Not Normal, But Closer

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Last year, March was far from normal.  One year ago, this week, the RCNTV crew was at Martz Hall for the FreedomReading state playoff game.  During the game, we heard that March Madness had been canceled and at the final buzzer of our game, everyone in the press box looked at one another and came to the conclusion that we had done our final basketball game for this year.  We never thought that would include the rest of the high school athletic season.

Here we are in March of the following year.  For me, March is all about sports.  There are the wrestling championships in Hershey, the District basketball championships, the state basketball playoffs, and the Patriot League basketball tournament.

It is the busiest time of the year, but also the best.  More importantly, this past week felt almost normal.  The basketball playoffs were held (even that is an important statement) at the PPL Center and we were there to cover them just like years past.  We had two games on Monday, three games on Tuesday, and four games on Thursday.  We watched, described, and congratulated seven championship teams.

We saw the Central and Allen boys’ teams win their 20th district championship.  The Bangor boys won their first District title in 33 years and the Executive Education Academy won for the third consecutive year (every year since their founding).

On the girls’ side, Nazareth won for the second straight year; Bethlehem Catholic won for the fifth year in a row; Central Catholic won for the first time since 2012 when they had won for 13 straight years; and the Notre Dame girls won for the second time in the last three years.

It all sounds pretty normal, right?  Especially in the Covid era.  And it was – great competition at a great venue.  There was even a sprinkling of fans allowed to watch the games LIVE at the PPL Center, primarily family and some students.

Congratulations are in order for the players, coaches, administrators, and organizers for a job well done.

And then, to top off the week, we sprinkled it a bit of abnormality.  On Saturday, on a beautiful fall-like Saturday afternoon, the Lafayette football team took the field to play their first game in 476 days.  Lafayette has been playing football since 1882.  They had never played a meaningful football game in the spring.

Their opponent, Colgate, had not played for 483 days.  Ironically, Colgate’s last game was against Lafayette on November 16, 2019.  Colgate had beaten Lafayette five years in a row, but this past Saturday, the Leopards won 21-10.  They will play three more games in the next three weeks, if Covid stays away.  One game, of the three scheduled this week in the Patriot League, was postponed due to Covid protocols.  Let’s hope that the season gets played in its entirety.

With vaccinations, social distancing, and mask-wearing, it appears we are slowly moving towards the life we remember.  Normal?  Probably not the same, but right now, March is beginning to look a little bit like…oh, I don’t know – March?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. So you are not surprised, the state basketball playoffs this year will be significantly reduced. The playoffs will only have the District champions participating.  The number of playoff participants was significantly reduced due to the pandemic. In the past, many districts would have multiple teams in the state brackets.  Not this year.  Champions will be crowned the weekend of March 26 and 27.
  1. Speaking of championships, there was a time when I would bring the District swimming finals; I vividly remember the first time I was asked to do it. I had never seen a swim meet, so I wore my customary coat and tie to the event, not knowing that a natatorium is much like a sauna.  In addition, I was positioned at the highest point in the venue, which is, also, the hottest.  I think I lost about twenty pounds that day.  I never dressed up for that event again (nor did I ever lose twenty pounds again).
  1. The Phillies home opener is April 1 vs. the Braves. Approximately 8,600 fans will be allowed to attend the games at Citizens Bank Park.  There will be seating pods of two, three, or four people and limited groups of five or six.  Only the first 19 games will be available for now.
  1. I wish you all well in your NCAA pool.  The brackets came out this weekend.  This is the time of the year I usually am embarrassed by the RCN office staff, particularly the women, who somehow end up beating, berating and belittling me.  It’s all in fun (I keep telling myself that).
  1. PIAA state basketball playoffs begin this week. We will bring as many games as we can, considering the Covid protocols we have put into place.  Check our website for dates and times of the games.
Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

Speak Your Mind

*