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  • the good sport with john marlowe
  • Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:44 PM

    You'd think that after all these years, I’d be used to it. Once more, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway crammed a year’s worth of edge-of-the-seat action into the thirty-one days allotted to the month of May … and then left us salivating for more.

    The action touched every aspect of human emotion. Sometimes, I don’t think I appreciate how spectacular the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ really is.

    My favorite moment came on race day itself. It had little to do with Simon Pagenaud winning a thrilling race, but everything to do with speed.

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  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019 2:54 AM
    Known as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports,” the Kentucky Derby normally lives up to its tag line. Nicknamed for the approximate duration of the 1 1/4 mile thoroughbred horse race, the premier competition for three-year-olds normally takes less time to complete than it does to boil an egg. 
    Forget it this year.
    Did you see it? Hopefully, you were there in person, and saw the controversy first hand. If you were, I’m sure you are just now drying out. A constant rain throughout the 145th Running created a sloppy track, and a real muddy wrangling at the end.
    I was watching on TV. The long-shot and the short of it is that pre-race favorite Maximum Security led the whole way, including across the finish line, but he never took a step in the winner’s circle.
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  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019 9:56 PM
    Playing football at Wabash College, I like to tell people that I blazed the trail for the athlete who many consider to be the school’s greatest football player. When I was a senior, Pete Metzelaars was a freshman. I taught him everything he needed to know.
    Thankfully, he had three more years to unlearn it.
    When Pete was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft, it was a big deal. Very seldom does an NFL team gamble on a Division III player that high in the draft.
    Pete was worth that gamble. The 6’8”, 250 pound tight end spent 16 seasons in the league, which included four Super Bowl appearances with the Bills.
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  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:00 AM
    I don’t think many people believed the Indiana Pacers would fail to notch a single win against the Boston Celtics in the pair’s Round One NBA playoff series. On the other hand, I don’t believe that many people thought the Pacers could muster more than a win or two against their Eastern Conference rivals.
    After all, the Pacers dropped three of the four meetings in the regular season, including a 117-97 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, April 5, which gave the Celtics the fourth seed, and home court advantage in the first round.
    Home court advantage was an unnecessary bonus. What the win did was forecast just how tough it was going to be for the Pacers to get by this team.
    I think Pacers fans leave with a feeling of acceptance. Sure, they thought this team would have more fight against the Celtics, but it was there . . . sometimes.
    For large parts of each game, the Pacers competed. However, in each of the four losses, Pacers fortunes hinged on extended stretches where the offense grew cold — or stupid, or cold AND stupid.
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  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019 4:00 AM
    If you ever find yourself confronted by a tiger in a Bangledeshi rainforest, the best thing to do is lie on your back, and show him your stomach.
    Experts say that older male tigers will make use of an intimidating pose instead of actual physical aggression. Weaker tigers then signal defeat by lying on their backs, exposing their vulnerable undersides to the champion.
    If you need to know what that ritual looks like, refer no further than back to hole No. 12 during Sunday’s final round of the Masters.
    It was there that the outcome of the 2019 Masters Tournament was cemented, and it was there that a decade of doubt and frustration was washed from Tiger Woods.
    In what pundits are calling one of the greatest comebacks in all sports, Woods, at age 43, claimed his fifth Masters title, and snapped a fourteen year championship drought — his 15th major tournament title, first in eleven years.
    For Woods, whose fall from the pinnacle of achievement and fame began in 2009 in a series of imprudences and debilitating injuries, the victory was tantamount to redemption.
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  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 4:00 AM
    Can we get an “Amen” for Martha Burk, please? That’s amen as in “Amen Corner,” if you will.
    What Burk tried to do in a torrent of controversy in 2002, the trickle of time accomplished through its glacial erosion of the gender barrier at Augusta National — the annual host of golf’s most prestigious event, The Masters.
    For the first time, a woman hit a golf ball in tournament play at Augusta National. Last weekend, University of Virginia senior Anna Redding became the first to tee off in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, ending 85 years of exclusively male competition.
    It was a shot celebrated by the pioneers of women’s golf, including World Golf Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Se Ri Pak, Lorena Ochoa, and Annika Sorenstam, who were invited guests to the three day event.
    Jennifer Kupcho, a senior at Wake Forest, out-dueled Maria Fassi, Saturday, to capture the historic 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
    Announced by club chairman Fred Ridley one year ago, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur celebrates the emergence of women’s golf, on a par with their male counterparts.
