Written by Jeff Vorva
Photo by Jeff Vorva
Nazareth lineman Gavin Smith was one of a handful of Roadrunners who did snow angels after beating St. Laurence to get to the Class 5A title game.
There is something about Mother Nature colliding with a big game that brings out the goofball in some football players.
A few years ago, I covered the final regular-season game of a team that hadn’t been to the playoffs in ages and after it won its game to qualify on a very rainy night, some big players found a mud puddle to jump into and frolic and scream.
The coach of that team went ballistics and did some screaming of his own.
He was not happy.
That bring us to Saturday. You may have heard the rumor that it snowed that day.
The snow and cold weather were the hot topics during Semifinal Saturday.
This was the day that 32 Illinois High School Association teams faced a situation in which they either experience the joy of going to this week’s state championship game or were zapped off the face of the playoff Earth.
And it was cold and/or snowy at all 16 games.
I could call this column the “Whine Guy” and spend the rest of it complaining about my misadventures with trying to take photos at the Nazareth-St. Laurence game in the heavy wet snow in Burbank, but I won’t. I have just one thing to say. Even though I covered the camera with two layers of plastic, I am praying that not wet stuff got into the guts of the company camera. Please pray along with me…
The players had to play in that stuff and when it was over and Naz pulled off a 34-0 victory to advance to the Class 5A title game, some of the Roadrunners players blew off some steam by getting down on the ground and making snow angels.
Like with the mud puddle scene a few years ago, I was amused, especially when big linemen types were acting like little kids.
Hours later, Marist punched its ticket to DeKalb and the Class 8A state championship contest with a 31-16 victory over Waubonsie Valley.
It was cold, but by then it stopped snowing and the Marist athletic department and administration had the field in great shape.
But the snow had to go somewhere.
It was pushed into big piles at the north and south fences, a few feet from the end zones.
After the game, several relieved RedHawks jumped onto those piles past the north end zone and hooted and hollered for a little while.
In an age where high school kids think they are too cool to show any emotion, I like the fact that these big guys can let loose a little and have some unbridled fun. They put in a lot of hard work starting under the hot August sun and to finally get to a point like this…
Now, if one of these guys gets really sick because they exposed their sweaty bodies to the freezing snow -- that may be a problem.
But, heck, this was all unscripted merriment and hopefully no one fell ill because of it.
Look out DeKalb – if there is any snow around Huskie Stadium and either of these teams win, they will find it.
(subhead) Player of Year honors coming
With Marist’s football team playing deep into November, we had to push our fall sports Players of the Year stories back. Next week, we will carve out some space for the Redhawks on the front page and after that, get the best of the best stories rolling.
So, on Dec. 10, 17 and 24 we will announce our top players for boys and girls golf, girls tennis, boys soccer, boys and girls cross country, girls swimming, girls volleyball and football and that takes us to Dec. 31, where we will have our top 10 area sports stories of the year.
Happy New Year, er, Happy Thanksgiving