It takes more than a few raindrops to stop a good Fourth of July celebration.
A little precipitation wasn’t going to slow down Tapring Goatee or Josh Bedford or the rest of the competitors in the Fast Track Mile. Organized fireworks displays may have had to have been postponed, but the disorganized ones were going on in every neighborhood I visited Saturday night.
And although the Moline Invitational for American Legion baseball was being rained out 25 or 30 miles away from us, nothing was going to stop softball at the 75th annual Jung Reunion — much to the chagrin of the mothers in the family.
Descendants of my great-grandparents on my mother’s mother’s side have been meeting annually for that long now, and it can be an intimidating experience for a newcomer (as Jenny will tell you). Michael and Mary Jung had at least 10 children — I don’t have the family photograph in front of me — and big families are not unusual in the younger generations either.
That means a lot of cousins that Ryan, Darcy and JoJo — or Jenny, for that matter — only see once a year. This year’s attendance of 126 was horrifyingly low to a lot of family members — one of these days everybody is going to decide to show up on a whim, and all 1,000 or so of my cousins will be in the same place at the same time — but it’s still a lot of people with whom to be reacquainted annually.
Now the majority of this year’s 126 people do cook extremely well. Entrees ranged from smoked salmon to barbecued venison, with a lot of fried chicken in between, and it’s a common occurrence to fill your plate completely before you even get to the selection of salads — which, although enticing, are obviously limited in the Jung family to being the third of the three major food groups behind meat/potatoes/pasta and dessert.
Kind of a JoJo philosophy, in other words. There are also unlimited soft drinks, which also suits her.
But there are a lot of hours to fill between the noontime feast and the totally unnecessary but still heartily consumed supper. This is where softball comes in.
I haven’t missed a reunion — ever — and I’ve only missed one softball game (for work-related reasons) since realizing that my own lack of talent didn’t set me all that far apart from a lot of my cousins. Sideline conversations are how I know pretty much all the younger members of the Jung family, which works out great.
The fact that it rained calmly but steadily all Saturday morning deterred us only a little. All of us were clinging to a weather forecast from earlier in the week (much earlier in the week) that said the weather would clear in the afternoon. I made the post-lunch conversational rounds accompanied by all three kids — Darcy and I may as well have been joined at the hip — but with one eye on the outdoors at all times.
Finally we saw my cousin Cody, a tough little left-hander (you may remember him stopping a line drive with his nose a couple of years ago) who will be Ryan’s rival if West Vigo and Kankakee Valley meet on the diamond sometime in the next four years, went out to hit flies with his younger brother and another cousin.
That was all it took. Before long at least 20 family members were out there with him, waiting for somebody to choose up sides. Bases appeared out of nowhere, and we were ready to go — a motley crew ranging in age from maybe 4 to … well, I’ll let you guess who was the oldest, thanks to my 65-year-old cousin Benny wearing white pants, for crying out loud, that kept him off the field … and at all levels of ability.
JoJo and Ryan have played before, but this was Darcy’s debut. She did great, but neither she nor JoJo hit the ball as hard as my 10-year-old cousin Lillie, the hard-headed daughter of my delightfully crazy cousin Brenda. (If you think that gives the Jung family two JoJos, you and I are on the same page.)
Surprisingly, however, drizzle seems to have an accumulative affect. By the time everyone agreed to stop playing — this was one of our shorter games, probably less than three hours — all were a little damp.
Jenny was a pretty good sport about toweling off the girls and wringing out their clothes for the drive home, probably because all three kids had decided their cousins were pretty cool and were ready for another reunion as soon as possible.
Any of that venison left?
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
It takes more than a few raindrops to stop a good Fourth of July celebration.
- Amey Takes Aim
AMEY TAKES AIM: WNBA is part of travel plans
Columnist prepares for vacation destinations.
Amey Takes Aim: NHL playoffs to put TVs to good use
If Jenny had known, she probably wouldn’t have bought that TV.
