Deep Left Field


Trying to get fired up



By John Ring


A lot has gone on in the local sports world since I left four months ago. And though I havenÕt been around to find out the whys and the hows, a lot of things have gone on that demand a few questions be asked.

Such asÉ

The Silver Streaks have another new basketball coach. I was hoping they would be daring and make a bold choice. It didnÕt happen. Instead we have a new coach with essentially the same rˇsumˇ and the same background and the same cast of characters supporting him. I fully intend on giving him a decent interview and allowing him the opportunity to change my mind. I hope he fires me up. I hope he fires the kids up. I hopeÉ

The Silver Streak girls team bows out against Rock Island Alleman in the Regional Championship game. Worse, they score all of two points in the first quarter. I know that teams are playing better defense but this is embarrassing especially when you have three seniors with a combined 12 years of varsity experience.

The Prairie Fire womens team had another disastrous season and another coach resigns. Quick admission — I enjoyed talking to Wendy Rogers. It wasnÕt just basketball it was all sports all the time. And I intend on giving her successor every opportunity to fire me up for the season. I hope she fires up her team. I hopeÉ

KnoxvilleÕs high school coaching situation has hit rock bottom. Both the girls and boys coaches are sent packing on the same day and Matt Gibson resurfaces as the Blue Bullet girls basketball coach. This is going to be a must-interview for me. First of all, Gibson loves the game as much as I. HeÕs full of interesting stories. especially about the Sandholm hey-days in Knoxville. The second reason is because of his quick resignation as the coach of the Chargers womens basketball team on the eve of their run for the Nationals.

What else you say?

IÕll be talking to Streaks football coach Wes Olson about his team. IsnÕt this his third season? Maybe he will get me fired É  never mind.

ThereÕs always Knox football. Never mind about that, either. In fact, the entire Knox fall sports program was an unmitigated disaster last year.

I did see in the Register-Mail today that former Streak Jim WeatherbeeÕs son signed on to play basketball for the Prairie Fire. HeÕs supposed to be a scoring machine. My only recall of Jim Weatherbee is about his knee. He plowed it into the back of starter John Tuczinski during a practice before the Streaks played at State in 1969 and that contributed to GalesburgÕs quarterfinal loss to Champaign Central.

The Streaks girls soccer team has a bad year. The Streaks baseball team finished with a 16-19 record in spite of having ace hurler Kyle Hunter. The softball team had another bad season.

How did you guys survive the last few months? It couldnÕt be because of the Fighting Illini or the Bears or Bradley basketball. It couldnÕt have been because of the Bulls or your intense hatred of the undefeated Patriots going into the Super Bowl.

Was it the 100th anniversary of Cub failure?

Was it hoping that Ozzie Guillen would recapture the magic of a few years ago instead of impersonating Lee EliaÕs rant against Cub fans 25 years ago?

Or maybe youÕre looking forward to the next Hall of Fame vote in the slim hopes that Mark McGwire will be elected?

Regardless, we here at The Zephyr will report the respective wins and losses of our beloved sports teams. But I have to admit that Mike Kroll going to a City Council meeting is scarily similar to me going to a Silver Streak boys basketball game.

We expect, and then see, the worst. Then we get to report it.

Sometimes a miracle happens. Most of the time it doesnÕt. WeÕre used to losing around here and thatÕs a sad statement. We lose jobs. We lose population. Our claim to fame is being highlighted in Barack ObamaÕs book as a poster child for whatÕs wrong with America.

But hey — hereÕs hoping Wes Olson has a kick-ass year.