Those magic streets

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve always enjoyed going on business trips.

Literally, I’d dress in my three-piece suit and grab my brief case and start walking down a Fairhope street in my neighborhood to go to work.

Today, I’ll be doing the same as I travel up I-65 to Birmingham for the Class 3A Girls State Semifinals, where No. 2 Straughn faces top-ranked Lauderdale County at the BJCC Arena.

When I follow teams to sporting events outside of Andalusia and the county, it’s always a thrill to me.

It may be because of the different setting or the fact that these teams I cover on a daily basis have made it far in postseason play. I can’t put a finger on it.

But the experience of covering a high school basketball game at the BJCC Arena is unlike any other.

Upon entering the main floor of the arena, the first thing that draws my attention are the semi-pink filtered lights high above the court.

By the time the light hits the floor, it’s a perfect shade of white and illuminates the players perfectly.

Additionally, the light bulbs also penetrate the lower levels of the stands to show the teams dedicated faithful yelling their hearts out.

The fans are another thing I look forward to when I make the trip to the BJCC.

They are probably the loudest bunch of fans I’ve ever heard. It still gives me chills thinking about it.

Even though SHS will be playing in the semifinals today starting at 3 p.m., another local with ties to Andalusia will be squaring off in his first title game as a coach.

Elba coach Karl Bledsoe, who played for legendary AHS coach Richard Robertson, will be guiding his Tigers to play Luverne for the third time this season.

EHS’s losses this season have only been to LHS. They were in the championship of the AHS and Red Level boys Christmas tournaments.

What a show both teams have put on for fans so far. I expect it to be another good game tomorrow when both tip off at 3 p.m. in the Class 2A state title game.

Let’s not forget people, Straughn will be making its second-straight state tournament appearance today.

That’s quite a feat.

Playing in the state tournament for a first time was hard, but getting back to the Final 48 a second time was even harder, SHS coach Scott Kinsaul said.

For me, this will be my third straight trip to the BJCC and if you’re wondering, my briefcase will be in hand and my camera bag will be over my shoulder as I walk down those Birmingham city streets.