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Remember where you were 30 years ago today?

February 22, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON

No Internet.

No cell phones.

Not even live on that archaic television cable that we did have.

There was no such thing as I-need-to-know-it-all-now that we live daily today.

The biggest hockey game in United States history was on tape delay and I bet all of you old enough knew were you were when you heard the results.

United States 4, Russia 3.

It was one of those moments that transcended time.

If you think about it, people know where they were when John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and John Lennon were assassinated; when 9/11 happened; the space shuttle explosions; and, from what I hear from the national pundits, Tiger Woods' press day will be looked at in the same manner.

How many times has that happened with something positive nationally?

I am closing in on 50 and the Miracle on Ice is the only thing on that list.

I'm not talking about Maz's homer to beat the Yankees in 1960, the Immaculate Reception, Notre Dame stopping UCLA's 88-game winning streak in basketball or some other regional sporting event.

I am talking about something that captivated two nations, shown live or not.

I am talking about a bunch of 22-year-old beating Russian men who just didn't lose and entered the Olympics having beaten the American's 10-3 three days before the start of the Games and who had knocked off the New York Rangers and Islanders.

I am talking about Russian hockey players who had won some 60-straight contests.

A bunch of us were playing basketball when we heard the news. It was a 2 p.m. start in San Diego and all of us sports idiots talked about how it could be the biggest sports upset we would ever see.

I know there is Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson or Rulon Gardner beating the unbeatable Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Summer Games in Greco-Roman wrestling. Karelin had been undefeated for thirteen years and had not given up a point in six years, before losing to Gardner 1-0 in the gold medal match.

This was not Villanova beating Georgetown for the basketball national championship in 1988 or George Mason making a run to the Final Four in 2006.

This was something that, if shown live, would have had millions and millions glued to a TV or streaming it live in the Internet.

The third-annual Wheeling Hospital Ohio Valley Athletic Basketball Championships are in the book.

The Indian Creek girls squad is the only three-time winner of the event, having beaten John Marshall, Edison and Steubenville Big Red.

It is a great legacy set by these girls.

Many doubted their return to Ohio University-Eastern. Many had seen a chink in the armor.

But, the Redskins knocked off visiting Wheeling Park in the semifinals before dispatching Big Red.

Regardless of what happens in the sectional tournament, and I know the girls desperately want to make it to the district tournament, this group of athletes has set the bar rather high for the Indian Creek basketball players to follow.

The other interesting note is only one OVAC school has won the boys and girls titles in the same year - Indian Creek.

The programs won the gold medals in the first year, 2008.

Only four teams have played in the finals all three years - Indian Creek girls, Beallsville girls, Bridgeport boys and John Marshall boys.

Beallsville is 2-1, having won the last two.

Bridgeport is also 2-1, having sandwiched wins around a 2009 loss.

The Monarchs have lost all three finals, the last pair to rival Wheeling Park.

The Shadyside and Wheeling Central boys also have two championships.

Dear Toronto football folks,

I bet it took some of you less than the time of a wide receiver running a 40-yard dash to start complaining about Eric Meek being hired as the Red Knights football coach.

How about spending the next three years doing everything in your power to back the football program and everything that is involved with it.

Back the coach and the staff.

Back the administration.

Back the kids.

Spend your time doing positive things for the Toronto community and the football program.

Instead of shaking Meek's hand and using your other hand to stab him in the back, how about taking that left hand, putting it out and simply say, "What can I do to help?"

I know it can be a novel idea to some, but something has to get done to help bring the Red Knights back to respectability.

There's a graveyard of head coaches there and, from what I can tell, it's all about negativity.

You can complain all you want about who was hired and who wasn't hired, but it doesn't make a difference now. Meek has been hired and it's time to move forward.

And, really, do not look to deeply into the 3-2 vote for him. Do not dwell on the two who did not vote for Meek and why they didn't.

Concentrate on the three "yes" votes and, again, move forward. Not to make a comparison, but Steubenville Big Red head coach Reno Saccoccia was voted in by a 3-2 vote some 28 years ago. Seems to me he has done really well at 420 N. Fourth Street.

So, instead of adults, parents, former players and others piling on and continuing with all the negativity and "they shoulda done this, they shoulda done that, they shoulda hired him, they shoulda interviewed him," get behind what has been done and what is going to be done.

Get on the other side of the fence this time with positive things and encouragement. They will appreciate it a lot more than outside influences telling them how bad they are, how the coaches don't know what they're doing or saying and how they are wasting their time playing Friday night football games.

Help figure out ways to put kids in a position to win.

Help figure out ways to get the best out of them.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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