Tuesday, April 24, 2018

HS Track - 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

HS Track

FISH REPORT does such a great job covering high school track; so I thought maybe sharing some of my high school exploits with that sport may be of interest! Track and field at Ft. Loramie High, as it was called back in the ’60’s, was rather an after-thought sport. Basically, an announcement would come over the loud speaker inviting all high school boys to meet after school to practice for the upcoming county track meet. There was no girl's team till years later after Title IX legislation. Literally the county track meet was the only event of the entire season, so needless to say we made a rather poor showing. Houston always had the best track team in the county back them, as they had and still do have a wonderful track facility next to the school along SR66.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning Minster’s girls track led by renowned coach Katie Horstman that started shortly after my time in high school. During the 50’s, Katie was a star baseball player in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League commemorated in the 1992 Tom Hanks and Geena Davis movie “League of Their Own”, which may soon be turned into a TV series. This excerpt about Katie from Wikipedia says it all:
After attaining a college degree, Katie returned to her hometown of Minster, where she initiated girls sports programs, including volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, track and field, cross country and softball. By 1980, she focused her coaching on track and cross country. For the next five years, her girls teams never lost a track meet. After being runner-up State Champions in 1975, the inaugural year of girls track and field, her track team won five consecutive state championships (eight overall). She also guided her cross-country running squad to two state championships.
Horstman has been named Midwest Athletic Conference League Coach in all sports numerous times, and has been inducted in five hall of fames in baseball and track. In 1988, she attended to the opening of a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York that honors those who were part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She gained induction in the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, and also is the first woman honored in the Ohio Track Hall of Fame and the first woman elected into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.[13]
Horstman has been widely recognized for her coaching skills and by opening doors for women in sports. In total, her teams have won seven state high school track meets and have been runner up four times; has won one state high school cross country championship; has won all 12 track and five cross country conference meets; has won 11 track and two cross country district/regionals, and has coached 29 individual state high school track meet champions.
Katie’s indeed a legend! And that legacy continues as Minster won the 2017 girls cross country state championship last fall.


Let’s shift gears back to my track specialties (that’s a stretch), which were the field events of pole vault, high jump and long (back then politically incorrect broad) jump. I defaulted to them because of being tall and lanky, without much speed for the sprint competition or heft for the shot put, while not motivated to get in shape for the distance races. I distinctly recall the makeshift area for the field events next to the 1st base foul line of the baseball diamond about where the current Ft. Loramie elementary stands today.

The baseball team was practicing at the same time and deliberately punched foul balls our way to disrupt our bumbling track team. But after baseball practice was completed, several players came over to give track & field a try.


The landing areas for the field events were filled with sawdust that got in all the wrong places, if you get my drift. The stuff was always wet from spring rains. Indeed the landing areas were pits dug into the earth rather than the raised and cushioned pads today. Literally the fall was further than the jump, which in my case really wasn’t very far given my lack of skills. The pole used for vaulting was a thick aluminum rod that had no flexibility whatsoever and was usually slippery from falling on the wet grass or sawdust. It was really a challenge to get some height, especially since the indentation where the pole was planted just prior to the jump was a small hand dug hole in the ground that was easy to miss. The high jump technique was a traditional scissors-style jump in the pre-Fosbury Flop days.

The long jump was my best event, primarily because I could leap decently (thanks to basketball) and didn’t have to deal with a pole vault or high jump bar so flimsy and light the wind would sometimes blow it off. In the County meet, I recall not being able to clear the initial height for both the pole vault and high jump events. Maybe I should have passed on the first round or two to psych out my opponents! With the long jump, avoiding a fault was the only real challenge. So that event provided my greatest track and field achievement, by not coming in last! No long jump medals for me, but at least I got beyond the initial round, unlike pole vault and high jump. In fact, I don’t recall the winners even getting medals, but probably I left the meet in disappointment before the medal ceremonies!

Ft. Loramie high school’s website includes records for all the various sports and I noticed the oldest track record was in 1968 for the 100 meter dash at 10.9 seconds by my cousin Tom who was three grades behind me. He was indeed quite a speedster. I also remember a younger kid built like a fireplug from Houston who could really throw the shot put way beyond anybody else. Looking at Houston's track records, I noticed the shot put record holder is Steve Pence in 1968 with a throw of 50’2”, likely the same guy, no doubt even bigger and stronger as a senior when he made that record-setting shot - or is it put?.

