TERRE HAUTE — As a sports reporter, I’m required to work late-night hours on Fridays during football season.
Because of that, I’ve had trouble over the years waking up early on Saturdays to attend the Indiana State homecoming parade and join students in “The Walk” along Wabash Avenue to Memorial Stadium.
This year, I forced myself to get out of bed at 9 a.m., tough it out and enjoy the festivities before I covered the game, which Western Kentucky won 56-7.
I must say, Indiana State knows how to organize a homecoming parade, regardless of whether its football team wins or loses the game.
I arrived at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue at a little after 10 a.m. Seeing the cool floats and bands march past the new Hilton Garden Inn seemed different, considering how many photos I’ve seen of the old Terre Haute House in the background of previous ISU homecoming parades.
It wasn’t bad, just different. I’ll get used to it as the months and years pass.
Other than that and the fact that the parade travels west instead of east, like in the old days, I noticed many similarities to the ISU parades of my youth — a large crowd and plenty of smiling youngsters sitting on their fathers’ shoulders.
By the way, kids still like candy being thrown to them, in case anyone wondered.
I continued walking against the flow of the parade, turning north on Eighth Street. Hey, I just saw former Tribune-Star sports reporter Duff Tyler handing out candy while he walked alongside the WTHI-TV van. Why didn’t he give me any?
No problem. Soon after that, Robert Flott tossed me a piece. Woohoo! He’s da man. (Adults like sweets too.)
This was definitely worth my time as I said hello to plenty of people I knew along the route, even on Eighth Street.
I eventually approached Chestnut Street and realized I was close to the Ballyhoo Tavern, so I decided to check out some “adult fun” at 11 a.m., still three hours before game time.
After all, I hadn’t been inside the Bally in years.
After squeezing my way through the front door, I noticed wall-to-wall people, most in their 20s. Nobody was acting stupid and some were even dancing. I guess 11 a.m. is a little early for me to get my groove on, but daylight didn’t stop these partiers.
This was where I decided to start taking an informal poll to determine the football knowledge of The Walk participants.
The question: What school does Indiana State play today?
Pretty simple, wouldn’t you say? I’ll give the results at the end of this column.
While being polled inside the Bally (that sounds painful), ISU senior Kristin Butrum of Indianapolis admitted she would probably not attend the game after she concluded her part of The Walk. She said she would drink alcoholic beverages in moderation and promised she would call a cab for a ride when she was finished.
That’s a smart young lady.
I headed back down Ninth Street toward Wabash Avenue and three 20ish-looking people from Bloomington I’ve never met asked to get their picture taken with me. That meant either the Tribune-Star’s circulation is spreading farther than I realized or these people were getting their pictures taken with anyone who didn’t resemble a serial killer.
After my brief “say cheese” session, I veered over to the Terminal and Copper Bar, which were rockin’ good times. I prepared to interview a former ISU student I know about her experiences with The Walk, but she said she called in sick at work Saturday and preferred her name not be mentioned in the paper.
Should I do it anyway?
Wouldn’t it be funny if I got her fired?
OK, I’ll respect her wishes. But she owes me.
A few minutes later at the Copper Bar, Krissy Kelly, an ISU senior from Jasonville, said she planned to drink in moderation, just like Butrum earlier. Then Kelly offered her “expert” opinion of Indiana State football.
“I think the Indiana State football program needs a lot more support by the students,” said Kelly, who actually appeared sober. “I think that they could be good… but it’s all about school spirit and I think I’m going to make it to the game and support the Sycamores.”
From there, I proceeded east on Wabash. At this point, I was pleased that I hadn’t seen anyone puking or urinating in public. But it was still before noon, probably too early for that sort of nonsense.
When I arrived at Ambrosini’s at 14th and Wabash, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Outside, within the confines of a fenced-in parking lot, people were taking turns riding a mechanical bull. And there were sooooo many people inside every room of the building and out in the parking lot.
To Ambrosini’s credit, each entrance was monitored by someone checking identifications to make sure nobody under 21 got in. For that matter, the other bars I visited were doing that too.
They even checked mine. That’s how hardcore they were.
Outside Ambrosini’s, ISU students Megan Fields and Trisha Carlile weren’t shy about offering their views of ISU football.
“I know ISU hasn’t done well in the past,” Carlile said. “But today I can feel it in my bones that they’re going to turn it around and beat the team they’re playing today.”
Sorry, Trisha. Didn’t happen. But it’s always good to believe in your favorite team, even if you don’t know the name of the team it’s getting ready to play.
