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May the seasons finish gloriously

It’s May and the sports fans of McNairy County have a bountiful selection of athletics for their viewing pleasure right in front of them. If you’re a fan of teams in Tennessee, you’re hoping for a glorious finish to what has already been a fantastic season for some.

There’s a bevy of professional, collegiate and high school sports seasons closing in on their culminations, and luckily for residents of this county, we’re right in the middle of all of it.

To the West, we have the Memphis Grizzlies with home-court advantage in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Although they blew a 27-point lead to the Los Angeles Clippers in the series opener last Sunday, the team should be able to rebound from the loss. I hope so anyway. I have them advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

To the East, we have the Nashville Predators knee-deep in a Conference Semifinal series with the Phoenix Coyotes. Now I know the National Hockey League isn’t the most followed professional sporting league in the county, but let’s give our Tennessee boys some credit where it’s due. They’re definitely worth the watch, especially if you go see them in the flesh.

After knocking off the mighty Detroit Red Wings, a franchise that has hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup a total of 11 times, the Predators skated past the Western Conference Quarterfinals for the second straight season. This is Nashville’s 12th year as a franchise in the NHL, and the team has made the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. In that time, they also became the fastest franchise in league history to win 100 games.

Pairing one of the league’s best goaltenders, Pekka Rinne with the scoring ability of Martin Erat and the leadership of Shea Weber, the Preds have a chance to go further than any Nashville team has gone before.

On a more local level, high school teams are about to or already have kicked off their post-season play.

Last Tuesday, the Lady Cardinal Tennis Team (12-1) played for a District 15 A-AA Championship against Trinity Christian Academy. On top of that, the Individuals portion of the tournament, where Bobcats and Cardinals will be competing, begins Thursday at Conger Park in Jackson, Tenn.

The Bobcat Soccer Team has been making The Beautiful Game look easy in 2012, winning eight of its 10 matches thus far. Look for those guys to make some noise in their district tournament when it starts next week, and possibly even at region.

The Lady Cardinal Softball Team (19-10-2) has had its ups and downs this season, but like every year with Coach Todd McGee at the helm, you know Adamsville will be a pesky competitor and a tough out in the post-season. Even more so because AHS is hosting the District 15-A Tournament that’s set to begin May 3.

Like the Cards, the Lady Bobcat Softball Team has had its fair share of bumps and bruises along the way. There’s have just been in a more literal sense. At least seven Lady Cats have gone down to injury at some point in the season, but Coach Mellanie Surratt’s girls are going to fight and claw their way through whatever adversity they face.

Also on the diamond, the Cardinal Baseball Team (17-14-1) is still eying its goal of a state championship, according to Coach Steven Lambert. At times in 2012, the Cards have looked unbeatable. Other times, they’ve played from behind and pulled off some amazing wins. And still, at times they’ve looked defeated far before the game’s end, but they never quit. The Cards will host their first round district game next Monday to begin their march to Murfreesboro.

The Bobcats (22-10-1) have steamrolled the majority of their competition this season and started off on their road to Murfreesboro last Tuesday in the opening game of the District 14-AA Tournament against Jackson Central-Merry. Coach Brian Franks thinks his team has what it takes to bring a title home to McNairy County, and with a solid group of senior leadership, strong arms, and a lot of timely hitting all season long, I almost have to agree with him.

Whatever outcomes present themselves in the seasons of those listed above, whether they be good or bad, I hope the paths taken have been as memorable for the players as they have been for me. A glorious finish is not always measured by medals and wins, but in the endearing friendships forged and the memories you hold onto forever. So, sports fan, may your May be filled with some glorious finishes.

(The views of this column are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Independent Appeal or its owner.)

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