Calhoun hasn#039;t played a home game in a year and a half

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2005

Imagine not having a place to call home.

Imagine that when it comes to preparing for each game, the team has to work around the schedule of the middle school basketball team.

Imagine having your homecoming on the field of your bitter rival.

Calhoun High doesn't have to imagine this because this is reality for the school's football and basketball teams.

For the last two years the school's varsity football and basketball teams have not known what it is like to play at home because their home has been in the middle of a huge remodeling project that has displaced not just the student-athletes, but members of the marching band and the JROTC members.

And the effects of having to play on the road every night for the past season and a half has taken its toll. Calhoun was always considered one of the best Class 3A teams in the state year in and year out. Typically it would be Calhoun or Central-Hayneville to advance to the 3A finals.

But it will take some hard work for boys basketball coach Jim Hunter to lead the Tigers back to the state finals this year after a 2-7 start so far.

&#8220These guys have lost two years of training, then we are on the road and don't have a stable practice facility, so it really hurts bad,” Hunter said. &#8220We feel like all the odds are against us right now.”

Since Calhoun has had to play each of its games on the road, Hunter has avoided piling up a big laundry bill by putting their two road jerseys to use.

&#8220We have Navy and a Columbia blue road jerseys, so they have come in handy,” Hunter said with a chuckle.

While it may be a setback for Calhoun and its players, opponents like Greenville forward Isiah Mack said that he could not imagine having to play each game on the road.

&#8220I don't see how they do it,” he said. &#8220It's got to be hard to play in those conditions knowing each game you are on the road.”

But the road wary Tigers may finally get to practice in their new gymnasium by the second week in January, Hunter said.

&#8220The gym is about 90 percent complete,” he said. &#8220There is some tile work that needs to be done in the coaches offices, some painting done and the floor finished.”

Hunter hopes that the Tigers may be able to play their first home game in almost a year and a half in mid-January.

Greenville High coach Victor Smith said that he is expecting to play at Calhoun on Jan. 14.

&#8220I told (Hunter) that I don't see how he does it,” Smith said. &#8220He's done an unbelievable job considering the situations.”