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Russell is paradise!

I am very sorry I have not posted anything in over two weeks. However, it would have done no good whatsoever. Most of my thoughts were exceedingly negative, and it would have been toxic for me to put those thoughts into writing, although I made some serious mistakes by broadcasting those over social media.

In past years, I would be at Cessna Stadium on the Wichita State campus, covering the second day of the Kansas State High School Activities Association state track and field meet.

I’m not there this year. And like John Waite once sang, I ain’t missing you.

As stressful as my life has been this month, not having to cover state track and field has kept my stress level from totally breaking me and driving me over the edge.

I was happier than a pig in slop when I found out yesterday the afternoon session had to be postponed due to heavy rain and lightning.

Because of the weather, today’s events began at 7 a.m., one hour earlier than usual, and a ton of field events had to be moved from Friday to Saturday.

Preliminary heats in everything except the high hurdles in Classes 1A, 2A and 3A were called off. Now, those events are two heats of finals against time.

Most field events are now four attempts with no finals. Usually, it’s three attempts for all 16 competitors, then the top nine move into the finals with three more attempts each.

The only regret I have not being in Wichita is not seeing Caitlyn Cox compete. She’s going in the 4×100 relay and 200-meter dash. As for the rest? No. I’m good. At least as good as I can be.

The only other piece of good news is my psoriasis is close to clearing up. Thank you, Dr. Custer.

I’m considering a drive to Salina to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. I’ve been stuck in Russell and Hays all week due to the severe weather. The weather is supposed to be fine today, so maybe it’s time to get out.

Finally, a break 

I have something today I didn’t yesterday–a short break. Gave me enough time to return to the press box, use the restroom and blog. 

I’m going back to the field shortly. Got three boys 4×800 meter relay teams to take care of–Natoma in 1A, Smith Center in 2A and Russell in 3A. Then I’ll have a few minutes of down time before the 100-meter dash finals start. 

Smith Center’s L.T. Meitler won the Class 2A boys pole vault at 14 feet, 6 inches. He isn’t done yet; he’ll run the 4×800 relay and the 4×400 relay for the Redmen. Brother Kaden, who will run those events as well, was tied for third at 13-0. 

It is chilly. That wind is biting. I never would have dreamed a day like this could ever occur during the state track and field meet. However, this is Kansas, and fronts actually do make it through here in late spring, unlike Louisiana, where they stall out somewhere between Little Rock and Shreveport. 

There’s still a good ways to go today, but the end draws closer with each race, each field event completed. By 8 p.m. this evening, it’s all over but the writing. 

Weathering the last day

Is today really May 30? Mother Nature sure fooled me. If I didn’t look at a calendar and had just emerged from a Rip Van Winkle-type sleep, I could have sworn today is September 30. 

That’s right, it’s a little chilly this morning in Wichita, with a biting wind out of the north. It’s so strong officials at Wichita State have opted to run the long jump and triple jump in the reverse direction from yesterday. Usually, it goes from south to north (right to left as viewed from the press box and west stands), but today, it’s going the other way. The last time I can recall these events at state being run from north to south was 2011. That year was also cooler than usual. 

Not that I’m going to complain. I prerfer cooler weather. Some say it’s easier to go out in hot weather, but I say no way. You are going to sweat buckshot in hot weather, no matter how few clothes you wear. In the cold–as long as it is not below zero degrees Celsius and the wind is not too strong–you can bundle up. You just have to be careful to protect your extremities. 

I really must have been wiped out last night. I didn’t get into the shower until 1:40 a.m. I probably should have done it when I got back to the room, but I was hungry. And then after watching the Shark Tank rerun on ABC, I probably fell asleep only 30-40 minutes later. By time I woke up again, the TV had shut off automatically, an unusual quirk of the TVs in the Wichita Marriott. It’s the only hotel I know where the TVs are automatically programmed to shut off after a certain period–90 minutes I believe–of no activity (changing channels or volume counts). 

