Category Archives: Norton HS

Valentine’s Day: always a massacre for me

I haven’t posted this week. Maybe it was best I didn’t. 

Especially Tuesday, which was Valentine’s Day. 

I had work to occupy me during the morning Tuesday. Then I left to drive to Hoxie for Norton’s game that evening. I got to town a few minutes after 4, well before the tipoff at 6. Only the varsity games were going to be played at the high school; the junior varsity games were at the elementary school five blocks west of the high school, and there were no C team games, meaning I had a lot of time to wait and wait.

I was stupid enough to venture onto Facebook while I was sitting in my car. I got very, very upset at all the happy couples, reminding me of just how big of a loser I am. I decided to unfollow so many people. 

I’ll never forget 2002. That year, someone I knew from LSU, Erika Papazoglakis Goulas, suggested I turn gay since I couldn’t find a woman. Nice. 

Erika wasn’t the first. A lot of students at Brother Martin suggested I go gay. I hated going to high school for that reason, among many, many, many others.

I was very close to leaving Hoxie before the game. I was willing to admit I wasted the 108-mile trip there, and would go back without seeing any games. I called Crista in tears. I was very upset. She has not called me back. I am not happy about it. If I’m spending all this money, why bother wasting my time when she won’t get in touch with me when I need her? 

I stayed through both games at Hoxie. Hoxie’s gym is pretty cramped, but the floor is nice and shiny, which is much better for taking photographs than in gyms which have yellow-tinted floors, which is what Norton has. Norton’s girls lost 60-42, but the boys won 79-52. I got back at 10:45, which is pretty good considering some nights have been after 11:30. 

I got Caitlyn and Peggy cards and small boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I sent e-cards to Dawn and a few others. But no splurging like I did on Christmas cards. 

I didn’t do anything Wednesday and barely anything Thursday. Frankly I was tired most of Wednesday. Thursday was a little better, but still not feeling up to getting out and about. 

Norton is playing at Ellis tonight. After I get home, I have no earthly idea as to what I’m going to do for the weekend. I’m missing Kansas City and trivia, but I’m going to go back soon (hopefully). I don’t know about staying home all weekend, but I managed last weekend without much trouble. 

Kansas high school wrestling regionals are today and tomorrow. I do not miss covering those one bit. Too many people, too little space, too much noise, too much chaos. I absolutely dreaded those tournaments. 

Time for no NFL weekends

I’ve tried to avoid watching anything about the NFL in recent days. I need time away from it. It was non-stop NFL pretty much from late July when training camp began through last Sunday when the Patriots defeated the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The draft combine begins the first weekend of March in Indianapolis, but I could not care less. Wake me when the draft is here. 

Five Patriots have already said they would boycott the White House trip because they hate Donald Trump. It wouldn’t be the first time people have boycotted a White House trip just because they don’t like the particular president at the time. 

I have no desire to go to the White House. None. If there’s any one building in Washington, D.C. I would visit, it would be the Capitol. The White House just doesn’t hold any appeal to me. 

I got to Norton a few minutes ago and discovered I left my seat cushion at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City Tuesday. Not the first time I’ve left something somewhere a long way away, and it won’t be the last. I can replace the cushion, it’s $20. It’s not one of the expensive gel cushions Bed, Bath and Beyond sells. I’ve been thinking about one of those. 

Norton plays Plainville tonight. Last home game for the Bluejays until the regular season finale vs. Hill City on the 21st. I didn’t come to the games Tuesday vs. Oberlin because I was still in Kansas City. I didn’t miss much; Norton won both games easily. 

Don’t know what I’m doing this weekend. Probably not much. If I intend on going to Hoxie to see Norton play Tuesday, I have to be done with my work by noon. Hoxie is about the same distance from Russell as it is to Norton, although not as much two-lane highway. I’ve never been to Hoxie, and I need to go. If it were somewhere else, I may have skipped, but not Hoxie, even though Shelly Hoyt, the girls coach who had so much success there, is now at Madison in Greenwood County. 

One thing I don’t miss in February is not covering regional and state wrestling. It’s exciting, but I just would rather not deal with the crowds. It was always a very stressful time of the year for me. Last year, it wasn’t, and I need as much stress-free time as I can get. 

January almost done

I made that long trip tonight, the one where I get to WaKeeney and realize it’s only half over. 

