Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sports Injuries - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A 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.

Sports Injuries


During the NCAA basketball tournament, its tough to see a player suffer an injury. Every time someone goes down, I am distinctly reminded of the pain and scars of my injuries playing sports as kid and young adult. From having a tooth knocked out, countless sprained ankles, a bunch of stitches, back surgery and tearing a cartilage in my knee, the injuries still impact me years later. Fortunately, I don’t recall ever suffering a concussion that seems so prevalent today.

Regarding the torn cartilage in my right knee, in those days before arthroscopy, one had to go under the knife to have the meniscus repaired. The recovery was long and painful, having to be on crutches for weeks and avoiding sports of any kind for about 6 months. The injury occurred at a YMCA and happened because I did not properly warm up. That 4” incision on my right knee is a constant reminder of the injury (people think I’ve had knee replacement surgery), plus the occasional pain that still occurs if overdo it or I make a wrong move. Contrast that experience more recently when I tore the meniscus on my left knee while playing tennis. Arthroscopic surgery was performed in an outpatient clinic that I walked out of with no crutches and got back to playing golf and tennis within a few days.

The back surgery was due to not a single injury but an accumulation of problems over the years. After going to a chiropractor with little success, I was about to go under the knife when my mother-in-law fortunately saw an article in one of her magazines about a new procedure called laparoscopic spine surgery. I called the 800 number she gave me and as it turns out there was a surgeon experienced in the new technique about a half mile from where I worked. The procedure was scheduled on a day off, and I was able to returned to work the next day, allowing me to keep my perfect work attendance record intact that still existed when I retired 20+ years later.

The physical therapy after the procedure included stretching exercises shown in the chart below that I still perform to this day before playing tennis and golf to help with my flexibility and prevent further pain and injury. They work!


Friday, March 25, 2016

The Top 6 track & field girls to watch in the SCAL...


Track fans won't enjoy weather quite this nice yet when the girls open the season this Saturday at the Versailles Lady Classique, but with temps in the 50's there won't be snow like in some years past

High school track & field begins this weekend and I'm forecasting a spectacular year for the Shelby County Athletic League girls. There is plenty of young talent emerging, but it's the seniors who will dominate the league. The regular season goes by quickly in about six weeks and then the focus turns to the post season. Below is my list of the top six senior girls to keep your eye on from now until the state meet in June.

Chloe Flora, Botkins - Top Event: 1600m (PR 5:02.11)
Distance runners like Chloe Flora don't come around often. Never mind everything she accomplished on the cross country course, this is a track preview. She's simply the best D-III 1600 runner right now on this side of Ohio and that's a fact. She also keeps getting faster. Chloe just completed an outstanding indoor track season where she ran a personal best 5:00.99 at the Indoor State Championships and won a state title. She also did well at the New Balance Nationals Indoor in New York, NY just a couple weeks ago. Chloe signed last fall to run with the University of Dayton after graduation, but she's amazingly still training like she has something to prove. Maybe she does. Chloe was runner-up in the 1600 at state last year by a little over 3 seconds to Athena Welsh of St. Thomas Aquinas. Athena is back this year for her senior season also and might just be Chloe's biggest rival. I'll enjoy watching Chloe during the regular season, but I'm marking my calendar for a showdown in Columbus on June 4th.

Chloe (#1) beat Athena Welsh (#4) for an indoor state title back on March 5th and will be aiming for an outdoor state title to close out her high school career

Andrea Meyer, Ft. Loramie - Top Event: Pole Vault (PR 10-06)
I got the brief opportunity to watch Andrea pole vault at an indoor meet at Bowling Green State University back in February. She finished 3rd that day at 10-06, which matched her personal record and the height she reached at the state meet last year when she finished 6th. Andrea's focus this season will be on the pole vault and high jump, the only two events she will likely compete in. While I expect Andrea to be the SCAL's best in the high jump, I'm certain the pole vault will take her the farthest in the post season. A lot of pole vaulting can be mental and I believe once Andrea breaks through that 10-06 barrier there's no telling how high she can go.

Olivia Quinter, Ft. Loramie - Top Event: 300H (PR 45.63)
Olivia was already a great hurdler last year as a junior and she proved it at the state meet finishing 6th in the 100H and 5th in the 300H.  Unfortunately, she also followed in the footsteps of two other great hurdlers from the SCAL. Leah Francis of Russia was 2nd in the 100H and Whitney Bornhorst of Botkins was 2nd in the 300H. Leah and Whitney have since graduated and Olivia is now the one to beat in both those events. By the way, while she was in Columbus last year she also finished 8th in the long jump. I look for Olivia to continue that same success and perhaps be one of the brightest stars in southwest Ohio this season.

Whitney Bornhorst (left) has graduated and Olivia (right) will shine even brighter this season

Nicole Fogt, Jackson Center - Top Event: Discus Throw (PR 130-0)
Nicole is no stranger when it comes to Jessie Owens Stadium at The Ohio State University. After all, she's been going there for the state meet the last three years to compete in the discus throw. She keeps getting better too. Nicole finished 14th as a freshman, 11th as a sophomore, and 5th as a junior. She set the SCAL meet record last year at 130-0 and I don't expect any competition in Shelby County if she stays injury free. Nicole also throws shot put and does well at that, but the discus is clearly her best event. Confidence should be sky high after coming off an appearance in the state basketball tournament just a couple weeks ago, and nerves shouldn't be a problem in her pursuit to yet another trip to Columbus. Discus throwers always get better with age and I expect this season to be another record-setter.

