This might be the time of year when camps and clinics are as much as part of the area sports dichotomy as the mass quantities of kids of every age who file on and off baseball fields all across the country and beyond, but it's just a matter of time before the Friday Night Lights take over.
Baseball might be Americas favorite game to play. That's how so many diamonds end up brimming with hardball-like activities such as beer-league softball. The thing about those games is that most, if not all, the people who come to watch have some level of attachment to one of the players. Few come to sit in the stands during a softball or baseball game, even at the varsity level, if they're not directly affiliated with someone on the field.
Those events simply aren't the cultural phenomenon that high school football is. They aren't. Prove me wrong. Because come Sept. 13, according to www.maxpreps.com, Mexico opens the season at home with a North Central Missouri Conference match-up against Marshall, and for those that aren't in attendance for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff, The Mexico Ledger will have a complete write-up that evening.
One aspect of the Bulldogs that allows everyone to feel like a part of the program is head coach Steve Haag's willingness to share about almost anything and everything, and one way that generosity of time and spirit has manifested itself is through the Saturday morning Coaches Call-in Show on KXEO. Hosted by Mexico Football Play-By-Play Announcers Michael Dougherty and Matthew Pilger, while coach Haag spent his on-air time in-studio, plenty of other area coaches made appearances by phone.
This included Missouri Military Academy's Mitchell Jenkins, who both appeared in-studio and called in, North Callaway's Kevin O'Neal, Centralia's Jim Newsted, and Van-Far's Kevin Baldwin, who just retired after a long and varied career.
More recently, on the morning of May 30 Pilger posted a picture of himself at what could best be described as the, "Mission Control", of the radio station on Facebook with the caption, "Celebrating the St. Louis Blues first ever Stanley Cup Final game win by playing GLORIA to open up my AM I Awake Morning Show on AM 1340. What a great way to start off the day. Let’s Go Blues."
Perfect examples of Pilger being on top of all things sports as far as the local scene goes. One of the last times I spoke with him in person was May 29 when he was kind enough to give me a ride to North Callaway to interview retiring Athletic Director Mike Emmons because I still can't legally drive because of the seizures I had on Mar. 2.
That day he shared a thought with me; the Coaches Call-in Show might not be back for the 2019 football season. Maybe that's my fault. I was on most of those shows last year and I'll go away if that needs to happen for the show to come back.