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Cast Your Ballot

with: Jamie Spencer

My normal routine for writing this column occurs on a Sunday afternoon or evening. It is a day when things slow down a bit and I can leisurely corral my thoughts from various corners of the sports world to share with you each week. This particular week was a bit different. Saturday and Sunday were filled with the preparation and staging of a fundraising event for my day job at the Lycoming County United Way.
  That pushed the penning of this column to the Monday evening on the eve of what many folks have classified as a most contentious, drawn out and disgusting choice to pick the next leader of our land. I was glad to leave the TV behind and head to the sanctity of my home office to escape the final hours of the political ads that have been bombarding all of us for months.
  A rule of etiquette—in business, at the dinner table, at the barbershop, in a sports locker room or elsewhere—is “never talk about religion or politics.” These subjects are highly contentious and usually result in heated argument instead of general agreement. “Never discuss religion or politics with those who hold opinions opposite to yours” has been cited in print since at least 1840. “Do not discuss politics or religion in general company” was stressed as far back as 1879.
  No, I’m not about to go down that slippery slope in what is designed as a sports column any more than I put much stock in the theory that “everything happens for a reason.” I am more prone to believe that ‘history tends to repeat itself.’
  Many moons ago while a student at the University of Houston I was eagerly anticipating my first opportunity to cast a ballot for the President of the United States. I had my views and political party affiliation when low and behold emerged a candidate that I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for. ‘How in the world’ I thought did that individual ever get chosen to run for the highest office in the land?
  Fast forward to the day after the Penn State/Iowa game. My grandson, now himself looking forward to his first opportunity to vote slept over at our house before returning to his Camp Hill home. At the breakfast table his excited conversation in telling me all about the impressive Nittany Lions victory the night before suddenly became tempered when he saw headlines in the newspaper about the election. He looked at me and said, “I’ve really been looking forward to voting for the first time and look at the two choices I have. How did that happen?”
  The election is now history and we’ve all got to close ranks and work together—but boy it hasn’t been a whole lot of fun, regardless of which candidate won or lost, that we’ve arrived at this point. I vote we change the subject and put a new sports ballot before us.
  By the time you are reading this the District Four high school football champions will have been crowned in Class A, AAA, AAAA and AAAAAA. In Class AA either South Williamsport or Wellsboro will be in their final preparations for a road trip to Catawissa where the ballot box has already been overwhelming stuffed in favor of Southern Columbia’s ferocious Tigers. The punsters and pollsters already have nominated SC as state champs in most reporting precincts.
  But the heck with party lines, I’m grabbing my pen and casting some write in votes of my own.
  Most fun team to watch: Regardless of your income level everyone comes away feeling like a million bucks after watching four quarters of Williamsport Millionaire football. This is the closest thing to a track team in pads you will ever see. Coach Crews has built them up and coached them up to the point that Isaiah Hankins, Treyson Potts, Elliott Walker, et al think they are in good field position when they get off the bus. WHS hoop coach Allen Taylor better check his CD rack as the lyrics to that ‘You Can Do Magic’ song have found their way from the gym to the football field.
  Maestro of the Year: Montoursville senior quarterback Brycen Mussina. Through the Warriors’ first 11 games the sensational slinger led District Four with 29 TD tosses and was second with 2,582 yards. The old sports saying, ‘he’s like having a coach on the field’ may be overused, but not in Mussina’s case; he leads and his teammates follow.
  Gruden’s Grinder: Following in the footsteps of Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden our Lycoming County Grinder of the Year goes to South Williamsport running back Gideon Green. ‘Giddy up Gideon’ is as close to the definition as you can get. The 6’3, 220-pound junior is the workhorse of the South ground attack, carrying the ball 299 times for 1,733 yards in the first 11 games. Running behind a talented offensive line #26 is a load to bring down.
  Nominations closed, ballots have been cast and the local high school football season will soon be history. Let’s hope the new president can excite the populous 1/10th as much as our own pigskin nominees.