My track escapades are nothing compared these record holders or even more so, to today’s outstanding athletes, as evidenced by Ft. Loramie boys track school records being broken during the 2017 season in 7 of the 17 events. Go Redskins!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tax Day - 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

Tax Day

Today is Tax Day and as usual, I’m running right to the deadline. My regular tax guy retired, so the return is now being prepared by a young lady who’s been a stickler for details. I keep telling her this is the way we’ve always done the return and have never been audited, but she still wants the extra documentation. The most recent debacle was about quantifying the value of our non-cash donations to the Salvation Army. 

For years, a list of such donations was created plus a photograph of the lot was taken, then I’d guesstimate the overall resale shop value for the deduction. Now she wants me to estimate the specific resale value of each and every item. Maybe it’s because we’re in the process of clearing out the accumulated clutter in our home, so the list has gotten quite long.

With all these tax matters on my mind, I had a dream the other night related to donations. The dream was about a guy named John Beresford Tipton, a person I hadn’t heard or thought about since the 50’s while growing up. He was a philanthropist on a TV show called “The Millionaire”. Tipton would anonymously donate $1 million tax-free to people in need, and each show would depict how that individual reacted to the windfall. The show’s premier episode can be viewed at this link, which explains the premise behind the donations and the impact on the first donee.

Enough dreaming, reminiscing and blogging; back to the tax grind as the deadline is fast approaching. Where’s John Beresford Tipton with some tax-free cash when you need him?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Kite Flying - 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

Kite Flying

This is the time of year in the spring as kids growing up on the farm that we'd always fly kites. I’d save my allowance to buy an American Flyer kite , which meant it had to be assembled, with two sticks making up the frame, paper with the flag design on it to cover the frame and a roll of string. The makeshift tail was created from old rags, the length of which had to be varied depending on the strength of the wind.

The wind each spring would generally be strong enough to fly even old rickety kites, but also typically gusty so the kite sometimes would come crashing to the ground and break apart. That meant getting the duct tape out to make the repairs and trying to get the repaired kite to fly again. So eventually it finally was beyond repair and not wanting to spend my valuable allowance money on another kite, I went about trying to make a kite from scratch using tree branches and newspaper.

Needless to say, these homemade kites never flew quite as well as the original, so soon we lost interest as the weather improved and the winds died down. Besides, it was time for spring time chores around the farm, and more importantly, baseball!

I do recall one year having enough allowance money to splurge on a box kite, which for some reason unbeknownst to me to this day, seemed to fly better than a conventional kite. It could fly really high to the point where there was not enough string, so we’d patch another roll to the kite and let it fly out further. That meant the string took forever to roll up, so we created a kite winder out of wood from scratch to more quickly bring in our kites.

One year, I recall we hung the kite winder over a fence post and let the kite fly all night. To our astonishment, it was still flying strong in the morning but the wind had shifted so it was flying right over the barn barely clearing the lightening rods on the roof!

Speaking of lightening rods, Ben Franklin was undoubtedly the most famous kite flyer of all time. As we learned in grade school history (hope they still teach that story), back on June 10, 1752, during a thunder storm, ole Ben flew a kite with a brass key hanging on the string acting as a conductor to prove that lightening is made up of electrical energy which can flow through a conductor made up of the wet string and key. The experiment was successful and fortunately did not kill Franklin, as he had other things to accomplish later in life. Click on this link for more interesting information on Ben Franklin and his research.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Girls Track & Field: What I'm watching at Saturday's Anna Invitational...

Of course I'm hoping the weather doesn't cancel this meet. If so, it would be the first time since 2007. Speaking of 2007, the Minster girls won the Anna Invitational the following year in 2008 and every year since. That's nine straight and if that's not enough, they've captured 16 of the last 17 titles. So, it makes perfect sense they're the top team I'm watching tomorrow and here's why:

Emma Watcke - The last time I saw this sophomore run was last June when she won a 1600 meter state title as a freshman. Emma's time that day was a personal record 5:01.08. The Anna Invite record in the 1600 was set back in 2004 by another Minster runner, Sunni Olding, who clocked a 5:00.2. There's no telling what events coach Jessie Magoto might have Emma running on Saturday, but the 1600 would be fun to watch. Whatever she does, Emma will compete.

Madeline Magoto - With the graduation of Kennedey Glover from Anna (now Division II) and Grace York from Russia, Madeline Magoto is now Ohio's top 800 meter runner in Division III. The Minster junior's PR is 2:15.07 and she also holds the current Anna Invitational record of 2:22.66.  Madeline's biggest competition this season might just come from a teammate. Senior Cassie Francis has a 2:13.8 on her resume from freshman year when she won a regional title, and last year recorded a 2:16.84 finishing 9th at state.

