Ohh, say can those Central Lee ladies sing the anthem - Beside the Point


Trying to get into the Central Lee gym in time for the girls Class 3A Region 8 quarterfinal game was a chore.

I didn't want to leave the balmy interior of the Beast, our Toyota FJ Cruiser. Inside it was a balmy 72, and I just spent the day watching Fort Madison qualify Gavin Wiseman and Owen Kruse for the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines starting Thursday.

There was a chill in my bones for sure, and I was just a bit tired.

The unions certainly don't give credence to the new world of online digital news outlets, because February can be a mindscramble for small market sports reporters.

Anyway, two hours from Iowa City West High School and I was still warming up after walking across that school's parking lot with wind chills that had to be -136 degrees. They say you can feel your skin start to crystallize in those temps. I pictured myself as Edward Cullen from Twilight with shiny diamonds on my face. Then I laughed... and coughed.

So sitting in the Central Lee parking lot after racing south on 218 to try and make the game, I realized I had about 20 minutes to kill. I left the heat up and put my seat back... and set my phone alarm. A couple of deep Headspace cleansing breaths and I was out.

The alarm woke me up just in time. 10-minute power naps RULE.

I looked out the window to the entry way under construction at Central Lee and thought, "Man that's a long ways away." But I got out, put my gloves and hat on and went inside. Frozen again by the time I got to the door, I slipped in and set up to cover the girls game.

Starting lineups were introduced and then this lady - Kathy Dye I found out after bugging the concession people to cough it up while handing out their popcorn with "cheese salt"??? - grabbed the microphone and with no band, or piped in background music - I don't even think she had an earpiece in - ripped off a national anthem that warmed me up on the spot.

Now I enjoy a Matt Morris rendition at the rodeo, or the Craft girl at Riverfest, as much as anybody, or that dude that blew one out at a Chicago Blackhawk's hockey game a couple years back. You can still find it on YouTube. Whitney Houston at the SuperBowl.... whoa.

But this is a local woman and she didn't miss a note, tempo, octave, shrill.... nothin'. Completely nailed it. And I loved it. So did everyone at that game.

And she's not the only one there that can nail it. So can Elementary School principal Heather Fuger. I was at a game a couple weeks ago when she grabbed the mic, and by God, and I think that to be true, blew me away.

I mentioned it to AD Jerry Ireland and Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier, because I think people should mention it.

I can't sing anymore than I can dance, but I can compliment. And these ladies need complimented.

They don't schedule those things, somebody just asks so you just have to be there on the right night. But it makes me wonder, just how many ladies in that district can do that?

We all quietly pray for a great rendition of one of the hardest songs to sing. It doesn't always happen. But these girls deliver the goods. If you get a chance - it's something to see, it really is.

Good on ya, girls. I look forward to more.

And along the lines of patriotic, the Impeachment hearings were a tremendous waste of time. I don't have a dog in the fight, but the number of times things were taken out of context on both sides of the aisle, just made me more entrenched that it's just time to move on. But that's Beside the Point.

Chuck Vandenberg is editor/co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached by email at editor@pencitycurrent.

beside the point, central lee, Chuck Vandenberg, fort madison, national anthem, Pen City Current, singers


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