Among the highlights of tomorrow's game pitting the Longhorns against the state's top-ranked Estrella Foothills will be a halftime raffle that has as a prize a 50-inch state-of-the-art television.
Tad Neal, who heads a Payson High School boys basketball team parent and fan support group, said the TV was originally going to be given away at a later date, but the raffle was moved up because the EF vs. PHS clash "is such a big game."
Neal is hopeful the raffle will help attract even more fans to support the Horns in their quest to deal the Wolves only their second loss of the season.
It's no secret in coaching and basketball circles that a supportive home crowd is often the catalyst that can lift a team to victory in the friendly confines of its own gym.
The Longhorn boys have worked long and hard in becoming one of the finest teams in the state.
Tomorrow evening, the teenagers deserve our school and town's support in their quest to upset the highly favored Wolves.
Also, it would be a plume in our town's Stetson to have a raucous, overflow crowd waiting in Wilson Dome when Estrella takes to the floor.
Such a showing would also be a tribute to the effort and dedication most of the team members have shown this season.
Raffle tickets for the television, which has been donated by the Tonto Apache tribe, will be available at the game for $1 each or 6 for $5.
The proceeds of the raffle will benefit the boys basketball team and help purchase much needed items that are not available in the strapped-tight athletic budget.
A huge crowd would also boost gate receipts which are used to fund all of the school's athletic activities.
Game time in Wilson Dome is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5.
Responsibility to team
Frustrating, irritating, disturbing and upsetting are only a few of the words that portray a coach's mind-set when he learns a team member is going to miss, or has missed, practices or games.
Among the values coaches set out to teach young athletes is commitment, dedication and responsibility.
When athletes miss practices and games, coaches often sense their charges probably haven't fully grasped the importance of accountability in the overall scheme of life and sports competition.
As a coach, I found it tough to understand a player missing practice, or a game, when our family's entire schedule revolved around the team's agenda. We didn't go on Christmas vacations, because the team had holiday practices scheduled. There were no weekend family getaways during the football season because we had coaches meetings and film studies on Saturdays and Sunday.
In the summer, running the weight room and passing leagues took top priority.
Simply put, most coaches stamp the needs of the team a priority and believe the players and their families should return the commitment.
Legendary Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy once addressed the problem of missed practices by telling his players, "Lads, you're not to miss practice unless your parents die or you die." That viewpoint is a bit extreme, but the Hall of Fame coach probably got his point across.
Payson angler first
Payson's Kenny Bryant teamed up with Karl Harris of Surprise to win an AllStar Bass team fishing tournament held Jan. 19 at Lake Pleasant.
For the win, the pair pocketed $2,984 and a first-place trophy. Their six-fish limit, which tipped the scales at 9.08 pounds, included a nice-sized 2.86 pounder.
The team used crankbaits while fishing in the Aqua Fria River area. Also from Payson, Robert O'Donnell and John Browning were eighth, with 5.55 pounds.
All the teams entered battled cold weather and blustery winds which made bass tough to find. Only about three-fourths of the tournament teams weighed in limits.