Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A classic throwback

Arroyo Grande's epic four-game win over rival San Luis Obispo in boys volleyball on Tuesday had a very vintage feel to it.

A few of the players were sporting shaggy hairdos I remember donning in my K-Mart portriats as a toddler in the early 1980s, but most of the retro atmosphere had to do with the surroundings.

The game was played in the old gym. Yellow lights. Peeling paint. Four rows of stands. Rafters.

It just felt like it was played out in one of those grainy 1970s movies — like as if I was Dirty Harry, but instead of shooting criminals, I was taking notes. I still did the squinty-eyed Clint Eastwood sneer in case anyone was watching.

There were ideas floating around about why the match was moved to the smaller arena. The official match notes handed out with the program said it was to honor Earth Day. The new gym is apparently an energy hog.

Tigers coach Jon Hastings said his team just felt more comfortable there. It wasn't the first time this season San Luis Obispo had hosted a game in the old gym. It was the second.

After the game, Hastings spoke of benefit of crowding the fans closer to the court and closer to the action. It was louder and more inviting. He said he might explore moving the team there full time.

But the Eagles couldn't help but to feel a little put off by the move at first. (So was I, but only because I had to walk the extra 50 yards from the parking lot).

It seemed the Arroyo Grande team and I are the only ones who didn't get the memo because I walk out of the completely dark and empty new gym and see the Eagles, looking pretty ticked. I asked Trevor Salas where the game was being played and I just got mumbles and grumbles. It was in the old gym.

Hastings said it wasn't a psychological ploy to take Arroyo Grande off it's game. But even if it wasn't, it almost worked.

The Tigers had some kind of magic going in that stuffy old place. The Eagles started out strong, but by the second and third games, they looked flustered. They were clearly the more dynamic team, but their mojo was somehow being smothered by this invisible force.

Or maybe all those 70s vibes I was getting just had me unconsciously conjuring Star Wars. I don't know.

I guess the real reason for this blog is for me to say that if you weren't at the game, you missed one of the all-time greats. If you were there, you know what I mean.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Changing the subject

Not that I don't like the Mission Prep debate and the theories on the ripple effects of Tom Mott's departure from the school in 2006, but I agreed with one of the posters who was looking for a new topic. And I've got one.

The Elks San Luis Obispo County Track Meet is this Saturday, and it'll be one of the few remaining chances for local fans to see Royals star junior Jordan Hasay.

Hasay, a junior distance runner who does most of her work outside the county's borders, is slated to run the 1,600-meter race. She already has the best time in the state at 4 minutes, 44.12 seconds, and at last year's county meet established a national best and set an all-time sophomore national record.

How about this for a poll? Who here's actually seen the phenom run? If you haven't, local track aficianados are always recommending that you do so while you can. Hasay is an Olympic level talent on track to be a superstar athlete, perhaps the best in any sport that's ever come out of SLO County. Soon, she'll be running for a top-flight college program — or in the pros.

She only runs a handful of local events each year and will be running at Cuesta on Saturday sometime between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

I'll have some more in-depth coverage on the meet and other events to watch in Friday's edition of The Tribune. Also, expect county basketball players of the year and all-county teams within the next week.

Oh, and feel free to talk Paso Robles football any time. Or three times.

P.S. I'm not a bum. Our sports editor was on vacation, and I was doing some fill-in work.