A Book, Two Spoiled Brats, and the SEC Blahs

Shots in the Darke

The brackets are finally set for the NFL playoffs after an eighteen week regular season as  the Bengals start things rolling with a 4:30 contest Saturday, hosting the Raiders (Las Vegas  version). The Stripes earned the fourth seed in the AFC by virtue of winning the AFC North and  confounding the so-called experts. On the other end of the emotional scale, the Colts  completely fell flat on their collective faces in losing to the woebegone Jaguars and thus  costing themselves an almost sure playoff berth. It will be a long, sad off-season in  Indianapolis!! 

Looking at this weekend’s matchups, I’m really looking forward to several games,  particularly the Patriots-Bills, Cardinals-Rams, and 49ers-Cowboys. Each of those should be  worthy of your time and attention—settle in for some football! Meanwhile the Packers and  Titans get the week off as the number one seeds in their respective conferences to enjoy the  chance to regroup and heal after the long campaign. 

Is anyone else continuing to be amazed by the number of cancellations and postponements  in winter sports at all levels because of the Covid virus? After almost two years you would  think that things would be settling down for the most part but unfortunately that’s not the case. 

Here are a few facts and figures that might astound you—DarkeCountyNow.com editor and  photographer extraordinaire Gaylen Blosser has been a busy man. During basketball season  he averages between 8,000-12,000 pictures per week, trimming them down to “only”  1,200-1,500 for posting. The first few weeks of high school state basketball tournament action  he’ll come close to 20,000 clicks and pics while during the Great Darke County Fair he’ll snap  up to 30,000 photos! Gaylen has a closet full of worn out cameras and an arthritic index finger  as reminders of his passion for pictures! Readers are fortunate to be able to view the fruits of  his labors!! 

I just finished reading Fourth and Long by author John Bacon and would highly recommend  it to any fan of college football. Although a little dated, it covers the 2012 seasons of THE  (Urban Meyer’s first season), Penn State, The School Up North, and Northwestern. The book,  which is at the Greenville Public Library, offers insights into the inner workings of Big Ten  schools and the difference in goals, budgets, and recruiting. It’s well worth your time! 

Speaking of recruiting, it’s become the Wild West out there as far as big-time college  football is concerned, particularly at the quarterback and “skill” positions. The so-called  transfer portal has wreaked havoc as players pick up and move almost everyday—seems like  the power conferences have become even more of a minor league feeder program for the  pros!! 

Here are my candidates for the most “enabled and spoiled” athletes of the week—Antonio  Brown, the shirtless receiver of the Buccaneers, and Novak Djokovic, the unvaccinated Serbian  tennis player and world number one. Brown has been overlooked for many transgressions  over the years because of his ability to catch a football while “The Joker” thinks he doesn’t  need to abide by the laws of Australia in attempting to win a tenth Australian Open and a record breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title. I’m starting to get a little tired of these two and  their entitled shenanigans, how about you? 

How about a quick glance at girls high school basketball standings here in the county? In  Miami Valley League play Troy (9-1) and Butler (6-3) lead the Miami division while Sidney (10-1)  and West Carrollton (7-1) pace the Valley. Greenville’s Lady Wave struggle with inexperience  and a lack of height in posting a 2-8 mark thus far. Skylar Fletcher ranks third in assists in the  league while scoring 12 points per game for Coach Rachel Kerns club. 

In the Western Ohio Athletic Conference Tri-Village (7-0), Arcanum (6- 1), and Bradford (4-2) lead the pack with the Lady Patriots and Lady Trojans both high in the  state rankings. Bradford’s Austy Miller (22.9 ppg), Hailey Unger of Arcanum (17.4), and T-V’s  Rylee Sagester (16.8) are among league leaders in scoring while T-V’s Morgan Hunt and  Meghan Downing, Arcanum’s Taylor Gray and Madelyn Fearon, Ansonia’s Bailey Schmit, Taylee  Woodbury of Mississinawa, Franklin-Monroe’s Skylar Batman, and Rylee Canan of Bradford all  are among conference leaders in different categories. 

Finally the second episode of the SEC football championship takes place tonight between  Alabama and Georgia. I’ll watch because it’s football, but have to admit that I have no rooting  interest in either team. Other than fans of the two schools I doubt that many people will tune  in; it seems like the same old story every year, the Tide against another SEC opponent.  Probably just sour grapes on my part!! Stay healthy and active until next time!

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