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At the Mike: Dec. 28
Its time to say goodbye to 2017 and hello to Mario
Mike - At the Mike

It’s time to put another year behind us. It’s time to put 2017 in the books and move onto to 2018.
Even though Dick Clark no longer counts down to the New Year, it still happens. The New Year does still come. His count down was never that big in the central time zone anyway. We got to watch the eastern time zone count down then get a replay when midnight hit in our time zone. So, big whoop.
Anyway, 2017 was a good year. It’s always a good year when you can make to the next year.
It was a year that saw the Great Bend girls win the 5A state bowling title. It was a year that saw the Central Plains girls win another state title in basketball. It was a year that saw the Pawnee Heights football team win a 6-man state title in football.
So, even though KU didn’t get to the Final Four, we will Rock Chalk it up as a good year.
Bring on 2018 and all the resolutions that will never be met.

Prep thoughts
The dullest week of the season for the prep sports during the school year. I remember in my prep days and those just out of high school we would play basketball against those recently graduated during one or two practices over the Christmas break.
It was a good way to break up the monotony of not getting play games for a couple of weeks. Plus, just out of school you are still in fairly good shape
Another quick prep note – congratulations to Aaron Clark for being selected to participate in the Shrine Bowl next summer. Job well done young man.

Athlete/Coach update
Former Barton men’s assistant basketball coach Brian Hancock is in his eighth year at the helm of Kaskaskia Community College in Illinois. Coach Hancock spent just one season at Barton – the 2003-04 season under Soupy Campbell.
He took over the Kaskaskia program in 2009. His team this year is off to an 8-5 start. The Blue Devils have won at least 20 games in three of the last four seasons, winning 19 the other year.
The other assistant on the team – fresh out of college at the University of Nebraska at the time – was Jaden Uken. Jaden is in his third year as the Director of Basketball Operations at Fordham.

And Finally
For the most part, you can guess ahead of time which presents you bought for Christmas will be hits. Many times those gifts are requested. Often times even bought with the intended receiver present and picking it out.
Every once in a while there is a surprise gift, almost an after-thought, that comes up big. While doing some Christmas shopping this year, I ran across a Nintendo Flashback game. It comes with like 500 games from back in the ‘old days’.
I knew my wife, Crystal, was an old school Nintendo gamer. Mario and the like. So, what the heck, I order one. I was never much of a Super Mario person. To me Super Mario is Mario Chalmers after hitting the shot that ended up propelling KU to the 2008 NCAA title.
I know my mother has an Atari Flashback system that she likes to play River Raid on from time to time. We actually played some over Christmas while we were visiting. I’m not that good at River Raid anymore. I was never as good as my mother, but at least I was okay at it. Not anymore.
Back to the Nintendo Flashback game. Of course, it didn’t make it in time for Christmas. But Crystal should be used to that by now. Especially after her birthday gift was like a week or so late this year also. Oh well, how’s that saying go, better late than never.
Anyway, it arrived the day after Christmas. I wrapped it and, boom, she had a late Christmas gift. Kind of a bonus gift.
Almost immediately she began playing it. And playing it. And playing it. Telling me that it even had Mario games that weren’t released in the US.
She called her Dad, whom she played a lot of Nintendo with, and told him. I had a hit of a present. Who knew.
It wasn’t the nice necklaces I gave her or any other present she picked out for herself (because let’s face it, that is the easiest way to shop for Christmas).
Nope, it was a little game with outdated graphics and poor sound effects. It was a little game, that, according to her, had the same flaws as the original in playing Pac Man that doesn’t allow the little fella to go up very well. At least that was her excuse as she was getting eaten by Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde.
It was fun to watch her play. A chair pulled up in front of the TV and laser sharp focus on the set. It let her relive her childhood a bit. And that can be fun.
So, thank you Mario.
I hope all had a Merry Christmas and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

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