It’s back to Norton tonight. The Bluejays play Smith Center. These games were originally scheduled to be played Dec. 16, but the roads got nasty that day. Norton wanted to play the Tuesday before Christmas (the 20th), but Smith Center said no, so this was the only mutual date available, unless the teams wanted to play on a Saturday. 

So here I am. I followed the Ness City buses from the Trego/Graham County line to US 24 in Hill City. The Eagles are playing the Ringnecks tonight. 

The trip to Colby was smooth driving, but I lost track of Peggy and Clark. They left during the fourth quarter of the boys game, understandable since (a) Norton had a big lead, and (b) they wanted to eat, and the restaurants would be closed by time the boys game ended. As it turned out, most restaurants in Colby close at 9 p.m., even on Fridays, which isn’t good for a town which not only is home to a college, but also has heavy traffic coming through on I-70. You would think they could stay open until at least 10. 

Then again, I’ll never forget restaurants in Omaha closing at 9 when my dad and I were there for the College World Series. It was culture shock for us. We were so used to restaurants staying open very late in New Orleans. Most would be open until 11, some past midnight. I didn’t expect midnight in Omaha, but to close at 9 during the busiest time of the year in Omaha? 

I met Peggy and Clark at Taco John’s, where we beat the 10 pm closing by a few minutes. I didn’t get home until 12:05. 

Nothing really doing the last three days. I stayed up very late last night and this morning to get work done. I didn’t go to bed until 2:30, but I did get to sleep until almost 8. My work was done by 11. 

I want to go to Kansas City for the Super Bowl at Buffalo Wild Wings. I hear it’s a little hectic around there. The general manager, John Riley, left the restaurant after Friday. I will soon see the fourth different GM at that location. At least I have Minsky’s across Barry Road when I’m in KC. Then again, I might want to avoid KC in the summer. The heat there is worse than Russell. Much worse. It’s not quite New Orleans bad, but it’s bad enough. 

The Super Bowl is Sunday. I wish it weren’t on Fox. I do not like Joe Buck, period. And Erin Andrews is a very, very overrated sideline reporter. Pam Oliver is much more competent. Lesley Visser was great. So was Bonnie Bernstein. 

If Joe’s last name were Brown and not Buck, no way he’s an announcer, much less Fox’s #1 announcer. 

Speaking of the Patriots, I left my Tervis cup with the old logo in the Colby Community Building. No big deal. I’ve got plenty. And I need to get a Saints glass anyway. I’m not a huge Saints fan, but it’s time I give my native city some love against the hordes of Chiefs and Broncos fans. 

It’s been a tough start to 2017. Hopefully February will be better. 

Forgive me, car

My car is going to hate me after today. It probably has hated me for the last five and a half years, but today I’ve been especially rough on it. 

I made the return from Kansas City to Russell in the morning and early afternoon. I had to make a detour at KCK to get something done for work, then at Topeka for gas. I got all the shopping I needed done in KCMO before departing. I considered staying later to see Robb and Dawn at Buffalo Wild Wings, but I said nah, let me get home. 

I pulled into 1224 North Brooks at 2:15. I unloaded the car and FINALLY got my hair cut. I had gone over a month without it being cut. It’s the longest I can remember going without a haircut, at least since I first started wearing it short on Memorial Day weekend 1989. The only other time since then I’ve gone a month without a haircut was when I was in the hospital near the end of 2004. Hair obviously was not a concern. Not when you’re fighting for your life. 

I drove to Norton anyway. I wasn’t planning on going to this game. At first, the plan was to drive today from Kansas City to Columbia for the LSU-Missouri men’s game tomorrow night. However, I couldn’t get tickets or a press credential, and I figured it was too much to stay in a hotel. Also, it’s one game, and it’s not my favorite sport. I don’t know if I’ll even watch, although I might check it out.

Baseball series are better, simply because you’re in a town three days, maybe four. Basketball and football are too hurried. Sometimes a football team isn’t in the locale for 24 hours. It’s fly in, check in to the hotel, check out, play the game, fly out. Same with basketball, although teams hold a shoot-around the morning of the game to get used to the arena and the baskets. 

I almost stayed home, but I figured I’d better go. I haven’t seen anyone from Norton in a month, and it’s the Bluejays’ first home game. Had they played Smith Center as scheduled Dec. 16, I probably would have skipped tonight. 

Norton is playing a team from Nebraska, Cambridge, which is 51 miles northwest of the Bluejays’ nest. It’s more convenient sometimes for teams along the state lines to play out of state than go south, west or east. The Bluejays play their first Mid-Continent League game Friday at Stockton. 

