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December 16, 2013

From a Scrub's Standpoint

There are, I imagine, a lot of ways to spend four million dollars. Can't be many of them cooler than the way it was done at the St. Michael's Catholic Church in Spalding.

I went to see basketball in Spalding Saturday night, too, and we will get to that in a minute. (And there was also another bit of excitement I will share later as well.)

Anybody who has been to Spalding will agree with me when I say the church is majestic, one of the wonders of the modern Nebraska world. It's towering spires, its classic Gothic design, the way it hovers over the village, all make it one of kind.

Coming up on two years ago, March of 2012, about state basketball tournament time, a terrible tragedy struck when the church caught fire, and not in the evangelical sense. Extensive damage was done to the building but thanks to the grace of God (and some doors which were shut, limiting the fires escape route) the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been.

The building could have burned to the ground. As it was, it would take only $4.4 million to restore it to its former glory, and then some.

How do I know this? Well, I received a guided tour of the church last Saturday night, thanks to Spalding music teacher Maureen Thome and Father Donald Buhrman, with Father giving me a tutorial on the reconstruction of the building following the disaster.

It was breathtaking. (The sanctuary of the building, not the tutorial, though that was also very nice!) Soaring arched ceilings, the balcony in the back of the room, the huge seating capacity (900 plus on a good night), it was one of the highlights of my year.

Thanks Father, thanks Maureen.

They also played a little basketball across the street. The St. Mary's teams were in town and in the girls game the No. 1-ranked visitors played like it, winning an easy decision.

It didn't go so well for the St. Mary's boys.

Anybody who follows the game much knows about St. Mary's talented senior Adam Moon. A returning all-stater who averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds during his all-state junior season, the kid has crazy skills for a Class D-1 big man. And he got his points - 28 of them, to go with nine boards - dazzling all in attendance with that sweet turnaround jumper of his.

That's when he got the ball in the half-court.

For a long stretch of the late first quarter and into the second that didn't happen all that often. Spalding/Spalding Academy turned up the heat with its press, forcing lots of turnovers and scary St. Mary's trips up court when it didn't, taking command of the game in the process. Spalding/SPA, last season's Class D-2 state runner-up, won the game, 60-55.

Spalding is about an hour away from my home in Central City. To get there I have two options - directly to Albion and then west on Highway 91, state highway all the way, or taking the "crooked way," going through Belgrade, Cedar Rapids and Primrose. I mean, really, which way would choose?

Me too. I took the crooked way to and from Spalding. I didn't get a speeding ticket on the way there. Can't say the same about the way back.

Getting a speeding ticket between Belgrade and Highway 14 (you should look that up) seemed like quite a feat to me, since there can't be that much traffic on that stretch of road. With all the miles I put on I seldom get a ticket but when the lights came on from off a side road (always a nice trick by our law enforcement community) I still thought was reasonably close to the speed limit, as I was in no hurry.

Apparently I wasn't. (Though it should be noted I used to have Johnnie Cochran on speed dial.) I got the ticket.

But at least I got to see the church, though that seems where the grace part ended for me that night...

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