Since I’m still recovering from a sinus infection, I’m finding it hard to put together a single coherent column.

Instead you’re going to get some random thoughts from things observed in the past week. Enjoy.

• Friday night I covered the Bragging Rights basketball game featuring Union R-XI faculty. My expectations were not high.

Teachers are known for many things, but excellence on the hardwood is not one of them. I got to the gym at Union High School in time to watch the warmups. They were not impressive.

The players looked like they had at least been on a basketball court before, but showed more rust than the Tin Man.

It didn’t look like it was going to be pretty, but then something strange happened. The game started and the rust came off.

Suddenly the teachers started to look like actual players. The game was not only competitive, but also pretty well played.

Players were hitting three-pointers and layups. There were nice passes and some good defense. 

The game was supposed to be fun, but the intensity rose and you could tell both teams really wanted to win. When Josh Hall nailed a three in overtime to give the high school team its final lead, you would have thought the team won a game with actual stakes. 

The game was a blast and I hope year three is just as compelling. 

 • The amount of food collected by Union R-XI schools for the annual Kops and Kids food drive was staggering. 

Monday morning I followed Union Police Officer Rick Neace around as he stopped by Clark-Vitt Elementary and Union Middle School. With the help of some kids, Officer Neace helped load up all the food into the back of a pickup truck.

The kids had been collecting food goods for about a month and I was not expecting two schools to fill up a pickup. 

The truck was so full, the group had to stop by the Union Food Pantry early to unload. A room that was once empty was basically stuffed with food items. 

It’s one of those things that makes you feel good about other people. Everyone who helped out should feel good today. 

• The new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River opened and I have to say — it’s about time. 

Unlike so many people, I have no fondness for the old bridge. I used to be terrified driving over that on my way to college. 

It was so narrow and rickety, I thought it was going to collapse every trip. That was a decade ago, so to see it being replaced is a good thing. I can’t wait to drive on the new bridge and not worry about plunging to the waters below.

• This Friday is going be the annual Winter Wonderland parade and I must say, I am terrified. 

Now that’s not a common reaction for a parade, but it’s how I feel about any event where I have to shoot pictures. 

I am not a photographer by trade. In college, I spent most of my time working on my writing, figuring I wouldn’t need to use a camera that much.

I mostly just grabbed one every now and then and learned enough to not embarrass myself. When I graduated and got a real job, I found out that I’d have to use a camera daily. 

A day when I have to shoot is stressful. With a story, I can take several passes to make things better. With a picture, I have one shot.

The parade Friday night is something I’ve never done. Shooting Christmas lights is tough; so is shooting at night. 

I haven’t been this nervous since the Fourth of July when I had to attempt to capture a firework for the first time. 

If you see me Friday night and I don’t say “Hi,” it’s probably because I’m panicked about not getting a good shot. Don’t take it personally. 

I’m looking forward to the parade though — that should be fun.