Madeline Magoto and Cassie Francis are two 800 meter stars

Paige Thobe - The multi-talented senior epitomizes the definition of track and field. She can fly in the sprints and her best event is the long jump where she owns a PR of 17-6.75. The Anna Invitational record is 16-8, set by Mya Francis of Minster in 2015, and I expect to see that record shattered on Saturday.

The Best of the Rest:

Rachel & Hannah Shoemaker - The sisters from Anna are half of the foursome that won a team state championship for the Lady Rockets in Columbus last spring. Rachel is a senior and Hannah is a junior, and I expect a lot of confidence from them in this 2018 season. Rachel is the better sprinter and will challenge for wins in the 100 and 200 sprints tomorrow. Hannah can blaze in the 300 hurdles where her personal best is 45.91. That means the Anna Invite record of 47.20 set by Jenny Enel of Waynesfield Goshen in 2002 is in real jeopardy.

Hannah Shoemaker could turn some heads in the 300 hurdles

Paige Jones
- Yea, the same Paige Jones that's going to Michigan for volleyball. 400 meter quickness runs in her family. The senior broke her sister Taylor's 400 record at New Bremen and Taylor previously broke her mom Staci's 400 record also at New Bremen. If Paige runs the 400 on Saturday she will likely be challenged by a number of Minster competitors, but with a 58.23 PR, Paige is one to watch all season long.

Emily Bohman - The Russia senior in on radars all over Ohio this year. She's the second best pole vaulter returning in Division III with a record of 11-6. That same height also happens to be the Anna Invitational record set back in 2012 by Kayla Wuebker of Minster. You won't find a harder worker than Emily. She pole vaults year round and is focused on making 2018 her best season ever.

Emily Bohman looks forward to new heights this spring

Grace Homan - Throwers never seem to get much respect. During the regular season they typically start an hour before the crowd shows up for running events and at the state meet you have to cross the street to watch them compete. Grace Homan deserves respect. The Botkins junior is my favorite to win both the discus and shot tomorrow, although her best event is the latter, where she's a two-time state qualifier. Do yourself a favor and show up an hour early tomorrow.

Participating teams at Saturday's Anna Invitational include: Anna, Botkins, Fairlawn, Houston, Lehman Catholic, Liberty Center, Miami Valley School, Minster, New Bremen, New Knoxville, and Russia.

For everything else you need to know, click here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Masters Memories - 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

Masters Memories

The Masters golf tournament starts Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club. Having attended twice, and of course watching it on TV every year, the event is always the highlight of my (and many others) golfing season. The first time attending in person was in 2000; my wife and I were there on Thursday and Friday, staying at a home near the course that for the week of the event, was a quasi-bed and breakfast.

In other words, the home owners rented out rooms in their place to us as well as another couple traveling with us. During our stay, we were treated as if members of their family. The package included wonderful home-cooked meals, since all the local restaurants were booked solid. Pick-up and drop-off transportation to the course was provided and of course the package included tickets to the event. What a way to experience Augusta for the first time!

Augusta National was founded by amateur golfer Bobby Jones (L) and designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie (R), both pictured above. The course opened in 1933 to worldwide acclaim that has grown with each passing year. The aerial photos below show the course now and when it opened in 1933.

Back to that 2000 Masters, we had the privilege of attending the opening ceremonies at the first tee early Thursday morning where the legendary golfers shown below, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead, were the honorary starters.

In more recent years, the honorees at the ceremonial first tee have been Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, now one short after Arnie’s death in 2016.

My second trip to the Masters was with my brother in 2006, but this time we went on Sunday to see the final round. If I recall, we stayed at a hotel miles away to avoid the crowds. The best part was witnessing Phil Michelson make a putt on the 18th hole to win the Masters for the second time. The photo below captures the moment, and just to the left of Phil’s head highlighted with the red line is me with the sun glasses tipping my hat to the big winner. My brother was standing to my left so was unfortunately blocked by Phil’s head! We discovered this photo when we stopped for lunch at a restaurant the next day on our way back. The photograph headlined the sports page from the local newspaper, which my brother found taped above the urinal when he went to the restroom.

My brother and I have on our bucket list a third trip to the Masters someday, this time with our sons. We’d like to see a practice round on Wednesday and watch the par three contest. Our names have been in the ticket lottery for years and if we're ever drawn, off we'll go with our sons for one more trip down Magnolia Lane.

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