This and that about this and that

It’s easy to spot the playoff fever spreading like wildfire among local ball players.
In Bruce and Calhoun City it shows up in differing doses of bleached blonde hair. Some have just a few streaks. Other young men appear to have been doused with the full bottle.
Some wear it very well. Hayden Goodson, of Calhoun City, a solid outfielder and pitcher for the Wildcats with a big bat, is an example. He chose to go more European with shaved sides and back keeping a long coiffe of blonde hair on the very top in a similar style to many of the top soccer players across the Atlantic, although I’m not certain that’s what he was aiming for.

Joel McNeece

In Vardaman, the fever shows itself more in streaks of pink. If I may be so bold, the Lady Rams wear their playoff pink better than the Bruce and ‘City boys. Accented with hot pink hair bows, it’s really a good look.
Most importantly, it’s working for all of them. The Lady Rams entered Tuesday one win away from the South State Championship. Bruce and Calhoun City continued their playoff runs advancing to the North Half Semifinals in 2A.
Both enter the next round – the Trojans versus East Webster and the Wildcats against East Union – as underdogs. Hopefully, the baseball gods continue to prefer blondes and both move on to set up the first ever, and very enticing, all Calhoun County North Half on the diamond.

•I don’t know if it’s a shift in the high school athletic calendar, or our spring sports teams are just playing later and later, but spring football is closing in on its final week and I’ve yet to see a single practice.
Normally by this time I’ve seen them all and actually had photos to run in the paper each week. Not this year. It’s been a struggle just to get back and forth to all the baseball and softball fields while trying to keep up with powerlifting, track, golf and more.
I hope to get to our spring games. Calhoun City plays at Falkner May 10. Vardaman is playing in Holly Springs May 11. Bruce is hosting Water Valley and North Pontotoc May 11. Calhoun Academy’s spring football had to essentially be canceled because the Cougars are still alive in the baseball playoffs as well.
It’s possible North and South Half Championship series involving all schools will supersede all the spring football action. That’s never happened, but it will be a positive thing for the county.

•A public hearing will be held this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Calhoun City High School Auditorium to allow the public to give input on what they want in their next school superintendent.
The county school board and officials from the Mississippi School Board Association will be in attendance to accept all suggestions. I hope they receive a good audience with solid input on what they want in that position.
Personally, I don’t have a candidate I am backing for the job. From the very beginning I’ve not favored one applicant over the other, rather the process. The most important thing to me is that the proper process be followed.

I have long been a supporter of appointed superintendents. I believe it to be a critical factor in the long term success for any school district.
Once given this opportunity, now it’s just important that we adhere to an open, transparent and rigorous process to produce the best result.
Baseball and softball coaches preach this to their teams all the time. Focus on the fundamentals, the process of doing all the little things correctly and the results will take care of themselves.
That’s my position regarding the superintendent search. The school board got off on the wrong foot in the beginning of the process, but, to their credit, made the correction needed and now have 18 applicants for the position.
They need to stick to the process and gradually get down to the one best candidate among those who applied and we all move forward together working to improve our schools to be among the best anywhere.

•Last Thursday I made my first ever trip to downtown Waynesboro for a meeting of the Mississippi Press Association Board of Directors. MPA President Paul Keane, publisher of the Wayne County News, was hosting the meeting.
We convened in the Waynesboro Public Library, a vast facility located in an old Walmart building. I’ll take a nice library over a Walmart any day of the week.

•The weather this past weekend couldn’t have been more beautiful. I’d still take a few degrees warmer, but that’s getting picky.
I spent my Saturday, up until time to head to three different ballparks in the county, doing all the things I’ve been itching to do in my yard for the past two months.
It’s a challenge in our yard to get everything just the way we want it when we have a two-year-old Yellow Lab named Charlie who prefers to keep things his way – lots of holes, running paths through the grass, and plants on the patio stone rather than the pots they were planted in.
If nothing else, Charlie creates a lot more yard work for me, which I’m happy to do with some more good weekend weather.

•Shed Hill Davis stopped by the office Monday to say the Calhoun County History story in last week’s CCJ referencing the slot machine in a local Bruce drug store saying it was his dad’s. He recalled pulling the slot machine to the new drug store his dad opened in the late 1930s where Dr. Bruce Longest’s office is located now.

•There are a number of coaching changes at county schools taking place right now and two I’m particularly pleased with. M.D. Jennings, a proud Wildcat alum and former NFL player will be joining Perry Liles’ staff at Calhoun City where he will have a tremendous impact on kids there.
I’m also thrilled to see Joshua Warren get the head baseball job at Vardaman. I remember Josh from his time as a Little League player in Calhoun City. He’ll do a great job.

•Speaking of Rams, I’m excited to be part of the team that is bringing Michael Long Field (the old VHS baseball field) back to life as the school’s new soccer complex.
I was there the day the field was dedicated in memory of Michael. The school moved its baseball program to the town’s Sportsplex a few years ago, but now we have an opportunity to resurrect that field to serve a new generation of Rams.
A lot of work remains to get it in the condition needed for our kids, and community help is certainly welcome. As our soccer program at VHS continues to grow, it’s meaningful to me to know Michael Long Field will be a big part of it.