It's a little hard to concentrate on work as I sit safely in my living room writing this column.
Most of my thoughts are 10,000 miles away, where almost a half-million American military personnel stare at the face of war on the sands of the Saudi Arabian desert and in theskies over Kuwait and Iraq.
Here's hoping for their quick and safe return.
The Winfield rec council basketball program, at least temporarily, has expanded toinclude 10th-graders.
Council basketball Commissioner Mel Wroten attributed the move to the large number of last year's ninth-graders who wanted to return.
"They kept bugging me that they wanted to play," he said. "I told them we'd hold a sign-up and see what we got."
They got 24 high school sophomores, 23 of them boys.
Included are six high school junior varsity players, who were split among the three teams in the league's newly created ninth- and 10th-grade division to keep the teams balanced.
Wroten said their school coaches were more than pleased.
"(The coaches) wanted the kids to play as much basketball as possible," he said.
Wroten added that the three teams seem competitive and the winning margin has been five points or less in all games.
"We've been happy with the quality of the games. They have really been good," said Wroten.
The extra division hasplaced a strain on already-scarce gym time. Wroten said, however, that may be only temporary because there are not many ninth-graders in the program this year.
As a result, he added, there may be no ninth- and tenth-grade division in 1992.
There also may be no place for the Sandymount rec council's youth basketball teams to play next year unless local officials can find a spot.
Renovations at the Sandymount Elementary School, the current program site, will make the school off-limits for basketball from June 1991 until September 1992, said Lester B. Surber, school planning and facilities supervisor withthe county Board of Education.
As part of the $4 million renovation, the existing gymnasium will be converted to a school library and media center and a new gymnasium will be built.
But it won't be available during the four months next fall and winter when the Sandymount program, which had a registration jump of more than one-third thisyear, would run.
"They're concerned," said Sandymount Rec CouncilPresident Anthony Giuffre of the parents and youngsters in his basketball organization. "We've been a popular program for 10 years. It has come a long way. People really look forward to it."
Giuffre saidSandymount rec officials have asked the education department to helpthem find alternative sites to play next year.
The nearest schools with gymnasiums are in Westminster, Hampstead or Mechanicsville, all about 10 to 15 minutes from the Sandymount school.
While no playing site is yet assured, Giuffre remains hopeful.
"We're really going to do our best to make it happen," he said.
Longtime rec soccer coach Murph Dykes runs what is probably the only indoor soccer team from the northwestern area of the county.
And now, after five years of playing indoors at the Frederick YMCA, he is bringing it home.
His "Key Area" squad plays in the under-18 boys division at the Four Seasons Sports Complex indoor facility in Hampstead.
Most of his 20 players are sophomores and juniors at Francis Scott Key High and many played on the Winfield traveling teams in the Carroll County Boys' Soccer League.
He said the group hails from the Union Bridge, Winfield and Taneytown areas and was competitive in the YMCA league. It also has been solid at Four Seasons and has a 4-3 record as the current session winds down.