Holiday hiatus is over, so let’s get back to work

Published 7:55 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

The holidays, when they fall in the middle of the week like this year, are always a bizarre period of starts and stops. People extend weekends or take the whole week off. A lot of things get put on hold because nobody wants to work a two- or three-day week. If they must, their minds are already wandering ahead from Christmas to New Year’s.

Applied to the sports world, this phenomenon becomes even more pronounced. Particularly on the high school and college level, things go into a state of suspended animation.

High school basketball teams play a few games at various tournaments, but never a full schedule. When St. Aloysius hosts Porter’s Chapel Academy on Thursday night, it will be St. Al’s first game since Dec. 15 and PCA’s first since Dec. 21. Vicksburg High will have played twice in 15 days when it hosts Brandon on Friday afternoon.

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College basketball is similar. With the conference schedule looming and finals afoot, most teams throttle back the schedule in December. Mississippi State’s men’s team will have played four games between Dec. 8 and its SEC opener against South Carolina on Jan. 8. In the following month it has twice that many scheduled. There were hardly any games scheduled the week between Christmas and New Year’s among either the men’s or women’s teams all across the NCAA.

Soccer is even more bizarre. Unlike their basketball cousins who play in tournaments, high school soccer teams in Mississippi basically shut down for three weeks in December. St. Al’s road game at Hillcrest on Jan. 10 will be its first in 29 days. Warren Central goes 19 days between games, Vicksburg High 23 days, and Porter’s Chapel 26 days — all of which assumes that the recent rain that has swamped the state clears out and the fields are playable.

Even football gets in on the act, to a degree. Bowl season is awesome — whenever you have daytime sports on a weekday it’s a win in my book — but the relatively meaningless nature of the games brings a weird vibe to the whole thing.

All of this is to say that, while the holidays bring joy and festiveness to us all, their conclusion also signals that it’s time to get back to a regular routine. Let’s have some kickoffs and some tip offs, some buzzer-beaters and some bicycle kicks.

Let’s have some games. Please?

It’s a new year. Let’s get back to work.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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