TERRE HAUTE —
Watching Peyton Manning fire a touchdown pass to Dallas Clark in a regular-season game is far more entertaining than watching them connect in practice.
But who am I kidding? Watching it anytime is still fun.
Since the Indianapolis Colts started conducting preseason training camp at Rose-Hulman in 1999, I’ve helped the Tribune-Star cover Manning, Clark, etc… almost every year. Although I missed two camps — when I got married in 2002 and when I fought cancer in 2009 — I noticed their larger-than-life presence made Terre Haute feel proud about itself during those late-summer weeks.
Terre Haute can continue to feel proud, but not because of the Colts anymore. Team president Bill Polian announced Wednesday that they’re heading back to Anderson to conduct training camp.
Oh well. I’ll survive and so will other Colts supporters. I won’t desert them to start cheering for the Oakland Raiders or, even worse, the New England Patriots.
As the Colts drive off with Terre Haute in their rear-view mirrors, local residents are left with a giant horseshoe full of camp memories.
In 2007, for example, I told longtime friend Max Harvey that he and his teenage son Eric should stand at a certain obscure location on Rose’s campus if they wanted players to sign items on “arrival day.”
When Max and Eric followed my suggestion, they ended up with more than they bargained for.
“We were standing there by the curb, then Peyton Manning and [former Colts player] Aaron Moorehead pulled up in a Chevy Tahoe,” Max Harvey recalled Thursday.
“They had Subway sandwiches and they pulled up right by us [near the driveway entrance where Colts players checked in on the first day of camp]. Peyton was driving and his window was already rolled down. He said something nice to us. We were just standing there with a full-sized Colts helmet and we handed it to him. He signed it and gave it back to us, then another father and son came up. They had Peyton sign a Super Bowl ticket [from the previous season when the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears]… The players were in a little bit of a hurry, but they were still real nice to everyone.”
John Mazeqie of Terre Haute also offered his fondest memory of Colts Camp at Rose-Hulman.
“Peyton Manning signed my helmet one time several years ago, maybe four years ago,” he said. “It was after practice, which he stayed [after practice] all the time. He talked to me like a person, which I appreciated.”
Tribune-Star Colts beat writer Tom James tossed in his two cents about an interesting moment from the team’s time in Terre Haute.
“It was 2006 and the Colts were practicing [at Cook Stadium] in the rain,” Tom explained. “After the workout was over, we asked [then-coach] Tony Dungy how tough was it to practice in the rain… He looked at us and laughed and said ‘Well, it was good to practice in the rain. You never know when there’s going to be a big game in the rain.’ And lo and behold, Super Bowl XLI … it rained the entire night [as the Colts outlasted the Bears to become world champions].”
T-S columnist Mark Bennett, our former sports editor, brought up a camp incident from the early 2000s that still brings a grin to his face. It involved then-coach Jim Mora Sr. scolding then-receiver Jerome Pathon in front of all sorts of stunned observers on the last day of training camp.
“Coach Mora yelled, ‘Nobody sits on their helmet here!’ ” Mark mentioned. “He was as animated as I ever saw him in person.”
Mora was one of my favorite people from the early years of Terre Haute Colts Camp, probably because he remembered my name from year to year.
Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne were two of my favorite players from a reporter’s perspective. Both were known for their grand entrances on the first day of camp, providing me and my co-workers with plenty of story material.
One year, “The Edge” showed up with a school bus full of children. Another year, he and Wayne took a yellow taxi cab from Indianapolis to Terre Haute because his driver’s license was suspended.
On arrival day of 2006, Wayne paid tribute to James, who had left the Colts to sign with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent during the off-season, by wearing a No. 32 Cardinals jersey with James’ name on the back.
The next year, Wayne wore a camouflage outfit on arrival day. Last year, although I wasn’t there to see it, he rode shotgun in a yellow dump truck and wore a hard hat and orange vest while carrying a lunch pail to symbolize “going to work” on a Super Bowl championship.
Hey, it almost worked.
Personally, I’ll never forget the arrival of James in 1999, which was the first year of Terre Haute Colts Camp as well as James’ rookie year.
It didn’t occur on arrival day, however. After the future Colts star ended a brief holdout by signing his first NFL contract, word leaked among reporters that he would make his first appearance on a hot weekday afternoon in the middle of camp.
Sure enough, the dreadlocked James went through a grueling practice and agreed to answer media questions afterward. He chose to stand outside next to Rose-Hulman’s Sports and Recreation Center, leaving little room for newspaper and television reporters to surround him.
Because James was drafted No. 4 overall in ’99, reporters from ESPN and CNN traveled to Terre Haute to relay his words of wisdom to viewers. I didn’t bring a recording device that day, so I scribbled while TV reporters stuck their microphone cords over my notebook — blocking my vision at times — to reach James’ face.
Did I mention it was really, really hot that day?
Anyway, James handled the impromptu press conference calmly and politely. Although my notebook ended up drenched from sweat, I wrote what I thought was a good story.
OK, that was my favorite on-the-record memory from Terre Haute Colts Camp. Now do you want my favorite off-the-record story?
At least it was off the record in 1999.
I had conducted a late-afternoon interview with a Colts player for a feature story, which needed to be written that evening, when I decided to take advantage of the free-dinner offer for on-duty reporters covering camp.
I was a rookie to this, so when I stepped inside the door to Rose-Hulman’s dining area, a young lady said I must wait until the players and coaches were done eating before I could enter. Told that it might take a while, I wondered what I should do while I stood outside the door.
Within a minute, Rose-Hulman president Samuel Hulbert — whom I knew well from cover the engineering institute’s basketball games over the years — said “hello” as he approached the door. I explained my dilemma — whether to wait for players and coaches to finish eating so I could claim my first free meal of Colts Camp or whether to return to the newsroom to write my story — and Hulbert suggested I go inside with him.
So I went inside, grabbed a tray, gathered up some delicious-looking food and found a seat next to Hulbert in the same room where the players and coaches were eating.
I kept to myself and didn’t hover over Manning to see what he was eating, but I was still in trouble. You see, because Hulbert thought it was OK for me to go inside with him, I didn’t even think about checking in with the young lady who had told me to wait a few minutes earlier. When she saw me eating in the same room, she evidently told on me.
Without going into great detail, let’s just say I got reprimanded by the Colts and forced to eat the rest of my food in a room all by myself.
Both sides quickly got over this misunderstanding. That’s why I can smile when discussing it now, just like I can smile about Colts Camp gracing Terre Haute for 11 fun-filled years.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224 after 4 p.m.; by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
Fans, columnist reflect on Colts Camp’s time in city
TERRE HAUTE —
Watching Peyton Manning fire a touchdown pass to Dallas Clark in a regular-season game is far more entertaining than watching them connect in practice.
- 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