Saturday, February 03, 2007


I’m not certain if the times have changed or if it is just within my family. I remember as a kid growing up, pretty much being on my own for entertainment and “things to do.” A typical Saturday might meant walking to the local bowling alley, some 2 miles away. If we really wanted to do something special we would jump on Bi-State and travel all the way to River Roads. There we could not only hang out at a bowling alley (Spencer’s), but could walk the mall as well. Those of us, who were really cool, would make sure to spend some time at the pool hall. Funny how no one every questioned our smoking – even at the tender age of 11 or so.

My daughter is 11 – and far, far, far beyond my level of maturity at the same age. Fact is, I don’t think she would want to spend the day at the mall – at least not without her mother. Not that she is especially close to her mother (well, yes she is), but her mom would have the resources for Maggie to purchase “stuff.” I really don’t think I have to worry about her smoking. She recently graduated the D.A.R.E. program at ASH and makes no bones about how she feels about tobacco and alcohol use. She has little tolerance for fools.

I sometimes wonder if I am doing my kids justice with all the “planned activities,” Lynn and I involve them. This past week Maggie had Patt Holt rehearsal on Thursday evening. While Maggie is rehearsing, Dee is practicing his soccer skills at Tony Glavin. While I’m at it, could there be two more influential adults on the youngsters of St. Charles County than Patt Holt and Tony Glavin. Tony has been training soccer players for over 15 years and Patt has been working with youngsters even longer. I guess I am a pretty lucky guy to have my kids working with such knowledgeable and dedicated adults. But I digress.

Friday, Maggie had basketball practice from 3 – 5; then turned around and had a game at 8 p.m. at St. Cletus. I could write an entire column on how the team got “homered” by the officials, but that would be rather negative. Maggie’s team last year went 2-8 in conference play. So far this season they are sitting 3-0 in their conference; in the Cletus Tournament they went 1-2. I still don’t understand how I provoked the official by counting out loud to 16. “If you count out loud I’m never gonna call it,” commenting on the 3 second rule. The young lady standing in the paint began to grow roots – but never was anything said. We lost the contest, in overtime by a single point. It was the first time I ever saw a 5th grade girls’ team almost reach double bonus in fouls. Fact of the matter is, it was the first time I ever saw a team reach 1 + 1. We never once stepped to the charity stripe.

Friday morning Maggie had another basketball game; this one was scheduled at 10 a.m. on the ASH campus. As soon as her game was over, family McMurran hurried home, had lunch, and proceeded to Tony Glavin’s in Cottleville. We knew we had games at 1 and 3; you see both of my sons play there. We thought Dee was scheduled at 1, but it was Joe. We watched his game, then sat around and watched another game involving players none of us knew. You see Dee then played at 3, and we never would have made it home and back again in time. For that matter, why would we even try? Dee’s game was over at 4 and the family made it home by 4:30. We had pretty much been on the road since 9 a.m. but things had finally calmed down.

Sunday morning in the McMurran household is just plain nuts! Every Sunday we go through the same routine on our way to 10 o’clock Mass at St. Elizabeth’s. My wife is from the school that as long as you make it to your seat before the Gospel, everything is fine. I, on the other hand, like to get there at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the service. Just like every other endeavor in our relationship, somewhere in the middle is usually when we get there. Sunday mornings mean five showers or baths in less than an hour. That means whomever is last, which is almost always me, ends up with a very quick 2 minute shower, or else! Or else the water turns ice cold. No problem, I was in the Navy and trained in just such matters.

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, a day that really should be declared a holiday. For years I attended Lynn’s brother-in-law’s party (child free). Once I started having children I thought to myself, “what a wonderful family tradition, watching the Super Bowl with your kids,” or at least your sons! And so it has been; every Super Bowl you will find me with my two sons, Joe (8) and Dee (7) watching the Super Bowl together. My reasons are somewhat selfish. I figure if they get used to watching the Super Bowl with their old man, when they grow into adults they will continue the tradition. As the guys watch the game, the girls pop in from time to time to catch the commercials. Both boys want the Bears to win this year. Personally, I don’t care. I just sit there, watching the excitement on Joe and Dee’s faces, and think to myself: “There really must be a God.”

Mike can be reached at 314.280.9189 or

High School Basketball
Soderberg vs. Harrellson
Will they play each other in February?

By Louis J. Launer

With St. Charles High’s victory over Duchesne, the Pirates are in the drivers seat to take the district. Duchesne has become the dark horse in the district, losing key games and the only way they could get a bid to the state tournament would be to beat St. Charles High and St. Charles West in the districts as they get underway in the first week of February.

The February Madness will begin and there’s a rivalry of sorts between two star players, Kramer Soderberg at St. Charles West and Josh Harrellson at St. Charles High. Soderberg and his troops have made headline news, ranging from appearances on KMOV and KSDK’s sportscasts. St. Charles West at one time had one of the best groups of three-point shooters and they still have the potential to score big.

But Harrellson has been busy keeping the Pirates on top. His height is one of the advantages to the Pirates’ game plan. The Pirates for three-fourths of the season has been shadowed by the Warriors’ “celebrity” status. It has only been this past week, after High’s victory over Duchesne that St. Charles High School could be the team making the state tournament.

In the history of multiple high school sports in the city of St. Charles, there has never been a rivalry so intense as this year’s public high school rivalry between St. Charles High and St. Charles West. Having stars on both teams and their performances throughout the season have shown lots of excitement. Even with St. Charles High School not having school a few weeks ago because of the ice storm, they still were able to fill their gym with fans as they took on Fort Zumwalt West in a game that really had no meaning, except that the Pirates needed the win to keep pace with St. Charles West.

The 2006-07 school year will go down in history as the year of basketball. Kramer Soderberg averages 30 points a game for St. Charles West. Josh Harrellson averages 25 points for St. Charles High. Both teams have gone head-to-head three times this season. Could they meet in districts for a fourth time? It’s still a possibility. Local high school fans would want that.

St. Charles High won a state title in basketball in 1957, thanks to a then up-and-coming coach named Gene Bartow, who later coached at UCLA and later, UAB (many remember the rivalries between UAB and SLU). St. Charles West won a state title in 1995, thanks to two brothers named Robertson. Could this be the year that one of our local high schools get a second title for their school? It’s possible.

ST. CHARLES WEST 66, FORT ZUMWALT SOUTH 58. Kramer Soderberg had 37 points in a big victory for St. Charles West over Fort Zumwalt South. St. Charles West led throughout most of the game that was dominated by West’s Soderberg. The win keeps St. Charles West in the hunt for a top district seed.


“Cheer not only means showing encouragement and congratulations, but it also means having pride, responsibility, dedication and the love of a sport,” said Duchesne High School senior Lisa Haley.

Haley was recently awarded the Mid States Hockey Cheerleader Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship will be applied to her tuition at Maryville University, where she plans to study secondary education.

Haley has been a DHS hockey cheerleader for three years. “I chose hockey cheerleading because it is my favorite sport to watch and I have been around it all my life,” said Haley.

The application process required Haley to submit a 500-word essay on how cheerleading has changed her life. In her essay, she explains how cheerleading has given her more confidence, improved her time management skills and has taught her to relax and be herself. “I owe all of this to the other members of my squad,” said Haley. “They have taught me to never give up because you will be proud of yourself when you know you finished and did your best.”