When the Mexico softball scrimmage ended Friday night, the walk to Hawthorne Heights for Midnight Football at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning almost couldn't have been easier.
Then, when asked how the softball scrimmage ended up scheduled when it did, Lady Bulldogs head coach Keith Louder said it was because of his admiration for what Bulldogs head coach Steve Haag has done with Midnight Football since taking over the program five years ago. In fact, his affinity for the community event the Bulldogs have created ran so deep he wanted his team to be a part of it. So, that raises the question as to whether or not this event will be coming back next year.
"Coach Haag and I have talked about this a couple of times at different times about trying to expand this Midnight Football scrimmage. Finally I told him that this year it would be good to get us a practice under the lights, which we don't get very often and we may have to play a game undr the lights" Louder said. "It'll give us that opportunity while expanding the football event a little bit. It gives people who were going to come out at midnight something to do while they're waiting."
Even though that's how this event came to be, one reason the future of this event isn't so readily obvious is that Louder retired as a teacher at the end of the 2017-18 school year and, by school district rule, wasn't allowed to have contact with anyone from the district for 30 days. In response to those circumstances he and his wife took an extended vacation, but now that he's back those issues can be addressed, but only when he's ready to address them.
"I think it's fun. We had a nice little crowd here. I hope it helps the football team to get a few people out here and hopefully this is a good time for the people in the community who came out," said Louder. "If I'm the coach next year we'll probably pursue this. We'll have to see where that's at. I'm kind of in that coaching mode where now that I'm officially retired I guess we'll have to negoatiate that a little more each year as to what's going on. I obviously still have an interest in softball and sticking with it."
When asked if there were any plans for this event to expand, Haag only spoke in vague terms. Athletic Director Jeff Anderson has also been tight lipped, as has the rest of the Mexico coaching staff. But, a lot can happen between now and the start of the nexy school year.
"I'd like to see this go on. I really do believe this is a really good event for the community," Louder said. "I'd like to see it be able to expand and maybe see it include some of the other fall teams being able to do some things."