pulling off the shocker.
Sure, they lost the game by three, but the Lady Patriots, led by seniors Traci Rodgers, Molly West and Regan Murphy, are winners in every sense of the word. They left it all on the floor Saturday.
This week they moved on to the Mississippi Private School Association Overall Tournament.
Basketball postseason play puts The South Reporter sports crew on the road. It’s hectic, and we get a bit road weary, but we love it.
Last week I was in Brookhaven Wednesday (four-hour drive one way), New Site Friday to cover the H.W. Byers girls and back in Brookhaven Saturday. Ronnie Day accompanied me on a couple of those trips. Lawrence White and Claude Vinson visited Corinth and New Site. And that’s not including the earlier road trips for district tournaments, too.
While I like visiting Brookhaven, which about every other year hosts the Class AA state event, I really would like for the MPSA to consider a neutral, central site for the big tournament.
I’m thinking maybe a community college gymnasium. I wouldn’t want to go as big as a coliseum. I do like the smaller gym atmosphere, with the fans all packed in and cheering and occasionally hollering at the game officials.
I know the MPSA has chosen this tournament route for some time, and they know more about why they do what they do. The folks there have always been good to me, but I just had the thought of a central site when I made the eight-hour journey twice last week. I think Marshall supporters had to travel the farthest of any group.
One of the best things about tournament time for us press people is visiting the hospitality rooms. We usually start wondering what we’re going to have to eat before we leave Holly Springs.
This season we’ve experienced some great ones, including MA for the district tournament.
Friday night, Ronnie and I were “starved’ when we found New Site. We’d never been there before. But the drive was nice. There are several ways to get to the school, near Hobo Station. We chose to leave Potts Camp, go to Tupelo on Highway 78, and take the Natchez Trace to Prentiss County.
We were the first ones in the hospitality room.
“Not everything is here yet,” one of the kind ladies said, “but you’re welcome to eat.”
We did, and we went back after the game for dessert, too.
The entire staff at New Site, home of a very nice gym, was extremely helpful and they did their jobs with smiles. They rolled out the red carpet for the press, and we truly appreciate it.
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