This is the fifth installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a Sunday thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a sometimes cranky and often times humorous grandfather actually born in Tucson.
“Anticipate the play but respond to the action. If you respond to the anticipation, you’ll be out of the action.”
Golf tees off on Tuesday, August 17 and then football kicks off on Thursday with the 1A teams getting things rolling for the AIA. 11-man football starts Thursday, Aug. 26 and then girls volleyball is served up on Monday, Aug. 30. Swimming and cross country follows a few days later. Most eyes will be on football but our eyes will be on all of it.
All matches and games are huge but the girls of Catalina Foothills, Salpointe and Ironwood Ridge are scheduled to meet at the OMNI Tucson National on Tuesday. The Nighthawks won the Division II state title in 2019 and 2020 with Zoe Newell, Hannah Ports and Raina Ports all tying for second place as individuals last fall and former Falcon standout Maya Benita won the 2019 state championship as a senior. Salpointe senior Mackenzie McRee won the title in 2018.
In football, St. David’s game against Cibecue was canceled due to COVID concerns but Ray will be making the long trip down to Elfrida to play Valley Union Friday night to open up play for Southern Arizona.
Then, off to races.
This all started for me in 2009 when the Tucson Citizen went out of print so I pitched in to write for the online version because, as a former coach and parent of athletes, I knew the Citizen was Tucson. The Citizen writers actually went to games that didn’t take place on a Friday nights and I wanted to continue that on behalf of Tucson.
Initially, I was just going to write one or two stories a week but that quickly morphed into a couple of stories a day. All on my dime. The AIA honored my family’s sacrifice by naming me the top high school reporter in Arizona in 2014 and then I joined AllSportsTucson and AZPreps365 while working full-time during the day.
My brother, Javier, was a high school writer for the Star decades ago and he came back to high school and youth reporting a couple of years ago while also holding down a full-time teaching job during the day.
Along the way, I began Kicks4Kids, my charity that has provided over $400,000 worth of tennis shoes to elementary students in Tucson, and I have given out several thousands more in college scholarships – not from sponsors or donors – from my bank account.
I started this journey with a game-plan of “do no harm” which means we will not embarrass our youth by pointing out their errors and mistakes but we will promote the good in what we see. We will also give back to our community and not take.
We will not text your kids at midnight and we will not comment on their looks on social media (or otherwise). We have heard horror stories and seen some of those postings firsthand form the media fringe.
We currently have the longest currently running all-star lists for Southern Arizona. We miss some, and there will be teams we cannot get to, but we promise will get to as many things as we possibly can.
You will see us on the sidelines. Not just Friday nights but every night…. some weekends and some holidays. Oh, and there will be day games.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com