News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Hughes News & Views

July 14, 2012

HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Colts? Broncos? Maybe there’s more than enough room for both

I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.

Great guy, but he’s just not a huge sports fan.

That’s fine by me. I’m not much of an opera fan. Or a car-parts fan. Or a Food Network fan, although I do like food.

We all have different likes and dislikes. That’s what makes the world go ’round.

Anyway, this buddy occasionally brings up sports-related topics in conversations because he realizes I am a newspaper sports writer. Sometimes he mentions the NFL and he starts telling me which team is his favorite, which is his second favorite, which is his third favorite, etc…

During these discussions, I always think to myself: “C’mon man, pick one team and stick with it. There’s no need for multiple favorite teams.”

But now I’m struggling with the reality that this fall I will be almost as indecisive as my friend. That’s because the Indianapolis Colts, my favorite team since the late 1980s, are now Team 1A and the Denver Broncos are Team 1B on my short list of favorites.

Figuring out why should not be difficult.

Like many Hoosiers, I did not appreciate how Colts owner Jim Irsay kicked Peyton Manning and his surgically repaired neck to the curb after all those years he dedicated to the organization. On the other hand, I understand why Irsay would want Andrew Luck wearing the horseshoe for the next 12-15 years.

So when Manning became a free agent, the Broncos and John Elway recruited him as if he were a tall Terre Haute kid who could play basketball.

As you all know, their efforts proved successful and Manning is wearing orange in 2012.

Although I have no inside sources, media reports out of Denver say the 36-year-old Manning appears to be about 90 percent of his former self. Give him a couple more months and maybe, just maybe, he can get close to 100 percent.

Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but I’ve always been a positive thinker.

So a season I originally thought would be disastrous — with Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon, Jeff Saturday, Joseph Addai and Jacob Tamme also leaving the Colts for new teams — might actually be fun to watch if Manning can strike up Reggie Wayne-like chemistry with Demaryius Thomas and/or Eric Decker.

Now let’s look at the Colts. For some reason, Wayne decided to stay, even though he was a free agent and could have signed with a more veteran-based team. But I’m glad he’s still a Colt.

Besides Wayne, there aren’t many familiar names returning — mainly Austin Collie (one more year removed from his concussion issues) and the improving Donald Brown on offense along with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on defense.

Then there’s that new guy filling Manning’s shoes, although Luck doesn’t like to think of it that way. In order to contend for the AFC South championship or a wild-card playoff berth, the Colts will need Luck to play more like a veteran than a rookie, which is easier said than done.

But this won’t be the NFL’s toughest division this season. A slip-up or key injury for the Houston Texans could send them tumbling back to the pack, giving a fast-starting surprise team the confidence to jump into the lead. I doubt if Jacksonville is capable, so that would leave Tennessee or Indianapolis.

Odds are against the Colts because they’re incorporating new coaching philosophies with a bunch of new players, but Luck is considered a once-in-a-generation quarterback. If he plays like Cam Newton did as a Carolina rookie in 2011, Indy might not be as bad as the so-called experts expect.

Now that I’ve proclaimed my allegiance to two NFL teams, I fully anticipate being labeled a bandwagon jumper, especially by a couple of Facebook friends I have in mind. But who can blame any Colts fan for wanting Manning to do well, even in a different uniform? It’s not like the Colts and Broncos are scheduled to play each other this season, so I won’t be forced to choose between them anytime soon.

I’ll even keep a closer eye on Tampa Bay (Clark), Washington (Garcon), Green Bay (Saturday) and New England (Addai), although I refuse to root for the Patriots under any circumstance.

Such diversity in my NFL attention will put me in the same boat with my longtime friend for a few years (until Manning retires), but he’ll never know I wrote this column unless someone tells him.

David Hughes can be reached by phone after 4 p.m. at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at david.hughes@tribstar.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.

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Hughes News & Views
  • photo3.JPG Hughes, News & Views: Shouses facing tough decisions about Dexter Jr.’s future

    Those of us who have followed Vigo County basketball for more than a decade remember how the families of Greg Oden, Reicina Russell and Chaz Spicer moved to the Indianapolis area before the athletes had a chance to complete high school in Terre Haute.
    Will 6-foot-3, 180-pound Dexter Shouse Jr., who turned 14 in May and recently finished seventh grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, pack up his belongings and make a similar trip east with his family?

