Flags, banners, and a pink slip

Shots in the Darke


I’m writing this column a little earlier than planned as the rains of Florida have postponed this year’s edition of the Daytona 500 by 24 hours. With the delay in the most important race on the NASCAR schedule there will be an unprecedented doubleheader Monday with the Xfinity series race (postponed from Saturday) taking the flag first in the morning with the 66th running of the 500 set to go later in the afternoon. All of you “motorheads” will have to wait to see the checkered flags wave!!

With the ending of the regular seasons for most high school conferences it’s time to honor the champions of the various sports beginning with the Miami Valley League. In boys basketball Tipp claimed the Miami Division title with a 17-1 league mark while Sidney took the Valley Division with a 13-5 record. In girls action it was Butler in the Miami with a 15-3 posting and once again Sidney in the Valley, also at 15-3.

Butler also claimed league best overall marks in wrestling and boys swimming as well as the Miami title in girls bowling. Troy set the pace in girls swimming and the Miami division in boys bowling while Sidney won Valley honors in both boys and girls bowling.

What a great boys basketball game was played Friday night at the Patriot Activity Center in New Madison! With the Western Ohio Athletic Conference championship at stake, a sellout crowd witnessed Preble Shawnee’s Arrows hit foul shots down the stretch to hold off home standing Tri-Village by a 49-35 count. With the win the Arrows completed an undefeated 11-0 league season with T-V second at 10-1 and Franklin-Monroe third at 9-2.

In WOAC girls play, Tri-Village went 11-0 to best Mississinawa Valley which finished 10-1, the only loss coming by one point to the Lady Patriots early in the season. Both teams appear to be on a collision course to a third-round pairing in the D-IV tournament on Wednesday the 28th at Versailles.

In the Southwestern Buckeye League division boys roundball champions were Oakwood in the Buckeye and Franklin in the Southwestern while on the girls side it was Waynesville and Bellbrook respectively. Three Rivers Conference action was dominated by the Troy Christian boys and Miami East girls. In the Greater Western Ohio Conference perennial power Centerville led boys play with the Lady Panthers of Springboro garnering girls honors.

The Midwest Athletic Conference website is a week behind as of this writing so I can’t bring you the latest updated standings. The MAC also uses a different format than other leagues which makes it, in my opinion, a lot harder to inform viewers and fans of the latest statistics, etc.

One of the best times of the year on the high school scene is underway with sectional action taking place in the various sports. Girls basketball started this past week with boys play starting this week along with wrestling, swimming, and bowling. Be sure to stay aware of the various games, locations, and times of different contests of interest to you!

From the odds and ends department comes these thought-provoking items:

2024 will see over 4.1 million Americans turning 65 years of age, over 11,200 per day, the most ever in US history. Boomer Power!!

Sad news with the passing of former Reds pitcher Don Gullett at age 73. The lefthander from northern Kentucky was a three-sport high school phenomenon who made the big leagues after only 11 minor league starts. One of the anchors of the ‘75 and ‘76 World Champion Reds pitching staff he posted an overall record of 109-50 with a 3.11 ERA in nine seasons, seven with the Reds and two with the Yankees. A rotator cuff injury ended his career prematurely; with today’s surgical procedures he most likely would have continued to pitch with a possible Hall of Fame nomination. One of the principal members of the Big Red Machine, Don Gullett!!

From the Wall Street Journal comes this item; About 55 million US households still pay for
traditional television, down from a peak of about 100 million a decade ago. YouTubeTV, Fubo TV, and other streaming services that offer live TV have a combined 18 million subscribers. Peacock (Peacock!) has begun streaming selected Big Ten ballgames while Apple and Prime have made inroads into NFL and college telecasts. And I was just getting used to Netflix and Direct TV!!

Goodby Chris Holtmann—the former Buckeye head basketball coach was fired Wednesday with six regular season games remaining and a 4-10 mark in Big Ten play. Decreased attendance, an inability to win on the road, and the pressure of expectations not being met the past two seasons did in the former Butler coach after almost seven years at the helm of the Scarlet and Gray. It was inevitable as a new athletic director is coming to Columbus in a few months and most likely would have replaced Holtmann at that time.

Finally, new uniforms for major league players are on the way. The new gear is designed to improve performance and help players stay cool throughout games in the summer months. Nike has been designing MLB duds since 2020 but this is the first year for the Nike Vapor Premier jerseys. Supposedly the uniforms will improve mobility by providing 25% more stretch and will dry 28% faster. Early reaction by players has been unfavorable; as Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said, “I know everyone hates them”. We’ll find out if “clothes truly make a man” or make a breaking ball or 100-mph fastball easier to hit!! Have a great week, stay active and healthy!