Want help? I’ve got lunch, tourney advice

Just in case there are any Nebraska Schools Activities Association people picking up a copy of the Tribune on their way out of town after the state softball tournament, I have a parting thought for them. It’s something to spice up the state basketball tournament and football playoffs. Four words: adjacent fields, simultaneous games.

It may not be an entirely original concept. State wrestling tournament fans will tell you they’ve been doing it for years, and the thought came to me while watching a couple of games at the softball tournament, which wrapped up today in Hastings.

Notice I said I was watching a couple of games. At the same time. At the height of the tournament, four games were going on at one time.

At the end of a volunteer stint in the ticketselling booth, I went in to watch the end of a game we had noticed from afar was getting close. From the vantage point I took to watch that game, I occasionally heard loud cheering over my shoulder from yet another game. It got the point it wasn’t too hard to pay attention to both and see a couple pretty good games.

I thought then of times I would be at a state basketball tournament game, and hear of a score of another game in progress that was close and sounded like it would be fun to see. Only problem being the other game was clear across town. So why not have adjacent courts, both visible from one spot. Oh, sure, it may require a little change in setup, but come on — have a little imagination here.

The new arena being built in downtown Lincoln is really starting to take shape. And you can’t tell me NSAA officials aren’t drooling over that place as another way of keeping the tournament in what appears to be their favorite town. So configure the place now for multiple games. Much like state wrestling, with up to eight matches going on at a time, you wait for cheers from afar to divert your attention to where the excitement is.

So, let’s go. Time to think outside the box. You can thank me later.


On my morning drive to work, while flipping through the radio dial, I’ll often listen to a comedic morning talk show. One of the main “characters” of the show is well known to listeners for his phobias and quirky behaviors. For example, he refuses to buy gas for his car if the tanker truck that supplies the gas station is delivering at the time. His logic? In the movies, that’s when the big explosions happen, when the truck is there to deliver.

Also, he won’t go into a bank when the armored truck is there delivering — or I guess picking up — the cash. Prime time for robbery, he contends.

Well, I think I’ve come across another quirk for him to consider. Let’s say it’s around the noon hour and you’re going out to lunch. You pull up to an establishment and among other items, you notice a sign in the window or on the marquee: Help Wanted — Day Shift.

Do you go on in? Think about it. They’re obviously short-handed for the very time of day you want to go there to eat. And more than likely, since it’s during the workday, you have a limited amount of time. Isn’t the service going to suffer if they don’t have enough people?

And exactly which work group is it that needs more help? Is it the wait staff, and their short-handedness might make your service slow? Or perhaps the cooks, so who knows just how your food will be prepared? It might even be the dishwashers, meaning you need to take a close look at the plate that carries your food.

Sure, the consequences aren’t as dramatic as an exploding gas tanker or being caught amid a bank robbery.

Just a thought. And another reason why I do respect those who are in the food serving business. I think the challenge of finding and keeping good employees is probably as tough in that business as any other. But if you’re in the market for a new phobia or obsession, feel free to use that one.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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