Dreamt that I’m in a hotel, a nice hotel, and I’m trying to make it to the 18th floor where the pool is. The elevator’s going very slowly. Somehow I get off on floor #17 and there’s a woman in a white dress walking away from me. Where’s the pool? I just want to find the pool. That’s all I have.
… It’s Sectionals week so I wake up on Saturday morning before the sun comes up with a sore back and raw throat. It’s always that way. It really is burning the candle at both ends of the day. You wake at 430 and do a radio show and then do stuff all day to run your business and then announce basketball games into the night… and then do it again the next day. By Saturday morning every year I wonder how many years I can do it like this.
And then the next year comes along and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m gonna announce the whole East Chicago sectional. It’s just too good.
Last night, Morton came in at 12-10 as a huge underdog to 19-5 Lowell, and almost came away with the victory. Morton led by as many as 17 points in the first half, as Tyreon Jackson scored a bunch and Tayon Carter, the leading rebounder in the entire Calumet Region, swept the boards.
But Lowell coach Joe Delgado adjusted – as WJOB color announcer Dave Kusiak said he must – from a man-to-man to a trapping 1-3-1 half-court defense and that made all the difference. With 10 seconds left, it was tied at 71. Lowell had the ball underneath their own basket. No surprise, coach Delgado cleared everyone out and had Jonathan Cory dribble up to find a shot somehow. He did. It was a 25-foot jumper from the right wing that went right through the net. Cory ended with 35 points.
“Lowell wins, Lowell wins,” I proclaimed loudly to the Calumet Region. It’s that kind of moment that makes Indiana high school basketball one of the sweetest things you can think of, right up there with JEDgolfing and visiting with your grown daughters.
In the second game, East Chicago Central beat up on Gary West Side, so nephew Al and Dave Kusiak and I left at halftime and let Jennings and Minnow finish up the Griffith-Kankakee Valley game from the Civic Center. We did bounce coverage for most of the night, which you can really only do if the announcers at both locations have been doing high school basketball games for a while. Jennings would announce his game for a while, and then he’d send it to me and I’d do it for a while. And then we’d text each other to give an idea when is a good time to send it back. It works, but really only when Jennings and I are doing the games. Otherwise, for a younger announcer, it’s a little confusing. It’s tough enough, really, to announce a game and say all the things that are happening and mention the sponsors and keep track of points and bring in the color announcer at the right time… without the hassle of texting and re-texting to the other announcer about when’s the right time.
For us though, Jennings and me, it does work when there’s two big games at the same time, for basketball and football. Last night, when I got home, even Alexis said so.
“That was pretty cool how you’d do your game and then Jennings would do his game from the Civic Center. I could even follow it. Pretty exciting.”
Thanks, Alexis. By the way, on the way out of the John A Barato Center, I ran in to Lowell coach Delgado. He was out there guiding his bus to back up out of one of the rows of cars. He had a big smile on his face and with his kid walked over to me and nephew Al.
After the initial congrats, I told him – “I keep telling people that your kids don’t play like south county. They play like north county.”
“That’s because their parents and grandparents are from up here.”
Then we talked about the two Cory kids, whose dad Jake played at Gavit. It really is good when you see one of the good guys like Joe Delgado with his kid out in the parking lot after a huge sectional win at East Chicago with a huge smile on his face. If you’re trying to figure out the symbols that make Indiana high school basketball good and pure and untouchable, that’s one of them.
For now, it’s 6:01 on Saturday morning and the dog’s snoring on the end of the futon that I came out to sit on so I could write this blog about basketball for the three or four of you. I wonder if Carole Terry is a basketball fan. If not, then you’ve gotta be bored to death, Carole. Mark Fetzko? It’s not motorcycles but it’s still a pretty cool Region thing. That leaves two more of you reading this blog. Do you like basketball or not?
…… Yesterday on the show, Alexis and I talked about the Andrean-Bishop Noll racism fiasco. Alexis said she read about it in USA Today at the hotel she was staying at while visiting our daughter Jeanie in Nueva York. One caller said something like,
“I’m so tired of everyone complaining about everything. So a bunch of kids got a little out of hand at a high school basketball game. Big deal.”
Then Alexis let him have it, with something like – “It’s offensive. We work hard to bring up our families and to have it go unchecked that young teenagers could say things like that….”
By the end of the 45 minutes that Alexis was on with me – my wife’s full-blooded Mexican, remember – another caller said something that was kind of curious – “Alexis, are you a Mexican, or are you a woman? You can’t be both.”
Alexis asked the question – “So JED, what would you like me to be tonight, a woman or a Mexican?” It doesn’t sound as good when I write it out but it worked on the air and that’s all that matters.