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Morning Sun
  • SISNEY COLUMN: Haircuts, stair laps and classmates

  • On a recent Thursday afternoon, I found a couple hours to go to Fort Scott for a haircut. I had planned a double feature of dentist appointment and haircut in Fort Scott but then, alas, professional duty called and I rescheduled the dentist appointment. I kept the hair appointment because I needed a haircut badly.

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  • On a recent Thursday afternoon, I found a couple hours to go to Fort Scott for a haircut. I had planned a double feature of dentist appointment and haircut in Fort Scott but then, alas, professional duty called and I rescheduled the dentist appointment. I kept the hair appointment because I needed a haircut badly.
    Linda Boots, first at Coiffures and then at her new shop, began cutting my hair when I was in the eighth grade at Northeast Junior High and I possessed both huge bug-eyed glasses and tinsel-teeth for the maximum awkward adolescent experience. I kept her throughout high school at Fort Scott, Fort Scott Community College, Pittsburg State University, PSU graduate school, three years of emergency substitute teaching and down-and-out job search stupor, two more years of educational redemption at PSU and I cannot remember how many times I’ve visited her since taking on this sports writer profession head first. It’s a low number and I don’t like it because I’m very picky on who cuts my hair.
    It had been a long while, regardless, and it was great to be in her company again. At the salon, I try and avoid the pitfalls and pratfalls of catty gossip and rumors, uninspiring conversation. Her and I would always talk about politics, religion and history despite the fact that she’s obviously from the right politically and I have often been associated with the far left, although I’d rather transcend being limited on any thought pattern by any hard party line.
    On Thursday, we naturally talked sports; she wanted to hear all my adventures or misadventures covering sports on a daily basis, whereas she talked about her son-in-law’s basketball team, the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, and their great season. Her son-in-law’s Doug Karleskint, Arkansas Tech head coach, and we both attended Fort Scott High School in the mid-to-late 1990s. I do believe that we had a math class required for all students as it was taught back then by head football coach Bob Campbell.
    I started reflecting back on that heady time at Fort Scott High School. Two years older was Tyler Ropp, who played football at Fort Scott Community College and basketball at Lamar; for those few minutes I was on the basketball team sophomore year, I can remember us running five stair laps for every slam dunk Ropp missed during practice. I hate stair laps. I hate stair laps. I hate stair laps. Forgive me as I try to never again think about stair laps.
    Adam LaRoche was a grade below, in the same class as Doug Karleskint. I know Adam’s mom, Patty, taught speech and she helped me get through that horrifying ordeal for a shy kid with both his 3.37 GPA and his nerves of steel intact. She made speech a good time more than anything else. However, I cannot ever remember having any classes with Adam or having a single conversation in two years at Fort Scott. Disappointing.
    Page 2 of 2 - I did know Matt Karleskint (Doug’s older brother), Travis Stepps, Jeff Armstrong and Andy Albright, all classmates who graduated in 1997. Armstrong coaches girls basketball and teaches mathematics at Fort Scott. Albright coaches wrestling and teaches physical education at Chanute. I remember having classes at FSCC with Karleskint and PSU with Stepps. Sometime after my haircut, I looked Karleskint and Stepps up, naturally using that invaluable natural technological resource, Google.
    Matt Karleskint finished a second year as Iowa State graduate assistant (quality control, offense) in 2011; the Cyclones finished their season 6-7 after Rutgers defeated Iowa State 27-13 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. He was the offensive coordinator at Missouri Southern, a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri, an assistant coach at Ottawa University and earned all-conference honors twice as Kansas Wesleyan quarterback after transferring from FSCC. It must have been College Lit we made it through as freshmen.
    Stepps played cornerback at Pitt State (1997-2001) and ranks second all-time in career pass breakups (28) and single-season pass breakups (16, 2001). He was a four-time All-MIAA performer and two-time All-American. Stepps began a coaching career at Southern Illinois in 2004 as a graduate assistant and took over as secondary coach in 2006.
    At the St. Mary’s Colgan and Frontenac baseball games at JayCee Ballpark, I came across a former classmate who’s married to Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan. I knew her back in the day as Erin Snyder and we had several classes together over four years of high school. She was always nice to me and some things never change since the few times I’ve seen her out at baseball games she always says hello.
    As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown more appreciative of childhood and teenage experiences — except for maybe stair laps, algebra, “The Great Gatsby” and public speaking — and I plan on haircuts in Fort Scott as often as possible.

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