Column: Line Drives — Wrestling ability got taken down

[This is my column in the Feb. 24 issue of The Commercial Review.]

One of the first ways we learn as infants is by watching our parents.

The same can be true with learning to play sports. We watch others throw a football, swing a bat or shoot a basketball.

Our eyes are the first way we learn new tasks or new skills; by seeing someone else do it.

Many times, the thought “Hey, I can do that!” springs up in our minds, leading us to try something new.

Even as we age, that thought still pops up now and again.

It’s how I recently took up running.

It’s also what took me to the wrestling room at Jay County High School on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday completed my fourth season covering high school wrestling, and after watching hundreds of matches during that time, the thought “Hey, I can do that!” popped into my head.

Well, I can’t.

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Column: Line Drives — Being in right spot is half the battle

[This is my column in the Dec. 29 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“Awesome picture.”

“Great photo.”

“Perfect shot.”

Those are just a few of the comments I’ve gotten in the last couple years on photos I’ve taken.

But I’ll admit: Getting those pictures has more to do with Lady Luck than it does my abilities as a photographer.

Half the battle behind a good sports photo is being in the right place at the right time.

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Column: Line Drives — Question from a fan was a surprise

[This is my column in the Nov. 19 issue of The Commercial Review.]

It was a question that caught me off guard.

Saturday in Monroeville, the Jay County High School girls basketball team had just finished beating the host Heritage Patriots.

It was the second win in as many games — also the second game I covered this winter sports season — and the eighth consecutive regular season Allen County Athletic Conference victory for Jay County.

Usually I’m the one asking the questions following a game. Sometimes, I even catch the athletes off guard with one of my inquiries.

The table was turned Saturday.

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Column: Line Drives — Jay not a team for others to overlook

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

This was supposed to be the year.

It was going to be the season the Jay County High School volleyball team finally broke through and won the program’s first sectional in more than a decade.

All the pieces were in place.

It returned its top five players from last year in seniors Abby Wendel, Kylie Osborne and Ava Kunkler, and juniors Lizzy Schoenlein and Abby Barcus.

A fourth senior, Emilie Walter, and a host of other players — juniors Britlyn Dues, Alli Campbell, Katie Lyons, as well as sophomores Chloe Trissel and Kaelyn Weaver — were hoping to build off the most wins (24) in the two decades Fred Medler has coached the Patriots.

After a devasting loss to Homestead in the sectional semifinal last season, Jay County had its sights set on returning to the sectional championship match for the second time in three years.

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Column: Line Drives — Talking after defeat is difficult

[This is my column in the Oct. 15 issue of The Commercial Review.]

“This is the hard one.”

That’s what I said to Jay County High School girls soccer coach Giles Laux moments after his Patriot squad lost to Yorktown in the sectional championship Saturday afternoon.

He had no words.

Hours later, again at Yorktown Sports Park, I stood between seniors Nathan Heitkamp and Colton Compton to speak with them about their heartbreaking defeat in penalty kicks to the Tigers in their sectional final.

“What’s going through your head right now?” I asked.

They had no words.

All three of them had to fight back emotion. Laux, whose team had won back-to-back sectional championships — Abby Champ coached it to the 2013 title — was able to hide behind his sunglasses. The others were not.

They just looked away.

Laux and I had to continue the interview a few minutes later.

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Column: Line Drives — Soccer game was far from boring

[This is my column in the Oct. 8 issue of The Commercial Review.]

Jay County wasn’t supposed to win.

It was shut out in the season opener against Muncie Central, which had dismantled each of its three sectional foes — Jay County included — during the regular season.

After 40 minutes Wednesday at Yorktown Sports Park, the Class 2A Sectional 15 semifinal between the Jay County High School boys soccer team and the Muncie Central Bearcats was following the unofficial script.

Muncie Central scored 12 minutes into the game and was controlling the tempo, and Jay County spent the majority of its time in the defensive third of the field.

The Patriots’ chances came and went quickly, they weren’t able to sustain possession and before they knew it they were hurrying back on defense.

Opportunities for the Bearcats came in droves while the Patriots went almost a half hour without pressuring Muncie Central goalkeeper Tyler Wood.

Then the buzzer sounded, putting an end to the first half.
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Column: Line Drives — Apology nice, but not needed

[This is my column in the Aug. 27 issue of The Commercial Review.]

In sports, apologies aren’t necessary.

Coaches don’t need to apologize for being particularly hard on a player.

They want the best out of their players, and they will try to push them to become better athletes.

Players, if mistakes are made, don’t need to say they are sorry for doing something wrong.

After all, they’re just kids anyway. Kids aren’t perfect.

The blunder will be used as a learning experience, something the athlete can be sure to never do again.

Last week, I was wrong.
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