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Notebook: Sports as a release, distraction

Billy Gates, Sports EditorTerror.

That awful word sums up last week for the city of Boston, competitors in the Boston Marathon and every person in America that wanted to go to a public place.

The images of what those two terrible people did, Suspect No. 1 and Suspect No. 2 (I won't use their names, because that's what they want), were etched into our brains with acid, and it's going to be tough for people to shake them, myself included.

But, I know a great way to deal with such tragic events. It has been a tried-and-true way to help people take their minds off whatever is bothering them, and that's watching sports.

Sport has a powerful, and unique, way of uniting people from all colors, creeds and religions. I know whenever I'm feeling a bit off for whatever reason, I can turn on just about any sport and my cares go away for a little bit.

Unless it's the Mariners, and they are losing, then I just get mad over something completely different. I should probably be used to that by now.

Anyway, sport is one of those things that most people have some sort of connection to, whether it's big or small. We saw how it can bring folks together after the 9/11 attacks, and we saw it happen after the marathon bombing in Boston.

Come to think of it, sport and tragedy have that in common, oddly enough. Both can bond, even if it's just for a little while.

Seeing the marquee above the Yankee Stadium entrance say, "United We Stand" with both team logos on it is something special in the world of professional baseball, because you might not ever see it again.

Two teams that have their share of brawls, scuffles, donnybrooks and melees decided to take the gloves off for once and stand beside one another, rather than face off.

Baseball fans need to savor that flavor, because it sure as heck won't happen again anytime soon.

That is, unless, something bad happens again. So in that regard, I hope I never see that stinkin' sign again.

Moving on to something with a little lighter tone, I finally got to see both Madras and Culver track teams perform Saturday at the La Pine Invitational, and it was nice, minus the sunburn I got. Turns out the higher in elevation you go, you can get a sunburn when it's barely 60 degrees out. My arms hurt.

With the track in Madras in such bad shape, and my schedule not allowing me to get out to the midweek meet in Culver a couple weeks ago, I had been relying on the website, www.athletic.net, and occasional phone conversations to shape my view on area track and field.

While I was content with that for a little bit, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to go see it for myself, and I was pretty impressed.

Culver's girls track team will earn a medal at the state meet, at historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, in May. Mark my words. It's going to happen.

They have the state's best triple jumper, and apparently the top 100-meter dash runner as well, in senior Lori Sandy. She was sick, Culver coach Mike Dove said, for nearly the entire week leading up to the meet. Well, she just went ahead and won the 100 and triple jump. Michael Jordan played well when he was sick, too. I'm just saying.

But the team is more than just Sandy. With distance specialist Angelica Metteer, who looks like a gazelle when she strides during the 1,500, and middle distance dynamo freshman Hannah Lewis, among others, this is a solid team with a real shot at a state trophy.

If things go right, maybe it'll be a big blue one.

And Madras sophomore Brent Sullivan will win a state high jump championship by the time he graduates.

There's another bold prediction for you.

If you haven't yet, because I know I haven't, go sign yourself up for some slow pitch softball at the Madras Aquatic Center. It'll be fun. You get to be out in the sun (wear sunscreen), and you get some exercise.

The deadline is April 29, so chop-chop and hustle up. That's what I'm telling myself, too.

You also get to see who is holding on to their glory days. Sometimes that's fun, and sometimes it's a little embarrassing.




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