Molly Kearns, Russia - Top Event: 3200m (PR 11:36.57)
You won't ever find Molly jumping over hurdles or hanging out at the long jump pit. Molly is a 100% distance runner and a good one too. She would have to be considering Wright State University recruited and signed her to their cross country and track teams back in November. Molly made her first state track appearance last year as a junior in the grueling 3200 meters and finished 10th overall. That experience seemed to propel her to the level she's at today. After a very successful senior cross country season in the fall and a winter track training program that kept her in shape, Molly is already in excellent condition. She will be a distance work horse for the Lady Raiders competing mainly in the 4x800 relay, 1600 and 3200. Her biggest obstacle will be the fact she runs in the same league as one of Ohio's elite distance runners in Chloe Flora of Botkins. That competition will only drive Molly harder and I'll look for those benefits in mid-May.

Russia has a long history of great distance runners and Molly is the next one 

Lauren Heaton, Russia - Top Event: 400m (PR 56.75)
Lauren is the only athlete in Russia history to have her name on two state banners. She was the anchor leg of the 2013 state champion 4x800 relay team as a freshman and she won an individual state title in the 400 meters in 2014 as a sophomore. Earlier this school year she committed to run track for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland after she graduates. You might wonder how hot the fire still burns in a kid with all those accomplishments? I've watched Lauren run since her junior high days and one thing you never want to do is question her heart. Lauren bleeds blue & gold and is no doubt the most versatile runner in the SCAL. While she could easily be successful in long distance events like she has in cross country for the last four years, her focus in track will be on sprints and middle distance. Lauren can rack up points fast in the 100, 200 and 400, but I also expect to see her in the 800 and perhaps the 4x800 relay when the time is right. Heck, don't be surprised to see her in the 300 hurdles if she thinks she can win.

Lauren will finish #1 in a lot of events this track season




Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lent, Easter and March Madness - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A 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.

Lent, Easter and March Madness

Growing up in a Catholic family, the 40 days of Lent meant praying the rosary every night, fasting, no meat on Fridays and definitely no candy. While praying the rosary, mom would randomly pick one of us 5 kids to recite the appropriate mystery, so we had to pay attention! And as a mass server during Holy Week, it meant hours of church services, including Holy Saturday, which one year happened to be the same night as the finals of the NCAA basketball championship. As servers, we could see the large clock in the church sacristy and since we knew exactly when the game was to start, anxiously awaited the completion of the long service. Our focus that night was clearly elsewhere, as unbeaten Ohio State, lead by All-American Jerry Lucas, was pitted against in-state rival Cincinnati Bearcats.


Finally the services were over, so we went to my grandmother’s home to watch the game as she had a color TV. Although the Buckeyes were a big favorite, they lost in what many consider one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history. To say the least, as an avid Buckeye fan, I was devastated and disappointed.


Since the next day was Easter, and as the oldest child in the family, it was my job to hide the Easter eggs around the yard for my younger siblings to find early that morning. I was still upset about the Buckeye loss, so I took it out on the eggs, hiding many of them in unfindable places all over the farm. Since I was taller than my brothers and sisters, some of the eggs were placed in full view, but at a height they could not reach. And some were stashed in places that were never found; in fact, I venture to say, there are still some eggs hidden away some 55 years later! After that stunt, my mother said I was due for the confessional right after Easter, but my sins were nothing compared to the crime that the Bearcats pulled on my (at the time) beloved Buckeyes. PS: The Bucks sure could have used a Jerry Lucas this year!

Happy Easter, Fish Report readers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

First Spring Break - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A 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.

First Spring Break



Some friends of ours drove down to Florida recently and had to detour around a major rock slide that closed I-75 in Tennessee as shown in the aerial photo above. The detour took them an 4 extra hours, which reminded me of my first spring break with three other guys from college during my sophomore year (going on spring break in high school was unheard of!). At the time, I-75 was still under construction though the mountains in Tennessee about where the recent rock slide occurred and there were similar detours down narrow and curvy two lane highways. As we came up to the detour in the middle of the night, it was my turn to drive. The car was a red ‘65 Malibu that supposedly had “brand new tires”, which was good since it was raining cats and dogs during the entire length of the detour that took several hours. However, the windshield wipers were shot so the visibility was terrible. But we eventually made it back onto I-75, arriving at Daytona around mid-day and immediately hit the beach, literally driving the red Malibu right on the sand.


And what fun we had! Somehow we managed to find a place to stay on the beach where the very next day, as part of some promotion, a large refrigerated semi full of cold Busch beer pulled onto the beach, selling beer right out of the back of the truck for only 5 cents a can! We were in seventh heaven!



