Dave Paxton

I’m not sure why this has never occurred to me before, but as I was sitting at the Albia high school’s senior awards ceremony, I thought my eighth grade granddaughter needs to be hearing this. She was at the movies with her buddies.

Most high schools I’m aware of have an assembly or awards ceremony prior to commencement. Scholarships are presented, honorary awards given. The Bernie Saggau Award is announced, along with perfect attendance, elite letterwinners and citizenship awards.

It is the who’s who of a four-year high school experience. It’s also long and hot and you’re butt feels like it needs medical care by the time it is done. At one level it is a reflection of the generosity communities extend to their graduating seniors. At another level, however, it shows you the kids who have made good use of the four years afforded them by the public school system.

And it’s not only the straight A students or the full ride athletes that the night is about, and for whom this information would benefit students headed out of junior high and into high school. There was a girl (Dakota Selby) who was honored for six years of perfect attendance.

She wasn’t one of the top seven percent, but I will almost guarantee you that whatever she plans to do in life, she will be successful because she has disciplined herself to get out of bed and get to work. You’d be surprised how many students don’t share this same discipline.

I remember the famous Michael Jordan commercial where the little kid says, “I want to be like Mike.” If in attending a senior assembly you could plant in the brains of eighth graders, I want to be a Presidential Scholar, or win the Bernie Saggau Award, or get a scholarship because I was an outstanding welder, or be the next kid to get a full scholarship to a John Deere diesel mechanics school because of my work in ag classes and FFA, or be recognized for my musical talent, or any number of things high school kids do to be rewarded at the end of their four years, it might help start them off in the right direction as freshmen.

I don’t really know how you’d get an eighth grader to sit through a senior assembly (unless their older brother or sister were graduating), but to filter the information of a successful high school experience down through the ranks might be worth the effort.

Prior to attending senior awards assembly, I had stood for about five hours in a pouring rain at the state track meet held on the Blue Oval at Drake. I’m pretty sure I’ve been wetter and colder, but I can’t remember when. A couple of observations. The bravery of Class 2A high jumpers, including Chariton’s Jackson Fisher, was amazing to watch. On a perfect weather day, it takes some salt to launch yourself over a bar six to seven feet off the ground knowing you’re going to land on the back of your neck.

In the pouring rain? Let’s get real. The splash down into icy cold rain water on the high jump pad makes me shiver thinking about it. Planting a foot on the rain slickened surface, even at Drake Stadium, takes a lot of nerve. It definitely affected the entire field of jumpers.

My daughter was an accomplished discus thrower (two state and two Drake Relays appearances) and I appreciate the skill of throwers. Throwing in a constant downpour was almost teenage child abuse. The 2A guys were in the spotlight Friday. Typically, a thrower will step into the ring and go through a series of moves preparing for the spin and throw. It is as much mental preparation as physical. On this day, guys would have their discus wrapped in a towel, step into the ring, toss the towel, make the spin and throw because if they lingered too long, their hand and the discus would be soaked.

Suffice it to say, there were a lot of bad throws.

Finally, as the rain subsided, the running of the delayed boys Class 4A 400 meters took place. Lightning stopped the race on Thursday and the 400 meter runners cooled their heels most of the day awaiting their rescheduled race. And holy mackerel what a race.

Darien Porter of Bettendorf shattered the state record in 46.99. Of all the races in track and field, the 400 is one of the most beautiful to watch and to see this kid beat the field by almost three seconds was amazing.

As an aside to the state meet, which not only included miserable conditions virtually every day, but also had the now infamous early bell in the 3200 meters, there was serious discussion about postponing the entire meet until Monday and Tuesday of this week, as officials peered at radar images. Having sat through part of an opening season softball game on Monday in the rain and changing a flat tire in a downpour on Tuesday, the state officials made the right call to muddle through the meet.

I emptied my rain gauge on Saturday morning before heading to a wedding near Eldora and found 3 ½ inches in the gauge Sunday morning. I dumped another inch and a half out Wednesday morning. I’m thinking we’ve probably had enough for a couple of weeks.

Two stories from the world of sex. British researchers have proven that using the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis will stop a heart attack in progress. Talk about your dual usage drug. Always when they advertise the ED wonder drug, they warn men to consult their physician to see if they are healthy enough to have sex. New researchs suggests this advice is unnecessary.

Hollywood activist and very average actress Alyssa Milano is promoting a movement whereby women abstain from sex until states passing abortion restriction laws change their minds, returning to the unfettered killing of unborn children. You’ve got to wonder if Milano would have been messaging young women to abstain from sex prior to getting pregnant, if this might have mitigated the whole abortion debate in the first place.

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