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Heads Up (and other warning shouts)

Posted: September 28, 2011 - 12:04am

Ouch! Isn’t there a phrase for like-minded sports enthusiasts to yell out when a stray orb, implement, or expectoration is flying through the air in your direction?

Something like… “Dude duck!” Or, “Watch out!” Or, “Look alert!” Or, at least “Oops, my bad!”

I caught my first verbal tirade today. It was pointed and prickly and sharp and insinuating, right through my head, heart and soul.

Yep, I caught it full on.

It was one of those shots where, at first, the shock is so great your face is white and then it slowly builds into a red welt the size of whatever the striking device was.

The kind of projectile where you quickly jump up and look around to make sure no one else in the gym saw it happen. If someone did witness it you try and play it off like you meant to do it. Like, you know, I actually meant to step my right foot over my left foot when turning to the right and therefore my face has imprinted in the bleachers and my popcorn is in someone’s fan-crazed, sports-enthused hair colorings.

My attack felt like a punch so hard my parents, rest their souls, must have felt the contact.

It was a mental blow that will require RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), but I can still play. No concussion here, nor would I admit one (that’s another column).

I can soldier on, go the distance, give it my all, work harder, step up, believe in my team, show my spirit, oh, and practice good sportsmanship. All those things we teach our kids.

So, the offense that warranted the vocal bombardment? Not important.

What matters is how I respond. No lashing out here. No extra elbows under the basket, no retaliations on the underclassmen, and no Icy Hot put into an errant jock strap in someone’s locker.

Nope. I will just review my season to date and try to improve my practice habits so I can at least be better prepared to zig-dodge-zag when “incoming” is shouted.

Reflection.

I missed some coach contacts and some team events. I put tennis inside, lost Thunder Mountain volleyball, and was swamped by swimming.

I blew it. I admit that. I don’t think I have caused any game penalty or loss of time or conference standing yet.

That is what sports are about. That is life. Just because I didn’t mention something does not mean it didn’t happen and won’t get mentioned now.

My athletes and teams in Juneau are all winners. Not because they are atop the standings, but because they are in a sport.

I have some seniors on my radar for future pieces and if you are a parent of a senior athlete please give a shout out, a “holla” if you will.

Here’s mine: JDHS senior football cheerleader Chelsea Kilgore; Thunder Mountain senior volleyballers Jeslie Villaverde and Emily Ropp (a three-year and a first-year player, respectively); the hilarious broadcast duo in the press box at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park; and that crazy pack of TMHS kids at the recent Augustus Brown Pool dive meet whose body paint ran like Marion Jones’ mascara at the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney Australia.

So give a “Heads up” when something is coming my way and hopefully I will catch it and throw it back with a little more oomph than before.

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