2013 is over... and memories are all that remain about the year that just ended. Many people want to forget the year that just passed-- but in sports, there were some good memories to help wash away what to many was a forgettable year.
-- Top 2013 memory: Rivet to State Championship (again)
It wasn't so long ago, that Rivet had six varsity players-- total. Six. That was back in the ,mid to late 2000's... and it wasn't much farther back that Rivet was on a lonsing streak. Talk about a total transformation-- Rivet's 2013 included its fourth state finals game in five years. Only one state title came from it-- in 2011-- but you cah't sneeze at four Semi-State championships over that span... especially when you consider where they were before.
-- Sticking with Rivet, another baseball state championship appearance. This team came within an inning of winning their first State Baseball title-- and within 2 inches of losing it to Shoals. I called that game-- and it still amazes me that an errant last out throw that pulled the Shoals first baseman off the bag led directly to a state title game. Talk about being opportunistic...
-- Linton's charge to the 2A state championship game in basketball. An ironic end to the career of Austin Karaszia. Many-- including me-- thought his football career would end in Lucas Oil Stadium-- but that didn't happen. Instead, his basketball career ended across town-- at Bankers' Life Fieldhouse. However, half of that state runner-up award should be shipped about 20 miles away, to Clay City-- a late loss to the Eels cleansed this talented team, and they were unstoppable after that loss. Meanwhile, the Linton Miners continue being the Red Sox of high school football-- getting to the semistate level again and again and AGAIN-- but always falling short of the final step to the State Final. Eastern Hancock did the trick this year-- but kudos to a Linton team who exceeded expectations in getting that far this year.
-- Best use of a Players' Only meeting: North Knox Warriors. North Knox started 1-4, with bad third quarters hampering them in all four losses. After a loss just before Christmas at Mitchell, the players called a players-only meeting to clear the air. It worked, at least to this point-- the Warriors went 3-1 at Alice Arena in the McDonalds Tourhament, and have come to within a game of .500. The good news? 2014 is a giant homestand for the Warriors, with 80 percent of their remaining games-- including the tournament-- at home.
-- Worst sports news of 2013: The loss of Union High School at Dugger. It is a long way from 2000, when Brody Boyd led an iron five to the state title game against Lafayette Central Catholic. The school was hanging by a thread then, with around 150 students. The thread was cut-- against the wishes of Dugger residents-- on December second, 2013. Dugger was part of the Northeast Sullivan School Coporation, and the majority came from the other high school's district-- North Central. The closing may have been penny-wise, but pound foolish. If they hope many of the Dugger people will travel 20 miles to school, I think they will be mistaken. Linton, Sullivan, North Knox, Shakamak, and even White River Valley schools are closer to Dugger than North Central. Given the bad feelings between Dugger and the district, the students at Dugger may be scattered to the four winds...
-- Finally, in the NFL, good to see Midwestern football alive and well. The Indianapolis Colts, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs are all in the playoffs this year-- with Chicago and Detroit in the hunt until the final week. The one caveat? None of them got byes-- so this is a Midwestern weekend for football across the area. Enjoy and embrace it...
I hope your 2014 is a great one!! Enjoy the New Year!!
That's my take...I'm Tom Lee.