ESCANABA - The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising. Spring is definitely in the air, signalling a change from the cold, dreary days of winter.
Ah, that means baseball and golf, by far my two favorite sports and activities.
No. 3 on the activity list is outdoor barbecues, but that is done year round in our home so there is no beginning or end. Now it is just more fun to sit on the deck with a refreshment as the flames toast the evening meal.
The season change is also a good time to look back at what has been a busy, exhilarating and overall joyful time. In other words, what we liked and maybe didn't like.
Best: That is an easy one. Feb. 11 when Dr. David Knuff made a huge impact on my life, finding and removing a pre-cancerous polyp during a routine colonosocopy. That was quickly followed by his discovery of a very weak heart rate that resulted in Dr. David Pesola implanting a pacemaker Feb. 12. What a life-saving 24 hour stretch that would be difficult to surpass.
Many other wonderful things happened over the past few months.
Watching Superior Central and Cedarville perform exquisitely at Escanaba in a Class D quarterfinal boys basketball game Tuesday. The game was played at high efficiency and energy and provided excellent entertainment.
Gladstone's boys basketball game at Escanaba Feb. 26. Again, the energy, enthusiasm and entertainment was excellent and was a great prelude to the district rematch March 12.
Four times this winter I watched No. 2 knock off No. 1: Superior Central did it twice, both times to Bark River-Harris in boys basketball; Gwinn's boys beating Gladstone in basketball; and Escanaba topping Iron Mountain in wrestling.
Getting to see good high school games is a real pleasure, be it as a fan, official or sportswriter. To see four "upsets" in a three-month span is priceless.
By the way, Kyle Aho, a ringleader in Gwinn's victory and their excellent season, made a verbal commitment Friday to play basketball at Alma College.
Watching Escanaba hockey's amazing turnaround. Charlie Elliott and his Eskymos took a program reeling from a serious situation revealed a year ago and rebounding in grand fashion, winning a school-record 20 games and skating to a pair of postseason victories. Incredible season.
Always a highlight is visiting the Gold Medal Classic in Hermansville, one of those special small-town traditions that gets better with age. Thursday's stop provided a first, a four-point play by Dan Waterman in the second overtime to decide the Class C championship.
A four-point play is rare. To decide the game, in the second overtime of a championship showdown? That is unbelievable.
Not everything is great, unfortunately.
The biggest downer is the way many fans act, either through poor sportsmanship at games with venom directed at officials and even players, or by their misguided efforts of launching witch hunts to get rid of coaches.
This is high school sports for crying out loud. Only a lucky handful may get a chance to play beyond this level. Let them enjoy their prep days before those four quick years are history.
Keep it positive, or stay away and clean up your own house. This is for the kids. Let it stay that way.