Bill Althaus: ISD coaches thrilled to give seniors a chance to take the field
Christmas came early for Truman High School coach Corey Lathrom and the 13 seniors on his Patriots baseball team.
They will finally get a chance to take the field this summer.
So are teams from William Chrisman and Van Horn as it was announced Friday that the three Independence School District high schools will play a series of events against each other, with practices starting June 15.
All three high schools will participate in baseball, girls soccer and track and field. Truman and Chrisman will also compete in tennis and golf. Van Horn does not have tennis and golf squads.
“Oh man, when I found out we were getting to play this summer I was so excited, I could hardly wait to call my kids and my coaches,” Lathrom said. “I have 13 seniors, and I thought that I was never going to see them in person again – and now, I get to see them play.
“I’ve known a lot of those guys since middle school, and we get to go out on a field one more time. It doesn’t get much better than that. Well, it would have been better to be able to play an entire season, but that wasn’t going to happen, so this is the next best thing!”
William Chrisman track and field coach Tyler Rathke is gearing up for ways to best host the track and field meet between the three Independence schools.
“Excited? You bet I’m excited,” Rathke said. “To think about hosting our two schools from Independence on the Bill Summa Track is so special that I really can’t put it into words.
“When I called our coaches and kids, they were as excited as I was – and that’s what really makes it special. Sure, a few of the kids probably won’t be able to make it, but the school district is giving us a chance to have one final meet, one final opportunity to coach our kids and allow them to compete, and that’s why I love this school district so much.”
I think the only person whose excitement level might exceed that of the Independence coaches and players is that of my wife Stacy, who simply isn’t accustomed to me being home every evening.
I’m kidding, of course, but she was thrilled when she learned that on June 15 I will be able to return to Truman, Chrisman and Van Horn and talk to kids and coaches in person.
However, she has said, more than once, “Isn’t there something you could go to and cover tonight?” Well, I can now say, “Yes!”
I know how long and involved the decision making process was for the Independence School District as I was informed that it was a possibility a few weeks ago.
To be able to get together with your teammates, your friends, your coaches and represent your school one more time might be the most memorable aspect of a senior year that was filled with disappointment and anxiety.
Hat’s off to the Independence School District for making this decision.
Now, will someone please pass me some peanuts?
– Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com or 816-350-6333. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC