Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Christmas break!

My well-deserved four-day break comes to a crashing end at approximately 8:15 this morning.

Due to my consistent hard work and much pleading, my boss was kind enough to grant me an extra day off from work Friday, which gave me that long stretch away to relax, enjoy Christmas with the family, count my calories, and watch the rain.

Here were the highlights!

Friday, slept in past 7 a.m.! Since I typically get up between 5 and 6 on work days, this was indeed a blessing.

I did my remaining Christmas shopping that morning. I only had to take care of my mother and daughter and after much consideration, I went to my bank and exchanged some money to give the perfect Christmas gift: cash.

No long lines or worries about gosh, will they like my Christmas gift? I did place those gifts in Christmas envelopes. The family did me right for Christmas, although Trish the Wife had already thoughtfully presented my present earlier so she could enjoy my gift to her, which she had picked out and received about three weeks ago.

We had Christmas at my mother’s house that night. Food was good and the only regret was forgetting to bring my camera, which was pointed out several times by the wife as in, “I can’t believe you forgot your camera!” Unfortunately, it was the start of a trend.

I am trying to remember what I did on Saturday. I did sleep in again, then, uh, watched some football while the wife was at her mother’s baking goodies for Sunday’s Christmas festivities. I read and let the dogs, Molly and Dodger, in and out approximately 50 times.

Molly would announce her wish to go outside by standing at the door and barking. I would let her out and coax Dodger to follow. If I chose to go outside with them, which I did several times, they were happy.

If I decided to stay inside and watch a crucial football play on a game which I was watching because there wasn’t anything else on, they went outside and before I could plop my rear back down, they would scratch to come back in.

Molly comes in without a problem. Dodger stands at the door and glances back and forth between me and the door, not really sure if he can make it in before the door slams on him, even though I am holding it with a foot or other body part.

Sunday was Christmas Day and that meant a trip to the in-laws. All the way across…town. Yes! No travel for Craigman, thank goodness. Another excellent meal, but some person again forgot to bring his camera to document all the festivities.

The food was ready when we got there, another bonus. But as I was elbowing my way past the small children to the front of the food line, the wife put me on fill the glasses with ice patrol. I filled like eight cups with ice and brought them back into the kitchen, only to discover she only wanted cups for us.

Fortunately, the line was small and plenty of food remained. After again eating a balanced meal, I made my way into the family room and was soon appointed play partner with Parker, who got a new bike from Santa and wanted somebody to help.

I was pretty good the first four times I got to help him ride the bike. Parker is three and decided it was more fun to slam on the breaks while I tried to push him. I thought it was funny the first three or four times he did this, but at about 30 or so, grew a little irritated.

Parker actually got going pretty good about the fifth time he dragged me outside and left me wondering what I was missing on the History Channel. He had training wheels on the bike, so I wasn’t all that worried. At least until Parker tried to turn and the training wheels failed.

Fortunately, he fell about the speed of a turtle. He looked up at me, as if to scold me for not protecting him, or to wonder what kind of fit he should throw. I checked for blood and found none, and acted like it was no big deal and got him back on the bike to distract him.

He was fine. Parker did run over his sister later on, but that was her fault. Not Parker’s. Or mine. I thought we were going to have to perform emergency stitches on her, but the only casualty was a small tear in the knee of her hose things.

And then, there was Monday. It was raining and not really excited about going anywhere. We did have a gift card for my favorite eating establishment in Fort Smith, along with one for a book store. Sadly, the wife had a gift card for a clothing store and wanted to go there first.

I survived, barely. Then we went to eat! Not many cars in the parking lot! We were behind like one group and they got seated instantly. Then, the receptionist said it would be a few minutes that all there waiters had tables.

I looked around and saw approximately eight tables occupied. So, we sat. And sat some more. Other people filed in, obviously not aware of the waiter shortfall. The receptionist disappeared and the waiting area soon filled with people.

An older worker soon arrived and took control of the madness. Two, count ‘em two, tables got their food before we did, even though our waiter took our order first! If we hadn’t had wings and bread to tide us over, there could have been a scene!

Our food finally arrived. Mine was not up to its usual greatness. They totally messed up Trish’s grub. But did send it back for correction.

We used a gift card and paid with a large denomination bill. Our host/waiter, returned several minutes later and asked if we had smaller denominations as he could not break it. Seriously.

We paid the balance with a debit card so we could escape. Made another quick stop and returned home, where Molly and Dodger were waiting to go outside and come back in repeatedly.

