Shawn Singleton

I’ve been in the media business for over two decades covering a variety of topics. 

However, the vast majority of my career has been spent in sports. In fact, close to three-quarters of my lifetime in this business has been lived on the various fields and arenas of play.

Most of it has been spent south of the Mason-Dixon Line, of course. After all, I did grow up east of the Mississippi River, even though I have lived in double-digit states.

I have covered my share of college and professional sports. 

I could write entire columns of what I think of NASCAR, indoor football, summer league baseball, minor league baseball or even jai alai. 

Simon, acere!

(It’s Cuban slang for “yes, my friends!”)

Nevertheless, it’s the high school level where I spent most of my time, and the two years I’ve spent here in Missouri made me think about the various differences among all those places, other than the weather.

In addition to meteorological conditions that would keep mental health professionals generationally wealthy, varsity sports in this state also keep one of the most equally unusual schedules in the nation.

Along with football, boys soccer, cross country, girls golf, softball and volleyball are the norms Missourians have gotten used to in autumn.

Down South, that would never happen! 

First off, everything revolves around football where I’m from. You don’t schedule weddings, or any type of get-together during football season. 

This is why weddings in the South are held during the summer, or the winter – but never in the fall!

The City of Silex actually rescheduled its Fall Festival last year because of a wedding. They would laugh in your face in most Southern states if you even tried to bring that idea up.

Seriously, you don’t even try to die during football season, if you want people to come to your funeral, that is!

Try to hold on long enough for the end of the season in most Southern states.

In my home state, the last words for most of its residents are either “GO COCKS!!!,” or “GO TIGERS!!!”

In the fall, in many states down South, and elsewhere, boys soccer is played in the spring, instead of the fall like here in Missouri. 

Naturally, in Southern states, it conflicts with football. Generally, the best soccer player would most likely end up being the kicker on the football team. 

Also, you don’t want to potentially lose your best soccer player during football season.

DON’T MESS WITH FOOTBALL!!!

In a lot of states, spring is the heaviest season for high school sports. Softball and baseball are both in the spring, unlike here, where softball is played in the fall.

Sorry, “Show-Me-State,” that is weird as hell!

Both boys and girls golf teams tend to play in the spring, along with track and field. Girls and boys both play tennis in the spring in most states, instead of separating it by seasons.

When I was covering sports for the Morning News in South Carolina in the 2000s, nothing was worse than taking call-in scores and e-mails on a Friday night during high school spring sports season, especially when you’re not assigned to any games that evening. 

On an average Friday night, it was nothing to get anywhere from 30 to 40 calls and e-mails from people with scores and stats from that evening’s games. I wrote for a daily newspaper for almost 10 years that represented nine counties – and multiple public and private schools in each one.

Nobody wanted to take a track score, because that involved multiple events, girls and boys teams! That took almost a half-hour alone!

They all wanted some representation, of course, and we did our best to oblige, even if I still wake up in cold sweats thinking about them to this very day – almost two decades later!

Those were a lot of stinking schools, and a lot of stinking sports!

However, when everything revolves around football, you have to put the other sports somewhere, and spring is generally where you put them in many states.

As insane as it was in those days, this is what I called “normal,” and I still do. I’ve been here two years, and I still find softball at the same time as football weird.

Anytime when softball isn’t being played at the same time as baseball is weird to me.

Then again, I do live in a state where the weather is about as consistent as the chances my New York Giants keep either of their two first-round draft picks.

It’s something fun to try to get used to.