Memorial Day Weekend already?

Shots in the Darke

Let’s take a look at a few items following “the week that was” here in the Greenville area after the tornado and subsequent damage and initial cleanup efforts. For those who haven’t had a chance to view the interviews with Greenville City Schools Superintendent Doug Fries,  Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker, and City Safety/Services Director Ryan Delk here on  MyCountyLink be sure to do so as they all did a great job of explaining the first few days after the storm and future plans as the City rebounds from the devastation of the City Park. 

What’s the hottest and toughest ticket to get in ‘Nap Town this week? If you answered a seat to see Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever, close but no cigar. The Indy 500? Not with up to 250,000 race fans expected to attend. How about those Indiana Pacers as they move into the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA playoffs and square off with the top-seeded Boston Celtics! Coach Rick Carlisle’s crew was victorious over the New York Knicks in games six and seven to advance in convincing fashion and bring joy to the rabid fans of the Hoosier state.  Don’t count out the underdog Pacers as they play an entertaining brand of high-scoring basketball! 

Speaking of Indianapolis, the starting grid is set for this year’s version of the “Greatest  Spectacle in Motor Racing”. When the flag drops Sunday, the front row of 33 racers will find Scott McLaughlin on the pole, with the aptly named Will Power occupying the second position and defending champion Josef Newgarden on the outside. Here’s the first of two trivia questions—can you name at least three of the four drivers who share the record for most Indy wins? 

Once again there will be no Triple Crown winner this spring as Kentucky Derby winner  Mystik Dan finished second in The Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore. Seize the Grey took home a comfortable wire-to-wire win by 2 1/4 lengths on a sloppy track to claim the black-eyed susans and dismay thoroughbred fans across the country. With the grueling 1 1/2 mile  Belmont Stakes replaced this year by a 1 1/4 mile distance at Saratoga Race Course due to the renovation of Belmont Park outside of New York City, it will be interesting to see how many horses enter the starting gate June 8th. Here’s the second trivia question—within three, how many 3-year-olds have won the Triple Crown? As a bonus, who was the last to claim all three titles? 

High school tournament action has reached the regional stage in softball and track and field following district meets and games. Locally the Lady Patriots of Tri-Village, the Lady Redskins of Fort Loramie, and the MInster Lady Wildcats claimed district titles in D-IV to advance to the regional semifinals Wednesday afternoon at Northmont High School. The Lady Vikings of  Miami East move on in D-III in the Centerville regional while Greenville’s Lady Wave, coming off of their16th district title in the past 18 years, face off with Springfield Kenton Ridge Wednesday at Wright State University. 

Local teams still alive in baseball include defending state champion Russia, Twin Valley  South, Newton, Tri-County North, Bradford, Fort Loramie, Covington, and Troy Christian in D IV; Versailles, Anna, Brookville, and Arcanum in D-III; Tippecanoe and Bethel in D-II; and  Vandalia-Butler and Troy in D-I. The right to move on to next week’s regional play will be decided in all divisions this week, so let’s hope for good weather!

In both boy’s and girls’ track and field, several teams claimed district titles with this week’s regional meets to determine what individuals and teams advance to the state meet on May 31st and June 1st. This year’s meet will be held at Welcome Stadium in Dayton as the track at  Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State is being removed this month and replaced later this summer. The top four individuals and relay teams in each regional event earn the right to perform at the state championships. Good luck to all contestants, hopefully personal records are in the offing for everyone! 

High school commencements are upcoming over the next week or two with Tri-Village  already holding ceremonies this Sunday the 19th. Lots of graduation parties and cap tosses  on the docket, congratulations to all grads and families! 

Speaking of commencements, I spent all day Saturday down at Oxford, assisting with Miami University graduation events. It seems that either the graduates are getting younger or I’m getting older, probably a little bit of both! The featured speaker at Yager Stadium was a ‘96  graduate who is currently the CEO of Chipotle—he probably gave one of the most relevant addresses I’ve heard in years, almost made me want to go back to the ‘70s and start over. Fortunately, I quickly came to my senses and got rid of that thought!! 

Here are the answers to the trivia questions that I’m sure you have been anxious to know— four drivers have each claimed the right to chug milk in Victory Lane at the Speedway four times: the legendary AJ Foyt, Al Unser of the racing Unser family, Rick Mears, and the fence climbing Brazilian Helio Castroneves. In horse racing, there have been thirteen equines who have been winners of the Triple Crown over the years, with the latest being Justify in 2018. In my opinion and most others, the greatest of all champions, the incomparable Secretariat!!  

With the traditional start of the summer season, let’s all take a moment to remember the real  reason for the Memorial Day weekend as we honor those who have served in the  Armed Forces of our country and those friends and family who we all miss so dearly, it’s truly a  time of introspection and thought. Have a great week, stay healthy and active!