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Friday, September 16

Move over, Edgy Tim...Uncouth Sloth is here, and is all free!

Um, you know who you are...

OK, since the Cubs will spend the rest of the month sucking swampwater trying to catch the elusive badge of "respectability", it's HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL time, in full effect, and as usual, a lot of the big-time Illinois nut cuttin' is happening in the so-called Heritage Corridor area. This is the tag that the state has slapped on the areas surrounding the I&M Canal, and I guess the "Heritage" part concerns the fact that the Canal is, like, old. Starting closest to the city, we're talking the New Lenox areas, through Joliet, down past Morris, Ottawa, and stopping around LaSalle and Peru.

This little slice of the world takes in some perennial powerhouses both big and small. Starting in New Lenox, you have gigantic Lincoln-Way, which is now two schools, but it's the Central one in New Lenox that is the original, although both East and Central are 3-0. You have Providence Catholic, perennial 6A powerhouse that is now 7A (out of 8). You have recent state champs Lockport, doing it large in 8A. Then you hit CT's alma mater that usedta be on the Hill, the nationally renowned Joliet Catholic team, which has to be held up with any of them Odessas or Cantons or Beaver Fallses. The 82-time state champ in 5A is now doing biznass in 6A, where they'll miss out on Morris.

At times, I have been extremely close to both JCA and Morris's programs, having lived in both towns, having many friends and relatives attend both schools, etc. There certainly is an awful lot of civic pride in Joliet about JCA. They named the town "City of Champions" basically because of this. There were a few minor other reasons too, but you know. Basically, if you starred at JCA sometime along the line, doors open for you locally for the rest of your life. Jobs are always available, perks are plentiful, drinks are free, and DUIs magically disappear. People are a little nutty about JCA football.

Compared to what goes on in Morris (pop. 12,000) though, they're as level headed as a Lutheran minister at Sunday picnic.

It amuses me that "Friday Night Lights", the book and the movie, have become big hits due to the incredulity of the rest of the nation over the emphasis the townspeople place on the exploits of 17-year-old football players. People, ANYTHING they did in Odessa, Texas, they've done in Morris, IL, twice as hard. Illegal recruitment? Puh-leeze. Transfers of all-state ballplayers from South Carolina, along with jobs and homes furnished by the boosters? Bank. Death threats to refs? Just a day in the life. Who the FUCK do you think pushed the Private School Multiplier? I mean, Coal City lost in the finals last year to a Catholic school, too. But Coal City didn't threaten to sue the IHSA.

The football coach wants somebody at the newspaper fired...done. He wants a cop fired...done. He wants the taxpayer-financed recreation center closed because somebody had the temerity to complain about paying for karate classes that were supposed to be conducted by a friend of the coach, who never showed up ONCE for the 8 scheduled sessions? Done. He wants to impregnate at least one cheerleader that I know of, and two others according to rumor? Backs turn.

I mean, I love Coal City football, and I have to love Mendota football, because I'm closely related to the right tackle, and I have always respected JCA and Providence and the rest, but you want to know what my favorite day of the year is? When Morris loses their usual and customary playoff game. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Geneseos and Rochelles and Bishop Macs, and yep, JCA, for beating Morris when it counted. The single greatest day in my sports life was the day after Thanksgiving, 1993, when Coaltown won the 2A in a year that Morris lost in the semi's. I went to the bars in Morris that night, started about 10 fights, and when the cops came at last to see who was causing all the ruckus, and saw it was me, and why, they hung their heads and drove away.

But, and I need to get back on track, I completely skipped 3A powerhouse Wilmington, who appears to be headed for yet another unbeaten regular season. They were supposed to be down, after they lost their core of inbred 25-year-old seniors last year. Might this be the year they finally punch it through? They won't have to deal with Addison Driscoll this year, they're Coaltown's problem now. Actually, I should be nice. It was real classy the way they supported the Coalers in the semi's last year against Quincy Notre Dame. It's harder to call them Yellowhammers anymore.

I've already mentioned 2005 disappointment Coal City (lose to Braidwood? Next time, ask yer boyfriends to play). Up the road, you got suddenly resurgent Ottawa, building steam for the regular season clash with neighboring L-P, both 3-0 so far. I may have to go to that one. Unfortunately, L-P is a 5A school, and destined to scrape the stench of Morris off of them in playoff ball. Ottawa is safely in 6A, and probably headed for a pounding at the hands of JCA in their playoff future.

Every place has their personal "trash" team that they can't stand. For us, it's Spring Valley Hall, the closest 3A competition Wilmington has. Mendota's going down there on the 9th, and I'm not gonna attend. I'm gonna walk around Door County that weekend, eating cherry pie slices and looking at country crafts with Mrs. Sloth. What? You think I wanna go down to Hall for our usual and customary fuckin' from the wop refs paid off by State Rep. Mautino with his "water" money? Last time we were there, they called Defensive Holding against us. On a field goal attempt. From the Hall side of the bleachers the "kiss my ass" chant went up. I had heard their student section was mildly embarrased at the actions of their parents.

As for us, I've already told you about the 400 yards of rushing that the kid from Corliss put up on us. No lie. Turns out our coaches had our guys playing dime coverage all night, because in the films they were watching, the split end, #2, and the tight end, #10, were getting all the yards.

Well, but, after the first few 80-yard touchdowns the kid ran off with, you'd think you'd adjust. Especially, since, #2 and #10 did not even DRESS for the game.

That's our season in a nutshell. Sure, our kids don't take it too serious, but this isn't the first time our coaches blew a game for us. They game plan pretty well, and if things go off, it's a beautiful thing. But they absolutely, COMPLETELY cannot or will not adjust during a game if need be. And, yes, our school has a press box, with a guy in it, with a two-way radio, that the coaches on the field can hear, with their headphones. We may NOT have fireworks and a covered structure for our kids to run onto the field from, like Coal City. But we do have headphones, and we do have an electric scoreboard.

Who's going to need to play ball from our area on Thanksgiving weekend? Lincoln Way Central, JCA, Morris, Wilmington.