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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The end and the beginning

Friday, August 24, 2012

A strange thing happens to my golf game every year. I shoot my best scores the first few weeks of the season and then they start getting progressively worse until, by the end of the summer, I'm totally tired of golf and ready to go back to teaching. And this summer an exclamation point was added.

I knew last Friday would be my last day of golf for the season because we had to report to the college on Monday. I always play with Jim Lemon and this time he brought his wife Carol along to play too. Carol and Jim are delightful people and it's always fun to be with both of them. At least it had always been fun until last Friday.

My golf cart broke down on the second hole and I had to go back to the clubhouse to get another one. They've torn out a lot of the cart path on number two as you approach the green and early in the morning, if they've watered, the dirt path turns into a mud path and I got stuck. The wheels were spinning but the cart wasn't budging so I had to get out and pull it out of the mud. As it went from the mud to the grass, it slid down an embankment and, as I jumped back in, it ran over a drainage ditch and almost turned over. I jumped out again to avoid being seriously injured or killed (that's what the warning says will happen to a person that's printed and displayed on golf carts). Luckily, it didn't turn over but not so lucky for me, the day just kept getting worse. But it wasn't the golf cart that was the source of my problems for the rest of the round, it was my golf game. By the time we got back to the clubhouse, I was fed up with golf, just like I am at the end of every summer, but I also know in my heart that by the time next May rolls around, I'll be anxious to go again.

The beginning is a grand beginning and in terms of its value to the city and Southwest Nebraska, it is perhaps the most important thing that's happened in a while. I'm talking about the new Events Center on the campus of McCook Community College. It is grand in every sense of the word. I gave a good friend of mine a tour yesterday and he remarked that it looked like a major university events center and it does. Everything in it is state of the art and brand new. Not only is it going to be a great recruiting tool for prospective students, it's going to be used extensively by the community as well as evidenced by the hiring of a new person who will be the planner and coordinator for everything that happens there.

I understand our Administration's need to make things look as good as they can, but to call a crowd of 300 people "huge" was a bit of a misstatement. In fact, I was disappointed by the turnout. Three hundred people attending means that over 7,600 residents of McCook didn't come for the grand opening and tour. That was surprising to me because this community has always supported the college, going back to the Operation Starlight and downsizing days of President Greg Fitch whose ultimate plan, as we all now know, was to eventually close McCook Community College. I hope that many of those who didn't attend will come by and walk through the facility because it's sure to be the lifeblood of the community for many years to come.

Something else we have to make sure happens is proper maintenance of the site. Because of its sheer size and the fact that most of the activities taking place in it will be athletic, it's going to require a crew of workers dedicated to that site only. We all know that young people tend not to be the tidiest people in the world so we can't leave it up to them to constantly police the place, even though I'm sure they're going to be told to do that. The exercise and cardio room is full of expensive equipment that will require daily maintenance and clean-up as well as the main floor, the seating area, the auxiliary gym, and the locker rooms. There's going to be the normal wear-and-tear on the building as there is with ANY building but proper maintenance will keep that to a minimum so the person hired to oversee that task is faced with a huge responsibility.

So it's the end of golf and the beginning of an exciting new year at McCook Community College with the Events Center now being the centerpiece of the campus. The athletes are obviously excited about their new surroundings and will be revved up even more if they are supported by capacity crowds whenever the play at home.

And it's everybody's job to make sure that happens.

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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night