As I’ve mentioned before, I’m from New Orleans.

I’m very proud of that fact and I wear it on my sleeve. My home is very important to me, I’ll defend it against any jerk that has something bad to say about it, and that is something that will never change about me.

I’ve always hated the month of August. In addition to the awful heat and rain, I always tend to get depressed as the end of the month comes around. August 29 is the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005 and the memory of that is always challenging.

The past several days have been hard for me as I keep in touch with loved ones back home. Sunday was the 16th anniversary of Katrina and this year saw a new storm reach the coast of Louisiana.

At the time I’m writing this, I’m texting with my mother as she rides out Hurricane Ida alone. I have many friends back home riding through the storm. By the time this story comes out in the paper, we still won’t know how bad it ended up being. Coastal Louisiana is currently being torn apart.

It’s challenging being so far away from home while this is going on. It’s even more challenging knowing that there will be awful commentary and hurtful words aimed at people I love and myself from ignorant people with stone cold hearts. The fact is, however, I’m here, they’re there, and there’s only so much one can do in times like these.

That takes us to this week’s Hart of the Matter: Keep Louisiana in your thoughts today. Don’t be a jerk, check on anyone you know down there, and talk to the people in your life that you care about. Just be a little bit better this week than you normally are. You won’t regret it.

With that, let us take a look at the upcoming week in local sports.

We’ll start with football. With Lathrop-North Pole postponed, there’s only one game in town this weekend as Monroe host Redington Saturday at 1 p.m. West Valley will travel to Chugiak for a 7 p.m. game Friday night while Eielson will travel to Valdez for a Saturday date at Noon.

The volleyball season will roll on beginning Wednesday as Hutchison makes their season debut with a home game against Mt. Edgecumbe at 6 p.m. Thursday will be a busy day as West Valley hosts Wasilla, Lathrop hosts Mt. Edgcumbe, Monroe hosts Barrow, and North Pole hosts Palmer all at 6 p.m. Eielson will host Mt. Edgecumbe Friday night at 6 p.m.

This weekend is also the West Valley Invitational with Bartlett, Wasilla, Palmer, Barrow, Valdez, Monroe, North Pole, and Lathrop all participating in West Valley’s volleyball tournament. Eielson will also host Mt. Edgecumbe once more on Saturday at Noon.

It’s also a busy week for Flag football with a few road games. The first game is Tuesday as Hutchison hosts North Pole at Davis Turf Field at 6 p.m. Lathrop will host West Valley on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. duel while the Wolfpack will travel to Chugiak Friday for a 5:15 p.m. game. Saturday will wrap the week up with West Valley playing at East Anchorage at 9 a.m.

If the rainy weather is finally gone, there’s plenty of tennis action this week to be amped for. Tuesday will see Lathrop and Hutch play at 3 p.m. at DRCTC while Monroe heads to North Pole at 5 p.m. Wednesday will see the previously postponed Hutch-West Valley match at 3 p.m. and Lathrop at North Pole mat at 5 p.m. Finally, Monroe will play Hutchison Thursday at 3 p.m. while North Pole takes on West Valley at 5 p.m.

With swimming off this week, the final prep event will come Saturday at the Delta Invitational. That cross country race will be at Noon.

It’s not just prep sports, though. UAF athletics are in full swing. The Nanooks will take part in a tournament in Anchorage as UAF plays the University of Central Missouri at 4 p.m. Friday will be a two match day as the ‘Nooks take on the University of Indianapolis at Noon and Biola at 5 p.m. They’ll take on Texas A&M International Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to conclude the week. The UAF cross country team will race at UAA on Saturday as well.

Finally, there’s the Ice Dogs. The Dogs are back in training camp and there will be two opportunities this week for fans to see them. The Dogs will hold scrimmages Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Big Dipper Ice Arena and all are welcome. Admission is free of charge and attendance is encouraged.

That’s all for now. Thank you, sincerely, for getting to the Hart of the Matter with me this week.

Contact Hart Pisani at 459-7530