Column: Line Drives — Selvey got his team of heroes, not farm animals

[This is my column in the June 13 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Lea Selvey said it last week.

No farm animals.

Whether win or lose, he hoped to see a hero or two.

No goat, though. And sure as heck not a herd of them.

As the Jay County High School baseball team walked off the field Saturday at Municipal Stadium in Kokomo following its 13-2, five-inning loss to top-ranked Andrean in the Class 3A semi-state championship, any number of the Patriots could have felt like the four-legged mammal.

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A 2017 that was, and a 2018 that will be

A new year is upon us and it brings great excitement for many reasons.

First, it’s a chance to start anew in the coming year. A fresh start. An “I’ll stick with my resolutions this time,” feeling.

It also allows us to reflect on what’s happened in the previous 365 (or 366) days. We can reminisce fondly of the good times and learn from the bad.

The past year was — and we seem to throw this adjective around haphazardly — one of the best for me, both personally and professionally.

I made big life changes. I experienced new things. I photographed rare events, started hobbies and continued others.

And it’s the things I didn’t do that will help better me for 2018.

Here’s a look back at my favorite moments from 2017.

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Repeat finalist

Two days later and I’m still struggling to find the right words.

During the  2017 Hoosier State Press Newsroom Seminar & Better Newspaper Contest Awards Luncheon on Saturday in Indianapolis, I repeated as having the best sports action photo in Division 3 (dailies with circulation less than 6,000).

The photo, which is below, was selected as the photo of the year finalist for its division.

(I also won first place in sports commentary for my weekly column, “Line Drives.” It was my first HSPA award for column writing.)

In 2016, I was awarded first place by the Hoosier State Press Association for three photos. One of those — best feature photo — was selected as a photo of the year finalist.

I was also runner up for spot news photo.

Those honors came as a surprise to me considering I think of myself a writer first, a photographer second.

Not the other way around.

In 2011 I graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelors degree in journalism with a concentration on news writing. I also minored in sports management, knowing very well I wanted to be a sports writer.

I was required to take a photography class as part of my major, and had dabbled in the hobby post graduation. It was never really a passion of mine, because I didn’t think I’d use the skill at a professional level. But when I began my career at The Commercial Review in July 2013, I was required to take pictures to accompany my stories.

And recent events have forced me to reconsider my evaluation of myself, and my feeling toward photography.

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Column: Line Drives — Record career almost didn’t happen

[This is my column in the Nov. 3 issue of The Commercial Review.]

He wasn’t going to play football as a freshman.

A three-sport athlete, he much prefers a baseball diamond to the gridiron.

More than four years later, Cole Stigleman is thankful he chose to play football.

“I’m so glad I didn’t (step away),” said Stigleman, a Jay County High School senior. “Football is an awesome sport.”

But after leaving West Jay Middle School after eighth grade, he thought about calling it quits.

“It is just crazy that I thought of even stopping playing,” he said.

This isn’t just about him making a life-changing decision to play. This is about how he became the most prolific runner in school history.

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The best gift ever

In 2003, my grandfather, John Edward Frawley, passed away. It was the first time I had ever experienced a death in the family.

After his death at 76, the only thing I wanted was the flag that was draped on his casket as he was a member of the United States Army. My mother and her four siblings agreed to give me the flag.

I’ve had it since then, but it was tucked away in a vacuum bag to protect it. For more than a decade I had been casually looking at getting a case for it with a plaque commemorating his time in the service at the tail end of World War II.

For various reasons, just never got it done.
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Column: Line Drives — Heroes helped hurting half

[This is my column in the Sept. 28 issue of The Commercial Review.]

At some point in our lives, we’ve all come across a hero.

We may have seen them on TV, throwing a football, blasting a baseball or making a championship-clinching hoop.

Perhaps they were wearing a different type of uniform.

A firefighter rescuing us — or friends, or family — from a blaze. Maybe it’s a police officer or a paramedic pulling us or a loved one out of an automobile accident.

It could even be a medical professional who helped with rehabilitation, or a doctor who discovers an affliction before it worsens, or a surgeon who saves a life.

There are even fictional heroes. Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman.

But heroes don’t always wear masks or capes.

More often than not, they don’t even have a uniform. They’re just everyday citizens coming to aide someone in need.

I gained two heroes Saturday.

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Column: Line Drives — Defense is no place for a newbie

[This is my column in the Aug. 31 issue of The Commercial Review.]

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The thought popped into my head again.

“Do I have what it takes to play [insert sport here]?”

I had to find out.

In February, I found myself on the mat — both literally and figuratively — wrestling Gaven Hare, then a Jay County High School junior who a week earlier participated in the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals.

Long story short, I got whooped.

But I had to know.

Do I have what it takes to play, say, soccer? How about volleyball? Can I swim 500 yards?

Over the course of this school year, I hope to answer those questions, and more.

I was a two-sport athlete growing up. I played football in the fall and baseball in the summer.

But I didn’t delve much into the other sports.

Until now.

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