And the break was over.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 for 2011

Every year, all the major news organizations feature the top stories of the year.

We are not a major news organization, unfortunately, but there have been some big stories in LeFlore County over the last year. And here are my top 10 stories for the year:

1. State champions. LeFlore County had three state champions in 2011, likely an all-time record. Talihina boys won state in basketball, Wister captured a state crown in the spring in baseball while Panama’s girls won a fast-pitch softball title in the fall.

2. Oklahoma dumps on state parks. The Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation decided to close seven state parks, including the Runestone near Heavener, without advance notice or any planning to keep the parks open. Fortunately, the city of Heavener was able to keep the gates of the Runestone open along with help from the Friends of the Runestone.

3. Weather. Bad ice and snow storms in the winter turned into the stormiest spring in recent memory with high winds, tornadoes and hail. The summer was the hottest ones in history.

4. Audit reveals problems. LeFlore County finally got an audit and it was not that good. The state auditor revealed problems with the county, especially regarding former county commissioner Carrol Rogers in Dist. 1. County residents, including members of the Tea Party are calling for an investigative audit.

5. Poteau superintendent. The Poteau school board offered the position to Hank Harris, then removed the offer at a heated school board meeting which did not set well with supporters of Harris.

6. County tournament returns to LeFlore County. After two years at UAFS, the LeFlore County Tournament was played in Spiro’s new facility in 2011. Heavener’s girls and Talihina’s boys each won for the second straight year.

7. Pocola problems. The school board and city council of Pocola continues to have problems and infighting.

8. Bokoshe. Continued controversy over fly ash dumped near town along with a police officer striking a member of the city council.

9. Alleged murderer returned to county. Suhail Shanti was arrested in June and extradited to LeFlore County for allegedly murdering a fellow Carl Albert student in 1983.

10. Donald W. Reynolds Community Center opens. The new facility in Poteau opened with much fanfare this fall with an open house and several events already held there.

Naturally, there are some stories which are not listed. Please list other events from 2011 in the comments section below or send them to me by email to craig@leflorecountyjournal.com and they will be addressed on Friday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thanks for the memories, John Inman

I first met John Inman in the summer of 1986 at a Dallas Cowboys game at Texas Stadium.

John was a veteran sports writer back then and I was just making my debut in the profession. Somebody took our picture together as two sports writers from Heavener and it appeared in the Heavener Ledger.

Since then, I have gotten to know John better. He is, without doubt, one of the good guys and in my various publishing platforms, nobody has helped me more over the years.

So it is with a more than a little bit of sadness that John’s Time-Out column is missing from the Journal. After some 200 columns and blogs, John informed me last week that it was his last column.

For the Journal, it was his 42nd column, ranging from Heavener football to the Yankees, his favorite professional baseball team. Since he started writing his weekly column for the Journal, the only time he has missed was when he had surgery on both eyes.

John has decided to devote his time to writing his upcoming book on the history of Heavener football and I am sure it will be a project all the old Wolves will enjoy.

I can’t fault him for his decision, but instead want to thank John for his contributions. There are so many people who have helped over the years and I don’t want to name them here because I would leave somebody out, but John has helped more than anybody.

He always passes on a kind word and his stories were never about how the sky was falling, but instead were always with a positive slant, even his Yankees stories.

Hopefully John and his Time-Out column will return sometime in the future, but until then, I thank him and wish him good luck with the book and in life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The best county rivalry

In the captivating blog I wrote yesterday about the toughest gyms to play in as a visitor in LeFlore County, Cameron Sanders made a good suggestion.

Cameron suggested that I write about the best rivalries in LeFlore County. That was such a good idea I am going to follow his advice.

After reading his comment, I started thinking (which is one of the key components of trying to write a blog, or anything for that matter), just what is the best rivalry in LeFlore County?

Naturally, this is basketball only since it is that time of the year.

Many would say it is Poteau and Spiro. An easy choice, and also a good one. These are the two biggest schools in the county and like to pound each other whenever they play.

Perhaps, it is Panama and Pocola? Not exactly a lot of love lost when these schools play, eh?

Could it be Howe and Wister? Two longtime foes of the hardwood!

How about Heavener and Poteau? Cameron and Pocola?

And how can we talk about great rivalries and overlook that spirited Hodgen and Monroe clash?

But are these the best rivalries? For me, the best rivalry in the county is one involving two schools who don’t even play during the regular season.
They are located approximately five miles apart as the crow and Highway 59 fly.

