Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Loramie-Minster Rivalry - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Loramie-Minster Rivalry

This blog was to be published just after the girls basketball state championship last week, anticipating a Loramie-Minster finals. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic wiped out that possibility. Had it occurred, it would have been the high point of a storied rivalry between these two neighboring schools. To have played in a state championship would have fulfilled every players dream, and to play against your neighboring rival that you’ve literally competed with since elementary school would have been very special. I feel so bad for the players, their coaches, parents and fans from both towns.

Having witnessed our son (#1 below) win a state championship (lacrosse in 1997), that day was one of the happiest moments in his and our lives. Below that picture shows how the boys celebrations differ so much from the girls! Loramie boys baseball state championship photo from a few years back is my all time favorite.

So clearly these girls were unfortunately robbed of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Maybe we can take solace from our Founding Fathers in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, promising only the "pursuit of happiness”, not happiness itself. The long season and preparations that went into reaching a state championship should be considered mission accomplished for both teams.

The Loramie-Minster rivalry was every bit as intense in my day, but unfortunately, boys football at Loramie and girls sports at both schools did not yet exist, so that may have lessened the rivalry to some extent. However, I had literally 21 cousins who lived in Minster among 4 families, so at a very young age, the playground rivalries began during our visits. Plus our family farm, even though in Ft. Loramie, was just a short bike ride through the back roads to Minster, so connecting up with our cousins occurred regularly. Through those visits, we also got to know their friends and neighbors, and in turn they got to know ours. Had the coronavirus existed back then, it would have spread like wildfire among that group. Apparently herd immunity existed back then since we all survived the epidemics of the day as described in this previous blogpost.

Even though the girls didn’t have school sports back then, I can vividly recall my oldest sister holding her own in our playground games with our cousins. At that age, she was about as tall as me and no doubt would have been a great athlete had there been girls sports back then. To this day, she and our younger sister still play tennis as they could always beat me in that game. For all the other sports, I’d let them win occasionally!

Speaking of my sister, the rivalry between Minster and Loramie was also evident during dances at Eagle's Park just north of Minster. Kids from the various towns would hang out in separate sections of the large dance hall, with Loramie and Minster naturally next to each other. Practical jokes and petty jealousies prevailed.

For example, during one of the Friday night dances, I overheard some guy mention the word “skunk”, which didn’t hit home until the next morning when my sister said she had been asked home by a dance goer but they had to catch a ride with friends as someone (from the rival town) as a prank had put a dead skunk in the guy’s car!

Just before big games between the rival teams, respective fans would typically paint the Indian statue mounted in front of the Loramie high school or spray paint rivalry-related graffiti onto the steps and abutments in front of Minster’s high school. There was a town uproar one year when the arm of the Indian was literally broken off. Appropriate retribution was taken and the arm repaired. As shown above, the Indian statue is now protected safely inside the high school (that’s my cousin, Harry in the photo) and the old abutments still show some remnants of the graffiti if you look closely.

One 4th of July, for the umpteenth time, the mail box at the end of our long farm lane was blown up by kids setting off M-80’s and cherry bombs. Dad and I happened to see the culprits this time so we chased them down - yep, kids from that town up north. Dad had them give up their remaining fireworks in exchange for not reporting them to the police or their parents, whom Dad knew. The confiscated goods provided some fun entertainment for the family later that evening.

The rivalry does not relent with age, as my 90 year old Dad while spending his last years in Minster’s Heritage Manor assisted living center, had a room right next to legendary Minster fan Paul Stukenborg as documented in this previous blogpost. Paul would brag that Minster’s St. Augustine's church had two steeples and Dad would return the jab by telling him Loramie’s St. Michael's was taller! God bless them both.

For generations to come, the Minster-Loramie rivalry will forever be bolstered by this year’s state championship runs by both teams and all the speculation of what could have been! Relish the memories and congratulations to both teams.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mad Magazine - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Mad Magazine

The Coronavirus crisis is nothing like anything in my memory over 70+ years. So for a change of pace, let’s get some inspiration from Mad Magazine’s main character, Alfred E. Newman and his famous quote, “What — me worry?” At the time, the Mad editors wanted a face that didn't have a care in the world, except mischief. They didn’t want him to necessarily look like an idiot, rather a lovable character with an intelligence behind his eyes and a devil-may-care attitude, someone who can maintain a sense of humor while the world is collapsing around him.

