May 17, 2006 - From my perch in the last row behind home plate at the University of Arizona's Hillenbrand Stadium I watched as the foul ball sailed over my head and onto the street.
The vantage point allowed me to keep one eye on the game and the other on the AIA official retrieving the ball while getting hounded for a return throw by the Sahuaro High School's boys volleyball team sitting to my right. The boys were joining me in the last row to watch the Class 4A softball state quarterfinals match up between their beloved Cougars and Canyon Del Oro High School.
Instead of pocketing the ball and bringing it back into the stadium, the official took the boys up on their offer and attempted the toss back up into the stands, some 100 feet above the ground. Naturally, he missed.
I'm pretty certain I knew the answer but my first question was: why attempt an almost impossible throw?
With that query rattling inside my head I turned back to the field in time to witness CDO fireball pitcher Kenzie Fowler blister a fastball past that same batter who lofted the foul ball.
That instantly sparked another question that I undoubtedly knew the answer to: "who would try to catch that pitch - traveling more than 65 miles per hour - with nothing but leather between the missile and the hand?
As I trudged my way through a week's worth of playoff games I began keeping a list of the befuddling world of the post-season: Things I always wanted to know about the state playoffs.
First things first, does it hurt to catch a Fowler fastball?
"It's easy catching her, I just put my mitt out and she hits it every time," said CDO junior backstop Brittany Tucker. "But sometimes she gets me just right and it hurts."
And so the questions snowballed from there. Like, when you're teammate is bent over in obvious agony from a leg cramp after a grueling win, why do you repeatedly jump on his back in celebration?
Catalina Foothills High School's Kevin Tong found that out the hard way after the Falcons came from behind to beat rival Sabino High School in the semifinals of the Class 4A Division I state volleyball tournament at Mountain View High School.
The only answer we could come up with? Hey, we just beat Sabino.
Are Ironwood Ridge High School playoff games the same without Dee Dinota firing up the crowd?
The answer is no.
Is there anything more hypnotic than watching a guy re-lining a softball field between games?
The answer there is yes, watching a Zamboni glaze over an ice rink. But until the Arizona Interscholastic Association approves hockey as varsity sport, the chalk guy will have to do.
Is there anything prettier than a Tranette Brunson home run?
I only wish I could have been sitting in the centerfield bleachers and not the last row of Hillenbrand Stadium for a chance to catch the CDO shortstop's big fly.
Did it get hotter by the minute on the infield of Mesa Community College for the Class 4A state track and field championships?
When it's too hot for our photographer to even hold his camera, you know it's hot.
What was the one thing missing from championship weekend? That would be a local baseball team from a hardball haven challenging for a state title. Both CDO and Foothills got eliminated on Tuesday, long before their seasons should have ended.
And most importantly, are the green and gold balloons, cowbells, cutout K's for strikeouts, Go Sahuaro/Beat CDO signs, volleyball T-shirts with inspirational sayings, hours on the road and praying for your car every time a foul ball leaves the park all worth it?
That answer is a resounding, yes.