Thomas Howard: Lady Tigers deserve recognition


I will be the first to admit – before my friends or family members beat me to it - I do not know the first thing about sports. I know most of them involve a ball, some sort of throwing or tossing and a point system. I can follow along, know which team is in the lead, and that’s about it.

Next time you see our sports editor, Robbie Robinson, stop and thank him for what he does.  He does an infinitely better job than I ever could.

This past Friday I watched in awe as the Lady Tigers dominated the court to take home the Girls’ Basketball 2A State Championship. Well, I didn’t watch the game. I watched sports in my usual way, following along on Twitter and making sure the paper’s social media feeds were putting out the latest updates. I was still very impressed, all the more so due to my own failings at athletic endeavors.

I may not understand sports, but that didn’t stop me from trying to play them. So, I thought, in honor of the Tiger’s victory, I would share some of my own attempts at athletics.


In 1995, at the ripe age of 6, tried out and joined the pee-wee basketball team at the YMCA in Altoona, Iowa. Not yet at my towering adult height of 5-foot, 5-inches, I knew I had to focus on vertical gains with my shots. I did not.

In my first game, the opposing team managed a beautiful three point shot just as I came into position to get the rebound – directly under the basket. Waiting for the ball to land victoriously into my outstretched arms, I was rather miffed when it went right between my hands, smacking me in the face and breaking my nose.

The referee, an ex-champion bodybuilder named Dana, picked me up and let me get a slam dunk before mom and dad took me to the hospital.


In eighth grade, I tried out for the football team. Being from a small school, trying out for the team also meant you were on the team.

I was fairly competent with drills and strong enough to take a hit, but I could not figure out what all those O’s and X’s meant. After a week, my coach, Mr. Arnold, had me rotate permanently to the tackling dummy so the rest of the team could practice without me tripping my teammates trying to block the wrong guy.

Two days later, I broke my collar bone on the dummy. I missed the pad and “tackled” the steel post.


I tied my skates, stepped out, fell down and broke my wrist.


Pretty much the same thing but with a skateboard. I also had a blue cast this time. I was thrilled. All the other casts had been burgundy.


I did alright for the first few games, losing spectacularly against even the lowest ranked opponents. The snacks were fantastic.

In the third game, I missed the ball, kicked my teammate in the shin, breaking my foot against his shin guard – Yes, they do work!


I can’t throw, catch or bat. I had already made this very clear with my Little Tykes tee ball set as a toddler. My parents didn’t even bother signing the permission slip.

Let’s face it. I cannot play sports. It’s OK to laugh. My parents do. My sister does. Any date I’ve been careless enough to let my family members around has. Laughter is the best medicine. Tylenol works pretty good too. Trust me, I know.

Anyway, congratulations to the Lady Tigers on a great season. You did a fantastic job!

Thomas  can be reached at


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