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At the Mike: August 25
Back to school is all the rage
Mike - At the Mike

With USD 428 getting started this week, pretty much all the schools in the area - and probably in the state for that matter - are back in session. And by this time of the summer, most parents and even kids are ready for it to get started. Probably parents more so than kids.
Teachers, well that may be another matter.
Somehow school starting seems to bring a bit of normalcy back into the lives of students and families with students. A routine, so to speak, returns.
Now, managing around sports practices and games is a different subject. Especially for families with multiple kids in multiple sports and multiple levels. But those are usually exciting times for those kids.
So, take a deep breathe and relax. School is back.

Prep Thoughts
The Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association released its preseason volleyball rankings Wednesday and a familiar name is near the top of Class 2A once again. Central Plains will start the season ranked No. 2 in the state. The Oilers lost in the title game last year to Heritage Christian Academy out of Olathe. Heritage Christian is ranked No. 1 again to start the season.
Central Plains won the title in 2015 with a perfect record by defeating that same Heritage Christian team in the title match. In fact, Central Plains has now won or lost to the eventual champion at the state tournament in the last three years.
The only other teams near our area that were ranked were in Class 1A. Otis-Bison is preseason No. 4 in D-II of 1A while LaCrosse is ranked No. 8 in D-I of 1A.
There are no WAC schools ranked in the top 10 of 5A or 6A.

Referee House
Another new rule change in football this year is one that I like very much as an official. Face guarding is allowed by a defender as long as there is no contact. This will no longer be a questionable call. It’s pretty black and white. Either contact is made or it is not.
Not a rule change this year but a point of emphasis that coaches should be aware of is sideline management. For a few years now no coach or player is allowed in the 2-yard restricted area just out of bounds. A maximum of three coaches are allowed in the area while the ball is dead, but while the ball is live, the restricted area must be empty.
This rule has been in place for a few years. Look for leeway given to coaches to all but be gone this year – especially with this being a point of emphasis by the National Federation.

Former Barton
Athlete/Coach update
Former Barton soccer Oliver Twelvetrees will be back on campus this weekend. He will bring his Eastern Florida State soccer team to Great Bend to take part in a loaded Barton Classic.
Barton and Eastern Florida will not meet up in the Classic but will swap foes on Friday and Saturday. The Classic will start Friday at 10 am with Barton taking on No. 18 Laramie County followed by No. 11 Eastern Florida State against No. 6 Trinidad State.
The event will wrap up Saturday at 10 am with Barton playing Trinidad State and Eastern Florida battling Laramie.
Get out and say ‘Aye Mate’ to the former Barton coach.

And Finally
I’ve always been pretty good at math. Even placed and won events at the Math Relays at Fort Hays while I was high school. I’ve dealt with sports stats most of life. So, yeah, I’m actually pretty good with numbers. Just don’t put letters with my numbers. They don’t belong together.
But somewhere along the line over the past few years, I must have missed a few numbers. Somewhere along the line over the past few years my little girl made it all the way to the final year of high school. Somewhere along the line the past few years Katelyn, Donovan, along with Madison and Molli and the rest of the clan are suddenly seniors.
That made me think. And that can be dangerous sometimes.
It made me think back to September of 1984 and the beginning of my senior year at the now defunct Waconda East High School in Cawker City. Tuesday, September 4. The day after Labor Day, to be exact, was the first day of my final year as a Viking.
We were fresh off the 84 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and 4-gold medal performance by Carl Lewis. The first since Jesse Owens to win the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and long jump. Where Mary Lou Retton became the first American Gymnast to win the Female All-Around. The Soviet Union didn’t come.
September of 84 began the current version of Jeopardy! that is still running today hosted by Alex Trebek.
That November a fella named Ronald Reagan won his second term as President. He did so just some 4000 votes shy of winning Minnesota that November which would have given him a win in ALL 50 states - think about that for just a minute in today’s political climate.
Oh, and Vanessa Williams was Miss American in 1984. And then she wasn’t thanks to some ‘artsy’ photos that appeared in Penthouse. She is still probably the only Miss America most people could name.
Gas was $1.10 per gallon.
Such movie blockbusters as Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, Johnny Dangerously, The Natural, Revenge of the Nerds, and Purple Rain were out that year. Also released that year were Footloose, Ghostbusters, Karate Kid and Red Dawn. Not to be confused the re-release of Footloose (2011), Ghostbusters (2016), Karate Kid (2010), and Red Dawn (2012).
And some little old lady came on a TV commercial and coined the phrase ‘Where’s the Beef?’
You could actually get a cellular phone for your car for about $4000. ‘The Brick’ weighed 2 pounds and you could talk on it for about 30 minutes before it needed recharging.
So, yeah, times have changed just a bit.
But for the Class of 2018, Thursday and the first day of school at GBHS is their only concern. I will do my best not to get to emotional, but no promises.
Here’s to a great year for the Class of 18.

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