I was worried to death I had left the memory card reader for my pictures back in Russell. I tried connecting my camera to the computer via USB, but each time, it malfunctioned. I was in a bind. I figured either I would have to go back to Russell on Sunday, or I would have to buy a card reader somewhere in Wichita. 

Just before 8, I dug into my computer backpack, and there was the card reader. It had fallen into a small compartment. Problem solved.  

First event for me is at 8 a.m. Assignment: Mindy Gower of Phillipsburg in the 3A girls javelin. Mallory McQueen of Plalinville in the triple jump and the Meitler brothers, L.T. and Kaden, of Smith Center in the pole vault are also on the agenda. 

My tenth season of covering high school sports in Kansas ends when the meet ends this evening. Has it really been that long? 

The end draws closer (but it’s not near)

Whew. One day of the Kansas State High School Activities Association state track and field championship meet is in the books–at least as far as my duties with Main Street Media are concerned.

The meet progressed well. I got most of the athletes I needed to get pictures of, and those I didn’t, I can’t cry over it. I am one person trying to cover over a dozen schools. Those who complain should try doing it once. They would say never again.

It was starting to warm up by time the session involving the 1A, 2A and 3A schools ended and the one for 4A, 5A and 6A began. The humidity is really high due to the constant rain, so that made it a bit uncomfortable, even though the temperatures were in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit, of course; 24-25 Celsius), about 10 degrees lower than they should be for the last three days of May.

I feel a bit guilty about not staying for the upper classifications, but I will have to put up with that next year, since the upper classes have the early session on Friday.

Tomorrow’s action begins at 8 a.m. Mallory McQueen of Plainville is going in the triple jump, and the Meitler brothers, L.T. and Kaden, compete for Smith Center in the pole vault. L.T. cleared 14 feet, 7 inches to win the regional title at Smith Center last Thursday. It won’t be until after 8 p.m. before I leave the WSU campus, thus concluding the 2014-15 high school sports season–at least for me.

Okay. Time to eat. Haven’t all day. I’ll post later this evening.

LSU baseball is in a rain delay at Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals are taking on Lehigh in the first game of the regional they are hosting. Action will not resume before 4 p.m.

Final hour of waiting

It’s 6:45 a.m., and I have already been at Cessna Stadium for 43 minutes. 

I left the Wichita Marriott at 5:35 a.m. and made a pit stop at QuikTrip on K-96 and Oliver to get ice for my cooler and a cold Gatorade. Discovered I locked my hotel room key in the room. Not a big deal; I have to pass by the front desk anyway when I get back to the hotel. At least I know well in advance. 

Pulled into the stadium parking lot near Koch Arena at 6:02. I want to make sure I do not have relatively far to walk to the stadium, because I am carrying things up to the press box, plus my camera and the gear I will need to be on the field. 

I am wearing about the most garish outfit I have ever donned–at least when covering an event. Lord, I don’t want to describe it, because people might go blind if I do. However, if you are at Cessna Stadium and can’t spot me, well, get your eyes checked. Just kidding. But I will be easy to spot. 

The first race is in one hour. Then the fun really starts. Hopefully the rain holds off. 

The good news: not too hot. I’ll sweat a little, but I don’t think it will be too much of a problem. Tomorrow looks gorgeous.  

Almost Wichita bound

Today is the calm before the storm. The last day before the last event of the 2014-15 Kansas high school sports season.

In just over 24 hours, the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s state track and field championships will be underway at Wichita State University. The meet has been held continuously at WSU and Cessna Stadium since 1979, and the meet has been in Wichita every year except one since 1970.

I’m alomst packed. I just have to load up my car. All of the stuff will make the 160-mile ride east and south, and then be put on a cart for the elevator ride up to my room the Wichita Marriott, where I have stayed for state track every year except my first year covering the event, 2006. That year, I stayed at hte Courtyard on Webb Road at K-96. That hotel was too dated and too loud, so I opted for the Marriott at Webb and Kellogg. Good move. It’s been my Wichita headquarters more or less since. Also, I feel more secure in a high-rise hotel.

