By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
At the Mike
A Happy Valentines Day to all
Placeholder Image

By this time you should have your tree decorated in a Valentine’s Day theme. While this is the dictionary definition of a ‘Greeting Card’ holiday, it is one you must participate in. Especially if you are a guy.  
You must not forget your wife or girlfriend. Or both I guess. But if you have both, good luck with that on this day. I struggled keeping just one women happy. There is no way I would ever want two.
But it goes beyond that. Mothers and daughters must also be included. I step outside the box – roses and chocolates in a heart-shaped box. I know that makes me a rebel but it is a theme I have gone for a while. Maybe this year I will try something different.
I was thinking maybe prank rubber chocolates. A squirting flower. Maybe some heart-shaped sunglasses. Perhaps a card with something touching on it like ‘I can’t believe how much I’m not sick of you’ or ‘I found someone I want to annoy the rest of my life.’ Perhaps ‘I hate everyone but you.’ Maybe ‘You’re just like Bacon, you make everything better.’
Maybe not. Roses and chocolates have worked this long. I might just stay with it for now. I’ll think about it.
By the way, it is also nice if you wish your sister and/or niece a Happy Valentine’s Day as well.
Prep thoughts
The Larned boys basketball team is quietly have quite a year. Often in the shadows of the Central Plains-St. John battles, Larned is 12-4 with a 6-1 record in the Central Kansas League. They are fresh off an overtime wins over Halstead and Pratt – two teams they are battling for second in the CKL.  
Hesston will more than likely win the CKL but with their last two wins, the Indians are in position to finish runner-up to No. 4 ranked Hesston.
The 3A Lakin Sub-State will be a challenge for the Indians with several quality teams. Seven of the eight will have a record near .500 or better. But the only ranked team will No. 8 Scott City. And Larned could still catch them for the top seed. Scott City just lost a four OT thriller to Thomas More Prep for its fourth loss of the year as well. The Beavers still have a game at Holcomb, ranked No. 3 in 4A II.
The Beavers are the defending state champions so getting out of that sub-state will not be easy. But don’t count the Indians out.
Former Athlete/Coach update
It was a Hall of Fame weekend all around for former Cougars. Not only did three worthy individuals get their name added to the Barton Sports Hall of Fame in Ray Seib, Caley Carter and Joe Burger but Mike Warren took his place in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame as well.
I wasn’t around when Seib coached the track team but his efforts help jump-start one of the best programs in junior college history. I saw just the tail end of Carters’ time at Barton arriving in Great Bend during basketball season her sophomore year – the third sport she picked up at Barton. That is quite crazy when you think about – three sports at the collegiate level. Two of which she was elite at a national level.
The first fall I was at the college is when soccer started. I watched as Coach Burger built the program from the ground up. Joe and I even had small connection in that his parents were from Cawker City – the town I went to high school in. I knew several of his relatives. My soccer knowledge was about like the Barton soccer history at the time – none. So not only did he have to build a program, he had to teach me about the sport as well.
Then there is Coach Warren. I think everyone who has ever held a baseball in his hand and grew up in Kansas knows Skip. Or at least someone who knows him. You could play a game ‘Four Degrees of Mike Warren’ and never meet anyone falling outside that realm in this state.
Congratulations to all, soak in your accomplishments.
Around campus
As the weather begins to warm up so does the activity around campus. The spring sports have started – yes baseball and softball are or are about to be underway, the career fair is nearing and the spring play is getting closer.
But more than anything the warmer weather just makes campus seem busier. Students tend to spend more time outdoors and faculty and staff get out and walk around the circle sidewalk on campus more often.
It makes for a warmer atmosphere as well as warmer weather.
And Finally
I was flipping through the television guide last week and came across a cinema classic – Jaws. A summer blockbuster, as they say, back in the ’70’s. A 30-foot great white shark terrorizing the northeast coast of the United States.
I remember the movie well. Not just because it was a blockbuster that provided great suspense for its time. Or the fact it had the classic, still repeated line – ‘You’re going to need a bigger boat’. Or the music -- duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnnn duun. No, the main reason I remember the movie so well is because it was the summer I learned to water ski.
Growing up in Glen Elder, I had the privilege of living a mile from Waconda Lake. Many weekends were spent there. That summer of 1975 I decided I wanted to learn to water ski. My sister was very good at it and it looked like a lot of fun.
I was eight years old. Jaws came out in June of that summer.
I vividly remember looking behind me most of the time to make sure Jaws wasn’t going to attack me as I wobbled back and forth on my skis. Falling. Getting back up. Falling. I continually scanned the water for Jaws. Talk about having your head on swivel. No block would have blindsided me that summer.
Now, I knew there were no sharks in Waconda Lake. My mother told me so. She never lies to me. She doesn’t even lie and tell me I’m a good singer. But I was eight. I had just seen Jaws. I wasn’t quite buying in 100 percent. Probably at about 80 percent. But that 20 percent was terrifying as an 8-year old.  
I learned to water ski that summer and skied quiet regularly for several years after, never getting attacked by Jaws once. I did break my eardrum one time water skiing, but that is another story.