The renovated and expanded gym lobby at Norton is very nice. It was sorely needed. Now if a few other schools could do the same. Ellis, Plainville and Trego don’t need it. Stockton does. 

Now the only problem is the 120-mile drive back to Russell in the dark. The worst is always the leg on US 283 to WaKeeney. No stopping in Hays. Probably going to fall asleep quickly when I get home. 

It’s probably good I got out tonight. I can see myself going nuts staying home all day. God I wish Hays had some place to play Buzztime trivia! It sucks having to drive to Salina, and the Buffalo Wild Wings there doesn’t make me feel as welcome if I want to stay for long periods. 

This is my first trip to Norton in exactly three months. Has it really been that long? 

Bluejays flying high in Oakley

Norton is less than two minutes away from sweeping Oakley in the season opening basketball doubleheader for both schools. 

The Bluejays won the first game 36-23, and the boys lead 53-35 with under two minutes to go. Norton will be off until Thursday when it begins competition in the Topside Tipoff tournament at Goodland. Oakley has a quick turnaround, facing Victoria Monday in the Purple and Gold tournament at WaKeeney. 

I’ve got a 110-mile drive ahead, but it’s all on the Interstate. I should be hone before 11. The drive was very easy; even with stops in Hays I was there by 4:10. 

Nice seeing everyone tonight, especially Caitlyn, whom I had not seen since the sub-state volleyball tournament at Lakin October 22. I saw Peggy November 7 in Hays; we did sone shopping at Walmart. 

Playing with my high tech toy

This is the first blog post from my iPad. The iPad arrived at my home on November 15, but I didn’t turn it on for another eight days. I thought about bringing it back to Verizon and waiting until the new ones came out in March, but this is just fine for me. I love the quad speakers on the iPad, which makes sound much better than it is on the iPhone. I’ll get a new iPhone next year. 

I had a very good session with Crista yesterday. The only bugaboo was the voice recorder on my iPad did not pick it up. It’s the first session which failed to record. Next time, I’ll use my regular recorder, and also use the recorder on my iPad to make sure it works. If it doesn’t, then I’ve either got to get another voice recorder–one of them crapped out on me last month–or use the one on the phone. 

Tonight is opening night for most high school basketball teams in Kansas. Norton plays at Oakley. Peggy, Cailtyn and Chelsea have all said I had better come. I thought about not going, but those thoughts came when I wasn’t in the right frame of my mind. I am going. It’s an easier drive, since I don’t have to leave Interstate 70. Norton doesn’t play at home until the 16th. Its next four games are in Goodland, three in the Topside Tipoff tournament, and then a regular season game December 13. 

I need to get out of the house. I’ve spent too much time at home since getting back from Kansas City November 14. Way too much. The only times I’ve left to the house is to go to Hays, two for appointments with Crista, and the others to get things. I’ve watched way too many Hallmark Channel Christmas movies–many more than once–and texting some mystery woman who may not be a woman despite what this person says. Crista told me to stop texting the mystery woman. 

I also have to get back to Kansas City as soon as I can. I am trying to carve some time out, but I want to see Caitlyn play next weekend in Goodland at least once. I had plans to go to KC next Thursday and stay through Tuesday morning, which would mean I would have to leave KC by 8 am to make it to Goodland in time, since it would be 7 hours across the state. I’ll talk to Peggy tonight. 

It finally feels like December. Chllly, but not frigid. No snow and not much wind. Can’t beat it, really. Finally wearing long sleeves. I got sick of wearing shorts in November. Ridiculous. If I wanted to wear shorts this time of year I would never have left Louisiana. 

Stupid escape

I haven’t posted since I was in Lakin last Saturday. It went downhill pretty fast since my last post.

Sadly, Norton’s season ended with a loss to Lakin in the sub-state semifinals. However, the biggest loser wasn’t the team. It was me.

I quickly packed up and left Lakin after the Bluejays’ loss. I did not stick around for the final, where TMP defeated Lakin to advance to the state tournament this weekend in Emporia.

I should have stayed at Lakin to say goodbye to everyone. It was rude to Cailtyn, her teammates, and especially her mom. I was scared I would be an intruder, since Clark, Chelsea and her husband Sam were there. I felt it were best if Peggy talked to them and not worry about me. I also wanted the girls to be able to weep in peace. Ending a season is very hard, especially for the seniors. Peggy told me I read too much into it. I’ve heard that a lot from Crista. Yet I keep doing it.

