From My View For Feb. 14
It was my pleasure to recently see all the 1,000 point scorers from River High School in boys and girls basketball. The atmosphere and the hospitality were second-to-none on the special night they were honored.
The Pilot boys, meanwhile, were 15-0, looking to keep their undefeated season intact against rival Magnolia. With so many in attendance, as well as all the 1,000 point scorers present, the Pilots didn’t want a rock left unturned.
They had a meet-and-greet with 13 of the past, and two present, honorees, along with the families. They wanted everything to go without a hitch. Out of the 15 honorees, 13 were present except for two – Julie Schmidt Byers and Jensen Caretti. Schmidt was coaching in a college game and couldn’t be there, while Caretti was on her way with her Ohio State teammates to Wisconsin, to play a basketball game the next night. Her mom and dad came in her place.
With the three-point shot not being used with the first six honorees, their totals could have been much higher. That included one of the best outside shooting guards the Pilots and the valley ever saw in Mitch Miracle.
Seeing Mitch, who was my best man at my wedding, was awesome, as well as meeting 11 former players – along with Lukas Isaly and Lauren Flannery, who are both still playing. I was like a kid at a candy store. I was simply honored to be there.
I didn’t have the pleasure to watch the very first honoree, Raymond Raper, play, but I’ve heard stories from many that saw him play.
I did watch Gary Mallett play; he was the son of our principal when I was in school. He was a smooth operator and was solid offensively, as well as shuffling his feet when playing defense.
My friend Mitch was the next honoree, who I have only seen twice since I got married. He was an awesome offensive weapon. He worked his tail off to be as good as he was.
He shot and made 100 free throws every morning and every evening before going to bed. He lifted a one-pound can of coffee just using his wrists, to strengthen his shooting hand, as well as playing ping-pong before playing a game.
The first females to be honored were Stacey Jones Potts, as well as Gayanna Wohnha, in the late 1980s. I don’t remember seeing them play, but when someone can score more than 1,100 points in a four-year career… that shows some skill.
Jim Eveland was a machine when it came to playing basketball. He could shoot the jumper, drive to the basket – just anything and everything when the game was on the line.
Mike Snively was a household name, as well as Brandon Grimes. They, along with Ryne Romick and Lukas Isaly, were each all-sports standouts who were very good at playing the game of basketball.
Julie Schmidt, Melissa Mistovich and Leighann Fry were three outstanding basketball players, as well Jensen Caretti. I had the pleasure of refereeing games with Schmidt, Mistovich, and Fry, and I got to write about Caretti and Flannery every week during basketball season, and of course volleyball with Caretti.
During halftime of the boys game with Magnolia, the school honored long-time assistant coach Gard Curtis as the new member of the River Hall of Fame. I had the pleasure to have played for him, and I was honored to be present to see him accept the award, knowing that most of the honorees had also had the pleasure of being part of his special day.
I recently covered the River Pilots girls basketball game at Ohio University Eastern, as the Lady Pilots battled for the OVAC Class-AA Championship against the Lady Tigers of Shadyside. The Lady Tigers were ranked the third seed in the tournament, while River came in on a seven game winning streak, just to get in the dance as the fourth seed.
You normally would take for granted the number one and number two team being in the championship, nine times out of ten. However, having the third seed play the fourth seed in the finals – that doesn’t happen much at all.
So being a formal graduate from River, I chose to cover the girls taking on Shadyside for the championship. I wanted to make sure that I would take as many notes that I could, while taking pictures. I thought I did a good job in covering every nook-and-cranny.
After taking the last few shots of the girls with their medals, after the Pilots won their first OVAC Championship since going into tournament play, I packed up and put my camera away. I laid my notes on top of my camera and closed it up.
When returning to work to download my pics, I noticed my notes were missing and was beside myself, as I wanted so much to do the story justice and write up a good story. I wanted to mention as many of the girls that got in and helped contribute to the win. But without my notes, I didn’t know what to do, other than use Seth Staskey’s story and add to it.
You see, I took it for granted that my notes were where I left them, but they fell out of my bag and were lost forever. So, I changed what I was going to write about in my column, and put this in its place.
Never take granted, especially something like this. I was happy that Seth also had a story and could use his. I don’t like to do that, and I wanted so much to write my own for the girls that worked so hard to even get to the championship. But I blew it. Don’ttake for granted that everything will work out. I was just lucky this time.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, don’t take it for granted. Do that special thing for your special Valentine.
I want to take this time to tell my special Valentine that I love her and honor her with all my heart. She works so hard as a nurse in Wheeling, and she needs to be pampered. I try not to ever take her for granted but do sometimes because of covering a game that needs to be covered.
She is my rock though, and she understands my job as well. However, we as a married couple, must always put God and Family first. I must do better to not cover as much and use my time more wisely when I know there is stuff I need to do with my wife and family. I want to keep that oath – love and cherish until death do us part.
This is one Valentine present that I will give her. When talking Valentine’s, don’t forget your mother, guys. My mom is a special lady too, and I – as her favorite son (Ha Ha!) – will also shower her with love too. Since I can write a column and have my mother see and read it, that’s a cherry on top with working for a newspaper.
While I’m at it, I want to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all my family. I have a lot! I only have two aunts still alive though, and I want to wish my Aunt Glenna and Aunt Joy the best, and hope they have a great day. All my uncles are not with us anymore, so, once again, don’t take your family for granted. You never know when it’s your time, so be right with the Lord. To all my many cousins, I wish you the the same.
I want to express my love for the many teachers out there trying to better themselves, and the many first responders… Thank you, as well as the many people that have jobs out there, that they can’t go out and show their concerns, like the health care workers and policemen, to name a few. Thank you for your service.
Congratulations goes out to the River Pilots boys basketball team for their huge win over state-ranked Columbus Ready, and the girls basketball team for defeating Shadyside in the OVAC Class-AA Championships for their first girls title.
In a sad note, we lost a pair of outstanding men here in Wetzel County last week – Jeff Cozart from Hundred and Wayne Fetty, a long-time track and cross country coach from Magnolia. These two fine men will be missed very much.
God bless everyone.