september calendar bw.jpg

This calendar page from September 2020 shows the fall sports schedule, including a rare non-football Friday activity — the Mississippi Athletic Conference (MAC) boys golf meet on Sept. 25.

One of the small joys of this job is filling in the next month on the calendar.

On the left-hand side of my desk sits a big monthly calendar where I record the schedule of the area’s bevy of athletic teams.

The calendar is almost as important of tool in my line of work as the camera and the computer. I can’t use those latter two items if I don’t know what is happening, where it is happening or when it is happening.

I have been writing in schedules for over a decade now and it has reached a point where I could pull out an old calendar page and tell you the sports season without having to read an item.

Busy Tuesdays and Thursdays and typically just two items on Friday? That is a fall month.

Filled up Tuesdays and Fridays? Hello, winter (and hello basketball season).

Days filled up entirely with items? You have reached spring and its multitude of competing sports.

Items on every weekday, including Wednesday? We’re looking at a summer month.

And that spring example is no joke. My calendar typically gives me six lines to fill up a day. The past few years, there has been a Thursday in April where 12 different spring teams have been in action on the same date.

Needless to say, that date is pretty much filled in with competitions — and so is part of the next Thursday below it.

Even so, I love the process of filling out a month.

In most cases, it is the first time I am seeing who is facing who and where. In a way, it’s like a little Christmas morning every month (I try to keep the ooohs and aaahs to a minimum).

And once everything is down on the page, I now have a roadmap for how — and where — my month is going to go.

Typically, I try to save the process of marking up my calendar until absolutely necessary for the “Week Ahead,” but every so often I will do it earlier.

After all, who hasn’t been tempted by a sneak peek at their Christmas presents?

Throughout my years marking up my calendar, I have always done it in pen.

And to be honest, I probably always will. Because if this crazy year hasn’t gotten me to consider a pencil, nothing will.

That uncertainty is still present as we enter the winter sports season.

Girls basketball and bowling practice started last Monday across the state, boys basketball and wrestling teams followed suit this Monday.

I have picture days and scrimmages written down on my calendar — in ink — for this week, regular season girls basketball games for next week and a “Week Ahead” included with this column.

But I know, just because items are written on my calendar in ink, does not mean they are set in stone.

The schedule is, in words that ring truer now than any time I can remember, subject to change.

Me and the calendar will be ready.