The magazine started in 1952 lampooning among many other topics, the Cold War with Soviet Russia. Mad’s cover would typically show Alfred dressed as someone from the headlines and have an article lampooning the matter, like the flower child and Uncle Sam depictions on these two covers from the 1960’s.

Beyond the cover, my favorite part of Mad Magazine was the Spy vs Spy cartoon, satirizing the Cold War’s CIA and KGB operatives.

Here are some of my favorites. Just like spies, the cartoons never spoke a word, connotated as pantomime comedy to keep a spy-like hush hush! Note the morse code byline above. It spells out the originator's byline, J Y Prohias. Here are a couple favorites.

Mad had other cartoons such as those by Don Martin. His trademark was the visual sound effects as shown on this collage:

Here are a few Don Martin favorites:

Here are some more entertaining Mad covers from the past:

Mad Magazine stopped publishing new content last year, but is re-purposing old issues with new covers - not the same. Needless to say, they are having a field day with the current political scene.

Hope this bit of nonsense gets your mind off the virus. Stay healthy Fish Report readers.

PS: On a side note, following up on last week’s blog about claiming the Dayton Flyers win over North Carolina in the 1967 NCAA basketball tournament was their biggest win in history, a reader sent me this link reminding me of the 2014 Flyer upset of Ohio State during March Madness. A memorable win for sure, but no dice!


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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Flyer March Madness - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Flyer March Madness

My nephew Carter, pictured above playing against Anna last year, is now a freshman at the University of Dayton; same age I was in 1967 when the Flyers made their fantastic run to the finals during the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately Carter and all the Dayton fans are disappointed the Flyers season is over and will not have a chance to experience what I recall so vividly from UD’s 1967 run. Only 24 teams made the Big Dance then, one from each league and a couple independents like Dayton. The brackets were rather convoluted as shown at the end of this blog, making little or no sense looking back on it. As Dayton fans, we were just glad to be in the tournament, even though before that time, the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) with 14 teams was more prestigious than the NCAA.

The first three games against Western Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia Tech were very close, with the first and third games going to overtime, but the most memorable game for me was the semifinal game against #4 North Caroline. We watched that game at newly opened Timothy’s Bar on Brown Street next to the UD campus. I recall the exact bar stool in fact, the one closest to the 19’ black & white TV mounted high in the corner of the bar.

That year the semifinals, well before the Final Four moniker became famous, were held on Good Friday, and the Flyers left nothing to chance. The team attended a noontime rosary service, and UD star Don May #21 above inserted an Immaculate Conception medal into the waistband of his shorts.

After the game’s opening minutes suggested the expected Carolina route, May hit a 10-foot jumper and from that point on he could not miss, making 13 straight field goal attempts, an NCAA tournament record that has yet to be equaled. By half-time, the Flyers were up 29-13. Timothy’s was buzzing with anticipation as the second half began. Dayton stretched its lead, however, midway through the half, Carolina made a run to cut the margin to nine, but then Dayton scored the next four points. As the clock wound down, Flyer fans at Timothy’s went berserk, chanting, “We’re No. 1!” Dayton delivered a final punch with a Don May dunk, giving him a game high 34 points, for a final score Dayton 76, North Carolina 62, clearly the biggest win in Flyer history, then and now.

The Flyers were defeated in the finals by unbeaten UCLA lead by sophomore Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar). Shortly after that game, the NCAA rules committee outlawed the dunk, citing concerns over injuries and damage to rims and backboards that delayed or canceled games. Most considered it an attempt to curb Alcindor’s dominance, yet UCLA repeated as national champions his junior and senior years. The seven straight NCAA titles captured by Coach John Wooden’s Bruins is a record that will likely never be broken.

Here’s a game-by-game recap of all five of the Flyers tournament games, during which UD Athletic Director (and Minster native) Tom Frericks proclaimed, “Boys, you just built us an arena.”, which came to fruition two years later as documented in this previous blogpost.