Want intensity? Check. A willingness to bash each other’s head against a backboard? Got it. Beating the foe makes the whole year worthwhile? No doubt.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I believe the best rivalry is between Heavener and Howe. Back in the old days when the people of Heavener did not care about basketball, it wasn’t a big deal.

But in the last 20 years or so, the purple and gold vs. the red and white has been a big deal, just about every time the two foes compete.

Since they typically don’t schedule each other, those meetings typically come in the LeFlore County Tournament, which just ups the intensity quite a bit.

Heavener is the bigger school, but Howe has had more success with state championships and more trips to the big house. Basketball is the big deal at Howe. It is also big at Heavener, but there are other distractions such as football, which the Lions and Lady Lions don’t have to worry about.

For 364 days of the year, the residents of these two county teams work with each other, worship together, share how-do-you-do greetings at the store and typically do not want to tear each other’s throat out. In times of trouble, they come to the aid of the other.

But if these two teams are paired up in the game James Naismith invented, there is an intensity that borders on insanity. Normally sane people holler and scream like they have just escaped from a certain facility in Vinita.

Players play a little harder, coaches coach like their job is on the line, and there is an effort by both teams typically only found in a state tournament game.

The noise can border on ear popping. Even during the warm ups.

Heavener and Howe’s boys haven’t played for a couple of years while the girls have met up in the championship game of the past two county championships.

One game was played at UAFS in Fort Smith. Sure, there was another game to follow that night, but there were more people at the game that night than there were when Northside and Southside played in the same facility a month later.

The other meeting was at Spiro, another full house. Heavener and Howe could have been played in Timbuktu and the fans would pack the auditorium (that is, if they have auditoriums in Timbuktu) and behave like they had been bitten by rabid creatures.

Another rendition of this rivalry could happen again this year. For the girls, it would be in the semifinals as Howe is the top seed while the Lady Wolves are seeded fifth.

The only way the boys could play would be in the finals as the two squads are on opposite sides of the bracket.

The NCAA has March Madness. In little old LeFlore County, it is January jubilation, at least for the winning town. But for the losers, there is always next time.

Don’t agree that Heavener and Howe is the best rivalry? Share your observations in the comment section below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The toughest gym to play

Our fine county has a wide assortment of gyms, from the old to the new.

There is the almost brand new facility at Spiro and the old gym at Cameron.

During one of my recent trips to a county game, I started thinking about which gym truly gives its team the best home-court advantage.

From a win-loss percentage, this is a no-brainer. Howe’s girls have never lost a game at home since they moved into the new gym.

But that record isn’t built on the fact the gym is any tougher than any other to play in, instead, that’s because Howe’s girls have seldom lost anywhere over the last few years because the Lady Lions have been so good.

It is a nice facility, but not one other teams dread playing at for any reason other than how good the Lady Lions are at playing basketball.

For me, the toughest place to play as a visitor would be Cameron. It is an old WPA building, built back in the 1920s or 30s and there just aren’t many teams playing in a facility like this.

The crowd is right on top of you and the court seems smaller than others, mainly because there isn’t any room along with sidelines or the baselines. Old wooden stands, an old court which has stood the test of time well, but was old back when I played there in the 1970s.

It doesn’t hold a huge crowd, but when it is packed, it gets cranking.

Another tough place to play is Pocola. This is another facility which hasn’t changed much over the years. The crowd is right on top of you and can be intimidating, as many others teams have discovered over the years.

Spiro’s new gym is easily the most comfortable facility of any of the county facilities. All chair-back seats and a huge scoreboard hanging down at the center of the court. But the crowd is back from the court. It is by far the best place for me to take photographs at in the county. Good lighting and enough room that I don’t have to worry about getting stepped on by officials or players.

The best crowd atmosphere for high school games were the finals at Carl Albert State College, back before the facility was downsized and the big games of the LCT were moved to UAFS for a couple of years and then Spiro.

No empty seats in the building and people packed like sardines behind both baskets. It was always hot, loud and a fire marshall’s worst nightmare.

The facilities at UAFS and Spiro are much nicer, of course, but it just isn’t the same. The Mick Thompson gym at CASC is nicer now after the remodel, except it isn’t big enough to hold the games any more.

I just wish the new Donald W. Reynolds facility in Poteau had been configured to hold about 3,000 for a basketball game. But it isn’t and with the way the economy is, we have to play with the hand that is dealt to us.

It is always better to have a neutral site and Poteau is more centrally located.

