To the point week of 4-2-09

304

MILESTONES HAVE BEEN reached both near and far recently, so I thought I would take a few moments today to salute them.

First, many of you enjoy reading Mike Cooney’s column, “A Stone’s Throw” each week in our newspaper, and I wanted to congratulate Mike, because today’s installment is the 200th column that he was written for Vevay Newspapers.

Now, as many of you sit out there and consider that number, some of you may think, “So what? All you have to do is write your opinions and thoughts once a week. How hard can that be?”

Ask Mike, or others who contribute on a weekly basis to this newspaper, it’s hard – Very Hard – to find something to write about each and every week.

We live in a society where it seems everyone has an opinion, just don’t ask them to share it publicly. One of the hardest things that people have to do is to defend their stance on a certain issue; and when you write it down and let about 7,000 people read it each and every week, it can get a little overwhelming.

Individual readers come to their local paper each week with preconceived notions about their community; their state; and their world. When someone writes a column or a letter or a news article that differs from those notions, it’s not always civil.

As someone who’s written a column weekly for more years than I care to remember (I think it’s almost 15), I can tell you that it’s one of the most difficult things that I do each week.

So, to Mike, I say congratulations on his achievement.

*

I also need to stop and congratulate Kyle Green and Rachel Gurley on earning the Lilly Endowment Scholarship.

On page one of today’s edition you can read about these two exceptional young people from this community; and they are very deserving of the accolades that they are receiving now.

I would also point you to the list on the front page of past Lilly winners from this community. All are very successful people in whom we can all be very proud. Some still live in this community, while others have moved on to other locations; but they all will always be “Switzerland County Kids” at heart; and both Kyle and Rachel should be proud that their names will forever be included on that list – and also conscious of the heritage of success that has been laid for them by those who won the scholarship in past years.

Congratulations.

*

Because Mike writes about sports a lot, I try and stay away from sports-related topics on this side of page 7, but it is of note that it’s been 30 years since Larry Bird and Indiana State University played Magic Johnson and Michigan State University for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

I was a high school kid who could tell you every player on that Indiana State team; and I watched every game in awe of what Larry Bird could do with a basketball.

It’s odd to think of them all being 30 years older now, but they will forever be 22 in our memories; and it was one of the greatest games in college basketball history.

It’s also significant that Michigan State will play this weekend in the Final Four with a chance to match that championship of 30 years prior.

Significant not so much for what will happen on the court; but that those games will be played in Detroit, Michigan; where the economic crisis has hit the entire state very hard.

As auto manufacturer’s close their doors and lay off workers, perhaps this weekend sports will return to what it once was – an escape from everyday problems for a couple of hours while you watched some kids play a “game”.

Somewhere we’ve gotten away from remembering that it’s a game played for fun; but maybe this weekend adults across the country can forget about their troubles for awhile and watch for the fun of it.

*

As an update, it appears as though Vevay Newspapers office manager Ginny Leap will soon be returning to her desk.

It’s been nearly six weeks since she had surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm; but she’s doing very well and is awaiting the final release by her doctor so that she can come back to work.

One thing: Ginny has been battling to quit smoking after her surgery, and those of you who have kicked that habit know just how hard that is. So here’s where I need your help: when you see Ginny, congratulate her on her attempt to quit smoking, and encourage her to stay the course.

I’ve heard rumors that she’s stumbled a time or two, so make sure that she’s knows that it’s a process, and that she’ll make it.

The Vevay Newspapers office is now a “smoke free campus”, so she can’t smoke anywhere on the property – inside or outside the office; so let’s all do our part to help her reach her goal.

*

Finally, congratulations are in order to the boys basketball team from neighboring Jac-Cen-Del High School.

The Eagles won the Class 1A State Championship on Saturday; and I can only imagine the joy and pride that has swept that community in the past few days.

From my vantage point at basketball games, I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know many area players as they travel through their high school careers; but you need to know that the boys who make up the Jac-Cen-Del team are truly first-class young men – particularly Matt Gehl – who have represented their community at the highest level; but also our athletic conference and Southeastern Indiana in general.

They’ve done it the right way, bringing their players up through their system. They don’t have the luxury of recruiting players like some private (and others) schools do; and they also have a great community of fans who cheer for them in losses and in wins.

So congratulations, Eagles, your title is well deserved.