Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” keeps playing through my mind. This 1980 hit single seems to typify the 2012-13 MHS boys’ basketball season. When the season concludes in March, the boys, coaches, managers and many parents will have spent approximately 2,300 miles on the road travelling to ball games—enough to get one to Tallahassee, Florida…….and back.
Tuesday’s trip to LeBlond High School completed a string of eight consecutive road games over the past nineteen days. The LeBlond game also marked the team’s 20th game to date. Of those 20 games, 17 have been played on the road. Three times thus far this season the boy’s played on back to back nights—with all six of those games being on the road. Most of the boys on the varsity squad also played football this past fall for the State Championship team. Three days after the state championship game the boys laced up their sneakers and played their first basketball game on the road at Savannah. I am sure they wouldn’t trade the football season for anything in the world, but they will also tell you that the road schedule to date has been an added burden to all ready fatigued bodies.
Many of the boys on the team have spent years playing organized basketball during the off season. They have made great sacrifices in order to improve their skills in preparation for this high school season---and for four seniors on the team, this year will mark the end of their high school basketball careers. It has been difficult for them to play in front of a sparse following of MHS fans (except for the Savannah game---great fan support!) in the opposition’s gym.
Many students and local citizens know little about this team, and that is a shame. But I can’t blame any unfamiliarity on them---they simply have not had the opportunity to see the boys play. Any chance for generating excitement and support for this year’s team to date has been eliminated by the unbalanced schedule.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, they are 14-5, a very respectable record given their rugged schedule. This Friday night they will return home for the first time in 24 days to play a tough Smithville squad. The following Friday (January 8th) they will host Benton in what will be their only consecutive home contests for the entire season. After a road game to Cameron, (their 4th trip to Cameron) they will wrap up the regular season at home the following Friday (January 15) when they play Savannah on Senior Night. They will then go back on the road and compete in districts at LeBlond High School. If they are fortunate enough to get to the district championship game, it will mean that they will have played a combined eight games at LeBlond and Cameron---two more than the six games they will have played at home for the entire season.
Page 2 of 2 - I haven’t looked into it, but I am wondering if it would have been cheaper for me to have purchased home season passes from those two schools rather than paying single admission prices each time I went to a game there………
If you can attend any of the remaining games, please consider doing so. The boys have been looking forward to playing at home, as they have witnessed first-hand this season the difference a home crowd can make for a team. There is still a lot of basketball left in the season and a loud and lively crowd will help the team find the extra energy they may need in a tightly played contest.
Come on out to MHS (or make the trek to St. Joe for a district game) to take in an upcoming game and let the boys know that they have not been forgotten. I know that they will appreciate it.