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At the Mike
Mike - At the Mike

Homecoming, football, spirit week and sweaters
Hard to believe it is already time for Homecoming in Great Bend.
A time honored tradition. Every school celebrates it a little different but the general concept is the same. Students, staff, alumni and towns people all take some time to celebrate. Gather for a parade, eat some chili and watch some football. That is the order of things here in Great Bend.
When I was in high school we still had a Homecoming Dance. Small schools might still do that. Alumni were invited to the dance. The Glen Elder Gym was usually filled to capacity.
I am fortunate enough to experience at least two and usually three Homecoming’s a year officiating. I do believe we also have one this week.
I like it that way. There is always just a more festive atmosphere to the game. Students seem to have a little more pep in their enthusiasm. The crowds are usually a little bigger. It just makes for a fun night.
So get out and enjoy the day, it only comes once a year. Oh, wait, there is one during basketball season also. Oh well, we can deal with that when it comes. For now, enjoy Homecoming Friday.
Prep Thoughts
Okay, I think it is safe to say there is some pretty good prep football being played in Barton County. Three teams are currently unbeaten and by all counts could be serious contenders for state titles.
Let’s start with Great Bend. They are currently ranked No. 3 in 5A according to Catch it Kansas and other polls. With only eight regular season games, the Panthers have a great shot at an 8-0 season.
Friday with Dodge City and the finale against 6A No. 5 Garden City are the only real stumbling blocks to that 8-0 season and a No. 1 or 2 seed on the West half of playoff action. That would make them a true title contender at 5A.
Then there is Hoisington. The Cardinals have been nothing short of a juggernaut in 3A. They have climbed to No. 2 in the state according to CIK. The next two opponents – Washington County and Pratt – are currently unbeaten. Look for that to change as the Cardinals are rolling. Hoisington has reeled off 20 straight regular season wins and there is no end in sight. They are a definitely threat to win a state title.
Central Plains is ranked No. 4 in Eight Man I. They own wins over No. 7 Victoria and D-II No. 2 Otis-Bison. The Oilers seem to be title contenders every year and this year is no different. Central Plains should be a 9-0 team going into the post season.
Three title contenders in one county. That is pretty good stuff.
The Referee House
Do you ever wander if officials actually prepare for the game? Or do they just show up and officiate? While the old John Wooden approach would work just fine, our crew does try to scout the teams we are going to officiate.
The legendary UCLA basketball Coach Wooden never cared about what the other team did. He didn’t put too much emphasis on scouting. He always said if his team did its job, it didn’t matter what the other team did. That could be true for officiating as well. As long as each official does his job, it doesn’t matter what type of football the teams are playing. You just officiate what you see.
However, knowing what teams like to do and what their formation and tendencies are does help. With our crew we try to watch game footage of the teams we are going to officiate on Friday nights and talk about it one the way to the game. This helps us to know what to look for. It also helps in the pregame talks with coaches and they say ‘make sure you watch for …”. If we have seen it, we know what he is talking about.
And Finally
It’s Spirit Week at Great Bend High. Everybody likes Spirit Week. At least they should. It gives the kids – and staff – a chance to have a little fun while learning.
There is a day to wear your favorite team T-shirt, a day to be a fictional character, red and black day, etc.
On Wednesday, throwback day, Katelyn dressed up in a hippie-type outfit, my wife did her best Olivia Newton-John 80’s look and Donovan had an outfit on that looked like something I wore quite often – and would still wear.
Jeans, a newsboy hat and a sweater. Right out my wheelhouse in the 80’s and 90’s. I liked my newsboy hats but I especially liked my sweaters. I had all kinds of sweaters. Probably around 30 at my peak. If it was even chilly outside it was sweater weather.
Nowadays no one wants to compare themselves to Bill Cosby but I had a sweater collection to rival his. I had a sweater that looked a lot like Ned Flanders sweater. Another like Mr. Rogers with the buttons on the front. The Waldo sweater but dark blue and light blue instead of red and white.
I had a sweater with reindeer and a sweater with snowflakes. Sweaters with stripes, diamonds, circles and triangles. Purple, grey, light blue, dark blue, red, green, you name it, I had it.
My wife didn’t like my sweaters. When we married, most of them seemed to disappear.
I had a particularly favorite sweater. It was dark blue, black and grey. Funky design and all. I came home from work one afternoon while Crystal and her friend Donna were doing workout tapes on television.
They had a present for me. I opened it and they had taken my favorite sweater and cut it up into a workout outfit. Made a headband and leg warmers. My favorite sweater was no longer. I thought about having a ceremony.
Instead, I kept it in the box. Maybe someday, much like Humpty Dumpty, I can put it back together again.
Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at