The Long, The Short, and The Little

Let’s everyone sit down, count to ten, take a deep breath, and relax following Fair Week and the start of another school year here in Darke County. There now, doesn’t everybody feel better!

The Tokyo ParaOlympics recently concluded, bringing to the forefront the achievements of US swimmer Jessica Long. You might recall the television commercial starring the little girl adopted from Russia at the age of 13 months, who, due to a birth defect, had both lower legs amputated when she was 18 months old here in the States.

With a natural talent for swimming, Jessica, now 29, has won a total of 25 ParaOlympic medals. An inspiration to countless others she has become one of the primary faces of the ParaOlympic program!

Tri-Village’s football team suffered a blow in the first game of the year when All-Ohio quarterback Layne Sarver broke a collarbone early in the win over Troy Christian. With sophomore Braden Keating calling signals the Patriots hung tough with Preble Shawnee last week before succumbing to the Arrows by a 26-14 count. Unfortunately Sarver will miss the rest of the season, but will ready for the start of the basketball campaign.

New additions Shawnee and Dixie bring a little more physicality to the WOAC as they move over from the SWBL.

Versailles’ Tigers and Arcanum’s Trojans continue to make strong impressions early in the season, the Tigers dominating Fort Loramie and Arcanum easily handling Twin Valley South. Watch for these two teams as they start to enter the meat of their respective league schedules!

You had to feel a little sorry for Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship over the weekend. He missed at least four or five consecutive putts that burned the edge of the cup or lipped out in eventually losing a six-hole sudden death playoff to Patrick Cantlay.

Made most duffers like myself feel a little better about our short games although we didn’t have the pressure of an almost $700,000 difference between first and second place monies hanging over our heads!

Speaking of short games, how about Greenville running back Brock Short’s efforts in a wild 49-41 loss to Stebbins? The 5’8” 155 pound junior romped for a school single game record 415 yards and 5 TDs, shattering the previous mark of 293 yards set by Zach Melling back in 2008.

Short played junior high ball in Greenville before moving to Indiana for his freshman and sophomore years. Returning to Green Wave country this summer he is making his presence known, amassing 622 yards rushing from scrimmage in the first two games and helping to revive Coach Bart Schmitz’ ground attack.

The Green and White travel to Sidney this week, looking for win number one and to reclaim the Little Brown Jug from the YellowJackets!

THE opened the season at Minnesota Thursday night while Miami’s RedHawks travel to Cincinnati Saturday to take on the eighth-ranked Bearcats. Georgia-Clemson tangle in another huge early season matchup as college football kicks into high gear this weekend. Let’s hope all teams play up to their potential, that Covid concerns don’t dampen the fan enthusiasm and crowds this fall, and that we can all enjoy the spectacle of college football at all levels!

I see that the annual Sports Illustrated Pigskin Preview issue forecasts a Chiefs triumph over the Rams in this year’s Super Bowl. The Browns are picked to win the AFC North with a 12-5 record (remember it’s a 17-game schedule this year) while the Bengals are projected to once again occupy the North basement with a 3-14 mark (take heart fans of the Stripes, SI usually doesn’t come close in their predictions!).

Finally, can enthusiasm and despair be more exemplified than in the Little League World Series? The team of 11-12 year-olds from Hamilton made a great run at the championship before falling 5-2 to a team from Taylor, Michigan in Sunday’s final. As the grandfather of a 12- year-old ballplayer it was both exhilarating and gut-wrenching to watch the emotions displayed throughout the tournament by all teams.

Great coaching, great fan support, great young talent, and the general goofiness of 11-12 year-old boys all combined to make the LLWS one of the great sporting events of the summer! As the old ABC-TV “Wide World of Sports” saying goes, “The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat!”. Until next time, stay healthy and active!

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

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