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Rub of the Green

June 3, 2007

Rub of the Green: Prep rivalries of past era live on

With high school boys golf practice usually beginning in early March, most every young man encounters a stern and potentially dangerous enemy on Midwest courses, and that would be none other than Mother Nature.

She obviously is no lady when she sends freezing winds, cold rain, hail and even snow flurries zeroing in on the young men who are already battling a most difficult game. We haven’t yet mentioned the biggest bug-a-boo, that being lightning, a scourge that has plagued a multitude of golfers throughout the years. It can also impose life or death situations at times.

Things do improve to some extent as the high school season progresses. Instead of facing the aforementioned distractions, the cold and icy eventually turn into hot and humid. By the time the Indiana High School Athletic Association boys golf championship arrives in late May or early June, the mercury may climb into the upper 80’s or 90’s. A “happy medium” temperature is often not discernable, or as George Kaperak often opines, “You just can’t get ideal conditions!”

At any rate, let’s go back through the years to the early meetings between North and South on the fairways and greens where they competed for dominance not only with each other, but also with Schulte, State High and West Vigo.

The 1971-72 school year saw both North and South, by far the largest schools in Vigo County, ready for action. Each team had a number of quality players and North coach Howard Sharpe had been playing motivational tapes in an effort to elicit lower scores from his squad.

May 4 arrived and a much anticipated 18 hole dual match pitting North against South was under way, but soon darkened skies and a cold wind descended on Rea Park. After a crash of thunder, heavy rain, the sight of lightning, and hail stones that made it difficult to tell a golf ball from a ball of ice, the contest officially was called a match at the end of nine holes.

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