Northeast's Gym Running Up A Cold Streak

ROUTE 2--A WEEKLY JOURNEY THROUGH ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

January 22, 1991|By Roch Eric Kubatko

Now that you mention it . . .

The Northeast gymnasium has to be the coldest in the county, hands (mittens) down.

You could store meat in this place. The school recently changed its mascot from an Eagle to an Eskimo. The guy next to me bought a soda, and the ice never melted.

We're talking cold here, folks.

The gentleman at the ticket table Friday night was handing out programs. I bought 12 and started a small fire.

Northeast assistant boys basketball coach Pete Pasqualini liked his team's chances for victoryagainst Old Mill, saying, "We'll have the wind at our backs in the second half."

This is not a warm place.

Members of the visiting Elkton girls team pulled on their sweat shirts before taking a seat on the bench Friday. No joke.

Old Mill boys coach Paul Bunting, in assessing what was a ragged performance from both sides in the boys game, laughed, "Well, being 52 degrees in here doesn't help either team."

Still, you can be certain I will return. I stashed a couple veal cutlets under the bleachers.

By the way, the fine folks at Northeast have an absolutely marvelous sense of humor. And they've reallytaken cost containment to heart, which should please members of the school board.

And did I mention their absolutely marvelous sense of humor? Others could learn from them.

*

And speaking of Northeast, girls basketball coach Calvin Vain has taken some ribbing during his long coaching tenure in the county for switching from one job to the next -- hence the nickname, "Flipper." But he seems comfortable enough at the Pasadena school.

"I have a lot of respect for Northeastplayers," he said last week. "I think they're real work-oriented kids and that's the kind of kid I want to work with. I'm real happy at Northeast."

The Eagles seem pretty happy with him, too.

*

Anne Arundel Community College's Mark Amatucci makes his quick fix with themen's basketball program appear easy, but anyone monitoring the Pioneers' resurgence knows better.

Still, he had this to say after a rout of Frederick Community College earlier this month.

"If you work at it and you put some time in and just do your job, you're going to win. It's not that tough."

Right, coach, nothing to it.

By the way, Anne Arundel is 15-4 and ranked ninth in the latest national Division II junior college poll.

SOURCE: Roch Eric Kubatko

SCHOOL OFFICIALS SEAL WAR BEHIND DOORS

If Pentagon officials need to get away from the hordes of press clawing for information on America's latest war, they should pay a visit to the county schools.

Any school would do. The ones at Fort Meade would be the best, however. They havearmed guards.

But the war planners would be at home in any one ofthem -- free to mull top-secret diagrams of battle plans and discussways of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein.

The press? Ha. They couldn't get in with a note from an editor.

The county has banned all reporters from sitting in on classes and listening as students and teachers discuss the Persian Gulf crisis. By 7:30 Thursday morning, principals and teachers had already been told by the central office that reporters would not be allowed in to avoid a disruption in the school day.

Never mind that their lives had already been disrupted.

What school officials seem to have missed is that what the students have to say is an important part of the debate.

Reporters tramped all over the county Thursday. We visited airports and train stations and bars and homes and street corners and veterans hospitals. But thebest debate of all may have been behind closed doors.

However, not all schools denied the existance of war.

At St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Elementary School in Severna Park, the debate wenton and we were permitted to listen.

The seventh-graders talked about everything from war crimes to prisoners of war to the role of the Palestinians in the Middle East. They knew about the touchy situationwith Israel and could name the three CNN newsmen broadcasting from Iraq.

They said they were scared, surprised, worried and interested. They had maps all over the place and had spent the past few weeks discussing customs of the Middle East.

I found little kids who thought the war was a game and wondered who was winning. I found older kids who were scared for all the people dying. (Yes, even in this videoage where war looks like a Nintendo game, they knew people were dying.)

The principal said she was a bit leery of media coverage, but that it was important -- while maintaining as normal a day as possible-- to allow the students to experience and debate history.

The county decided it was best to shield its students. From the war? From our visits? We visit schools all the time to report on classroom programs.

Who knows. Sometime another monumental event may happen and reporters may again want to listen to students and find out what the next generation thinks. But the doors to county schools will probably be closed again.

After all, secrecy is probably for the best. I would just hate to disrupt a day.

SOURCE: Peter Hermann

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