Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

November 1, 2012

This is why we choose to live here

Matt Redinger lives in the town of Oakland, in his words, “about a 45-second commute” to Southern Garrett High School, where he serves as the athletic director of his alma mater.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which left up to 30 inches of snow, downed trees and power lines, and more than 15,000 Garrett County residents without power, Redinger says his neighborhood looks like a war zone.

“We just got our power back last night at 5 o’clock,” he said Thursday afternoon. “We are fortunate in that we have gas, hot water and such.

“Monday night was filled with howling wind, cracking trees, and transformer explosions. It was just crazy. I have lived here almost 40 years and this is the worst storm I have ever seen in Garrett County.”

What is a beat-head-against-wall hectic week every year for high school athletic directors in this state, this week flat-lined for three days because of the conditions that would not allow for anything other than survival to take place. And once the hurricane left, clearing athletic fields of nearly three feet of snow and making the facilities safe was not very high on the priority list.

Still, Northern’s and Southern's boys and girls playoff soccer games were played yesterday, and the Northern-Southern football game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. All three games, in which Northern, Southern and Southern respectively were and will be the home team, were and will be played on the FieldTurf of Mountain Ridge High School Stadium in Frostburg, Allegany County.

Fortunately for the student-athletes at Southern and Northern Garrett high schools, Redinger and Northern athletic director and head football coach Phil Carr have some good connections in their work.

“The best way to answer your question,” Redinger said, “is you have some great people in Allegany County leading your athletic programs. I spoke with (Dr.) Ray Kiddy (Allegany County supervisor of athletics) last week about the potential snowfall we could get, and how bad it could be to our fields.

“Tuesday morning (Mountain Ridge athletic director) Gary Davis called and offered us his field as our ‘home away from home.’ Gary even built in a schedule to accommodate us and offered us a place to move our football game with Northern so that the kids could get that game in.”

Dr. Janet S. Wilson, superintendent of Garrett County Schools, and Paul Edwards, director of secondary education and athletics, gave the green light to both schools, and the games, at a time when our games can serve as a much-needed and important respite, would go on.

“So it really was not a big process,” Redinger said, “just someone very nice, who offered his time and facilities. We are very appreciative of Gary Davis.

“The AMAC has some faults, but I think (the league) has improved the camaraderie of the area, and there are some great people to work with. (Allegany High athletic director) Duane McMinn has done things to help us in the past, as has (Fort Hill athletic director) Paul Green. Whenever we have had a need all we have had to do is ask and they help us.

“I wish there was a way to repay them. However, with our weather, we may never be able to do that.”

Knowing Gary Davis, first as one of the greatest and most intense wrestling coaches anywhere, and now as one of the outstanding athletic directors that I, too, am fortunate to work with, seeing kids, regardless of the school they attend, being able to play these games that are so important to them and to their high school experience is repayment enough.

Thus, the Southern and Northern teams were afforded the chance to get away temporarily from their hurricane-battered Garrett County to play their state playoff soccer games and the most important football game of their season — in Frostburg, their home away from home.

But not really. For as this cooperative effort by two boards of education, and the extended hand of friendship by Mountain Ridge and Gary Davis prove, no matter where you are, as long as you’re in Western Maryland, you’re never away from home.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • At times we all should allow for a little flex

    Other than when I was a student in the Allegany County Public Schools System, I’ve always believed the most thankless job there is — or at least one of the most thankless jobs there is — belongs to the person who ultimately hits the switch on whether or not to call off school because of the weather. You’re slammed if you do, you’re slammed if you don’t. No matter what you decide it’s no win, but, like managing a baseball team or running a bar, everybody knows they could do it.

    January 11, 2014

  • A treasured member of the family of baseball

    When a former professional football player from our past dies, he is most often remembered as being one tough son of a gun, or a wonderful runner or pass catcher, or as a brilliant quarterback.

    January 10, 2014

  • Bob Giffin believed in the goodness of us all

    The first time the Giffin family exploded onto my radar was at a Fort Hill basketball game years ago in the old Fort Hill gym. Believe it was a City game, which meant the place was packed, the walls were sweating and the smell of popcorn permeated the atmosphere. And through it all marched the family Giffin in perfect formation, tallest in the front, shortest in the back, led by father Lew, mother Donna, oldest son Bob, second son Tom, third son Donnie and fourth son Johnnie.

    December 28, 2013

  • Redskins do that voodoo that they do so well

    This time last year the Washington Redskins were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak on their way to the NFC East title. Mike Shanahan was being hailed as the perfect football presence the franchise had sorely needed for so long. Quarterback Robert Griffin III in the sprint option was being hailed as the single greatest invention since the wheel, and beleaguered Daniel Snyder, the little owner who couldn’t, was being hailed for not even trying as he allowed his two-time Super Bowl winning coach and lord of all things football to pull the strings on all things football.

    December 13, 2013

  • Fort Hill’s approach is all-inclusive

    After Fort Hill opened everybody’s eyes last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year (*1), it was a pretty sure bet that the Sentinels, given all of their returning resources, would be making a run for the state championship this year (*2).

    December 6, 2013

  • What resource will the O’s allocate next?

    In November 1993, Dan Duquette, then the general manager of the Montreal Expos, traded second baseman Delino DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez. According to a story in last Sunday’s New York Times, upon completing the deal, Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, told Neal Huntington, then a member of the Expos front office and now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “This trade is going to be hated in Montreal.”

    December 4, 2013

  • No month of Sundays this Friday

    With Fort Hill comfortably in control Friday night in its eventual 46-7 1A West Region semifinal victory over Manchester Valley, and with score updates from the other semifinal pouring in from nearby Washington County, Greenway Avenue Stadium was abuzz, for the unthinkable was about to take place — Fort Hill was going to play Hancock.

    November 16, 2013

  • Mike Burke Ty Johnson works hard, and makes it look easy

    Any summer day you might go to Greenway Avenue Stadium to get a little exercise you are likely to see any number of high school athletes there working out — football players, soccer players, basketball players, any kind of player you might want to think of.

    November 9, 2013 1 Photo