But four or five years ago, my Fathers Day present — for those unfamiliar with Amey family traditions, the Fathers Day one is “let’s get something we all really want and pretend it’s a gift for Dad” — was a 42-inch Vizio. It’s been used even more than the cell phone I never would have bought for myself, or the TomTom that disappeared since Jenny’s smartphone arrived.
And it came with high-def.
I’m not going to insult you by telling you how great high-def is, because to do so would be to imply that you are even farther behind the technological curve than I am. I’m guessing, however, that not all of you have yet discovered what it does for hockey.
Amey Takes Aim: Can’t bottle the joy of Amey vacations
The first bad sign was the Gatorade bottle.
In the Bataan-Death-March drive to Orlando that got the Amey family spring break vacation off to a bad start, seeing it between lanes of I-24 — as we zipped along at a 100-miles-in-five-hours clip — filled with an ominous yellow liquid was a little bit scary. And although we didn't stop to check for sure, I'm fairly certain I knew about its contents.
And the person stuck in the same traffic jam with us, the one with the existential license plate YMIHR4, couldn’t have asked a more pertinent question.
But, after seeing a lot more of Oak Grove, Ky., than we’d planned, and after enduring more traffic slowdowns in Nashville, we were on our way. Even some rain in the dark in the Smokies didn’t slow us down much, so you would think our first-day troubles were over.
You would be wrong.
ANDY AMEY: Farewell to basketball
I believe you’ve heard me say before — just about a year ago, perhaps — that a boys high school basketball season that ends with the Tribune-Star in Bankers Life Fieldhouse can’t be considered a bad one, which is why we have a little celebrating to do thanks to the Linton Miners.
Lover of irony that I am, I’ve also got to point out that this season was another branch sprouting from the Wabash Valley’s most legendary coaching tree, that of Joe Hart.
Joe never got much credit for his work at Dugger, but he took Brody Boyd, Clark Golish and the Bulldogs to a state championship game in 2000, and since then three of his former players — Joe Pigg, Clint Swan and now Joey Hart, his son — also have coached teams in the final game of the season.
Joe probably wishes he could take credit for Doc Nash, another down-home type who gave a banjo lesson earlier Saturday in leading Borden past a bigger, more athletic Triton team (banjo lesson is a Howard Sharpism, for you younger readers), but his lineage is still the best I can think of around here.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Maroons, Rox final a true Classic
I don’t make predictions nearly as often as I used to, but I had one several months ago that was proven correct last week.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Nitpicking aside, West Vigo Hall of Fame selections spot on
I can’t imagine a better first class of inductees into the West Vigo High School Athletics Hall of Fame than the one that was feted Saturday night in the Jim Mann Green Dome.
Tough bunch of people
I’m getting my warm clothes ready for a trip to Linton this week, and if a few thrills from the Miners, Casey or North Vermillion happen the next couple of weeks, I hope I get to see them.
But high school football is over in Vigo County for the season — as coach Chris Barrett of Terre Haute North said, prematurely — and I’m sadder to see it go than usual.
Walking the sidelines and doing midweek or postgame interviews enables me to meet quite a few of the guys whose names you are about to read, and haven’t been more impressed than I was this fall. What outstanding groups of young men. What a tough, tough bunch of people.
Many know that one of my favorite athletic adjectives appeared consecutively in the previous sentence.
AMEY TAKES AIM: A weekend to remember with ISU’s ’72 football team
They’re all still pretty hale and hearty, the boys of the fall of 1972 who returned to campus over the weekend to honor their former football coach.
AMEY TAKES AIM: ISU reunion raises more questions than answers
One of the wrestlers I used to hang out with occasionally claimed to be a pretty good second-story man — although he may have just been talking, since I never saw any of the goods — and it was with him in mind that I was able to get access to the Indiana State Wrestling Alumni Reunion late Saturday night.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Deciding not to ‘vacate’ during ‘vacation’ – & other ventures
Flaunting the law, setting a bad example for the kids in other ways, grooming and acquiring dogs … not a typical Amey family vacation, but an appreciated one just the same.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Huntsville’s Stars, Havoc take back seat to GGS
The second-best thing about the Amey family’s spring-break trip to Huntsville, Ala., is that we left a lot of things on the table to do the next time we’re down there.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Rox well represented on Amey teams
If having the state finals in town makes it a successful girls high school basketball season, then certainly having a team to follow at the state finals makes it a very successful boys high school basketball season . . .
