Monday, October 31, 2016

Sports and good people

IT WAS REALLY cool to go back in time and be a simple sports writer again. I went up to Camp Point Saturday afternoon and watched Central play Carrollton in a Class 1A state playoff football game. Sadly for Central, they were routed by a really good Carrollton team, 48-0.

Covering blowouts is never easy. You have to find an angle or get an idea to write the story, because recapping a lopsided game isn't fun. Fortunately, the two coaches made it easy.

Carrollton coach Tim Flowers is an impressive man. He gathered his team at midfield and had the parents and fans who made the long trip surround the team. He recapped the game and gave his players credit for a great effort. Then he made his seniors stand in the middle of the circle, and each one gave a very short but direct statement - what a great way to recognize kids, and make them own the moment.

Then I tracked down Central coach Brad Dixon -  he and his team have faced a lot of adversity this year, from injuries to the illness of his young daughter. Whig sports writer Mat Mikesell had a great story about him a few weeks ago, click here. Coach Dixon addressed his team calmly after the game, then held his child in his arms and got hugs from family, players, coaches and fans.

When I went up to him, he said, "Thank you for coming out and covering our game."

Wow. It might not seem like much, but think about it for a second - your season has just ended and you just got thumped at home in the playoffs. Yet he remained composed and gracious and kept it all in perspective.

What a class act. Central is fortunate to have him. I hope he can decompress and actually spend some time with his family now - most of us have no idea of the hours and how hard it is to coach at any level.

Also, thanks to the staff at Camp Point and friendly guys in the press box. It was a nice experience. Writing about a game is just like "falling off a bike," as former Quincy University guard Jay Driscoll once said. I hope I get to ride it again!

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