• Bill Althaus: July down time good for prep athletes

  • I don’t know why, maybe I was a little paranoid after watching World War Z this weekend, the nightmare-enducing tale of a zombie takeover of the world.

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  • I don’t know why, maybe I was a little paranoid after watching World War Z this weekend, the nightmare-enducing tale of a zombie takeover of the world.
    But I simply couldn’t understand why, after driving past Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Grain Valley and Truman high schools this morning, there was no activity.
    I don’t think I’ve ever visited one of the area high schools without seeing members of the football teams, bands or other athletic groups gathering on the field, hanging out near the locker room or leaving the weight room.
    So I made a couple of phone calls.
    I am happy to report that no zombie apocalypse is approaching; this is what the Missouri State High School Activities Association is calling “dead week.”
    Again, it has nothing to do with zombies. It’s all about letting kids be kids and allowing coaches to spend some summer days with their families.
    No student who is involved in a high school activity is allowed to take part in that activity this week, so band practice, seven-on-seven-football, basketball and volleyball camps are all put on the backburner for much needed free time.
    It allows kids to be kids and coaches to be with their families.
    It’s the best idea the Missouri State High School Activities Association has ever come up with. Unless you have a kid playing sports, marching in a band or taking part in some other high school activity, you have no idea how time consuming that activity can be.
    This dead week allows families to be families, take vacations, sleep in – heck, maybe even buy some fireworks and spend the Fourth of July celebrating our nation’s independence.
    Everyone will be back at work next week, which is good news for a sportswriter. But I applaud the fact that the state’s governing high school body and the area high schools agree that summer is the time a teenager should be a kid – even if it’s only for a week.
    • The Missouri Mavericks have worn 30 different game jerseys since the Central Hockey League team first dropped the puck back in 2009. Has it really been that long?
    As part of a special fifth anniversary celebration, fans have the chance to select from home, away, alternate, exhibition and specially designed jersey-auction sweaters to select their top five favorites. The winners will be used as special giveaways throughout the season.
    One of the jerseys will be for season tickets holders only, two will be adult giveaway jerseys and two will be youth giveaway jerseys. To vote for your favorite jersey go to MissouriMavericks.com and click on the jersey promotion entry. My personal favorite is the Harry Truman themed jersey from the inaugural season.
    Page 2 of 2 - • After watching Brad Oyler’s Blue Springs South High School girls basketball team and coach Dave MacLean’s Jaguar volleyball squad, I’m betting those two coaches are counting down the days, the minutes and the seconds before their respective seasons get under way beginning this fall.
    Oyler could have a special basketball team, as the Jaguars were standouts in their own Blue Springs South Summer Basketball League. The return of Shannon Hughes, who missed last season with a torn ACL, and the continued development of players like Remy Davenport and Cloe Lane could signal a season to remember for the Jags.
    MacLean’s Jaguars upset favored Lee’s Summit West to take the championship in the Lee’s Summit North Summer Volleyball League postseason tournament, and the winner of that league has gone on to dominate in the upcoming volleyball season. Mia Swanegan, who is going to Texas Christian University, and Alexa Armendariz, who is headed to Missouri, could lead a surge that takes MacLean’s team into a deep postseason run.
    Bill Althaus is a sportswriter and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or bill.althaus@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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