AMEY TAKES AIM: A feeling of pride, not disappointment, comes from watching Rox play
It’s not going to come as a startling admission that I — once the rest of the local opposition has been eliminated from consideration — am an unabashed fan of whatever team the Wabash Valley sends onward in postseason high school sports competition.
AMEY TAKES AIM: This private school plays basketball the right way
Any girls high school basketball season that ends with state championship games in Hulman Center is a pretty good one — even though I wished I’d seen Riverton Parke and Seeger knock off a couple of private schools the week before to even the public school-private school battle a little bit.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Even 2 of state’s best once had doubts
Look at them now.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Getting ready for the dance
Terre Haute North got the good news Sunday night — or did it?
AMEY TAKES AIM: Harrowing path for state hopefuls
The bad news is that the winner of Class 4A Sectional 13 in boys basketball heads northeast instead of southeast for regional play in March — to Hinkle Fieldhouse instead of Seymour as a result of Indiana High School Athletic Association’s changes.
AMEY TAKES AIM: A superior all-star arrangement
I don’t work on Wednesdays, so I wasn’t able to attend the first Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association draft last week to set up the annual all-star game that will be June 23 this year.
AMEY TAKES AIM: The biggest & baddest of a holiday classic
There are more things to love about the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic than could fit in this newspaper, but one of this year’s best things was that for an hour or so on Wednesday, it was Justin Paddock’s world and we were just living in it.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Taking note of ISU’s latest football win
The biggest difference I’ve noticed, as I transition from the high school football beat to quasi-official status as the Indiana State football beat writer for a few weeks, is the length of the games.
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First reaction to the Indiana sectional football pairings drawn late Sunday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association? It could have been a lot worse.
ANDY AMEY: Between the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & a hard place
Just in case any of you noticed — with some anticipation — the recent lack of my bylines, I can tell you that your wish (and mine) did come true. It was vacation week for the Amey family.
Amey Takes Aim: UFC fighter’s bloodines traced back to ISU brothers
As a mild-mannered reporter from a great metropolitan newspaper — or thereabouts — I admit I haven’t paid much attention to the burgeoning mixed martial arts scene.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Predators’ win is music to new fan’s ears
For many, many years, the number of live games televised on WGN has been cited as perhaps the main reason for the popularity of the Chicago Cubs (it’s got to be something besides masochism, right?).
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When one of the first people you meet is Tammy Wynette’s stepdaughter, when you’ve stepped on the feet of people you haven’t met while trying to navigate Ernest Tubbs’ old Silver Eagle tour bus, and when the activities director of your resort is, well, Elvis, you might be vacationing in Nashville.
AMEY TAKES AIM: The Annual All-Amey basketball teams close out the prep season
The most encouraging boys high school basketball event I’ve attended so far in 2011 has been the Lafayette Semistate a couple of weeks ago.
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As far as Riley and Keely Davis are concerned, Cheryl Weatherman was simply their grandmother, and a pretty darn good one at that.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Honor to see Turkey Run girls close out memorable career
I don’t know if anyone in this part of the state could actually say they enjoy going to Fort Wayne and back, but I was glad to see the Turkey Run Warriors play one last time during the girls basketball state finals Saturday.
So many matches, so many favorites
Go ahead, ask me anything about the 224 wrestlers who competed last week at the Indiana state finals — or at least about the 112 wrestlers who survived Saturday’s first round.
ANDY TAKES AIM: A sportwriters’s lament: Oh, the games we missed
I was already tired of winter by the time that first bitterly cold snap passed through in mid-December, so it’s safe to say the season hasn’t grown on me.
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