Share your thoughts on the toughest place to play by leaving a comment.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't 'fix' the LCT

As the 2012 LeFlore County Tournament approaches, expect to hear some discussion about breaking the tournaments into two divisions again.

Some supporters want the tournament to be divided into a big school and small school division.

I had no idea anybody was thinking about doing this until last year.

For me, that is a terrible idea. If something isn’t broken, don’t mess with it.

The LCT is the best tournament in the state of Oklahoma, drawing huge crowds and creating memories for those players and fans which will last a lifetime.

Some would argue the smaller schools have no chance to win. There are years when it is tough, sometimes even impossible, for a smaller school to win, but there have been plenty of years when the smaller schools have not only competed well, but won.

I do not know how those supporters want to break the tournament into two divisions, but it would probably be with Poteau, Heavener, Howe, Spiro, Panama, Pocola, Talihina and Wister in the big school division. They would have a tournament among the two divisions with the winners playing in the finals.

All those schools are Class 2A and above. That would put Arkoma, Bokoshe, Cameron, LeFlore and Whitesboro in the small school division. That automatically messes things up as the breakdown is eight and five.

Won’t work. With 13 schools competing in varsity basketball, there is going to be an odd number. Howe is the smallest school of the ones listed in the big schools. Think the smaller schools want a piece of Howe’s girls?

I don’t expect one of the small schools to win this year. But one never knows.

And what makes this tournament so exciting is the opportunity. It’s the chance to see teams play against other teams which don’t play during the season, the chance of a Bokoshe, Cameron or Whitesboro to defeat a Spiro, Poteau or Heavener.

Or, even come close to an upset. That makes this so special.

Back in the old days, Indiana’s state tournament featured every school in the state.

Remember the movie Hoosiers? The movie was about a small school beating a big one for the Indiana state championship.

We have our modern day Hoosiers during the middle of January every year, maybe not with the silk short shorts, but it is the same thing. Small vs. Big, the chance of an upset which the coaches, players and fans will remember for years to come.

And that is the way it should be.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No clear cut favorite for LCT

The first mega game of the 2011-12 season has come and gone and the 2012 LeFlore County Tournament is now just over a month away.

One thing that has been shown is there is no clear cut favorite to win the tournament. Talihina’s boys and Heavener’s girls each won the last two years, but with both of those teams rebuilding, a new champion for both divisions will likely be crowned.

For the boys, Spiro is the top seed. But as second-seeded Poteau proved in its 64-43 win Tuesday night, the Bulldogs can be beat. Spiro will have the home-court advantage in the LCT again and still has to be considered the favorite, although the Pirates landed the first punch of the season.

Spiro is easily the most athletic team of the county, but when the outside shots aren’t falling, like in Tuesday’s game, the Bulldogs are vulnerable. And Poteau has the guard play and height to cause Spiro problems.

The Bulldogs also can’t have a meltdown like they did last night where their players were whistled for four technicals. While Spiro must learn to keep its cool, Poteau must improve its free throw shooting if the Pirates hope to win.

Poteau was 21-37 from the charity stripe in the win, but missed eight of its first 10 free throws in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt.

Heavener also can cause problems with a solid team and good height. But the Wolves have gotten off to a slow start against some tough competition, which includes Spiro and Stilwell.

Cameron, Howe, LeFlore and Wister are the smaller schools which could cause some problems in the tournament for the bigger schools.

For the girls, Howe was seeded No. 1, Spiro was second, Talihina third and Bokoshe fourth. But, Howe lost to Rattan last week and Spiro fell at Stigler. Talihina is now the only undefeated team in the county after Arkoma knocked off Bokoshe on its home court last night.

After Rattan lost to Howe, Talihina defeated Rattan. It was on Talihina’s home court, but if the tournament was seeded now, the Lady Tigers would probably be the top seed.

The Lady Tigers don’t have a lot of height, but are very athletic. Howe and Spiro have height and experience in playing in big games as the Lady Lions have been to the last two LCT finals while Spiro reached the state tournament last year.

Bokoshe is the fourth seed, but has been playing without one of its best players in Jamie Carberry. She can’t return until the second semester, if Carberry does rejoin the Lady Tigers.

Arkoma’s girls have been the biggest surprise. After struggling for a long time, the Lady Mustangs are easily the most improved team in the county. With several players off the team which won the junior high county championship last year, Arkoma is 5-2, won its own tournament and scored the upset over Bokoshe.

