If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s to treasure what you have right now and appreciate the world around you, even as we continue dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the craziness that’s come with it.
That was thrown into stark relief this week as multiple OHSAA playoff football games were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, including Lima Central Catholic-Delphos St. John’s, Wapakoneta-Hamilton Badin and Oak Harbor-Elyria Catholic and most notably on Friday afternoon, Edgerton and Lima Perry.
What this means coming up for volleyball, cross country and tennis tournament matchups is undetermined but for kids to have gone through so much in the last calendar year and then to still have this virus taking things away is both infuriating and heartbreaking.
I don’t want to minimize the impact, pretend it’s not happening or just try to change the subject, but one of the things I’ve learned since March is that while keeping an eye on the world’s developments and staying informed is important, another thing is just as important.
I’ve heard the complaint of news, both national and local, that all you ever hear is bad news or negative stories. That’s a conversation for another day, but I do understand the underlying point that seeing the positives in the world has an impact and shouldn’t be forgotten.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
One example was a fun fact in the research I did for a preview of the state golf tournaments this weekend. Wauseon junior Andy Scherer earned an individual spot in the Division II state tournament, a notable achievement on its own.
What makes it even more notable is that 31 years ago, Andy’s father Mike was on the D-II state third-place Wauseon team that competed in Columbus in 1989.
(Sorry for that 31 up there, Mike.)
Having an achievement like that to share between father and son, between generations of Wauseon athletes, is the kind of thing that makes you root even harder for success.
Another is the joy that came in last week’s first round of the football postseason.
I was in Bay Village for Defiance’s D-III playoff game against the Bay Rockets, two-plus hours away from home. People can scoff and say “It’s not a real playoff game, everyone gets in this year” and complain about “participation trophy culture” but the utter joy on the Bulldog players and coaches’ faces after earning their first win of the season was something that struck me on a personal level.
I’m sure it was the same way in Waynesfield when Antwerp earned its first win of the Jason Hale era in a 20-17 nailbiter over Waynesfield-Goshen or when Stryker picked up its first win against Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic not long ago.
Sure, put a footnote on the term “playoff win” if you want, but the impact that a night like that can have on kids is undeniable.
Here’s some other thoughts I’ve had about the sports scene recently:
• We ran a story in early September about the Toledo Glass City Basketball Club, which hopes to begin play later this year under the direction of Napoleon grad David Zamora and with former Defiance College All-American Anthony Pettaway.
At that point, rosters had not been set, but recently the team announced the players it has signed for the upcoming season and there’s some familiar faces for area hoops fans. Most notably, former Defiance High School state champion Katwan Singleton signed with the team, along with former Defiance College hooper Allen Tigner (Port Clinton High School) and Toledo City Player of the Year and D-I collegian Clemmye Owens of Toledo Rogers.
To me, it doesn’t matter what level sports are being competed on when they provide local opportunities like this. Best wishes to Katwan, David, Anthony and the GCBC!
• Jake Furr of the Mansfield News Journal wrote an excellent three-part series of stories examining the Northwest District Athletic Board’s handling of the Galion District in cross country. Check it out for yourself, but the main crux of the story is that the Galion District, similar to the Columbus Grove District, splits the fields up into four races for the Division III boys and girls (two for each gender).
Even with the OHSAA’s amendment to allow up to 180 runners in a single race, a raise from 150, the Galion District still is using a seeding system for the races that has often caused teams with times and points that would be regional-worthy to miss out because of the two-race system.
The frustration is doubled by the fact that nearly two dozen coaches expressed a desire to change the setup, the NWDAB has ignored those requests and kept the format for this season. Most of our area runners compete at Ottawa in a one-race format and avoid this headache.
• I flipped through channels Thursday evening and happened upon Louisiana high school football on ESPN featuring Isidore Newman School and their sophomore QB with a familiar name — Arch Manning.
Named after his grandfather and the son of Cooper Manning, the older brother of some guys named Peyton and Eli, Arch Manning is the newest phenom prospect that we’ll be hearing from. He totaled four touchdowns in a 55-22 win and made some eye-popping throws, so I don’t think it’s a situation of over-hyping yet, but what I do know is that I remember Eli Manning playing for Ole Miss in the early 2000s and the fact that his nephew is now a high schooler playing on national TV makes me feel way older than only 28.
• Congratulations go out to coach Alison Ciolek and the Fairview Apaches volleyball team for winning the Green Meadows Conference championship on Thursday evening. The schedules and results set up Thursday’s league finale as a battle of state-ranked 6-0 GMC opponents and the result was Fairview’s first league title in nearly 20 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate sustained excellence from programs and believe it should be strived for and recognized when it does happen. However, seeing a title drought get snapped and the realization of a program’s dreams come to fruition is special as well. Congrats Apaches!
• Finally, this weekend’s paper will be the last one without Big Ten football coming up. Ohio State will host Nebraska on Saturday, Oct. 24 while Michigan plays at Minnesota in prime-time and the rest of the conference kicks off action.
I’ve enjoyed some of the games I’ve seen from other conferences like the SEC and Sun Belt over the last few weeks, but nothing tops a spot in the recliner on a fall afternoon with my wife’s excellent chili on the stovetop, a frosty beverage on a coaster beside me and some smashmouth football on my television as the leaves turn and sweatshirts become necessary.
MAC-tion won’t be far behind as Wednesday, Nov. 4 will bring a six-game league slate. Assistant sports editor Randy Roberts’ beloved Toledo Rockets will host rival Bowling Green in week one, kicking off a slate of some fun football on November weekdays.