Center & Guard: Time To Make Up For Lost Time


Call it making up for lost time.

While we have a few weeks off (or more) from the regular spring high school sports schedule, I want to go back a few months and finish up something that got away from me in the winter months.

After each season, I try to do a season recap and statistics from some of the sports, like volleyball, football, basketball, baseball and softball. This year though, I was in a little bit of a pickle when it came time to do those recaps.

My daughter Grace developed some breathing trouble in the first part of December, something that is particularly troublesome with her condition. As many of you know, Grace is battling a rare disease called INAD (infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy), a degenerative disorder that more often than not gets the best of kiddos before their tenth birthday. The disease also makes her particularly susceptible to respiratory illness.

Her illness in December landed her in the hospital from Dec. 3 through Dec. 18, with my beautiful wife Mary by her side the entire time. I was there too, but I also made trips back to Hillsboro for paper night and wrote while we were in the hospital. 

For the most part, I love working with Mary, but when we both have to be gone, it can add some strain to my fantastic co-workers.

We ended up going home for a few weeks, then landed back in the hospital again in January, this time for a shorter amount of time. Fortunately, Grace has been doing great lately, although we have been keeping her in more since those two trips to St. Johns. Unfortunately, that has made us seasoned veterans for the kind of isolation that has been necessary with the coronavirus outbreak.

What this time has done that the other didn’t is provide me with an opportunity to do some things that slipped through the cracks in December. So in today’s paper, you’ll see stats and a season recap from the Litchfield and Nokomis football seasons. 

Both Tom Priddle, the former coach of the Purple Panthers, and Paul Watson, Nokomis’ head coach, have been good friends and great supporters of Grace, through good times and bad. While the final results of their seasons were on the opposite end of the spectrum, the players on both teams deserved one last hurrah at the end of the season. They’ll have that now and I hope they, and their families, like it.

Barring a catastrophe, which at this point, I’m not sure what else can be thrown at us, I’ll have recaps of the Hillsboro and Lincolnwood volleyball seasons. Both teams had a great deal of success this year and deserve another 15 minutes of fame, or the Journal-News equivalent.

Like Tom and Paul, Kimberly Denney and Emily Zimmerman have been amazing to our family, from the Grace Tournament to T-shirt sales, to just being there to support us when things weren’t going as great as we hoped. We can’t repay them for their kindness, but I can reset the clock and talk of their teams' successes.

As for the weeks that follow, I have a few ideas. Mary and I have talked about some articles regarding teams and players of the past, and I’d like to do something on the spring season senior athletes, especially if they aren’t able to start the seasons safely.

Regardless of how long or short the break from the regular scheduled programming is, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share these stories with my community. They have been there for us in the tough times and this is my way of thanking them.


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