Monday, December 12, 2011

County seeds and tournament update

Some notes and thoughts about county basketball as we head into the last week before the holiday break:

LeFlore County basketball coaches and administrators met last Wednesday to seed the county teams for the upcoming LeFlore County Tournament, which begins on Jan. 16.

To run a tournament, teams have to be seeded and this happens every year. The only difference was this year the seeding was a little early.

With the larger schools just getting started, some schools had not played enough games to be able to judge how good they are. Heavener’s boys and girls had played once prior to the seeding, Spiro had only played twice, as had Poteau’s girls, and others.

There is no perfect time to seed the teams, but even a little later could have changed the seeding process. Howe’s girls were seeded first, as they should have been at the time.

But one day after the seeding was done, the Lady Lions lost to Rattan at the Choctaw Invitational Tournament. Talihina defeated Rattan the following night and went on to win the tournament.

Sure, the tournament was played at Talihina and the Lady Tigers had the home court advantage, but this certainly would have had some influence on the seeding process if done later.

As it is, Howe’s girls are seeded first, Spiro (which also lost last week) is second while Talihina is third. Everybody still did a good job with the seeding and until and if Howe and Talihina play, there is no way to determine which team is better. Or if a talented Spiro team is the best in the county, and you also have to throw undefeated Bokoshe into the mix.

Here is how the boys bracket and girls bracket for the 2012 LCT will look like, obviously we do not have the times or locations yet.

And speaking of tournaments, the county was well represented over the weekend. As mentioned earlier, Talihina’s girls won the Choctaw Invitational Tournament while Howe’s boys edged Wister in the third-place game.

Arkoma’s girls captured their own tournament with wins over County Line and Mansfield.

At EOSC, county teams won their bracket. Bokoshe’s girls overcame a lot to win their bracket while Cameron edged LeFlore in the boys division.

Bokoshe played without one of its best players in Jamie Carberry, lost a big lead and went over six minutes without scoring to win. Brianna Brassfield hit another winning basket on an assist from tournament MVP Miranda McFarland in the overtime win over Panola.

In the boys finals, it was a “no…no…good shot!” moment which was the clincher for Cameron. With the score tied in overtime and some 17 seconds left, the Yellow Jackets called a timeout to set up a final shot. Instead of working the clock, Ryan Carter took the inbounds pass and launched a shot from deep in the corner.

It went in to give Cameron a three-point lead and Kenny Whitehead iced the win seconds later with a pair of free throws.

Carter was the MVP of the tournament. But this isn’t the same old LeFlore team which Cameron defeated.

Caleb Smith is one of the best scorers in the county for the Savages and his not making the all-tournament team is still a mystery, unless it was reserved for seniors. Along with Dakota Watson, LeFlore has a couple of standout players and solid players in other positions.

The Savages could cause a lot of problems in the LCT for one of the higher seeds.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Eighth graders show promise

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see the younger teams and players of LeFlore County play all that much.

The varsity sports are a priority and there is only one of me to go around.

I do enjoy watching the younger teams play so I can get a sneak peek at the future Pirates, Bulldogs, etc.

So I ventured out to Pansy Kidd Middle School Thursday to watch the finals of the junior high tournament, prompted by a text from a friend who had high praise for the teams in the finals.

It was Spiro vs. Roland for the girls and Poteau against Sallisaw for the boys.

I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

In the first game, Spiro and Roland paired off and both teams have a player who could dominate once they reach the varsity.

For Spiro, it was Carleigha Thompson. She has the talent to be one of the better players in the county. Thompson scored 29 points in the game, 17 in the first half as Spiro grabbed a halftime lead.

As good as Thompson was, Roland’s Mikiah McDonald had a better game. McDonald scored 19 points in the third quarter alone as she led the Lady Rangers’ comeback in an eventual 50-43 win for the championship.

McDonald finished with 39 points, 26 in the second half, outscoring Spiro as a team in the final two quarters.

That set the stage for the boys’ championship. Poteau has an outstanding team and group of players in the eighth grade, both in basketball and football, where the Raiders went undefeated this season.

This group has not lost a game against a team from its own age since the sixth grade. On this night, the Raiders had an off night from the field, which several people pointed out.

But their quickness and pressure wore down the Diamonds and the Raiders used a 25-3 run to grab control of the game and they won their own tournament, 34-21.

The Raiders are loaded. They have size, speed and depth. They are the best eighth-grade team I have seen since the Poteau group from two years ago that are now sophomores dominated the county.

In two years, when this group joins up with the current sophomores on the varsity, Poteau could have something special, possibly the best team the Pirates have had in a while.

