Playoff glory makes sports writing fun

Sports commentary - November 8

Little did I know back in September that I would be sitting here in November writing about three local teams’ dream seasons.

To think I would be talking about three state playoff teams, two conference Players of the Year, and a state record-breaking running back were almost unimaginable at the time.

But, as I and the rest of the county have learned, these aren’t your ordinary playoff teams this year at Hood River Valley. These are state-title contenders that, with a few breaks, could take the whole enchilada.

Now wouldn’t that be a nice, big dollop of sour cream on top?

State-record crusher Jacobe Krizman and the 8-1 football team took their first step toward state immortality on Friday night when they hosted a first-round playoff game against Lakeridge (results not available at press time).

Boasting the most potent, high-scoring

offense in the state, along with one of the meatiest offensive lines in any state, the Eagles already surprised the critics by finishing second in the Intermountain Conference. They also earned recognition in the 4A polls for the first time, consistently finding themselves among the teams “also receiving votes.”

No stranger to the state polls is the ninth-ranked HRV boys soccer team, which inched closer to its state-title dreams on Tuesday with a third-round road playoff win over Lincoln. Matt Dallman, Dereck Ponce and company are one of just eight teams remaining, and will try to reach the semifinals for the first time tonight when they travel to Eugene to face fourth-ranked Sheldon.

Crazy to think that when this weekend comes to a close, we could be talking about two school firsts. And, by the end of next weekend, we could be in the midst of a playoff frenzy.

Oh wait, we already are!

Last Saturday’s HRV girls soccer game was as good as it gets, and anyone who was at Westside — soccer fan or not — would agree that the drama was Oscar-worthy. The Eagles’ 3-2 shootout win over Westview was their first-ever playoff victory, and it gave the program a brand-new outlook on what the playoffs are all about.

Had they been able to overcome third-ranked Tualatin on Tuesday, that may have supplanted Saturday’s win as the biggest in the program’s history. But that doesn’t take away from the girls’ unprecedented success in 2002.

To avoid losing their first game until the first week of November is no small feat, while placing nine players on the all-conference rosters — including three first teamers and the Conference Player of the Year, Becca Meierbachtol — is almost unheard of.

With any luck, though, we will be hearing plenty more about the HRV soccer girls in the years to come. From the looks of it, we’ll be hearing our fair share about the football and boys soccer teams as well.

I’ll bet every small-town sports writer wishes he had it as good as I do. I mean, what other town of 6,000 people can produce 4A state-title contenders as consistently as HRV?

We’ve even had a couple state champions in my time here. Christy Paul, Caitlyn Shortt and the girls ski team represent just a few names on a long list of gifted athletes who make this job more than just a paycheck.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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