Column: My friend Mitch deserves a tip of the hat

Mitch Jantzen, working with the KAHS football team during the Tigers’ scrimmage in August at Laughlin, Nev.

Courtesy/Jeff Martin

Mitch Jantzen, working with the KAHS football team during the Tigers’ scrimmage in August at Laughlin, Nev.

I always enjoy the scene in “Tombstone” when Doc Holliday is asked why he’s fighting alongside Wyatt Earp when Doc doesn’t have any skin in the fight.

“Because Wyatt is my friend,” Holliday said.

One of the great pleasures of being a high school sports writer is talking about what’s going on in that world when I’m out watching games. I’ve got a few regulars, and I’m always wishing for more.

I’ve always liked Mitchell Lee Jantzen. We met, as is often the case with young men and women here in town, while he was in high school. I then went to work at Kingman Academy High School for a couple of years, and that’s when we started getting to know each other real well. I coached JV girls basketball for a season, and he was my student manager.

Mitch, now 22, loves to be involved. He helps out with the Tigers football and baseball programs, and he runs the clock when he can during the KAHS basketball season.

He’s passionate about high school sports. Other folks get interested when their sons or daughters, nephews or nieces, or cousins reach that age and are participating. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is only a small pool of fans who don’t need a family connection in order to pay attention to the best entertainment in town.

Obviously, Mitch is one those people. And we have pronounced exchanges while discussing the many different sports going on in Kingman. He’s proven himself helpful to me by always being willing to discuss topics like the Miner’s All-City teams, players who have improved and teams looking to make their mark. He’s even pitched a few stories to me.

Mitch works at one our local grocery stores, and let’s just say he isn’t rich. Word around the store is that he’s a hard worker and will do anything when he’s asked.

That doesn’t surprise me. That’s just Mitch.

Kingman Academy High School has struggled for years with the fact it didn’t have locker rooms alongside the Betty Rowe Gymnasium. The administration there is trying to fix that. They’ve cleaned out two of the former storage rooms and want to put in 28 lockers, 14 boys and 14 girls, to the tune of nearly $7,400, or about $280 per locker. They’ve initiated a campaign to make this happen and they only need funding for 26 lockers.

Word leaked down to me that one of the reasons the campaign is down to 26 is because of Mitch Jantzen. Despite his low income, Mitch ponied up $280 for one of the lockers.

That doesn’t surprise me. That’s just Mitch.

If he ever gets in a shootout down at the OK Corral, I hope he knows I’d be there for him. Why?

Because Mitch is my friend.