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There’s something special about all fall sports

Tim Martinez: High school sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: September 8, 2019, 8:00pm

If you were on social media last week, you probably saw many fans, and even some prep reporters, tweet about how excited they were that the high school football season was upon us.

But I think the excited tweet of the week goes to Ryan Michalesko, a photographer from the Dallas Morning News, who tweeted: “I accidentally sat down in a fire ant nest to transmit tonight. But I don’t even care because I am so happy that high school football is back!”

You know, I like high school football as much as the next person, but I kind of think if that happened to me, I would care.

But maybe I’m just wacky that way.

Still, in high school sports, there is nothing that can compare to the excitement of a Friday night in the fall.

The buzz, the bands, the cheerleaders, the big crowds all accentuate the action on the field. And I’ve never met a prep reporter who didn’t like it.

But I like to temper my outward enthusiasm for prep football because I feel it can undermine the excitement that can happen in the other sports of the fall season.

So with the fall sports season hitting full stride this week, I’m going to list some of things I like about fall sports, other than football (and I got an assist from Columbian colleagues Meg Wochnick and Jeff Klein).

Volleyball: As Meg put it best, in volleyball, there is a celebration on every play. And when you think of it, even in the most lopsided matches, there are still nearly 100 celebrations.

Girls soccer: While celebrations are fewer — much fewer — the anticipation of those celebrations is what I like about soccer. The build-up of excitement, and then the anguish, when scoring opportunities are so close, and then so far away.

Cross country: As a former cross country runner, I can say this with confidence and affection: Cross country runners are quirky. And often that quirkiness comes out in the slogans the runners put on their team shirts. My favorite is “Our sport is your sport’s punishment.”

Girls swimming: While the other sports are held outdoors, most swim meets are indoors. And that confined space can amplify an energetic cheer section. My favorite is the rhythmic chants during the breaststroke, when competitors only spend part of the race with their heads above the water line.

Golf: I really enjoy watching young players display such skill in a game that many of us play so poorly. Also, as a spectator, it’s nice to walk the course and never get sand in my shoes.

Tennis: This is one of the rare games that has no officials. The participants in high school tennis officiate themselves. That doesn’t guarantee an absence of acrimony, particularly when one player yells “out” and the other player asks “Are you sure?”

Slowpitch softball: I can’t tell you what I like about slowpitch softball, as I never attend a high school game. But that will soon change.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.