Sunday, May 4, 2008

Best sport memory, Part 2

As promised in yesterday’s short and needs to be improved blog, today I shall share another of my favorite sporting memories.

Two days ago, I recalled our thrilling win over Vian in football, the last regular-season loss the Wolverines suffered for some three years.

That happened during my junior year. This memory involved my senior year, one I cherish even more than the win over Vian.

But first, I must admit the honorable Heavener High School Class of 1981 was not the greatest athletic class to ever pass through our school system. No, don’t argue! I was there, I know. We did not do that well in football, played about .500 in basketball (although we did open the new gym that year, okay with a loss) but it was in baseball where we made our mark.

We had several seniors who had started two or three years. The whole team was back from the 1980 squad, aside from future doc and weightlifting addict Lance Hamilton (who now sports a dome with less hair than I do!), so we expected to be pretty decent.

But there was one thing that always bothered me going into that season. I had never been on a team that beat Poteau. Not football, basketball, baseball, backgammon or running track against chicks.

There was a good rivalry between the two schools. We still played each other in football and had faced off since we were little squirts.

Our junior year, we came close to winning the district tournament in baseball, but thanks to getting er, ripped up and spit out by the umpiring in a game held at Carl Albert (then junior college, now state college), we came up short.

We had the better team that year. Aside from the rather one-sided umpiring, so bad that even Coach Edwards got upset, I remember future Doc Lance hit a ball that one-hopped the center-field fence. Yep, he was getting all strong and stuff. Now if he could have just thrown a ball from third to first without it one hopping and, just kidding.

So we had to wait almost another year for what we hoped would be revenge. Already that school year, we lost to Poteau in football and got creamed every time we played the Pirates in basketball.

Our first game against the Pirates that spring was part of a doubleheader in Heavener. It wasn’t close. The Wolfies unleashed a fair amount of pent-up frustration and swept Poteau in a doubleheader.

It wasn’t some dramatic win, but no victory ever felt sweeter. A week or so later, we lost the first game of a doubleheader at Poteau, but kicked rear in the second game.

This set up a district tournament rematch. Back then, if a team lost one game in a district tournament, their season was over.

We got to host Poteau and this time, it was a tight, back and forth game. Finally, late in the game, we broke through and built a lead. When we got the last out, the thought that we were moving on to the regional tournament was there, but we were more excited to win the district by beating Poteau.

It didn’t remove all the prior disappointments, but winning the last game against Poteau sure felt good.

It was the first time in my high-school days we advanced to the following round. The regional tournament was held in Heavener the following week, a story that will be shared on another day.

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