TERRE HAUTE — As a sports reporter, I’m required to work late-night hours on Fridays during football season.
Because of that, I’ve had trouble over the years waking up early on Saturdays to attend the Indiana State homecoming parade and join students in “The Walk” along Wabash Avenue to Memorial Stadium.
This year, I forced myself to get out of bed at 9 a.m., tough it out and enjoy the festivities before I covered the game, which Western Kentucky won 56-7.
I must say, Indiana State knows how to organize a homecoming parade, regardless of whether its football team wins or loses the game.
I arrived at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue at a little after 10 a.m. Seeing the cool floats and bands march past the new Hilton Garden Inn seemed different, considering how many photos I’ve seen of the old Terre Haute House in the background of previous ISU homecoming parades.
It wasn’t bad, just different. I’ll get used to it as the months and years pass.
Other than that and the fact that the parade travels west instead of east, like in the old days, I noticed many similarities to the ISU parades of my youth — a large crowd and plenty of smiling youngsters sitting on their fathers’ shoulders.
By the way, kids still like candy being thrown to them, in case anyone wondered.
I continued walking against the flow of the parade, turning north on Eighth Street. Hey, I just saw former Tribune-Star sports reporter Duff Tyler handing out candy while he walked alongside the WTHI-TV van. Why didn’t he give me any?
No problem. Soon after that, Robert Flott tossed me a piece. Woohoo! He’s da man. (Adults like sweets too.)
This was definitely worth my time as I said hello to plenty of people I knew along the route, even on Eighth Street.
I eventually approached Chestnut Street and realized I was close to the Ballyhoo Tavern, so I decided to check out some “adult fun” at 11 a.m., still three hours before game time.
After all, I hadn’t been inside the Bally in years.
After squeezing my way through the front door, I noticed wall-to-wall people, most in their 20s. Nobody was acting stupid and some were even dancing. I guess 11 a.m. is a little early for me to get my groove on, but daylight didn’t stop these partiers.
This was where I decided to start taking an informal poll to determine the football knowledge of The Walk participants.
The question: What school does Indiana State play today?
Pretty simple, wouldn’t you say? I’ll give the results at the end of this column.
While being polled inside the Bally (that sounds painful), ISU senior Kristin Butrum of Indianapolis admitted she would probably not attend the game after she concluded her part of The Walk. She said she would drink alcoholic beverages in moderation and promised she would call a cab for a ride when she was finished.
That’s a smart young lady.
I headed back down Ninth Street toward Wabash Avenue and three 20ish-looking people from Bloomington I’ve never met asked to get their picture taken with me. That meant either the Tribune-Star’s circulation is spreading farther than I realized or these people were getting their pictures taken with anyone who didn’t resemble a serial killer.
After my brief “say cheese” session, I veered over to the Terminal and Copper Bar, which were rockin’ good times. I prepared to interview a former ISU student I know about her experiences with The Walk, but she said she called in sick at work Saturday and preferred her name not be mentioned in the paper.
Should I do it anyway?
Wouldn’t it be funny if I got her fired?
OK, I’ll respect her wishes. But she owes me.
A few minutes later at the Copper Bar, Krissy Kelly, an ISU senior from Jasonville, said she planned to drink in moderation, just like Butrum earlier. Then Kelly offered her “expert” opinion of Indiana State football.
“I think the Indiana State football program needs a lot more support by the students,” said Kelly, who actually appeared sober. “I think that they could be good… but it’s all about school spirit and I think I’m going to make it to the game and support the Sycamores.”
From there, I proceeded east on Wabash. At this point, I was pleased that I hadn’t seen anyone puking or urinating in public. But it was still before noon, probably too early for that sort of nonsense.
When I arrived at Ambrosini’s at 14th and Wabash, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Outside, within the confines of a fenced-in parking lot, people were taking turns riding a mechanical bull. And there were sooooo many people inside every room of the building and out in the parking lot.
To Ambrosini’s credit, each entrance was monitored by someone checking identifications to make sure nobody under 21 got in. For that matter, the other bars I visited were doing that too.
They even checked mine. That’s how hardcore they were.
Outside Ambrosini’s, ISU students Megan Fields and Trisha Carlile weren’t shy about offering their views of ISU football.
“I know ISU hasn’t done well in the past,” Carlile said. “But today I can feel it in my bones that they’re going to turn it around and beat the team they’re playing today.”
Sorry, Trisha. Didn’t happen. But it’s always good to believe in your favorite team, even if you don’t know the name of the team it’s getting ready to play.