    Well, sort of.
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  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019 4:00 AM
    With all four of the top three seeds in the 2019 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament remaining in the field, it might be difficult to believe that No. 3 seeded Purdue has a trip to the Final Four securely in hand. Nevertheless, the Boilers proved they can play well enough to get their hands on the trophy.
    Purdue’s 87-61 dismantling of defending champion Villanova, Saturday, catapulted the Boilers into a Sweet Sixteen appearance, and realistically moved the Gold and Black within arm’s length of the championship.
    Additionally, Purdue helped erase fears that the best Boilermaker teams always get it handed to them early in the tournament, a stigma that dates back to the 1970’s. In their thirty-two NCAA appearances, Purdue failed to escape Round Two play fourteen times — three times after finishing the regular season as Big 10 champs.
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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    If you have a daughter who plays high school sports, you have Birch Bayh to thank. If your granddaughter received a scholarship to play sports in college, you have Birch Bayh to thank. If your kids like to watch the lady stars in the WNBA or the Olympics, you have Birch Bayh to thank.
    Quite simply, if you are a female athlete, or know one, or watch one, you have Birch Bayh to thank.
    Bayh, who passed away last week at the age of 91, was the author of Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which banned gender discrimination in the nation’s public institutions.
    Title IX reads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
    In this single passage, the Indiana Senator (1963-1981) ushered women through the nation’s college and university locker room doors — an area all but forbidden to female athletes. Bayh gave women an equal playing field in arena that had long met the resistance of male-guided institutions, who deemed sports as inappropriate for women, or just too costly.
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  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    Generating a new catchphrase to describe the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championships is nothing new. Dubbed “Championship Week” in media circles, 32 slots in your tournament bracket — nearly half the field of 64+4 teams qualifying — will be determined by next Sunday.
    The remainder of the at-large field will be set March 17 by the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Selection Committee. The gnashing begins shortly thereafter on which deserving teams are being left out of the show.
    Winning a post-season conference championship tournament may never be more important for Indiana teams than this year, in what has proved to be one of the least successful years for the state’s 10 Division 1 teams.
    Only the Purdue Boilermakers, riding the top of the Big 10 with their lofty 23-8 record are a lock for the national tournament. Pundits claim that Indiana and Butler are “on the bubble” to make it in 2019. That bubble likely doesn’t hold much water.
    Indiana’s season has been marked by huge mood swings. The Hoosiers (17-14) can boast a seven game winning streak, and are currently stacking wins at the end of the season by virtue of winning five in a row — a really good way to impress people. It includes a second upset of No. 2 Michigan State. However, Indiana also reeled with losing streaks of five and seven games this season.
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  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019 4:00 AM
    Well, drat. That’s the thing about tournaments. Suddenly they end. The IHSAA high school basketball tournament seems especially cruel, because fortunes swing so quickly.
    That was the case for Crawfordsville, Saturday. The Athenians looked as if they had the Sectional 25 championship in hand. Then they didn’t. Then they did. Then they didn’t, ultimately losing a 52-51 overtime thriller to Greencastle.
    In doing so, Greencastle secured their first Sectional title since 2004.
    Eight other state teams also ended long championship droughts, Saturday. Chesterton won for the first time since 1987, upsetting Valparaiso 35-30. The two teams played February 15, and No. 4 ranked Valpo defeated the Trojans 67-39. 
    Huntington North (2001), Beech Grove (2008), Tell City (1993), Argos (2005), Wabash (1967), and Randolph Southern (2001) all erased decade-plus dry spells. Hanover Central won their first Sectional in the 33 year school history.
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  • Wednesday, February 27, 2019 4:00 AM
    Last Saturday, I had the privilege of joining my faithful friend, farming phenom, and set shot swami, Rocky Kenworthy, at the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Girls Basketball State Finals. It was the 44th annual championship event, and darned near the forty-fourth time we sat court-side.
    A lot of the small talk in the media room still centered around the fallout from the high-profile shoe malfunction in the Duke-North Carolina college game the previous weekend.
    If you did happen to miss it, just 33 seconds into the contest, 6-foot 7-inch Zion Williamson of Duke was cutting across the top of the key to receive a pass. When he planted his left foot, his
    Nike brand “Paul George” 2.5s sneaker shredded. It sent the 285-pound center sprawling, twisting his right knee.
