One reason we media cats are excited about postseason play has nothing to do with what is happening on the playing surface. It has something to do with what is going on in some remote classroom a decent distance away, or what is set up in a football/track press box.
It’s the hospitality room food spread. It’s meant for tournament helpers/volunteers, school officials, and coaches and referees of the teams involved. It’s even OK for us in the media to stop in and get a bite to eat.
I try to be humble going about my business. Allow me to get in a venue, and I’ll stay out of the way. If there’s one seat in the gym left and it’s high in the bleachers, then so be it.
But I’m hopeful. A game day can be pretty busy and I may not have grabbed lunch, which makes me hopeful to grab something at the hospitality room. I hate to impose.
Visiting hospitality rooms is an all-or-nothing proposition. If I don’t get there a half-hour before the game starts, it may not be convenient to go there at all.
For instance, I never stepped foot in the hospitality room at the Class 2A North Judson Boys Basketball Regional Saturday. I arrived a few minutes before tip-off of the first semifinal between Andrean and Michigan City Marquette Catholic. I loaded up at Starbucks earlier, then was into the first game while chatting it up with other media folks.
Timing and convenience are factors, too. Was it worth me squeezing through rows, stepping on crates and coats, bumping people and tables, and tiptoeing bleachers to get to the hospitality room? Never was. Never will.
Halftime is only 10 minutes, so you can’t get too comfortable. Get a water or sports drink and get back to the working position.
But, if I get a chance to partake, I’m fortunate and thankful. I understand the students have a lot to do with preparing the food for the hospitality room. Thank you for your hard work and creativity.
When I got started in this area in the late 1990s, the Northern Lakes Conference schools quickly set the bar high. I was at a sectional football game at NorthWood’s Andrews Field with Angola and was amazed at the many food offerings.
When you get pork burgers in a hospitality room, I’ll quote Ric Flair, “Woooooo!” That’s going above and beyond.
In all my years, I’ve never had a bad pork burger. Westview’s and Central Noble’s food spreads are high on the lists of many around here, I’m sure, when it comes to pork burgers. But Angola and Fremont have strong pork burger games, too, if you will. Regardless of who makes them, they make you squeal for more, to borrow a line that former Hornet baseball and softball coach Jerry McDermid uses when he does the public address announcing at AHS football and basketball games.
Westview prides itself on being top-notch and first-class, and with good reason. The hospitality room is typically there for sectional basketball tournaments during the week and is spectacular. Assistant girls basketball coach Bev Miller is behind it and does a great job. Pork burgers with all the trimmings.
I rave about the layered tossed salad with what I recall has a creamy ranch dressing on top. And you get meatballs, vegetables and dip, chips and candy, with pop or water to drink. There might be other treats for the sweet tooth, like brownies.
Submarine sandwiches and pizza are also standard fare around the area. A sports information director at a college gave me a $5 voucher for their concession stand. That is a nice gesture, too.
NorthWood was strong a week and a half back when it hosted the Class 3A boys basketball sectional. Tacos, taco salad and Culver’s frozen custard and brownies on semifinal Friday night. I overdid the tacos. Too much beef, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, rice, sour cream for the soft shell. So, the tacos became taco salad, too. All good.
And this is leading up to the Northeast Corner Conference All-Academic Luncheon Thursday at St. James Restaurant in Avilla. Outstanding. Did you know that this luncheon is always on the first Thursday of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament?
Just stating a fact that falls under the radar. But this is all about nothing. Dealing with quality people and having great food makes that the biggest non-issue of all-time.