By the way, poll results still coming. Stay tuned.
As I trekked past Gilbert Park, I counted 21 portable toilet stations lined up side by side. It was nice of the city to provide that, because bathroom trips often come without much warning when you’re slamming down beers and shots.
At 16th Street, my old buddy Darrell Shouse gave me a friendly shoutout on his microphone while he and associates were selling food and water to passersby. I bet he still can’t beat me in one-on-one basketball (insert wink symbol here).
On the other side of Wabash, I observed a few folks entering Giovanni’s. Pizza and beer were the specialties there. It didn’t look as crowded as some of the earlier places, but that made it even more appealing to me.
I didn’t go inside, however. Unlike the other walkers, I needed to be at the stadium before 2 so I could cover the game and time was flying by.
So I made two more quick stops at Speak Easy and the legendary Fourth Quarter, which I remember getting a free drink at when I turned 21 a few years ago (cough, cough).
Inside the Fourth Quarter, recent ISU graduates Natalie Mehringer of Jasper and Kyra Bowerman of South Bend said their plans were to party a little and see the game. After all, they emphasized, they are true fans.
“I’m glad they got a new coach,” Mehringer said, referring to Dennis Raetz replacing Lou West earlier this season. “We needed the change.”
“Homecoming’s a blast at ISU,” mentioned Bowerman, who added that she hopes the university’s football team is “prayerfully” getting better.
Did Kyra just invent a new word? I think she did.
At this point, it was getting close to 1 p.m. and I decided to return to my car so I could drive to the stadium. My apologies to the bars I missed, but I’m sure they survived without me.
Finally, it’s time to announce the results of my extremely unscientific poll.
Out of 50 people who appeared to be in their 20s and may have attended ISU or walked on a college campus at some point in their lives, 35 did not know Western Kentucky was ISU’s opponent.
Only 15 knew the answer.
Sadly, that’s about what I expected.
David Hughes, who performed his Saturday mini-walk without drinking any alcoholic beverages, can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
TERRE HAUTE — As a sports reporter, I’m required to work late-night hours on Fridays during football season.
- Hughes News & Views
Hughes, News & Views: Odds in favor of Richard Sherman being mentioned here
I’ve explained my post-2011 NFL allegiances before, but allow me to summarize them one more time for any new readers to this column.
I eased into liking the Indianapolis Colts as my favorite team in the late 1980s. Like plenty of other Wabash Valley sports fans, I became Colts-obsessed when Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and others turned them into an elite franchise in 1999 and the early 2000s.
When the Colts beat Da Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007, I yelled as loud as anyone in Terre Haute.
Hughes, News & Views: The ’78-79 Sycamores rediscover timeless bond
The 1978-79 Indiana State men’s basketball team that posted a 33-1 record and battled Michigan State for the coveted NCAA championship almost 35 years ago isn’t likely to play any more full-court games together, not even just for fun.
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When Rose-Hulman men’s basketball coach Jim Shaw gets introduced to the Hulman Center crowd before Sunday afternoon’s exhibition game against Indiana State, think of the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun.”
Hughes, News & Views: Friends remember Jim Bogle
When I covered the semifinal round of the IHSAA boys tennis sectional at Terre Haute North last week, it seemed like there was an empty seat in the bleachers.
In reality, I noticed few — if any — empty seats because plenty of spectators wanted to watch the host Patriots battle No. 14-ranked Terre Haute South for the right to advance to the next day’s sectional championship match.
In the end, junior Nathan Bogle pulled out a dramatic three-set victory at No. 1 singles to help South edge its crosstown rivals 3-2 on its way to capturing the sectional title.
Yet there was something missing.
The person who would have been in that empty seat I imagined, Nathan’s father Jim Bogle, had been battling cancer for close to two years and could not attend the sectional.
Sadly, cancer claimed his life Thursday morning. He was 52.
Hughes, News & Views: Doug Shouse going into ASU Hall of Honor
One thing you can say about members of Terre Haute’s Shouse family: They never have had a problem with running and jumping.
At least not until knee problems hit.
An outstanding athlete since the days I played pick-up basketball games with him and his brothers in the Terre Haute Boys Club and Indiana State University Arena gyms in the mid to late 1970s, a young Doug Shouse knew how to turn heads with his dunks and athletic fast-break moves against college guys and mediocre players like me.
Hughes, News & Views: Oden picks Miami Heat for site of comeback
At 7 feet tall, former Terre Haute resident Greg Oden stands out in almost any crowd.
So to persuade the increasingly healthy Oden to play during the 2013-14 NBA season — for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009 — a team needed to offer something unique to stand out.
