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Mea culpa! Ah, you know what that means! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:21 PM

By JIM METCALFE

Staff Writer

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Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

There is always one thing that a newspaper writer dreads.

That is making a factual mistake.

I did this weekend during the state Track and Field Meet.

I wrote that Van Wert senior distance man Jared Fleming came in third in the boys 1,600-meter race in Division II.

The truth is, he came in second to Sam Prakel of Versailles — who by the way is heading to Oregon on an athletic scholarship.

I sincerely apologize for my mess-up. Believe me, that is the last thing I ever intend when I write about a game or a meet.

Speaking of State Track, the first-ever Wheelchair Events went off this year.

Everyone — that includes many in the “hard-bitten” media — was clapping and cheering for these athletes.

There weren’t many this year but one hopes that there will be more and more in the years to come.

I don’t wish for more and more athletes to become paraplegics; I just hope that more and more that already are will give this a try.

It continues to amaze me about the athletes we have in this state.

It’s not just the prowess on the track or in the field.

It’s how you can have performers go at it for four years — maybe longer — tooth and nail and yet end up as best friends.

Just like when a Putnam County basketball team goes to State and the entire county seems to be supportive, the same is true of track.

There is a certain pride of representing your league and area of the state that you want anyone that is in the same boat to do well.

It’s not just that but it is the — to borrow a phrase from my friend and colleague, Dave Boninsegna — aforementioned friendship.

While it is a source of pride — to end your career at State — it is also a source of sadness because it is the end of a career.

For many of these boys and girls, that was the last competitive event they will participate in.

All the work, effort, camps, weight-lifting, conditioning, etc., comes down to that one last event and then “poof!” It’s over.

As one who never played a sport at the varsity level, I admit that I really don’t know what that means, how it feels, the emotions that were going through everyone’s mind as they crossed the tape, made/missed on their final vault, tossed their last shot put.

I have also been doing this job — covering sports — since August of 1990 and I appreciate what these kids go through to get to that point.

Maybe this isn’t true at bigger newspapers but I feel it is true for those at smaller papers; we reporters do get to know these kids and, try as we might, we have something invested in their success as well.

It’s how it is.

We like to see them do well, especially against the best of the best.

We take no credit — that would be the ultimate of arrogance — because it is what THEY do, not us. We just hope to see it bear fruit.

I was perusing the Internet the other day and found this item where the fruit “matured” far sooner.

It seems that Nathan Tilford, a wide receiver from Upland, Calif., has been offered a scholarship — and verballed to it — by the University of Southern California.

No big deal except for one simple fact — Tilford is an incoming freshman in HIGH SCHOOL.

Oy vay.

Of course, this is nothing new for Lance Kiffin: he got a commit from David Sills in 2010 when the quarterback was 13.

He is soon to start his junior year at Eastern Christian Academy.

Then there is this item about one Cory Hahn.

He was the 34th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks this summer.

Nothing interesting about that, right?

Here’s where it does get intriguing.

You see, he wore number 34 for the Arizona State Sun Devils but he will never play for the Diamondbacks.

You see, he is paralyzed after sliding head-first in a game versus New Mexico in 2011.

The paradox is that he almost never slid head-first before but he did this time.

In a classy move, the D’Backs are negotiating with Hahn and his agent about a role in the scouting or baseball operations department.

His dream was to play at the major-league level but instead, he has adjusted his dream to work at that same level.

He was ecstatic about being drafted, so it’s a positive all around.

He also has a dream of walking again some day.

Good for him; I hope he gets there!

 

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