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Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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  • the good sport with john marlowe
  • 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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  • Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:00 AM
    Expectations are funny things. Often expectations turn out, well . . . unexpectedly.
    Yes, there were expectations that second year head coach Jake Martin would eventually bring the Wabash College baseball program to high standards. After all, Martin accomplished the very same for DePauw University. There he served as head coach for six years, making the expected step up from assistant coach.
    Martin led the Tigers to North Coast Athletic Conference regular season pennants in 2012 and 2016, and an NCAC tournament pennant in 2014. The Tigers’ 34-14 record in 2012 culminated in a trip to the NCAA Mideast Regionals, and Coach of the Year honors for Martin.
    Martin’s jump to Wabash wasn’t totally unexpected. He graduated from Wabash College where he earned four letters in baseball. He was a 13 game winner, going 5-1 on the mound as a senior, and carried a .374 career batting average. Martin was a two-time All-NCAC pick, and was team MVP in 2003.
    So you see, Martin’s pedigree is a pip of great expectations. What wasn’t expected was that it could happen this season.
    Martin’s 2018 Little Giants made history. Their season record of 32-17 set Wabash College marks for most wins in a season and most total games played. Additionally, the squad qualified for the NCAC Conference Tournament, and captured a spot in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regionals for only the second time in school history.
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  • Thursday, May 3, 2018 4:00 AM
    ”Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow.”
    And with that, Shakespeare’s star-crossed heroine, Juliet, bids adieu to her beloved Romeo at the end of Act II, oblivious to what twists of fate await the lovers. So it was, too, at New Albany (IN) High School, Monday night.
    Romeo Langford said goodbye to his storybook high school career in a melodrama that would have made the bard blush.
    Langford, who endured relentless media conjecture, opted to continue his basketball career at Indiana University in a live ceremony in front of thousands of fans, and an eager internet audience.
    Folks began lining up outside Bulldog Gymnasium in the early afternoon — the very place where in 2016 Langford and his teammates came home to celebrate winning the state championship.
    What they saw for their patience was a young man donning a hat. The act was simple. The symbolism was profound. For the first time in years, the state’s best player is staying in Indiana to play college basketball — if even for just a while.
    As commitment ceremonies go, take away the myriads of screaming fans, and it was pretty much like any other commitment ceremony that has cheerleaders, music, a video highlight segment, and the expectations (and revenues) of three universities riding in the balance.
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  • Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:00 AM
    I like a good offensive football game as well as the next guy. However, the 41-33 Super Bowl, Sunday night, felt more like a carnival ride than a football game. Defenses could neither stop a drive, nor swipe a child’s trophy goldfish. There were no bullies on this midway.
    The two offenses amassed 1,151 total yards — Philadelphia had 538, New England had 613. That’s a Super Bowl record by 200 yards. It’s also the largest combined total for any NFL game, regular season or playoffs.
    New England averaged 8.5 yards per play, and Philadelphia 7.6. There were 874 passing yards; Brady had a record 505 of them. Brady tied his own record by throwing 48 times without an interception.
    There were 42 passing first downs. Two of every ten plays resulted in a score for the Eagles. Five of every ten did the same for the Patriots.
    The defensive stats?
    There was one punt by the Eagles. Philadelphia’s Nick Foles had one interception, and New England’s Brady was sacked once, fumbled once, on the play that sealed the game for the Eagles.
    The only time the defenses looked remotely capable was AFTER somebody scored a touchdown. The two teams missed four extra points.
    So, was the back-and-forth game fun to watch? Sure, but I wouldn’t want a Super Bowl like this every year. The success of both teams almost took the drama out of the game. Almost.
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  • Thursday, February 1, 2018 4:00 AM
    The month of March gets all the credit for bringing the winter season to an end. March also gets the lion’s share of sports hype for the madness that comes with a certain college basketball tournament. Yet, although the circadian short second month is treated meekly by many, February is title month in Indiana.
    Of the six Indiana High School Athletic Association sanctioned tournaments conducted for winter sports, five of them will crown champions in February. The remaining sport — boys basketball — begins play by month’s end.
    Two winter sports are already into state tournament action. For the local schools, the results are mixed at this point of the competition.
    The 43rd Annual Girls State Basketball Tournament played their first games at Crawfordsville, Tuesday night, and for the Crawfordsville ladies the tournament ended before hardly starting. The 2-21 Athenians ran into a powerful 19-6 Benton Central club, in search of their fourth straight 20-win season. The 67-19 shellacking rapidly sent the Lady Athenians home.
    Whether the other two Montgomery County schools fare any better is still a question. Neither North Montgomery nor Southmont boast winning records, although both teams have won at season’s end. North Montgomery (7-14) meets Benton Central, and Greencastle (15-8) hooks up with Southmont (9-13) on Friday.
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  • Friday, January 26, 2018 4:00 AM
    Tonight will be a big night in Montgomery County. No, not because shorts and t-shirts will make a comeback tomorrow with a high of 51, but all three county schools are at home, and all three will be hosting girl-boy doubleheaders. Also, all three girl’s teams will be celebrating senior night. Southmont will host Lebanon, while North Montgomery will battle Western Boone, and Crawfordsville will look to cook some Hot Dogs when Frankfort comes calling.
    Let’s start down in New Market where the Lebanon Lady Tigers enter at 8-13 overall and 3-3 in Conference play. Coach Dustin Oakley’s Lady Mounties will look to have a winning record in the SAC with a win over Lebanon. Southmont is currently 9-12 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
    The Lady Mounties enter winners of five of their last seven and will look to gain some momentum into next week’s Class 3A Sectional 25 action at Crawfordsville. The two teams could meet up again next Friday, if Lebanon can defeat Greencastle Tuesday. The Lady Mounties drew the bye.
    The Mountie boys are looking to keep pace in the Conference as they host the 5-10, and 1-5 SAC Tigers. Southmont is currently in third place with a 3-1 record behind Danville and Tri-West, both 3-0. 
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  • Thursday, January 25, 2018 4:00 AM
    Over the course of a lifelong battle to keep the weight off, I’ve learned that the last two weeks in January are the ones that get me in the most trouble. I think it’s because I stay watchful through the goodies-rich holidays, but then let my guard down to start the new year.
    If, as they say, the body is a temple, this is the two week period the commissary stocks up on the matzah balls.
    I’ve decided this year will be different. I’m going to break the cycle . . . I hope.
    I’ve been on the hunt for something to do that is fun, and keeps the heart beating well enough to erase the effects of french fries. The way I work out, now, I could use a lot more cardiovascular work for long-term success.
    Someone recently suggested that I try Pickleball. Of course, I immediately started laughing, which I thought was their intention. I’ve long been a believer in burning calories through humor. However, Kelly Price, Director of Recreation and Fitness at the Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Community Center confirmed Pickleball is no joke.
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  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 4:00 AM
    Okay, Boilermaker basketball fans, it is now up to you. Matt Painter’s lads have done everything they can to put themselves in position to make a deep post-season tournament run. 
    Fresh off of securing their fourteenth consecutive victory, the Boilermakers are sitting on top of the Big Ten Conference standings. The Boilers are undefeated after seven conference games, one victory up on Ohio State.
    Seems like more doesn’t it?
    That’s because Purdue’s conference wins have come in convincing fashion. Purdue boasts one of the largest front lines in the country, and they all are highly skilled around the bucket. Drop down and sag on the big men, and the Purdue guards are filling the bucket with remarkable accuracy.
    Granted, although Purdue is in the driver’s seat, there are eleven games remaining in the regular season. The Boilers still must play games against the four teams immediately behind them in the standings — including two on the road.
    Can the Boilers run the gauntlet unscathed to defend their outright regular season Big Ten title? Probably not. Regardless, this team is playing with a confidence not seen in West Lafayette since 1988, when Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, and Everett Stephens had Boiler fans in a similar tizzy.
    Every indication is that this Purdue team is going places. And, where they end up may depend largely on you.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
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