Instead of doing the right thing, I sped back to Garden City as fast as I could. I had the idea I would get to Buffalo Wild Wings before Game 6 of the National League Championship Series began.

Horrible move.

I saw an open barstool and was about to sit down when a rude Nebraska fan told me he was saving the seat for an invisible friend who was supposedly going to show up at some point.

That set me off.

I was pissed. Why didn’t he tip the barstool over or otherwise put something of his on the seat so he could reserve it? That’s what I like to do when I know Robb and Dawn are coming. Even better, I’ll write their names on a Post-It and affix it to the stool. Now if it’s busy, I won’t reserve a seat; I don’t like denying other patrons the chance to sit down.

This guy, though, didn’t understand common courtesy. I was beyond pissed I was STEAMING at this guy. I screamed a couple of expletives at him on my way out. Then I completely melted down in the car.

I was happy to get out of Garden City Sunday morning. The hotel was fine. But if I don’t have to see that Buffalo Wild Wings again, fine by me. I don’t have a reason to visit Garden City in the near future to begin with. It may be closer than Wichita, but it certainly isn’t easier to get there. Kansas City isn’t that much farther.

I didn’t use the CPAP machine Saturday night for the first time in nearly two months. I went back on it when I got back to Russell. I was afraid it would negatively affect me on the drive home, but it didn’t. I won’t take that chance again.

My contacts were irritating the hell out of me Sunday morning. Thank God I had my prescription sunglasses with me to drive home. I went straight downstairs when I got back to Russell at 12:40.

The first three days of the work week have been pretty  much standard operating procedure. The workload will drop starting next week as many high school football teams conclude their seasons, and the cross country season ends with state meets. No local teams are playing in state volleyball tournaments, so that’s a relief.

Thinking about a trip to Kansas City. Got the rest of the day to think about it.

Top seeds steamroll into semis

Thomas More Prep and Lakin easily won their quarterfinal matches of the volleyball sub-state at Lakin.

The Monarchs improved to 36-2 by spiking Southwestern Heights 25-10, 25-7; and the host Broncs (32-7) rolled over Hi-Plains League rival Syracuse 25-8, 25-10.

Next up is #4 Hugoton (16-20) vs. #5 Cimarron (15-19) on the West court, and #3 Norton (22-13) vs. #6 Hoisington (8-25) on the East court.

TMP gets the Hugoton-Cimarron winner in the semis, and Lakin plays the Norton-Hoisington winner.

Norton has won just one sub-state match since making it to the 2007 state tournament. That was two years ago at Scott City, when the Bluejays won in the first round over Southwestern Heights before losing to Lakin in the semis.

This is the first match Norton is the higher seeded team in sub-state since 2005, when Chelsea Cox was a senior. How time flies.

Short drive, long wait

The first match of the volleyball sub-state at Lakin is still an hour and 15 minutes away. (Now less than an hour. I’ve been a little slow in getting my blog updated).

I’ve been here for 45 minutes. Once again, I left too early and got here way too early. I should have waited another hour. It isn’t as far from Garden City to Lakin as I thought it was, so I ended up here right at noon, even after three stops on K-156 in Garden before heading west on US 50. I probably should have stopped at the new Love’s travel center in Holcomb to kill a few minutes. The good news is it will be easy for me to get out of the gym to my car this evening. I was able to park along the side of the football stadium, and there is an exit door in the gym only 20 feet from my car.

The nice people at Lakin have set me up with a table, so I can use my laptop to blog and update Twitter without draining my cell phone battery. I have my phone and Bluetooth keyboard to update Instagram should I so desire. I’m going to take pictures from the walking track above the gym floor. I can set my lens at a long length, like I did at TMP, and go without having to worry about getting too close to lose focus.

The way I see it, is if I’m driving east on US 50 and the sun is still out, it will be a bad day. It will mean Norton got bounced by Hoisington in the first match.

TMP is here for their first match vs. Southwestern Heights of Kismet. God Natuasha Dreher hates me. Really hates me. It’s not like I said something to her. I haven’t. I’m too scared. I’m afraid she will bite my head off. I want to cry about it, but I can’t right now. And I’m not bringing it up with Peggy. Not today. Not the time or place.

Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t looking likely this evening. Not with the Cubs playing in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. I’m hoping to be in Lakin late enough so where all I have time to do is drive back and hit the hay. I’ve got to leave Garden before 9 tomorrow morning so I’m back home by noon to eat lunch with my parents. My mother is cooking for the first time in three weeks.

