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 — 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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Column: Line Drives — Losing streak could end Friday

[This is my column in the Aug. 20 issue of The Commercial Review.]

The streak may come to an end Friday night.

It’s been more than two decades since the Jay County High School football team beat Delta on the gridiron.

(Yes, the Patriots were credited with a win in 2011, but only after Delta was found to have used an ineligible player. The Eagles won that game, 55-0).

The last victory in the series for Jay County dates back to 1993, a 27-21 win. But, it ended up a loss because of a forfeit for the same reason.

The previous season the scoreboard read 36-19 at the end of the game in favor of Jay County.

Twenty-four years.

Twenty-four consecutive losses.

Friday, that number may not reach 25.
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Column: Line Drives — Jay will compete for ACAC titles

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

The elephant is no longer in the room.

Now that Leo High School has moved to the Northeast Eight Conference, let’s talk about Allen County Athletic Conference.

It was supposed to be a cakewalk for Jay County, the biggest school in the conference.

At least, that’s what many people were saying leading up to Jay County’s inaugural season in the ACAC.

The Patriots compete in 20 sports, and all but one — gymnastics — have a conference affiliation.

But after a full year of competing in the ACAC, only two Patriot teams are defending conference championships.

Two.

And they both came from the same sports season.

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