Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Bearish Football Story That Has Nothing to Do With Chicago

Anchorage Daily News Shows How To Cover Sports From the Top of The World

Barrow, Alaska, is not exactly one of those places you want to spend too much time in this time of year. It gets cold in a hurry. And it won't get warm anytime soon. Oh, yeah, sunlight's also a fleeting concept come the fall. Such is life as you get closer to the Arctic Circle.
What Barrow also has is a high school football team that may host its first state playoff game. That's a big deal when you consider the North Slope Borough School District will pay for plane tickets for its opponent.
But it's an even bigger deal when you take into account some of the occasional visitors to the football field -- namely polar bears. Even in Barrow that's unusual, writes Kevin Klott in the Anchorage Daily News.

"But no need to fear, football fans -- at least that's what Barrow athletic director Frankie Arnhart says.
When the sea ice is near shore, Arnhart hires gun-slinging maintenance men to sweep the area clear of bears before game time.
"The polar bear patrol goes all around the area to make sure it's safe," he said. "But when activity is on the field, no bear has ever approached."
If a polar bear happened to get too curious and approached spectators, Arnhart said the guards would shoot rubber bullets to scare it off."

Then again, it doesn't sound like there are too many spectators. The field doesn't have bleachers, and most people watching the games do so from the comfort -- and safety -- of their cars and trucks.

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