From the Sidelines
It's time to crawl out of our wintry cave
Spring is the season of struggling forces.
It all starts with nature. We see the world around us struggling to break free from the frozen shackles of wintertime, and it sparks the fire of change.
We see buds form on limbs, ready to spring forth with the green vibrancy of life, where yesterday there was only a cold, dead-looking branch.
We see a wobbly kneed new fawn trailing its mother as she grazes for spring's first shoots of green grass.
We see a fisherman gearing up, tying his flies and buying supplies for the season that he's been waiting for all year.
We see teen-agers playing basketball outside in short pants in 40-degree weather because they just can't wait anymore.
We see high school athletes leave the gym, where the indoor sports of winter are played, for the great outdoors where sports were meant to be played.
Spring adds something to sports.
In contrast to the sterile confines and echoing cheers and squeaks from playing sports in a gym, when we play outside, it's like it's the real thing.
Sliding into home wouldn't be the same without the cloud of dust, the sweat and the blood.
The nervous eternity between, "Runners take your marks," and "Set," wouldn't be the same without the distant buzz of a lawnmower to break the silence.
The sharp sudden crack of the starting pistol and the lawnmower sound is drowned out by the clap-clap-clap of a half-dozen spiked pairs of feet fighting for position.
And the smell of cut new grass on the cooling wind is the runner's only company in the vacuum of concentration.
Yes, the coming of spring opens the door to true delight in athletics.
If only Old Man Winter would let go.
The old man has given up only grudgingly this year. The saying used to be March is in like a lion, out like a lamb and vice-versa.
This year, March opened with a snow storm and ended by raining out Tonganoxie's opening baseball and softball games though the first track meet is still on for now.
When will spring let our children out to play?
Pitcher holding his own at community college
One Tonganoxie native is showing that he's got what it takes to pitch at the college level this season.
Brett Bogard, who played for the Chieftains in 1996 and 1997 before transferring to Lawrence's Free State High School, has been burning batters badly in this year's early season.
In his three starts for Johnson County Community College this season all wins he has pitched 27 innings of nearly flawless ball, including a no-hitter on March 16 against Cedar Valley College. In those 27 innings, Bogard has given up only one earned run.
"He's pretty hot right now," said Joe Bogard, his father. "He jumped out to a real good start. Now if only this lousy weather would clear up."
Though the weather might not be clear, Bogard's plans for the future are. He wants to keep playing ball.
"He's quite the ball player," Joe Bogard said. "He was hoping to have a good spring so he could see what kind of (college) offers he could get."
Bogard, a sophomore, would play at Nebraska next year if he had his druthers, but so far his hot hand has earned him letters of interest from Pepperdine, Georgia Tech, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Young wrestler places in top 10 at state
Ten-year old Roger Riedel Jr., grandson of Richard and Nancy Lou Riedel, Tonganoxie, finished in the top 10 in his age group at the state wrestling championships in Topeka.
Riedel is a fifth-grader at Oak Grove Elementary in Turner. His parents are Roger and Tammy Riedel of Turner.