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Memories That Help Define the Prep Sports Year

Moving Ahead--and Back

June 11, 1996|STEVE KRESAL

These simple tales tell of society's ability to move forward and also stand still.

I wouldn't care to know the number of times I've take the result of a high school event over the phone the last 11 years. But one call stands out.

It came earlier this spring. Our office had heard that the Woodbridge boys' tennis team upset top-seeded Santa Barbara in a Southern Section playoff match. This was a major accomplishment and the paper wanted to get as much as possible because host Santa Barbara had won eight consecutive Southern Section titles and 10 of the last 11.

But there was a problem. The Times didn't have a reporter at the match and it would be at least three hours before the team was back in Orange County.

But 30 minutes after only knowing the score, our troubles were over.

A parent had given Woodbridge Coach Joan Willett a cellular phone to call the papers during the bus ride.

So, as the bus was just leaving Santa Barbara, the jubilant coach was on the phone to the paper. After she was done providing all the details, she passed the phone to one of the players for some additional post-match quotes.

While that story speaks of the advances in our society, the next one shows no progression whatsoever.

Of course, the sport in question is football.

Each fall, I'm stunned at how much younger the players seem to look. But I learned long ago through examples like the following not to mistake youth for innocence.

One fall Thursday during a football game at Glover Stadium, I noticed a player take a cheap shot at another in the end zone well after the referee's whistle had blown the play dead.

The player, who was blind-sided, had to be carried from the field. No officials noticed the illegal hit, but the teammates of the injured player surely did.

A few plays later, the boy who took the cheap shot was on his own sideline, ice being applied to his bleeding face.

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