    The consensus All-American, and presumed No. 1 draft pick in the NBA next season was left clutching his right knee in front of a stunned crowd, and millions of viewers who tuned in to see the marquee game.
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  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    Monday marked a very important date for my family. Yes, Monday was Presidents Day, but this has nothing to do with our nation’s leaders. Well, in a way, I guess it does have something to do with Presidents — nine George Washingtons.
    This February 18 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of the basketball drama Blue Chips. The movie stars Nick Nolte as coach Pete Bell of the mythical Western University Dolphins. It also stars Shaquille O’Neal as the elite basketball prospect — the blue chip — that coach Bell pursues illegally to boost the flagging fortunes of his program.
    Blue Chips also features several basketball notables. Bob Cousy plays the Western University athletic director. Penny Hardaway plays another recruit, and Bob Knight, Nolan Richardson, Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian, Matt Painter, Dick Vitale, Jim Boeheim, Bobby Hurley, and Dan Dakich all appear in cameo roles.
    My father, Chuck Marlowe, is also in the movie. Sort of.
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  • Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    Quick! Name a wrestler!
    That’s interesting. I heard a handful of Hulk Hogan’s, a few Chris Jericho’s, several cries for Dick “The Bruiser”, and a couple of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s. Real credit goes to the guy that hollered Ernie “The Cat” Ladd.
    There are no wrong answers, but it’s a shame that wrestling’s name recognition lands mostly in the “professional” ranks. Did anyone say Dan Gable, the hall of fame folk-style, Olympic, and freestyle wrestler? I doubt it. Rulon Gardner? Riley LeFever?
    Hey! Wrestlers have feelings, too.
    The good news is that around here, we understand — and appreciate — good wrestlers. The high school wrestling scene in Montgomery County is on a par with those anywhere in Indiana.
    Drew Webster, Seth Johnson, Jake Lowe, and Josh Lowe — all from North Montgomery — added their names to the pantheon of great Montgomery County wrestlers last weekend. Each advanced out of the New Castle semi-state into the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Saturday.
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  • Wednesday, February 6, 2019 4:00 AM
    As a sports guy coming out of “Stupor” Bowl LIII, I was prepared to share with you the weekend’s newest emerging hero. We all were on the lookout for that one player, who against all odds, hoisted the fortunes of his team on his back, and carried the load to greatness.
    However, the game was a stinker, and the heroes were obscured by the ho-humness of the contest itself. Oh sure the Patriot’s Julian Edelman was named the game’s MVP. But knowing that is a lot like knowing that Ben Johnson won an Academy Award. I’m sure Ben’s family cares.
    Sometimes you just have to admit that in spite of your best expectations, your day is going to end up crummy.
    That was the case for me, yesterday. Driving home in my brand-new-to-me Buick Enclave, I crested a rise in US 136, east of town, to be greeted by a constellation of rocks, stones, and other airborne projectiles falling off a dump truck into my eastbound lane.
    Much like this year’s Super Bowl, there was little I could do to prevent impending misfortune. I thought I had weathered the cosmic storm until a limestone Jupiter crashed into my virgin windshield, sending fissures of brokenness vertically throughout the glass canvass like crossing routes on the chalkboard.
    Expecting that my new car would remain pristine beyond the two weeks that I’ve owned it was much like the building high-scoring expectations for Super Bow LIIIl — an imaginary departure from reality.
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  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019 4:00 AM
    And here we go! The fifty-third offering of America’s BIG game — or if you prefer to spell it out the old-fashioned way — this Sunday is Super Bowl LIII.
    The game is held in a BIG stadium, in front of a BIG audience, with BIG names, and BIG bucks on the line. However, if recent history tells us anything, the BIG plays will come from LITTLE-known players.
    It’s almost tradition now. In a game that promotes the league’s star-power, in will step the most unsung player to win the ballgame. Oh, there are the Nick Foles, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien types that rise to the occasion and have the games of their lives. But I’m really talking about the mysteriously obscure players that come out of nowhere.
    Remember Malcolm Butler? In 2014, Butler was an un-drafted free agent from remote University of Western Alabama, who didn’t even play in the first half of Super Bowl XLIX. However, it was the nickel-back’s interception on the goal line with 20 seconds remaining that robbed Seattle of the win, and preserved the 28-24 win for the Patriots.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
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