Later that week, the muffler blew on the Malibu and to no one's surprise, a ticket was issued. But the cop said if the muffler was fixed, the ticket would be rescinded. So off we headed to the local muffler shop to have it repaired. While the car was on the hoist, we noticed stamped on the inside of each tire was a label that read “Farm Use Only”. Those “brand new tires” were retreads and were only to be used on slow moving vehicles, not at highway speeds. Needless to say, we mercilessly razzed the car’s owner, who of course had no money, so we had to split the cost of the muffler to boot!


After Daytona, we went across the state to catch a Red’s Spring Training game at Al Lopez Field in Tampa, where the Big Red Machine was being assembled. According to Wikipedia, during a spring training game that season, rookie Johnny Bench was catching eight-year veteran right-hander Jim Maloney. Once a noted hard thrower, injuries had reduced Maloney's fastball's speed dramatically by that time. However, Maloney insisted on repeatedly "shaking off" his younger catcher and throwing the fastball instead of the breaking balls Bench called for. An exasperated Bench bluntly told Maloney, "Your fastball's not popping". Maloney replied with an epithet. To prove to Maloney that his fastball wasn't effective anymore, Bench called for a fastball, and after Maloney released the ball, Bench dropped his catcher's mitt and comfortably caught the fastball barehanded! Maloney got the last laugh though as he went 16-10 and had a no hitter that year.


After the Reds game, we headed north to go back home, never going above 50 mph the entire way. We made it back safely, but the Malibu owner (whom I haven't seen since cause he flunked out) had two flat tires after dropping us off on his way home to Ft. Wayne. Serves him right!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Zack Crusey Speaking of Sports - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A 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.

Zack Crusey - Speaking of Sports



My mother-in-law is an avid sports fan who attends many of Russia high school games, so whenever my wife calls her, she gets an update on the local sports scene. Invariably my mother-in-law shares her opinion that local sports writers do not cover Russia sports as well as the other teams around the area. Maybe that’s why the Fish Report came into existence, who knows! But since she doesn’t have a computer, Fish Report stories (and this blog) have to come second hand, sometimes from my wife, but mostly from her son, Ken, who is co-host of Fish Report LIVE!

Her concerns brought to mind a story told by my cousin, who played basketball for Anna back in the early 60’s. His mother (my aunt) worked as a housekeeper for Fr. (later Msgr.) Lehman at Holy Angels church in Sidney during the Great Depression. While working there in town, she would routinely run into Zack Crusey, who had attended Holy Angels high school and also was a junior sports writer for the Sidney Daily News. Zack was constantly asking my aunt to go on a date, but she never accepted, apparently because Zack was a tad shorter than she was!

My aunt eventually married a taller fellow from McCartyville and they had 7 boys, a bunch of six-footers who played basketball for Anna. And Zack Crusey became an award-winning sports writer, renowned for his familiar by-line Speaking of Sports. Zack was named to the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2013. And similar to my mother-in-law, my cousins always complained about the lack of Anna sports coverage in the SDN, blaming Zack because way back when, he got stood up by their mother!

Zack died in 1977, after 46 years at the Sidney Daily News. He did marry a wonderful lady named Dorothy Yinger in 1937, who survived Zack by over 30 years. They had three children.


Congratulations to Ken Barhorst, current SDN sports editor, for being elected to the Hall of Fame in Zack’s footsteps. For sure, both Zack and Ken are outstanding sportswriters in their own right; however, I’ll venture to say the quality of sports in Shelby County gave these great writers the perfect environment to excel.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Family Memorabilia - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A 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.

Family Memorabilia


Three of my uncles celebrated their birthdays recently at a party in Sun City, Florida, which fortunately I was able to attend. Turns out all their birthdays (and my mother’s) are around the same time of the year, so nine months earlier in May must have been a special “spring fling” time for my grandparents! My birthday uncle's ages are 84, 91 & 86, L to R in the photo above. Of course many stories were shared, but beyond the stories, the highlight was touring a spare bedroom in my uncle's home dedicated to family memorabilia and photos. It’s still work in progress, but the many items already displayed brought back so many memories and created some new ones. For example, my 91 year-old uncle worked for John Deere and was stationed all over the world on assignments. Along with their suitcases and baggage, the family transferred each time a Norway spruce that started out as a sampling 40 years ago. It's now planted behind my uncle’s home and is 50’ tall; see the photo below.



An even more amazing part of the story is that on the very day my uncle’s dear wife died in 2007, the spruce tree sprouted the cross at the tip shown on the next photo. And over 20 years prior to her death, one of their son’s recorded a song for his mother and sent her a cassette tape of the song for Mother’s Day. Just recently, her grandson, Scott, who is the tallest member of the Grammy award winning acappella group Pentonix, added his voice to the track and created a duet song decades apart. Click here to listen to the song.


Also included in the family memorabilia room were the service records of all my uncles that I’ve already written about in a Veteran’s Day blog. Plus the amazing photo below of a family reunion on the farm that had been in the family for 110 years. The reunion was held that year because the 100 acre farm was about to be sold as unfortunately nobody in the family wanted to operate the farm; a similar saga suffered by countless other small farms in the area that were originally settled and cleared by our ancestors.




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