Usually this space is reserved for Herald sports writers to share some nuggets and tidbits from the stories you've already read in the past several days.
This week, I'm going to focus on some articles I've been working on that haven't yet appeared in print. There are a few really neat stories involving the Minooka area that you will be able to read soon — and they have nothing to do with the ongoing fall sports seasons at Minooka Community High School.
It is possible that some of the athletes competing at MCHS now will someday be a part of the subject of one of those stories. MCHS is currently in the process of forming its own Athletic Hall of Fame, in which outstanding athletes, teams and coaches will be honored in an official manner.
The idea originated from current MCHS head football coach Paul Forsythe. Several months ago, Forsythe brought it up to several others at the school, including former MCHS football coach Bert Kooi. Many of the people who were initially involved in the discussion have since become members of the steering committee that is putting the Hall together. Kooi is the president of the committee.
"It could have been any one of us, but I guess I'm the one that took the bull by the horns," Kooi said of the position.
The committee has been busy trying to get everything in order with hopes of inducting the first class into the Hall by this spring. But meetings haven't been all business for Kooi, who has taken advantage of the unique opportunity to spend time with some now-retired longtime MCHS coaches.
"One of the coolest things for me is to sit back and listen to a Ron Lehman or a Wayne Miller talk. They've been part of it for a long, long time and are able to share a lot about the level of athletics back the," Kooi said.
"We had some awful good teams that, to be honest, I didn't know a whole lot about. To be able to share that with the kids now ... it's obviously good to recognize the success of these teams and individuals, but I also hope we generate more pride in what we've done and give our current students a reminder of what came before them."
Another story I'm working on involving someone with MCHS ties is an update on Mike Reid, a 2012 MCHS grad who has been featured in the Herald before. Reid is contemplating a career as a professional boxer, or as a Muay Thai fighter.
You can read more about the decision Reid faces in the coming days. He is fighting now, though he basically just schedules fights as often as he can find opponents. It's safe to say, however, that he's staying prepared.
"I usually have Muay Thai in the morning at 10 or 11," Reid said. "In the afternoon, I go to Extreme Speed, my cardio fitness facility, and train there for an hour, hour and a half. I usually go to boxing after that — usually boxing is from 6 to 8.
"I train every day of the week, usually, except maybe Friday I'll have one class and then the rest of the day to myself."
You may already have read about another Minooka athlete who has begun his professional career. MCHS grad and former Northern Illinois University catcher Brett Frantini recently signed with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, a rookie-league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
One thing I wasn't able to include in the original story was Frantini's thoughts on how MCHS helped him get to where I was now. I asked him about how both he and former batterymate Mike Foltynewicz, a member of the Houston Astros organization, are both playing affiliated minor-league baseball. To Frantini, it's hardly coincidental.
"Minooka has got a tremendous program," Frantini said. "(MCHS baseball coach Jeff Petrovic) does a really good job of preparing you not only for the high school season but to work past it and play college ball. He does everything he can to help you move on and get an opportunity after high school."