Carter’s young, resilient and kinda goes with the flow, so he’ll be fine, but let’s hope Carter and all UD fans will witness many future Flyer highlights leading to lifelong memories like mine.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

This Explains Everything - My Story

Having fun behind a microphone is in my DNA

I've always enjoyed media stuff... writing, photography, broadcasting. I played with tape recorders growing up, started the Fish Report website in 2004, and built a broadcast studio for fun in my basement ten years ago. However, I went to college to study human resource management and these days my full-time job is working as a salesman. Friends have commented over the years, "Craig, you missed your calling". My comeback is typically, "some guys start a band, some guys like playing cards, my hobby is covering sports". That's all it is for me, a hobby. I wasn't born to be on the radio. So I thought. We'll get to that part later.

1971 was a good year
I entered the world in September of 1971. A few days after my birth I was adopted and brought home by Ray & Linda Fiessinger. Mom & Dad didn't hide the fact that I was adopted and I grew up with little interest in that fact. Until maybe three years ago in 2017. I was asked by some local mothers to talk in front of their group. These women all had adopted children and wanted to question me about my feelings growing up. I agreed to their request and was adamant I felt the same as any average kid living in Fort Loramie, Ohio at the time. I was the oldest child in my family. I had one younger sister and two even younger brothers. None of my siblings were adopted. Our parents loved us all the same, we fought like brothers and sisters, and we turned into fine adults. I imagined the mothers were hoping for better answers, but that's all I had.

Me, Chris, Chad, and baby brother Curt
As our meeting was coming to a close, one mother asked if I would ever search for my real parents? I admitted I actually looked into it once, but the courts won't release birth certificates without consent from the biological mother. No, that's all changed now I was told. Just fill out some paperwork and pay a small fee she said. I wasn't aware it was that easy. Who knows, maybe I'll look into it some day when I'm really old.

A couple days later I filled out the paperwork and sent in $35.00. Shortly after that I received an envelope in the mail. It was a copy of my original birth certificate. With only a woman's name I had never seen or heard before. I was 46 years old and I stared at it for a long time. For a really long time. I suddenly understood some of the feelings those mothers must have wondered about.

Out of respect for privacy, I'll refer to my biological mother as Donna. Using a wonderful information system called the world wide web, I discovered Donna lives in Texas. I confirmed her address and took several days to craft a heartfelt letter. To sum up my writing, I explained I was doing well and thanked Donna for making a selfless decision that was best for me. I also extended an invitation for her to respond in writing or by phone call. Unfortunately, I haven't received a reply since the day I mailed that letter.

Fast forward about a year later in December of 2018. I decided to take one of those DNA tests. Being adopted, I was especially curious what I might find. I found out I have almost one thousand 4th-6th cousins. That didn't excite me. I also found out I have a biological aunt that is Donna's sister and she lives less than 50 miles away. That excited me. I became 'email friends' with my aunt. We had some good exchanges about family heritage for several months, but when it came to answering questions about my mother she didn't offer much help. Their relationship has been distant, both literally and figuratively, for a very long time. My conversations with my aunt eventually lost traction and we stopped communicating.

In February of 2020 I received notification that my DNA had another match. There's a 99% chance this person is your half-brother it read. What??

I emailed my aunt again and was unsure if she would still respond after our long break. I wasn't aware Donna had another son I typed. My aunt replied right away. She doesn't, you were her only child she typed back - that half-brother must be from your father's side. More feelings came over me like a tidal wave. Can you tell me more I asked. I'm sorry she said, I don't know any more. All that stuff was hush-hush back in 1971 she explained. Okay, I understood and appreciated her support. However, this was my story and it was time to get busy.

If Google's search engine charged by the click, I would have went flat broke. I scoured the internet nightly. I was constantly discovering something new. Another lead, then another. It felt like one of those detective shows on television, like CSI or Law & Order. One night my research even said I have a half-sister. Things were getting crazy. All my evidence kept pointing to a single person as my biological father. I was skeptical I had really cracked the case and laid out some far-fetched scenarios for my family tree. Only one tree ever made sense. Only one name was even possible. It was a name I knew my entire life. The name was Gordon William Price.

If you had a radio in West Central Ohio anytime during a 30-year period from the 1980's through 2000's, you likely heard the voice of Gordon William Price, also known as Gordy Price. Gordy passed away in 2009 at the young age of 60. The obituary below summarizes his very public life. To understand the effect he had on some of his listeners, click on the 'Tribute Wall' of the following link.

