By Steve Robinson | May 16, 2011 - 10:08 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

While visiting my brother and sister-in-law over the Christmas holiday, my sister-in-law, Mary, mentioned that she had noted that kids in high school do not wear watches anymore. She noted that her son, my oldest nephew, Charlie, a high school sophomore, doesn’t. None of his friends do, either. “They all keep track of time on their cell phones,” Mary said.

That notion has stuck with me ever since that conversation. I have spent the spring semester testing it. Sure enough, most all of the kids I have come in contact with over the course of the semester use the clock on their cell phones to keep track of time.

I found two – count ‘em, folks – two students who buck the new trend. The first is Colin Pershick, a junior at Normal West High. He has a pocket watch. Well, to be honest, it’s not the pocket watch we might think of our great-great grandfathers possessing. It’s a Timex watch hanging on to one strap. Not even a full wristband. Just half of one. Colin is behind technologically, too, in that he does not have a cell phone, either.

Of not having a cell phone, Pershick said, “I don’t really feel I suffer from not having a cell phone. I can’t get detention for using one in class since I do not have one. I suppose I might miss out on the whole texting thing. But it works and I don’t really mind it.”

“I’ve known Colin for a while, and the watch doesn’t really make or break who Colin is,” chimed in Colin’s pal and Fellow West classmate, Brent Rodgers. “The watch doesn’t change who he is.”

Pershick thinks he is cool in a different way. Nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of folks out there who tend to be that way.

It turns out Colin is not alone. Jacqueline Spaniol is a junior at Normal Community High School. Where Pershick wears his to be unique, Spaniol wears hers as a matter of style. Spaniol carries a cell phone and uses the watch to tell time if she does not have her cell phone with her, also bucking the trend so many kids have demonstrated lately.

Spaniol defined the conditions under which most kids do wear watches these days. Some wear them when they work out, are taking tests, or as fashion statements, she said.

It looks like you now can tell the hipsters from the old-timers these days. All you have to do is check their wrists. I fall into the latter category, and have been, apparently, since I started wearing a watch at age 8 or 9.

On another subject, Adam McGinnis made history on May 4. When he and his baseball teammates from Normal Community West High School took on their Unit 5 rivals from NCHS on May 4 and 5, they did not just play using the facilities provided at the schools. They got a taste of the big leagues facing each other at the home of our local independent team, the Normal CornBelters.

Normal West and NCHS played at The Corn Crib. Normal West pummeled the Ironmen in the first game, 11-1 on May 4. The Ironmen nudged past West on May 5, 4-3. I made it to the first game and even for high school sports, this was a big deal.

For a high school game, there were even a few pockets of fans in the stands at the game I saw May 4. They all seemed to have a good time.

West catcher McGinnis and NCHS shortstop Brent Turner will be two names high school history buffs will want to burn into their memories. They were the first players for each team to score the very first runs by a high school team at The Corn Crib during the May 4 game. I was not able to interview any NCHS players after the first game, but I did catch up with West’s McGinnis after that very first game for his thoughts on playing on a minor league field.

West seemingly also got an advantage prior to the start of game one because Wildcats head coach Chris Hawkins called a former assistant of his, Nate Metzger. Metzger is now the athletic director and head baseball coach for Heartland Community College.

“As it turned out, we were able to get out here and practice on this field May 3,” Hawkins said. “And NCHS didn’t look like they were too surprised either by the high hops balls can take on this kind of turf.”

Hawkins said he advised his players to get an earlier than usual start on any slides they might consider doing because to not do so might result in over-sliding a base.

NCHS head coach Ryan Short said some of his players earned experience playing in The Corn Crib by being in tournaments that the facility hosted last summer. “The field didn’t take anything away from us today,” Short said after May 4 loss. “I’ve seen enough games here to know there will be a little spring.”

Short said the players on his squad this year who have the edge on knowing how the turf at The Corn Crib plays are Brent Turner, Kyle Rutledge, Matt Burns, and Brandon Taylor.

In that first game May 4, Short said, “Normal West is a good hitting team. You’re not going to be able to sneak a fastball down the middle of the plate against them. They did a great job.”

On another subject, congratulations to Caleb Bonner from NCHS and David Schemerhorn from Bloomington High School who took the honors in the Bloomington Area Career Center’s Civil Engineering/Architecture program. The pair were entered in the Illinois Drafting Educators Association’s annual state competition. Both Bonner and Schemerhorn tied for third out of a field of 24 in the 3D Architectural CAD Division. Congratulations.

Roughly 200 students from schools across Illinois survived the competition to reach the regionals which were held at various Community Colleges in early March. Getting to that point made participants eligible to compete at the state level competition which was held April 30.

With the school year winding down and the baseball season starting this week for our local team, the Normal CornBelters of the independent Frontier League, I move from the high schools to the ball diamonds for the summer. I have enjoyed bringing you “High School Highlights” in its first year and look forward to doing it again beginning next August. Have a great summer.

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