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit Ultimate Warrior_Will.jpg Hughes, News & Views: Memories relived of fallen 'Warrior' who attended ISU for one year

    Editor’s note — Amid national media reports that retired pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior (formerly known in real life as Jim Hellwig) died late Tuesday night at the age of 54, here is a column that David Hughes completed about the man Tuesday afternoon, not realizing Warrior would be dead within 12 hours.

    I realize some of you will cringe or perhaps shift your attention to a different story if I mention “pro wrestling” in this column.
    But give this stroll down memory lane a chance before you bolt, because I think it’s interesting.
    If I’m wrong, feel free to put me in a headlock. Gently, please.
     

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT Bird.jpg Hughes, News & Views: West Vigo graduate earns 600th victory as coach; Looking back at 1979 championship game

    I haven’t written a column since before the Super Bowl, so now’s a good time to get a few things off my chest:
    • Congratulations to Mike Fields — a 1969 West Vigo High School graduate, a 1973 Indiana State grad and a former Terre Haute Tribune part-time sportswriter — for posting the 600th victory of his baseball coaching career.
    He accomplished the feat March 3 when his Harmony High School squad defeated Orlando Oak Ridge 11-2 down in Florida.

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 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.
     

    January 30, 2014

  • MET 110913 BIRD 79 TEAM.jpg 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.

    November 10, 2013 7 Photos 3 Stories

  • Hughes, News & Views: Shaw preparing for 20th season as Rose-Hulman coach

    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.”

    October 31, 2013

  • Bogle, James.jpg 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.

    October 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • 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.

    August 16, 2013

  • 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.

    August 9, 2013

  • met072311martin.jpg Hughes, News & Views: Gladiator Games are back Saturday

    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.

    July 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • Hughes, News & Views: Lure of big payoffs fuels columnist's fantasy football addiction

    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.

    June 28, 2013

  • SPT 061813 BROWN DRIVE.jpg Hughes, News & Views: Terre Haute ‘hacker' accomplishes Mark’s Par Three first

    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.

    June 19, 2013 2 Photos

  • Hughes, News & Views: Pacers, 500, NFL on mind of curious columnist

    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.

    June 1, 2013

  • 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.

    April 26, 2013

  • SPT 022610 MIKE SAYLOR.jpg Hughes, News & Views: Former South players to play in Saylor benefit game

    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.

    April 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • 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.

    March 20, 2013

  • SPT-030697-HALT-SHOOTS.jpg 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.

    March 1, 2013 2 Photos

  • SPT 012508 SAYLOR FILE.jpg DAVID HUGHES: Childhood friends use faith, sports to get them through

    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.

    February 17, 2013 3 Photos

  • Book review: Thumbs up for ‘Trophies and Tears’

    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.

    December 26, 2012

  • Hughes, News & Views: Wishing for Colts-Broncos playoff matchup from Santa

    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.

    December 20, 2012

  • Colts' loyalty tested by Manning, Broncos

    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.
     

    November 2, 2012

  • HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Sorting out the sports air waves

    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.

    October 1, 2012

  • SPT091312gutish.jpg Hughes, News & Views: North junior ready to go racing

    When we last visited 16-year-old Rachel Gutish, she was finishing sixth in the Women’s Enduro X race in the nationally televised Summer X Games at Los Angeles.

    September 20, 2012 1 Photo

  • HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Yelovich still striking the ball long on LDA Tour

    In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.
     

    July 20, 2012

  • HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Colts? Broncos? Maybe there’s more than enough room for both

    I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.

    July 14, 2012

  • SPT120410THNBBB jones1.jpg HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Point of Jones’ return

    Since May 14, Indiana high school basketball fans have wondered why Jim Jones would want to come out of retirement at 74.
     

    June 12, 2012 3 Photos

  • HUGHES, NEWS & VIEWS: Questions abound for Indy 500, Manning, baseball sectional

    Phones are ringing less frequently in the Tribune-Star sports department this week.

    May 26, 2012

  • Hughes, News & Views: Hutson getting ready for final stretch toward Olympic Trials

    If Kylie Hutson were a cross-country runner, she’d be approaching the final stretch of her biggest race in about three weeks.

    May 10, 2012

  • HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Rose basketball alumni offer advice to current team

    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.

    March 2, 2012

  • DAVID HUGHES: Super Bowl odds getting stranger and stranger

    Today’s annual “Super Bowl odds column” feels special to me because I’ve been a diehard NFL fan since 1967 and next Sunday will be the first time the big game takes place in our great state of Indiana.

    January 29, 2012

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