By Steve Peterson
The good news, Cubbie got a ticket for the “Ring Game” now April 12 at Wrigley Field.
The bad news, it looks like he won’t be here for local track-and-golf, and beloved softball and baseball season.
Seriously, by way of therapy and keeping the straight jacket off, due to economic conditions beyond his control, yours truly is heading back to Chicago, or more exact, Crystal Lake, Ill., where I can seek answers at our pond. Maybe haunt my high school.
I’d like to say a hearty thanks for the many memories of serving Akron-Westfield and West Sioux sports, meetings, civic events and more.
Of course, there were the A-W softball titles; A-W’s state football runner-up in 2015 and the last-minute comeback over Mount Ayr the game before; plenty of track-and-field state qualifiers (and getting to see Iowa Cubs games); floods and snowstorms; heat waves and cold snaps.
All the great sports coaches who always put long-term development of student-athletes as No. 1. I’ll start with the recently completed girls’ basketball season and Coach Kent Johnson, who gets about a week off all year; Athletic Director and Softball Coach Todd Colt, who gave me a Cubs print in December from A-W; football coach Eric Walkingstick, who gave me my just second high school state title game in football to cover; boys’ basketball coach and football stat man Jon Harris, with more than 20 years of helping the area; head A-W baseball coach and Twins fan Gordy Johnson; and more from the earlier years my old memory is too weak to recall.
Oh yes, Akron’s “Walking Man” Doug McCorkell, who put up with my driving.
At West Sioux, there’s baseball coach Brian Engleman, who gave me my first baseball title game to cover last season; girls’ basketball and track coach Dennis Weerheim, 2012 was a great run for the girls’ hoops squad; football coach Ryan Schwiesow who led the Falcons to another district title this past season; football and favorite soccer team coach Jose Garcia, one of the first to congratulate Cubbie on the sidelines after the Cubs’ World Series title. Also boys’ hoops coaches Jerome Hoegh and girls’ coach Adam McVay, who let me shoot the basketball around as well as friendly custodians at both schools.
In wrestling, A-W’s Dustin Meinen and WS’ Mark Van Oort both got to coach state champs, John Henrich and Adam Allard, this winter. Best wishes to both programs.
In volleyball, A-W had a 20-win season last fall, led by Coach Eric Thien.
I spent 20-plus years in my previous stint before Akron, 8.5 years here, and who knows, like MacArthur, I, may (but not shall) return.
Thanks to Hank Krause for his great support over the years; Julie Ann Madden and proofreaders for fixing my “sounds good” writing (sorry I never put an ‘h’ in Anthon) and of course, Dodie and Joe Hook for the opportunity that July day in 2009. It was right after the state softball tournament. Yes, thanks to the “pets,” our four-legged folks here, Sandy and RIP, Allie, good “people sitters” both.
I’ll miss the next Fort Dodge trip as most other locales play our summer sports in the cold of spring.
Advice? Hardly, but don’t take those special moments of state tournament games for granted. Take it all in. It’ll sound good when you’re pushing 60.
Hopefully I’ll survive, I kept breathing during the Mike Quade-managed Cub year. Or What Would My Hero The Late Ron Santo Do?
There. That’s my therapy, or as The Andy Griffith Show’s Barney Fife once said, “it’s therapatic.”