By Clinton Dick
I can still clearly remember cheering on the men’s basketball team my senior year of High School. Of the four years I had been at Kingman, never had we had a season that brought so much excitement to the school and the community.
We had five starting seniors on our team and started the first half of the season leading the conference with a 10-2 record. At that time I had been to every home and away football game and every home and away basketball game. We would bring crowds on our side big and loud enough for it to basically be a home game for us. Everything was swinging in the right direction for the team.
The one game I decided not to attend was an away game at Pratt, who at the time was a non-league opponent. I remember hearing the stories the next day at school about our tragic loss by one point from a near half court shot sunk at the buzzer by one of the Pratt players.
After that, Kingman started going downhill. We started losing against teams that we had manhandled earlier in the season and got beat against opponents with far worse records. The team ended up 13-7 and lost in the first round of sub-state at home to a team that we had crushed a few weeks earlier. It was a disappointing way to end a season of that had brought so much energy back into KHS athletics.
Mid-season is the time of the year that can make or break a team. Right now, the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Southwestern are entering the long stretch of conference games that may ultimately determine how long their postseason lasts or whether they will be crowned the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Champions.
It isn’t just about basketball though. Whenever you think of mid-season, it applies to any sport. It is that time of the sports year in which teams strive to make a strong push as the end of the season gets ever closer.
Why is it that this time of year might make or break a team? By mid-season you know where you stand as a team compared to everyone else. If you are at the top of your game and are leading all other teams, the goal is to continue that success and don’t let anything get in the way of remaining on top. If by chance you have a rocky season or have had a hard time getting wins, mid-season gives the opportunity to turn things around and make a push to get back up in the high ranks.
It isn’t that simple sometimes. When half of the games on the schedule have been played or half of the meets have been completed, things might look or feel a little bit different than in early season. Players get injured, practices get harder on the body and teams might start to lose some steam. Those teams and players who overcome these kinds of adversities are the ones who make the strongest pushes through mid-season and into the final stretch.
I am looking forward to watching how things play out for athletics not only here at SC, but around the country as well and in the professional ranks to see who rises to mid-season form. This time of year was an important factor for the ’09 Kingman High School boys’ basketball team and they are proof of how quickly things can change at the halfway mark of the schedule.
Clinton Dick is a sophomore majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.