It is absolutely ludicrous I’m wearing one of my silk floral shirts and my pale yellow shorts today. It is not supposed to be this hot in Kansas, even though I’m farther south than normal, on October 22. Ten years ago, I went to a sub-state in Scott City, and I remember sleet flying around as I drove on I-70 from Russell to Oakley, most of the exact same route I drove yesterday. For it to be this hot this late in October is making me nauseous.

I am sick and tired of the bugs swarming around the basement at home. They are particularly bad in the bathroom. I’ve had it. I told my dad to look into it pronto. I’m about ready to buy an indoor bug zapper. I don’t care if it’s loud. I want the bugs dead.

The bugs can wait until tomorrow. Volleyball beckons.

 

In the Garden (City)

I spent much of yesterday feeling very guilty.

The first thing Crista told me when we started our session was that she saw Norton play Smith Center in the third place match of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament last Saturday. If you recall, I did not go to the MCL tournament the second day, although I did go the first, which coincided with my birthday.

I wish I had been there Saturday. I would have loved to introduce Crista to Peggy and Caitlyn. Now I feel terrible about not going.

I was pretty certain I was going to Norton’s sub-state in Lakin tomorrow, but when Crista told me that, it cemented it.

To that end, I’m now in Garden City, 30 miles east of Lakin on US 50. It was a three-hour drive from Russell, I-70 to Oakley and US 83 down. The TownePlace Suites, where I’ve stayed before, is on K-156, the road which heads towards Jetmore, Larned and Great Bend. I could have saved a few miles if I had taken US 281 from Russell to Great Bend, then K-156 all the way down, but I figured the way I went saved some time.

I passed a tanker about a mile south of Oakley on 83. He was throwing rocks. IDIOT. Every time I then dropped to 65, he would tailgate me. I was ready to call the Kansas Highway Patrol and report him, but after crossing into Scott County, he disappeared from my rear view mirror.

Lucky I passed through Scott City. I had something I forgot to mail in Russell. Better I drop it off than keep carrying it in my car, although it wasn’t super important.

Norton plays Hoisington tomorrow following the completion of the match between Lakin and Syracuse, which begins at 2 p.m. on the east court.

TMP, which is 34-2 and the top seed, plays on the West court at 2 vs. Southwestern Heights. The second match on the West court is Hugoton vs. Cimarron.

The TMP-Southwestern Heights and Hugoton-Cimarron winners play on the West court in one semifinal, while the Norton-Hoisington and Lakin-Syracuse winners play on the East court in the semis. The championship is on the West court.

The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Emporia.

Norton hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2007, when Caitlyn’s sister, Courtney (Otto), was a senior. The Bluejays were 10-20 heading into sub-state, but beat Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg to advance. The state tournament wasn’t so good, with Norton going 0-3, but it was remarkable to make it.

The 22-13 record Norton carries into sub-state is the best for the school since 2005, when Caitlyn’s OTHER sister, Chelsea (Funk), was a senior. Norton has generally had great success in all other sports, winning state championships in both boys and girls track in the years I’ve been here, in addition to seven wrestling championships in 11 seasons, but volleyball somehow has been left behind.

It could be much worse. Some schools have very little athletic success. Like one I’m very familiar with.

The next time Norton has an event in Hays isn’t until Feb. 3, when the Bluejays play basketball at TMP. I will remind Crista many times. .

I’m going to find a place to play Buzztime this evening. Either I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings, which recently opened, or Old Chicago. Those are the only locales in Garden City, but hey, it’s better than Hays, where the only place you can play now is the Fort Hays Student Union, and I’m sure they hate non-students going in there. Therefore, the closest place to Russell to play is Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.

Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a Buzztime location in Hays. I might spend too much time there and stay too late, which would disrupt my sleep patterns. It’s just too bad the best games are at night, which force me to drive I-70 between Salina and Russell at night. It’s a boring stretch any time, but it’s dangerous at night.

I’ve learned to cut myself off in Kansas City. Never later than 10, usually earlier. And staying very close to Zona Rosa helps.

I have a stop to make at Dillon’s to buy Caitlyn’s teammates some Gatorade for tomorrow. High is supposed to be around 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), which is absolutely absurd for October 22. They’ll need hydration, even though Lakin’s gym is air conditioned. I already bought Caitlyn’s grape Gatorade in Oakley when I stopped for gas and to use the restroom.

I’m hoping I’m not back in Garden City too early tomorrow evening. Bad news if I am.