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New dot connected

I apologize for not blogging since getting back from Beloit Friday night. I’ve been battling a cold the last few days, and combined with the heavy workload which comes following a week full of basketball games, blogging moved down a few notches on my priority list.

If there’s ever a good time to catch a cold for me, it would have been last weekend. It was the one weekend in February where I do not have a wrestling tournament to cover, and since Valentine’s Day was Saturday, I figured if a single guy had to be sick, why not be sick on Valentine’s Day? I totally avoided social media that day. Not that I wanted to rain on anyone’s parade, but I felt it would be the best way to avoid trouble. No problems for certain.

I’m well enough to be back on the road tonight covering basketball. Tonight’s journey takes me to a new destination and a gym the likes of which I have not seen before, or may not see again.

I am in Kinsley, the seat of Edwards County. The town touts itself as the dead center of the United States, exactly halfway between San Francisco and New York City, even though the official geographic center of the lower 48 is near Lebanon in Smith County, about 12 miles from Smith Center. Kinsley may not have much, but it does get a heck of a lot of 18-wheeler traffic, since it lies at the junction of three US highways–50, 56 and 183. 50 and 56 join at Kinsley for a westward journey to Dodge City before splitting again at Dodge, with 50 going to Garden City and 56 to Liberal. I came south on 183 from Hays to Kinsley, although it would have been shorter for me to go from Russell to Great Bend on US 281 south and then southwest on 56.

Kinsley is a member of the Central Prairie League, the same as Victoria. With Russell’s teams off tonight, I figured it might be a good idea to see something new and cover Victoria at the same time.

Well, the Kinsley gym is unique.

It isn’t very hard to find. It’s separate from the rest of the school facing the business district. You can tell it’s a gym–not only is the building shaped like a gym on the outside, it’s lettered in plain sight for eveyrone to see. Good idea.

Once inside, it’s a sight to behold.

There is a small lobby when you enter on the west side. The bleachers on the south side are small, what you might expect from a small-town gym.

The north side bleachers are like nothing you’ll ever see in a gym.

Not only are the north side bleachers steep, but they are carpeted. It’s like sitting on the living room floor of your home. I don’t know about what it does to people with backaches, but it’s got to be a lot better on the butt than wood or gym floor.

There isn’t much room between the baseline and the wall, but I’ve seen many gyms with less.

Hey, now I can say I’ve been to Kinsley, something a lot of reporters in this state can’t say. Another dot filled in on the map.

This is the prelude to the big event this weekend, the regional wrestling tournament in Norton I will be covering Friday and Saturday. It will be my fourth event in Norton this year, but it will be my fourth stay this month alone at the Sleep Inn, since i’ve used it for pivots for events in Oberlin and Phillipsburg as well as Norton.

For those who may not know, today is Mardi Gras. In less than seven hours, Lent will begin, and there won’t be any more parading in the Big Easy until early next year. I don’t miss Mardi Gras. I went to my last parade in 1994, and I swore I would never go to one again. The only exception might be to Thoth to see my friends ride..