Like, say, a chance at a ring.
Enter the Miami Heat, who have won the last two NBA championships behind the “Big Three” of four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
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When I talk to my old weightlifting buddies around the country on the phone, through texts or on Facebook, we frequently reminisce about “the good ol’ days.”
Imagine that — guys over 50 living in the past.
Anyway, I recently discussed with Jim McCarty — who now lives in Daytona Beach, Fla. — about a “Terre Haute’s Strongest Man” contest he organized in the mid-1980s inside the National Guard Armory on Maple Avenue.
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Gather around, my friends. I think I may need an intervention.
After winning the championship game of our Tribune-Star newsroom free fantasy football league in 2003 — the first time I ever participated in the popular hobby — I became hooked on dominating as many leagues as possible.
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It’s no secret that Mark’s Par Three is not the most difficult golf course in Vigo County.
But it’s enjoyable for beginners and golfers of modest skill levels and it doesn’t lack for activity during warm-weather months.
Open since 1964, it’s had its fair share of players test their skills, probably several better than 43-year-old Brian Brown of Terre Haute.
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One previous time, I believe, my annual May questions column ran one day late into June.
Can you forgive me for this being the second time?
With apologies out of the way, below are questions that have been taking up valuable space in my head lately.
Some are serious, some not so much. Most are sports-related, but don’t blame me if a few are not. After all, newspaper sportswriters don’t eat, sleep and breathe sports 24/7 (contrary to what my Lisa might tell you).
Here we go:
• How funny will the reaction of the national media be when the Indiana Pacers knock off the unbeatable Miami Heat tonight and Monday to take the series and head to an NBA Finals showdown with the San Antonio Spurs? Hint: Several ESPN “experts” will need to change their underwear next week.
Hughes, News & Views: Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston
Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
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I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
Recent South swimmers Roach, Bray heading to DI nationals
I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
NCAA Division III basketball tournament returns to Rose-Hulman
The last time Rose-Hulman served as host for the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, its game was played inside an old World War II airplane hangar.
You “old-timers” should know the building I’m talking about and the matchup wasn’t really that long ago — March 6, 1997, to be exact.
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When I learned in February 2009 that a rare form of appendix cancer would devastate my life and cause me to miss work for several months, Mike Saylor was among the first to offer assistance.
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Now might be too late for giving Christmas presents, but the book “Trophies and Tears: The Story of Evansville and the Aces” is a fascinating read for longtime Indiana basketball fans, particularly those older than 40.
Written by award-winning Kyle Keiderling of Henderson, Nev., and released in hardcover format in mid-December, the 480-page “Trophies and Tears” documents the rich tradition of the University of Evansville men’s basketball program through recent interviews and research of old yearbooks and newspaper/scrapbook clippings.
The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
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There’s plenty of tragedy in the world to bring us down if we let it, so let’s have a light-hearted column today — my annual Christmas gift requests for Santa Claus.
I already know one of my gift wishes is becoming less likely to happen. That would be for the Indianapolis Colts to face the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs.
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We’re approaching the halfway point of the NFL season and so far it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle following two favorite teams — 1a.) the Indianapolis Colts and 1b.) Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos — but the new arrangement hasn’t caused me any loyalty conflicts yet.
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My name isn’t attached to them, but I’m the one who usually puts together the “Sports on the air” television/radio listings that appear daily on this newspaper’s Scoreboard Page.
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I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.
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If Kylie Hutson were a cross-country runner, she’d be approaching the final stretch of her biggest race in about three weeks.
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Bryan Egli and Joe Puthoff, both Rose-Hulman basketball starters I covered in the late 1990s, took their degrees from the prestigious engineering institute and found successful careers in the Indianapolis area.
Egli, also a former West Vigo High School multi-sport standout, lives in Carmel and works for Thieneman Construction in Westfield. Puthoff lives in Indy and works for Rolls Royce Aircraft Engines.
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Almost 10 years ago, February 2002 to be exact, the New England Patriots upset the high-powered St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, the Winter Olympics entertained spectators in Salt Lake City and Terre Haute South High School’s girls basketball team started its tournament run toward a Class 4A state title.
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Last week, I was all set to beg Santa Claus to give the Indianapolis Colts a certificate good for one NFL regular-season victory.
Then the 2011 Colts decided to play like the 2009 Colts and clobber the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for their first win of the season. So that present won’t be necessary.
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When your favorite NFL team is threatening to finish 0-16, you have to figure a few fans will jump off the bandwagon.
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