It's hard to beat the high schools
I spent much of the past weekend in high school gyms — Community Christian, Norman North, Norman High — enjoying the games, the people and, once again, trying to write great stuff about great stuff
Sports squashed and the “coronavirus” upon us, new enough we’d not yet begun calling it “COVID-19” or “COVID” all the time, one of our never-ending ideas at The Norman Transcript, before two of of us were furloughed, was to write a column about what we missed.
Here’s how that piece from me, appearing March 31, 2020, ended
I miss figuring out whats going on with their teams, miss finding out if what I’m seeing is what they’re seeing, miss sharing the excitement of seeing something amazing with a coach capable of being moved by it, too … like the night Andres Kenney put Norman High past Jenks in a 2011 state semifinal with the most amazing goal you’ve ever seen.
That one just came to mind but the unforgettable can occur at any moment on a playing field, course, or court and I miss being there to see it and the chance to describe it.
Not everybody’s a great quote or big thinker, but I miss talking to teenagers and young men and women who are, about the games they play and sometimes their lives.
It’s a good gig.
It’s ongoing, too.
We’re still telling stories, old ones in a new way, new ones about older topics, new ones about new stuff even when that stuff isn’t borne of competition. A good story is a good story is a good story.
Yet, our plate is not full.
The great play in the field. A huge save. Somebody running the best race of their life?
Doing it again tomorrow.
It’s a lot.
I miss it.
You may notice how high-school-centric those thoughts were.
I was on press row the night the Thunder and Jazz failed to launch, ushering in sports silence. I’d followed Sooner football, home and away, for most of 24 years. I’d been to Heisman Trophy presentations and innumerable Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, and absolutely I wanted to chase those things. Still, the preps offered something none of the others matched and it’s why I never wanted to drop them, not for a second, even as I covered the rest.
Yes, more folks follow Sooner football than all the preps combined but more cover it, too. The words we produced at The Transcript about Sooner football were just a fraction of all the words spent on Sooner football.
The high schools?
Norman High, Norman North, Community Christian School, Noble, and, at different times, Moore, Westmoore, Southmoore, Washington, Purcell, Lexington and Blanchard, too?
Often, we had a monopoly.
Our words meant more than anything we might write about any Sooner team or any Thunder game. Our readers had a stake in those words they didn’t have in the rest, because the rest, we were part of the chorus, but in the preps we were frequently it.
I hope you enjoyed all of that because it was all to get here, to tell you a bit about the fun I’ve always had covering high schools and enjoyed yet again this past weekend, hanging out at the Community Christian Classic and covering the Norman High and Norman North hosted Joe Lawson Memorial Invitational.
Perhaps swayed by this story and others I’d written through the years, CCS’ boys hoops program reached out to me on Twitter and invited me to visit, even partake in their first class hospitality room and not wanting to be ungrateful, I did.
I had two games to cover at Norman North later that Friday, but I was happy to head to CCS first.
“Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning” is a reader-supported publication. Though there will always be some free content, the best way to support this venture is to purchase a paid subscription for $6/month, less if you purchase an entire year.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.