Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • COLUMN: On the Mark

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  • TIS’ THE SEASON: Where did summer go?
    Usually it offers a little bit of down time for me, but not this year. It just seems as though it has been one thing after another.
    If you are an athlete, summer break is definitely in the rearview mirror.
    Fall sports practices are underway.
    Football, soccer, cross country, volleyball and golf teams for both Ravenswood and Ripley will got things going on Monday.
    Looking back on my days of high school, August was always an exciting time with a new football season arriving. But I also looked forward to heading back to school. I still take an annual stroll or two down the Back to School sections in stores.
    It is, though, amazing the changes that have taken place on the high school sports scene since then.
    It was just football during my era. There was no soccer. There was no volleyball. There was no cross country. Golf was played in the spring.
    Also, while in high school, there wasn’t a girls softball program.
    I say the more sports the better. It’s a great opportunity for a young person. I think playing a sport (or sports) is a wonderful avenue to keep them going in the right direction of life.
    TEX’S MUSEUM: If ever there was an event illustrating how sports can help change and mold lives, it was the one which took place this past Monday in the tiny unincorporated community of Artie (Raleigh County).
    Tex Williams, a legendary coach in the state and a wonderful friend, unveiled his Artie Sports Museum last Monday and close to a thousand flocked to the tiny burg of Artie, which I must say is in the middle of nowhere.
    The museum is located in the old Artie Post Office, where Tex’s late mother, Blanche, worked for 43 years (without missing a day’s work). Tex, who grew up beside of the post office, has owned the building for several years. He decided about five years ago to start hanging photos on the wall and it took off.
    He has gathered photos by the thousands of state sports legends, personalities, teams, musicians, war heroes and more.
    It was something to behold. I was honored to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony that included Jerry West.
    Ripley’s Scott Ludwig and Steve Hunt, who coached with Tex at Alderson-Broaddus, were there along with former Ripley coaches Corky Griffith, Mike Reed and Roger Hart.
    I plan to write a column about this big day in Artie in an upcoming issue of Jackson Newspapers. A day many will never forget, including yours truly.
    Page 2 of 2 - SANSBURY MOVING ON: Former Ripley Lady Viking softball standout Mandy Sansbury has a new job. After spending the past two seasons serving as the head coach of the Glenville State College women’s softball program, Sansbury has been lured away by Mt. Olive College in Mt. Olive, North Carolina to be the school’s softball leader.
    Like Glenville, Mt. Olive plays at the NCAA Division II level. Mt. Olive is a member of the Carolinas Conference.
    Congrats to Mandy, a 2001 Ripley High graduate who played on the college level at Ashland University in Ohio and West Virginia Wesleyan.
    REMEMBERING CROOK: Jackson County lost a fine sportsman late last month with the passing of Harry Crook.
    There was no greater fan of athletics and youth in our county than Harry. For a while, he wrote sports for Jackson Newspapers.
    Besides high school, middle school and youth athletics, he was a big supporter of the Jackson County Junior Fair and Special Olympics.
    Back in the day, Harry was quite the athlete for Parkersburg South High School.
    He died at the young age of 57 following a long battle with cancer.
    I had gotten to know one of Harry’s children, Brian, quite well. I’m not sure Jackson County has had a better waiter in restaurants than Brian.
    This is hard to believe, but I never once crossed paths with Harry. That seems almost impossible considering our passion for sports.
    I fully regret that we never met.
    I have been told time and time again what a wonderful individual he was.
    Rest in Peace, Harry.
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