TERRE HAUTE —
When allowed to spiral out of control, addictions can affect people from all walks of life.
They can end lives, destroy marriages and turn normally decent human beings into shells of their former selves.
When I was battling a rare form of abdominal cancer and post-surgery complications for most of 2009 and early 2010 (read the April 4 and April 9 versions of “Hughes, News & Views” for more details), I saw potential for addictions to influence my life.
One of my temporary favorites was the high-powered, intravenous medicine I needed to manage my pain, which reached intense levels at various times during my ordeal.
Although I appreciated the short-term benefits of this medical miracle, I did not develop an addiction. In other words, when my pain dropped to reasonable levels, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would be cut off from this medicine and it would not be going home with me.
There were other medicinal necessities that came and went during my 13 1/2 months of misery, but I did not become addicted to any of them.
I did try something new in December, however, to help pass the time when I was bored at home, lacking energy, off work, and preparing for another significant surgery in January.
It seemed harmless at the time. But to this day, even though I’ve been back to work and joined two fitness clubs since March 29, I’m still unable to kick the habit.
That habit — oh I’m sooooo ashamed — is Facebook.
There, I said it.
If you’ve joined Facebook and spent hours a day sending out friend requests, accepting friend requests, perusing status updates of existing friends and becoming a “fan” of various lifestyles, athletes, musical groups or activities (some worthwhile and some ridiculous), you know what I mean.
(You didn’t think I was going to write a serious column about serious addictions, did you?)
Anyway, I’ve amassed 930-plus “Facebook friends” in four months, although I don’t really know 100-200 of them. That’s because I made a few dozen friend requests to Facebook users who have mutual friends and because other users requested my friendship for the same reason.
I’ve also had friend requests accepted by celebrities and borderline celebrities I’ve never met in person or never interviewed over the phone. Examples included Mike Tyson, Kato Kaelin, Stacy Keibler, Baron Von Raschke, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t welcomed every friend request with open arms. I’ve rejected a few when there appeared to be zero connection between me and that person.
Overall, though, Facebook has turned into a fun addiction. It’s allowed me to reconnect with so many former friends and acquaintances I never thought I’d hear from again, including several 1970s high school classmates from Terre Haute South.
Apparently I’m not the only person who thinks Facebook is innocent Internet fun.
According to statistics issued by the free Web site (hopefully it will stay that way), it has more than 400 million active users around the world. The average Facebook user has 130 “friends” and creates 70 pieces of content each month.
That content, which often comes in the form of status updates on each user’s profile page, can range from “I’m picking my nose today” to a life-altering message about a sick family member. In terms of real-life importance, most content falls somewhere in between.
One of my favorite Facebook groups was created recently by longtime co-worker and friend Tom James as a tribute to the 1978-79 Indiana State men’s basketball team. As of Friday evening, the group had lured in roughly 420 members, including two ISU players (Leroy Staley and Bob Ritter), one student trainer (Rick Shaw), one player’s wife (Kathy Miley) and several devoted fans (including wild-man Jon Holtman, who now lives in Colorado) from the ’78-79 team.
T.J. hopes Larry Bird will join the group or at least look at the group’s profile page someday, although we’re thinking Larry probably isn’t much of a Facebooker.
I’ve also taken interest in a Facebook group that one of my newfound friends created this month. It’s called “Terre Haute needs a night Club with a big Dance Floor! :)” and it has quickly grown to more than 200 members.
Facebook offers countless fan pages. One of my favorites — “I hate it when you’re with MC Hammer and he doesn’t let you touch anything” — never fails to make me laugh. I don’t even know how this page originated, but does it matter?
I’ve also joined several Indianapolis Colts-related Facebook pages, as well as several that support local restaurants, bands and radio stations and some that support cancer research and humane societies. The Tribune-Star and Tribune-Star Sports operate separate fan pages too.
In addition, Facebook enabled me to post 71 photos within a few days after a March get-together, which attracted more than 120 people, at a Terre Haute bar/restaurant.
Naturally, Facebook isn’t for everybody.
If you’re a super-busy CEO or bank president, you probably don’t have time for it. But when you’re laid up in a hospital bed or at home with a serious health condition, which was my situation a few months ago, Facebook can come in handy.
Hey, at least I wasn’t drinking meth.
Now someone talk me out of trying Twitter because I definitely don’t have time for two addictions.
David Hughes can be reached by phone after 4 p.m. at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
TERRE HAUTE —
When allowed to spiral out of control, addictions can affect people from all walks of life.
- 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.
Hughes, News & Views: Wishing for Colts-Broncos playoff matchup from Santa
There’s plenty of tragedy in the world to bring us down if we let it, so let’s have a light-hearted column today — my annual Christmas gift requests for Santa Claus.
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.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Sorting out the sports air waves
My name isn’t attached to them, but I’m the one who usually puts together the “Sports on the air” television/radio listings that appear daily on this newspaper’s Scoreboard Page.
Hughes, News & Views: North junior ready to go racing
When we last visited 16-year-old Rachel Gutish, she was finishing sixth in the Women’s Enduro X race in the nationally televised Summer X Games at Los Angeles.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Yelovich still striking the ball long on LDA Tour
In June 2011, I wrote a feature story about former Indiana State basketball center Mick Yelovich making a name for himself as a golfer on the Long Drivers Association (LDA) Tour.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Colts? Broncos? Maybe there’s more than enough room for both
I’ve got a longtime buddy who I’m fairly sure rarely, if ever, reads this column.
HUGHES NEWS & VIEWS: Point of Jones’ return
Since May 14, Indiana high school basketball fans have wondered why Jim Jones would want to come out of retirement at 74.
HUGHES, NEWS & VIEWS: Questions abound for Indy 500, Manning, baseball sectional
Phones are ringing less frequently in the Tribune-Star sports department this week.
Hughes, News & Views: Hutson getting ready for final stretch toward Olympic Trials
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.
- More Hughes News & Views Headlines
- Terre Haute runner sets up race to help Boston