BENNETT'S MINUTES (FREE ACCESS): Actually lots of sports still to write about despite slowdown

Monday, March 16, 2020 ~ Updated 10:05 PM

Today’s column will start with a short Facebook post I made recently, so if you saw that then this will be a repeat.

Basically in homage to Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning short film “Dear Basketball” (which if you haven’t seen yet, would be a great thing to devote six minutes to in the absence of sports), my post simply said:

Dear Sports:

I will never take you for granted again. Hope to see you soon.


Not surprisingly, sports have been a big part of my life since birth.

My own playing career was limited due to a lack of ability, but my sports career began with our family taking family vacations to fastpitch softball tournaments. My dad was an inaugural member of the Indiana Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame as a standout fastpitch hurler and that’s just what we did.

Through the years came various ventures into coaching at numerous different levels, both recreational and school teams, with some successes along the way — including a couple of Boys Club all-star state titles and taking a 14-year-old Babe Ruth team to the state finals as a 21-year-old.

Most of my jobs have revolved around sports, starting with my brother and I riding our bicycles across town as pre-teens in Terre Haute to the Softball Stadium located on the Banks of the Wabash to serve as public address announcers for a great deal of our childhood.

At age 14, I began working at the Boys Club in Terre Haute and was able to learn the fine art of coaching and teaching basketball from several disciples of legendary coach Howard Sharpe as well as Hall of Famers Jim Jones and Pat Rady.

The past several decades have been an overlapping combination of coaching, officiating and writing about sports dispersed among a couple of career changes.

So, like many people, this current drought in sports hasn’t been a great fit for someone with a sports resume spanning about 50 years.

In my opinion, I do not think any of the sports-related closures or postponements is overreaction. I would much rather look back at this and reflect on the few people who died than to wish we had done more sooner.

I’m fortunate (in many ways) to have been married to my wonderful wife for nearly 19 years and our four dogs keep us busy for sure. Some of our normal non-sports diversions such as comedy clubs, community theater and lectures are obviously coming to a halt also.

As much as I wish sports were continuing and this dumb virus never showed up, I do look forward to spending more time at home with the family during this “slower” time to make up for my numerous absentee evenings during the hectic school year.

As for the Banner Graphic sports section? There is actually no shortage of things to work on, at least for a few weeks, now that there is actually time to do them.

This week will be spent compiling a list of the many college signings which have taken place, some even in late 2019, and tracking down all the photos and interviews I did for those. Those stories will show up as soon as I get the people in some of those photos identified.

We will have all-county basketball to get to for both boys and girls, as well as all-Western Indiana Conference hoop honors.

To tease some upcoming stories, we have recently had a varsity coaching change in both boys’ basketball and football in Putnam County and we’ll bring you those stories. A former county varsity coach has also left the high school ranks to coach collegiately, while a county basketball team has also been accepted into a big holiday tournament.

A full College Report recapping both the fall and winter sports seasons is also upcoming, as well as a look at a county grad who was having a successful spring season for a college team before its season was cut short.

Gary Hazlett will also be taking a look at fans who criticize officials, and how the recent world events should make such bickering even more pointless.

As always, feel free to send along any story ideas to:

“Feel Good Friday” will continue next week, and I could still use a subject for that.

Hopefully, by the time all of this gets published some sense of normalcy will have returned and actual events will again be taking place.