Click the obituary to expand

During my research on Gordy Price, an old message board post alleged there was a front page article from the early 80's proclaiming Gordy as "King of the Teens" during his popular run at WMVR 105.5 FM in Sidney. I certainly idolized him in my pre-teen years. Lots of kids did. If you wanted to make a song dedication, you called the radio station and asked Gordy. I remember calling once and getting my request on air. I was just thrilled I got through to Gordy Price! If I only knew then what I know now.

Ray & Linda have always been
there when I needed them
I told my wife I was still skeptical. I don't want a 99% possibility, I need a 100% guarantee. The only living person I know that can confirm this is Donna down in Texas and she's apparently not talking. My wife asked, have you talked to your parents Ray & Linda? Good question. I never asked them about the adoption my entire life. Didn't need to. I guess now I needed to. So, I called Mom & Dad at their winter home down in Florida. We were all together on speaker phone. I told them everything I knew. They told me everything they knew. Turns out, I knew a whole lot more than they did. Mom & Dad were completely understanding and it was a conversation long overdue. I still wasn't sure though.

I started messaging anyone I stumbled across on the internet. I reached out to those half-siblings, their families, and friends of their families. It had to be startling to receive information like I was sending. My efforts were getting nowhere. Finally, a reply to my Facebook message. Is this a scam the person asked? Okay, just don't scare them off I panicked. I had to quickly recall who I was even communicating with. Out of respect for her privacy, I'll call her Julie. No, this is not a scam I replied. I told Julie I was adopted in 1971 and knew my biological mother, but wasn't positive who my father was, even though I thought it might be a guy named Gordon Price. A few minutes went by and then came a question I was unprepared for: "Any chance your mother's name is Donna?"

Gordon Price - 1967
I couldn't type because my hands began to shake. After a long moment I asked Julie how she knew? Julie said her mom knew. When I mentioned Gordy Price, she immediately called her mom who was related to Gordy. Julie's mom also happened to be really good friends with Donna. She recalled that Gordy & Donna were in love, but not married and the pregnancy happened when she was just 18. Donna was terribly scared. She hid her secret from everyone until the end and finally told a few people, including Donna's parents and Julie's mom. She didn't tell Gordy, not until years later. By that time, I was adopted and Donna had no idea where I ended up. Julie's mom said Gordy was simply heartbroken. Wow...

I continued my chat with Julie for a while longer. I told her about my unexplained interest in broadcasting all these years and we exchanged a few LOL's. We also talked about some personal family things that will forever remain personal. One concern I did express was Gordy's passing at such an early age. I have some worries about my own health history as I prepare to turn 49 this year. Julie didn't think I should attribute my health worries to my biological father. Gordy was always the life of the party and that party lifestyle eventually wore him down. It was one of the few sad notes on one of the greatest days of my life. Julie and I agreed to stay in touch and we were both happy we found a new cousin.

So, that explains everything. The final piece of the puzzle and what a journey it's been. I want to thank so many people, but I'm afraid I'll leave someone out.  In closing, there's only one way to wrap this up. I'll let Gordy sign off..

As Gordy often said to his listeners - Keep livin' and keep lovin'!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories - March 10th

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

This Day in Sports History

March 10th

Check out these March 10th sports accomplishments over the years:

1913 - William Knox rolled the first perfect 300 game in tournament competition.

1922 - Babe Ruth signed what is considered his first contract with the New York Yankees (three years after the Red Sox sold him to the Yankees). The three-year contract was worth $52,000 a year, a league-high at the time.

1963 - Rookie Pete Rose get hits in his first two at-bats during spring training

1963 - Wilt Chamberlain scores 60 points in an NBA game, a record he eclipsed later in his career when he scored 100 points

1976 - The phrase, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings” was originated by announcer Ralph Carpenter while broadcasting a game between Tech Tech and Texas A&M when the Aggies rallied to a 72-72 ties from 20 points down in the SWC Tournament finals.

1983 - Walter Auston, Los Angeles Dodgers Manager, is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame

1985: India beats Pakistan to win "World Championship of Cricket”

What will happen today to make history??


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