By the way, poll results still coming. Stay tuned.
As I trekked past Gilbert Park, I counted 21 portable toilet stations lined up side by side. It was nice of the city to provide that, because bathroom trips often come without much warning when you’re slamming down beers and shots.
At 16th Street, my old buddy Darrell Shouse gave me a friendly shoutout on his microphone while he and associates were selling food and water to passersby. I bet he still can’t beat me in one-on-one basketball (insert wink symbol here).
On the other side of Wabash, I observed a few folks entering Giovanni’s. Pizza and beer were the specialties there. It didn’t look as crowded as some of the earlier places, but that made it even more appealing to me.
I didn’t go inside, however. Unlike the other walkers, I needed to be at the stadium before 2 so I could cover the game and time was flying by.
So I made two more quick stops at Speak Easy and the legendary Fourth Quarter, which I remember getting a free drink at when I turned 21 a few years ago (cough, cough).
Inside the Fourth Quarter, recent ISU graduates Natalie Mehringer of Jasper and Kyra Bowerman of South Bend said their plans were to party a little and see the game. After all, they emphasized, they are true fans.
“I’m glad they got a new coach,” Mehringer said, referring to Dennis Raetz replacing Lou West earlier this season. “We needed the change.”
“Homecoming’s a blast at ISU,” mentioned Bowerman, who added that she hopes the university’s football team is “prayerfully” getting better.
Did Kyra just invent a new word? I think she did.
At this point, it was getting close to 1 p.m. and I decided to return to my car so I could drive to the stadium. My apologies to the bars I missed, but I’m sure they survived without me.
Finally, it’s time to announce the results of my extremely unscientific poll.
Out of 50 people who appeared to be in their 20s and may have attended ISU or walked on a college campus at some point in their lives, 35 did not know Western Kentucky was ISU’s opponent.
Only 15 knew the answer.
Sadly, that’s about what I expected.
David Hughes, who performed his Saturday mini-walk without drinking any alcoholic beverages, can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at email@example.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
TERRE HAUTE — As a sports reporter, I’m required to work late-night hours on Fridays during football season.
- Hughes News & Views
Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston
Having competed in the Boston Marathon once before in 2003, 35-year-old Majel Wells of Terre Haute thought she should give it another try in 2013.
“My goal was just to finish and enjoy Boston,” she reflected this week. “I had an injury [runner’s knee] beforehand, so I wasn’t too worried about beating my time from 2003 [4 hours, 10.20 seconds].
“But nobody cares about what your time is at Boston anyway.”
From what I’ve heard over the years, she’s right. Unless you’re a super-serious runner, the Boston Marathon has been more about taking in the atmosphere and having fun than placing in the top 50, although Wells was pleased that she beat her previous time by finishing in 3:55.19 on April 15.
Obviously, her race time wasn’t the most vivid memory that Wells took away from her 2013 Boston experience.
Former South players to play in Saylor benefit game
I had my first phone conversation with Mike Saylor since mid-February on Thursday and he sounded good.
The former Terre Haute South High School boys basketball coach, who’s been battling cancer this year, has been traveling back and forth to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments.
Recent South swimmers Roach, Bray heading to DI nationals
I’m sure most of you with office jobs can relate.
When work gets busy, sometimes it’s easy to skim over our emails. After all, how many times do we need to read the same nonsense from alleged Nigerians wanting to make us rich if we’ll send them several thousand dollars first?
So after having three consecutive days off, that almost happened to me when I returned to work Tuesday. Then I realized that the message from Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South High School’s boys and girls swimming coach, contained significant news.
NCAA Division III basketball tournament returns to Rose-Hulman
The last time Rose-Hulman served as host for the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, its game was played inside an old World War II airplane hangar.
You “old-timers” should know the building I’m talking about and the matchup wasn’t really that long ago — March 6, 1997, to be exact.
DAVID HUGHES: Childhood friends use faith, sports to get them through
When I learned in February 2009 that a rare form of appendix cancer would devastate my life and cause me to miss work for several months, Mike Saylor was among the first to offer assistance.
Book review: Thumbs up for ‘Trophies and Tears’
Now might be too late for giving Christmas presents, but the book “Trophies and Tears: The Story of Evansville and the Aces” is a fascinating read for longtime Indiana basketball fans, particularly those older than 40.
