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franklin county times

State Games presents challenges

By By Austin Bishop / regional sports editor
June 16, 2002
After the first day of covering the State Games of Mississippi, what else can you say.
I was the sports editor of The Meridian Star 11 years ago when the State Games of Mississippi were first held and I can tell you it was just as wild back then as it is now.
Maybe even a little wilder. That's because we really had no idea what to expect. Now we are not totally clueless, although sometimes it is hard to tell.
If you look over to the right of this column you will find a pair of awesome photos taken by staff photographer Paula Merritt, who has taken photographs of all 11 State Games.
On the inside there are more than a dozen more photos taken by Merritt and staff photographer Carisa McCain, as well as pages full of stories written by the sports staff.
Yes, I know that not every result is in today's paper, but we gave it a good shot. While the winner of every medal may not be listed in the sports section, we attempted to write a story about every event.
There will be more in Monday's paper, with the youth soccer portion of the State Games being the feature sport.
Getting the complete, detailed results in a form that can be displayed in the paper on the following day is tough when it comes to the State Games. My hopes are that following the completion of the Games we can run a full page or two with complete results, as well as a few pictures that we couldn't get in the regular paper.
But for now, just thumb through today's section and enjoy.
There are four full pages of State Games coverage, beginning on page C7 and running through C10.
One of my favorite items is on page C10. It is the State Games Tidbits. These are just little items that really don't fit in any particular story, but are kind of neat to read.
While this weekend is always a big one, next weekend is a monster. The baseball and basketball competitions are always time consuming and begin on Thursday and run all the way through Sunday.
One of the things I like the most about State Games is that there is something for every level of competitor.
The soccer competition is fierce and teams have to qualify just to make it. The history of the basketball tournament is that the winners generally compete for a state championship the following season.
Some of the best high school baseball players in the state always show up for State Games.
But there is also a place for the folks who just like to compete, whether it be running, playing table tennis, bowling or canoeing.
That is what makes the State Games of Mississippi special.
Mayor's Trophy game
was special event
I was very disappointed to read that the annual baseball game played between Ole Miss and Mississippi State in Jackson each year has gone by the wayside.
Yes, I do understand some of the reasons the game was taken off the schedule, but I will still miss it.
While both teams covet another home game on their schedule, it is hard to dispute that there is interest in the game.
The smallest attendance ever for the game was 2,866 in 1996. Eighteen times there have been more than 4,000 folks show up for the game and a dozen times more than 5,00 have attended. In 1995, 6,712 came to the game, one which Ole Miss won 5-4.
The two teams are already scheduled to play six times each season three in Starkville and three in Ole Miss because they are both members of the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference.
But the big issues seems to be that each school wants another home game.
It will be interesting to see how the fans react to this decision.