There is a 60 percent chance of rain tomorrow. The Natioanl Weather Service predicts the brest time is after 1 p.m. The good new is the probabllity of rain has fallen to 20 percent for Satruday with a high of 70 (21 Celsius). Wow. 70 degrees on May 30 (the real Memorial Day)? Never would have dreamed. Yes, I am well aware the year is coming where it will be above 100 for both days of the meet, but after Satruday night, I don’t have to worry about it until May 27 and 28, 2016.

This will be my 10th state track and field meet. In 2006, I missed most of the first day because I had to travel to Pratt to watch Plainville in a baseball state tournament game. But I have been there pretty much from beginning to end every year since, and that won’t change this year. Since the small schools are going early tomorrow, I will probably be back at the room by 4 p.m. However, I do not plan to eat a big meal tomorrow night. I’m going to save that for after Saturday night as a way to celebrate the end of the high school sports season.

Both conference finals in the NHL are going to a seventh game. The Lightning-Rangers game int eh East at New York is tomorrow night, and I will watch wahen I get back to the Marriott. Saturday night is the Blackhawks and Ducks at Anaheim. I’ll watch that game, plus be keeping an eye on whomever LSU is playing in its baseball regional at Baton Rouge, Tulane or UNC Wilmington.

Playing catchup, take 10

Another Howard Hughes phase by your inconsistent, lazy, turbid blogger. I am sorry. Starting in June, I resolve to blog at least once a day, hopefully more often. Let’s see if I can keep that promise starting Monday.

Anyhow, in 19 hours, give or take a few minutes, I will be in Wichita, getting ready for the Kansas State High School Activities Association state track and field championship meet. The meet, which is the largest high school meet in the United States, gets underway at 7:45 a.m. Friday morning at Wichita State Univesity’s Cessna Stadium.

Weather permitting.

That usually isn’t a problem, but this year, it very well could be. The good people at the National Weather Service are predicting a 60 percent chance of rain Friday and Saturday. The rain will not be a huge problem, especially for runners, but lightning is a differnet story.

Once lightning is detected within a six-mile radius, there has to be a minimum delay of 30 minutes with no lightning. If there is another flash, the clock starts all over again, even if there’s only 10 seconds left on the clock.

Last Friday’s regional meet at Beloit was not the best as far as the weather goes. It was cloudy and there was an intermittent mist, not hard enough to call anything off, but just enough to be aggravating. It rained that morning and most of the week leading up to the meet, so the disucs and shot put rings were slick since those are concrete. The track was fine. Those al-weather tracks are something else.

Beloit wanted to move its regoinal to last Thursday, when the weather was much better, but one school said no, so guess what? Can’t move the meet.

Thursady was a glorious day for a meet, and Smith Center had a good one. Unfortunately, something got the better of my emotions and I left before the running events began. I was upset over a text message, and I kciked some gravel. Steve Schmdit, who used tob e athletic director at Philllipsburg–thank God he isn’t anymore–got on me, so I told him to go to hell. At least I didn’t curse or threaten physically. I soon left the meet and drove back to Russell.

Since I returned from Beloit Friday night, it has been dead, save for the work I have had to get done for the various newspapers. I didn’t leave my house until this evening, when I made a run to the office to see Jack. However, tomorrow will be my first excursion outside Russell since last Friday, and it will be my longest trip since going to Kansas City at the beginning of the month.

Speaking of Kansas City, I don’t know when I’ll get back. The plan right now is to return to Russell Tuesday or Wednesday from Wichita, and then I have an appointemnt with Crista Thursday morning. The 8-man All-Star football games are Saturday at Beloit, and then comes three medical visits in four days: Dr. Jones for my eyes Tuesday, June 9; Crista two days later; and then Dr. Patricarca at High Plains Mental Health the next day.

Right now, the earliest I could depart would be the 13th. The Brewers play the Royals in Kansas City the 17th and 18th, so I want to be there for that for sure.

Right now, I can’t worry about KC. It’s all about the track. Rain, hold off until Saturday at 9 pm. Then the heavens can open.