Sadly it appears that the epitome of sports journalism and photography has reached its end as we know it. Sports Illustrated, long the pillar of weekly coverage for fans of all sports, recently laid off most of the staff that has made the magazine so popular. It would seem that most of the blame falls upon the shoulders of the corporations which have taken ownership over the past ten or so years and to the shift in the manner in which younger generations receive news.

As I didn’t attend kindergarten (which I think explains a lot about me!) I learned to read thanks to SI as my father had a yearly subscription, beginning with the initial copy of the magazine in August of 1954. For years I always looked forward to Thursdays as that was when that week’s issue usually arrived in the mail. That continued as I never missed an issue until just a year or so ago when the magazine went digital with only occasional hard-print copies. News of its demise is like losing a lifelong friend; I’ll miss the articles, in-depth reporting, feature stories, and photography greatly. Here’s a trivia question—who was on the cover of that first issue in ‘54?

Life goes on and I have now become a fan of ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption” or PTI which is seen live weekdays at 5:30 p.m. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are the long- standing hosts of the program which originated in 2001, matching insight and humor as they cover a wide variety of sports topics. If you have the chance it is “must-see TV” and sports entertainment at its finest!

Watching the telecast of Ohio State’s mens basketball game at Northwestern the other night (if you can call the Wildcat’s romp over the Bucks a game) one of the great slogans in college sports appeared on the sideline of the court—“Chicago’s Big Ten Team”! The above mentioned Michael Wilbon is a Northwestern alum and a member of the school’s Board of Trustees, which is why you’ll see him frequently wearing purple on PTI. Talk about a reversal of fortunes the past few years, the Wildcats are a program on the rise while State is in free fall.

MyCountyLink had a tremendous response to our article about a Greenville High School boys basketball “Dream Team” compilation last week; the girls version (from 2001 through present) will be posted later this week.

The Reds annual caravan visited twelve cities over the past week as one of the team’s promotional activities. Players, coaches, media personalities, and front office personnel mingled with the fans as spring training for the full squad begins in Goodyear, Arizona on February 19th. With high hopes this season for a young and talented team, fans turned out in droves much as they have yearly since 1960!

I had a chance to see the Tri-Village-Franklin-Monroe (that’s a lot of dashes!) boys basketball game Friday evening in Pitsburg. I don’t get around to county schools games as much as I’d like due to covering Greenville games but am always impressed by the enthusiasm and passion of the players and fans alike. In a hard-fought contest the Patriots outscored the Jets in the final minutes, overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit to claim a 41-33 victory.

Kathy and I were over in Gahanna Saturday to watch our grandson Tripp’s Granville eighth grade team play Columbus Academy’s squad. Columbus Academy is a private K-12 school with a beautiful campus and approximately 425 students enrolled in grades 9-12, competing in D-III in most sports. The Vikings have an impressive trophy case of State Championships, consisting almost entirely of boys and girls tennis and golf as well as field hockey. Cost to attend CA? How about a cool $30-33,000 annually! Might mention that Tripp’s Blue Aces rallied from 15-points behind to go back to Licking
County with a 41-38 win!

Walking by the concession stand at the game I noticed some of the candy offered which posed this quandary—Snickers or Payday? M&M Plain, Peanut, or Almond? KitKat or Twix? Decisions, decisions!!
What say you?

Answer to the Sports Illustrated question—Milwaukee Braves’ slugging third baseman Eddie Matthews along with New York Giants’ catcher Wes Westrum and umpire Augie Donatelli appear on the first cover of the iconic publication.

As the late, great sports announcer Dick Enberg would say, “Oh My!!” The Ravens, who led the NFL in rushing attempts and rushing yardage during the regular season, for some reason called only eight running plays against the Chiefs in the AFC championship game in losing 17-10 and the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. For those Kansas City fans, there’s reason to celebrate the team’s fourth trip to the Big Game in the past five years. Turnovers on a fumble at the goal line and an interception in the end zone did in Baltimore.

“Oh My” revisited as the Niners overcame a 24-7 halftime deficit to the Lions to win a thrilling 34-31 NFC title game and advance to the franchise’s eighth Super Bowl appearance. The Lions made Detroit and Michigan proud this year but fell short in the second half as the 49ers playoff experience showed, giving Brock Purdy, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey and teammates a chance at a sixth Lombardi trophy. A great game that came down to the wire and an onside kick by the Lions that just missed being recovered. Who do you like in Las Vegas on February 11th? Have a great week!!