Column: Line Drives — Tennis is much more difficult than it looks

[This is my column in the Oct. 16 issue of The Commercial Review.]

The IHSAA had its tennis state tournament last week.

Carmel, the No. 1 team in the state and two-time defending state champions, made it three in a row by defeating tournament host and third-ranked North Central on Saturday, 3-2.

On Monday, nearly 83 miles northeast of where the Greyhounds and Panthers battled, there was one more tennis match of the fall sports season.

And only one person was there to see it; most of it, anyway.

A chilly and windy afternoon didn’t make for the greatest tennis match between myself and Jay County High School senior Xavier Ninde, but it needed to be played in my quest to see how I stack up against the athletes half my age who I get to write about on a daily basis.

Tennis, as I quickly discovered, is much harder than it looks.

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Column: Line Drives — Teamwork made conversion possible

[This is my column in the Aug. 23 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Football is the epitome of a team sport.

There are 11 players, each with their own role working toward a common goal.

Offense: move the football down the field.

Defense: prevent it from happening.

Michael Schlechty, a Jay County High School senior, had just barreled through the Blackford defense for a 5-yard touchdown with 32.6 seconds remaining Friday to put the Patriot football team within one, 21-20.

Jay County coach Tim Millspaugh called a timeout before the ensuing two-point conversion.

There was little discussion. The Patriots were going for the lead.

Which play to run, however, was the question. Rather than call a play in the offensive arsenal, Millspaugh drew one up on the spot.

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My road to redemption

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Confucius

In my fitness journey, the most defeated I have ever felt was nearly one year ago, Sept. 23, 2018.

It’s the day I attempted my second half marathon in Celina. I succumbed to the record-breaking heat, suffered unbearable cramping in my lower legs and needed to be helped across the finish line.

Because of the unpredictable weather in September, I told myself I would never run the Grand Lake Half Marathon again. Instead, I would simply focus on one half marathon a year, May’s OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, for which I have now completed twice.

But since setting a new — albeit disappointing — PR this past May, I’ve had little to no motivation to run. At the time of this posting I’ve ran a total of 14 times for a mere 47.55 miles since May 5.

Only one of those runs had any sort of purpose.

I’ve also put on as many as 12 pounds since then and generally felt horrible. It’s definitely true that when you look good you feel good, and lately I haven’t had much self-confidence because I wasn’t doing as well in terms of dieting and exercise as I had in the past.

Needless to say, I’ve been slacking. Part of that, however, was a result of our two-week vacation to Ireland.

Simply put, though, I’ve had absolutely no motivation to run and there’s a reason why.

I’ve got “nothing” to work toward.

I am not training for a race. I’m not attempting to defend my age group title in the Run Jay County 5K Circuit (I’ve missed too many races already to qualify).

There’s been no reason to run.

Until now.

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Foreign fun: Our last seven days in Ireland

It was easy to blog at night for each of the first five days of our recent Ireland trip.

But as we rolled into the first weekend and the second week it became more and more difficult, because wifi was harder to come by.

Each of the first seven days were spent in Dublin, but only the first five had a post for each day.

Now that we are back stateside, both returned to work and we’ve had some time to decompress, please allow me to tell you about the final week of our trip.

Bear with me, this will be quite a long post. But there will be tons of goodies (photos!) to go with it.

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Dublin, day five — Nightlife

Turns out, the chances of me cutting it in a foreign city are pretty high.

Friday was a more low-key day in terms of things we had, or wanted, to get done.

After Thursday, Chrissy and I needed to sleep in a bit, so we got a later start to the day. Lauri joined us and we bussed into the City Centre and headed toward the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of a three-master barque used during the Irish potato famine.

img_3039-1While the exhibit itself didn’t have a lot to it, but the 50-minutes story the tour guide told us sure was interesting.

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Dublin, day four — Lost in the city

Remember when I said it was going to get busier?!

Chrissy and I left the apartment at 7:45 a.m. local (2:45 a.m. EDT) with John to catch the bus and the Luas (Irish for speed), a light rail system throughout Dublin.

Our first stop of the day was going through Phoenix Park to the Dublin Zoo.

A few stats about Phoenix Park, which will make another appearance later in our trip:

  • It is the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city
  • The Dublin Zoo is located here
  • It is twice the size of Central Park in New York City

We only went to Phoenix Park to go to the zoo. and we arrived a few minutes before it opened at 9:30 a.m.

It was a blast.

Following a two-hour excursion around the zoo, we got lost (this will be a common theme today) while looking for a City Sightseeing Dublin bus, which was included as part of our Dublin Pass we had bought on Wednesday.

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Dublin, day three — The best pint

When Chrissy and I started planning this trip, there were five main things I wanted to do.

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Guinness Brewery
  • Jameson Distillery
  • Irish Runner
  • Sporting event

One down, four to go.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed everything we’ve done thus far — it’s all been an added bonus and I’ve loved every minute of being over here — I just had a few things I really needed to experience.

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