Bleacher Bits: You can't darken a good experience
You eventually see it all as a reporter, but on Friday night in Arbuckle, it was what nobody could see that became the big story.
During the first quarter of the game between Willows and Live Oak for third place, just after the Honkers had taken a shot, the Pierce gym went black as all the lights went out. We would later learn that the power outage was widespread across Colusa County, and the remainder of the tournament was canceled.
It was a pity that nature and the power grid decided to cause a premature end to the tournament, because it has grown into one that we try to staff every year, for a variety of reasons.
First, there has always been at least one team playing from each of the three counties we serve, giving us the always welcome opportunity of staying at one location and getting coverage for all three papers.
Second, and while other schools and tournaments are also well-run, I was struck by how hospitable everyone was to me on Friday and how efficiently they handled the blackout.
With sports reporter Kirk Baron doing his always bang-up job of covering Colusa County sports, I'm not down there nearly as often as I'm at games in Glenn and Tehama counties, but I was treated like an old friend and almost even felt important.
Sure there was no "press" parking spot just outside the gymnasium, which is just fine because my feet and legs still work, but I was still treated as if I was "bigtime."
Not long after entering the gymnasium to take in the early games, Scott Burnum approached me and asked me if I had gotten a program, and made sure I knew where the hospitality room was.
Once I had enjoyed a brief repast of tasty delectables and shared some chit-chat, I made my way back to the action, only to have Burnum ask me if I had gotten enough to eat. I had to chuckle at that because as a sports reporter, I am required by our union to make a pig out of myself whenever the opportunity to snarf down free food presents itself.
Athletic director Gary Teague also approached me to say he had an item for a future story that he would make sure to get to me as soon as all the pieces come together.
Once the lights went out, the Pierce staff did a fine job of letting everyone know what was going on, and cautioned spectators to be careful when leaving the gym and the parking lot.
While my night ended prematurely early, and led to me juggling ideas of what to put in the papers on the way back up the highway, I'd like to make it known that the Pierce Tournament was still a bright spot.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.