Written by award-winning Kyle Keiderling of Henderson, Nev., and released in hardcover format in mid-December, the 480-page “Trophies and Tears” documents the rich tradition of the University of Evansville men’s basketball program through recent interviews and research of old yearbooks and newspaper/scrapbook clippings.
The book contains many cheery moments — behind-the-scenes details of all five NCAA College Division (now known as Division II) championships won in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s by the Purple Aces and their legendary coach Arad McCutchan — although some of those moments don’t seem so cheery from an Indiana State perspective when the Sycamores found themselves on the losing end of scores.
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I already know one of my gift wishes is becoming less likely to happen. That would be for the Indianapolis Colts to face the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs.
Colts' loyalty tested by Manning, Broncos
We’re approaching the halfway point of the NFL season and so far it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle following two favorite teams — 1a.) the Indianapolis Colts and 1b.) Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos — but the new arrangement hasn’t caused me any loyalty conflicts yet.
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I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.
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Since May 14, Indiana high school basketball fans have wondered why Jim Jones would want to come out of retirement at 74.
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Phones are ringing less frequently in the Tribune-Star sports department this week.
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If Kylie Hutson were a cross-country runner, she’d be approaching the final stretch of her biggest race in about three weeks.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Rose basketball alumni offer advice to current team
Bryan Egli and Joe Puthoff, both Rose-Hulman basketball starters I covered in the late 1990s, took their degrees from the prestigious engineering institute and found successful careers in the Indianapolis area.
Egli, also a former West Vigo High School multi-sport standout, lives in Carmel and works for Thieneman Construction in Westfield. Puthoff lives in Indy and works for Rolls Royce Aircraft Engines.
DAVID HUGHES: Super Bowl odds getting stranger and stranger
Today’s annual “Super Bowl odds column” feels special to me because I’ve been a diehard NFL fan since 1967 and next Sunday will be the first time the big game takes place in our great state of Indiana.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Coach’s book a chance to remember North Vermillion state champs
Almost 10 years ago, February 2002 to be exact, the New England Patriots upset the high-powered St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, the Winter Olympics entertained spectators in Salt Lake City and Terre Haute South High School’s girls basketball team started its tournament run toward a Class 4A state title.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Plenty of sports-related gifts for columnist's wish list
Last week, I was all set to beg Santa Claus to give the Indianapolis Colts a certificate good for one NFL regular-season victory.
Then the 2011 Colts decided to play like the 2009 Colts and clobber the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for their first win of the season. So that present won’t be necessary.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: WTHI defends decision not to show Colts
When your favorite NFL team is threatening to finish 0-16, you have to figure a few fans will jump off the bandwagon.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Former South coach Rady makes it look easy
Jack Butcher, Howard Sharpe and Bill Stearman.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Wheldon's genuine personality a devastating loss to racing
Lori Wood, the Tribune-Star’s Indianapolis 500 correspondent since 2000, planned to visit a friend in California and take in the IndyCar Las Vegas 300 as a ticket-buying fan last weekend.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Past greats proud of ISU’s recent improvements
Indiana State football alum Chris “Big C” Hicks will turn 58 Saturday and he knows exactly what he wants for his birthday.
HUGHES NEWS AND VIEWS: Rose-Hulman hungry for first football victory of season
The Engineers have not endured a losing season since 2004. But they’ve opened this season at 0-2, causing Sokol to admit they’re desperate for a win.
“We’re all very hungry for a victory,” he said after practice Thursday. “We all want to taste victory really, really bad.”
Valley semipro football team reaches championship of IFL
The West Central Wildcats’ semipro football team from Terre Haute has been written about before in this column space over the last two years.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Colts cheerleaders glad to get back on field
When I heard the NFL lockout finally ended this week, I looked for someone affiliated with the Indianapolis Colts to get a reaction.
Amateur boxing card set for outdoors at Show-Me's
We all know what Show-Me’s sports bar is famous for around Terre Haute, right?
Chicken wings, of course.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Porter’s persistence keeps his boxing career going
When I walked in Sweatbox Gym through the alley door Wednesday, I wondered if a time machine had taken me back to the 1950s, the glory days of boxing.
HUGHES, NEWS AND VIEWS: Seaton aces chance for more Div. 1 volleyball
Plagued by one injury after another after another, Kristen Seaton was ready to turn off the lights on her volleyball career.
In her mind, the party was over.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Semi-pro football team to kick off season today
If you’re worried about the NFL season being canceled and you can’t wait months for the college and high school seasons to begin, you can get your football fix tonight at Memorial Stadium.
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- Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston