I always feel guilty every week. As I write my column, I am keenly aware of dedicated men and women who I alienate. Maybe they don’t think my subjects are interesting. Perhaps [Gasp!], they don’t think I’m funny.
The reality is that there are thousands of people in Montgomery County who care one tittle about sports that involve balls, yard lines, forward passes, dribbling, and cheerleaders.
No, I’m not talking about opera lovers. Although, we have many opera lovers around here. Be-sides, it might surprise some of you to learn that I love opera. My Aunt Betty was an emerging opera star in her youth. I could actually pick Mario Lanza out of a lineup quicker than Mario Mattiñez.
If opera fans struggle to find meaning in my musings, then the folks I most certainly alienate are our sportsmen and sportswomen. These people derive a high percentage of their life’s enjoyment from the outdoors.
And not just “being” outdoors, but also “doing” outdoors.
These are hikers, and bikers. They kayak and canoe. They ski, version water or snow. They swim and they SCUBA.
We have all kinds of hunters — deer, grouse, squirrel, rabbit. Mushrooms. Snipe?
We fish. Boy, do we fish! My fishing friends can call out the names of every fishing lure in their tackle box faster than they can recall the names of their grandchildren.
West Central Indiana people are indeed outdoor sports people. And yet, with all of these poten-tial readers out there for me to tap into, I find it very hard to write about the outdoors.
It’s not that I don’t like being outside. I do! In fact, most of the things I need to survive origi-nate outdoors. Like the sun. Like air.
No, it is just that the outdoors is so alien to me. The outdoors doesn’t like me.
Remember? I’m the guy that shoveled five miles of Sugar Creek because the water was too low … or my mass was too high. I’m the guy who sees boating on a mirrored lake as an opportunity to be severely sunburned from two different directions.
Nevertheless, I want to include more story lines for our sports families in the future, here. They deserve their time in the sun, too.
I came to this pledge oddly. As if irony itself dictated my column to me this week, something amazing happened. On a hike — the one outdoor thing that I enjoy — I had a wild turkey run out in front of me. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t tell where his legs ended and the white meat began.
I’m told that if you see a turkey, there is a high likelihood that he will return to the same place. I hope so. Tom was worth one more look.
So, if you happen to be out hunting one day, and happen to hear an aria from Rigoletto down the trail, you are not hearing things. It’s me simply searching for an “Encore!”
John O. Marlowe spent most of his career as a “pine-time” player, and was football's first DH (dummy holder) for Wabash College in the late 1970's. New to the art of the sports beat writer, Marlowe has spent forty years – and nearly $11,000 – following Indiana high school sports.