And it is easy to see why the Spiro girls and Poteau boys got the top seed in the upcoming LeFlore County junior high tournament which tips off on Jan. 2.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new family member

The dreaded phone call came sometime Friday afternoon.

It was from Trish the Wife. Since she usually doesn’t call during the school day because she is hopefully busy inspiring the minds of our students and future leaders, it worried me.

I braced for bad news…and it came.

“What would you say if we got another (she paused here for dramatic effect)…dog?” she said.

First off, we have a dog. Second off, that dog (Molly) is sometimes more than we can handle. And she wanted to add another? Egads!

I mumbled something back along the lines of we don’t really need another dog but it probably doesn’t matter what I say because you will do it anyway since you are Trish the Wife.

I asked what kind of dog it was, fearful it would be a Pit Bull or Rottweiller, which would probably eat Molly for an appetizer. She said it was a Maltese, which is one of those little fluffy dogs.

When I got home that evening after a long and strenuous day at work, Trish was sitting on the back deck with Molly and some little white thing that looked about the size of a New York City rat.

I quickly realized our dog population is no longer segregated. We had Molly, solid black, and the dog to be named later, solid white.

We, or rather Trish, finally settled on a name: Dodger. She kept asking me what we should name it. I ventured forth with names such as “Spike” and “Slayer”, which certainly did not do justice to the little pooter.

Trish had named both her sons names starting with the letter “D” and planned to call the next one which never came Dodger, or Dodge. And the dog was named.

I had never been a big fan of the Dodgers growing up. The name Dodger Dog does have a good ring to it and I understand the Dodger Dogs are quite tasty out in L.A.

So, it was Dodger. The little guy is a little skittish, to tell the truth. He is not sure about contact with people and is perfectly happy to run away when one of us tries to pet him, or scamper off in his cage and try to hide. Dodger does like to play with Molly, which has made my morning publishing even more difficult.

I would share a picture of Dodger with you, but he does not stay still long enough for me to get one. Dodger also rides a little low to the ground and the wet grounds have not been kind to his whiteness, kind of like a white truck as dirt and mud are attracted to both.

He weighs a whopping 6.8 pounds, most of it hair. Dodger is fond of chasing Molly in the yard. But since his legs are about the length of a buffalo wing, Dodger is not all that swift a foot.

Dodger also likes to grab Molly’s toys when we play fetch. After this happens, Molly looks up at me with a “why?” look on her face, probably the same way I look at Trish when the new dog leaves a Dodge pile on the floor.

But overall, she has done quite well with Dodger, considering Molly is not a big fan of other dogs attempting to take away her attention.

The worst thing is that while Molly is supposed to be my dog, she favors Trish aside from when it is time to play. Dodger follows me around like he is my shadow, even when I don’t have food.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Journal big in Mongolia, Waterloo

I know this makes me sound like a dork, but I have always enjoyed statistics.

In fact, I didn’t know the university I attended even awarded “A’s” to one Craig Hall until I took a statistics class after several semesters.

I spent a little time examining some of the statistics from the Journal and our facebook page and since it is a rainy Sunday morning and I don’t have anything better to do, thought I would share this with our fine readers.

Under the Journal’s facebook page, I came across statistics showing where our fans are from, sex (as in male or female, not frequency), age and much more.

Here’s a startling fact: most of our fans come from the United States! No really. Of our current 2,066 fans, 1,975 come from the good old U.S.A. I must say it was a great relief that our goal of getting a fan from Mongolia has been realized.

Canada is our second most popular country. Not really sure why we have fans in Canada, but we do and that is, of course, all that matters. Guess I need to use the term “hey, hoser!” more often.

The top city for fans is Poteau with 472 fans, followed by Dallas. We also have 31 from Waterloo?

Of our fans, 65 percent are women and 32 percent are male. Not really sure what the other three percent is, not that I am sure that I want to know.

As for age, we are most popular in the coveted 35-44 age group.

We also have a good stats package with our new web hosting. It tells the most popular story along with hits, plus the searches that bring our excellent readers to the Journal.

Our top story of all time, at least since Sept. 12, is a story Jason Green wrote about Potty Mouth Dolls. Honest. Next up, was the game story of Gravette beating Poteau in football.

The top search topic to bring readers to the Journal is from people searching for: Leflore county journal. Luckily, those fine internet surfers who were trying to find the Leflore county jernal have been rewarded with a link.

Unfortunately, the stats do not show what our fan from Mongolia likes to read.