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Sunday, April 21, 2019
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  • the good sport with john marlowe
  • 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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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:00 AM
    In two of the most memorable NFL Championship Games ever, we finally determined the combatants for Super Bowl LIII. The Los Angeles Rams will meet the New England Patriots, Feb. 3, in Atlanta.
    This year’s NFL Playoffs reached its high point, Sunday, generating two exciting championship contests that required overtime to determine the winners. However, the 2019 road to the Super Bowl will never be remembered for that.
    Instead, this year’s playoffs will be remembered — regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl — as the year of the screw up.
    Whether it was Chicago kicker Cody Parkey’s game-ending kick pin-balling off the goalpost; Alshon Jeffery whiffing on a critical catch; immortal Adam Vinatieri missing a 23 yard field goal; the Saints’ Dee Ford lining up offsides, nullifying a game winning interception; Tom Brady earning a phantom roughing the passer call; or the refs — dear gawd — the refs, this year’s playoffs will be remembered for everything that went wrong.
    The ultimate shaming, of course, is the pass interference “no-call” in the Saints-Rams game, a play that my 101 year old great grandmother, Myrtle, would have flagged correctly. [Mamaw would have tacked on the targeting call, too.] The Saints kicked a go-ahead field goal, but the Rams answered with one of their own to force the overtime.
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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:00 AM
    Don’t look now, basketball fans, but the best basketball being played anywhere is right in your backyard — but maybe not in plain sight.
    The Wabash College cagers are building the foundation of a one-of-a-kind season, and they are laying the bricks in workmanlike fashion.
    Relying on a strong defense, high percentage three-point shooting, and an uncanny ability to snag the important rebound, the Little Giants stand 14-1 overall, and atop the North Coast Athletic Conference, undefeated in play, 8-0.
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  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019 4:00 AM
    A “teaser” in live television parlance is that little advertisement or bait that on-air personalities use right before a commercial to hook us back in for more news, sports, or weather. They are like mini cliffhangers, luring the curious into watching more of the show.
    Teasers come in all forms, from the mundane to the manic: “After the break, I’ll tell you why Wednesday will be the best day of the week in weather,” or “When we come back, see how the sixth grader got revenge after Tom Cruise broke her heart.” These are examples of teasers.
    TV people know that, once the audience is hit with a commercial, it is pretty much a toss-up whether they will stick with the newscast, or use the opportunity to seek out better programming elsewhere.
    Teasers are so common we often overlook them entirely, letting our subconscious sift through the chaff. However, sometimes a teaser will catch my attention, as it did last week.
    I heard it following the death of Tyler Trent, the young Purdue University student, who burst on to the national scene with his impassioned love of his Boilermakers in the face of his epic battle against his ultimately terminal osteosarcoma.
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  • Thursday, June 14, 2018 4:00 AM
    I had a long-standing tradition when my father was living. Every year, I would buy a book to give him for Father's Day — a book that I was certain my mother, and later my stepmother, would read, instead.
    This philosophy of gifting with another person in mind was cultivated from years of trying to find the perfect gift for the man for whom it was impossible to shop. One year, Dad even went out and purchased a new La-Z-Boy™ Recliner for himself the week before Father’s Day. Who does that?
    “It was the best price I’d seen all year,” Dad said, missing the holiday connection.
    Dad had lots of hobbies. He never stuck with any of them long enough to become reliable shopping list wellsprings.
    The ubiquitous Father's Day tie was out. Dad wore lots of ties at work. However, as a television sportscaster, there were wardrobe rules to follow on the set. My brother and I never tried it, but we always wanted to buy a tie that would “disappear” on the television chroma key. (Think “green screen,” although in Dad’s time, it was often blue.)
    His passion was golf. Regrettably, Dad was always fully stocked. He received so many freebies as a result of his sports connections, none of his sons ever had the opportunity to add to his golfing armory.
    So the duty of gift fulfillment fell to the book.
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