The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Forum: Halfway Home

By: Mitch Worley - The Quill

July 2, 2008

I've kicked around several ideas that would spur on reader participation in our lovely weekly periodical, and I think this is a way in which we will be able to accomplish the task.

From this edition on, I will share my take on the week in sports on either the local or nation-wide level (both if I'm really feeling froggy) in hopes that you, the reader, will respond and share your thoughts on what I have had published, or even bring up a burning topic you've wanted to discuss with fellow sports fanatics.

As a quick disclaimer, any submissions that are lengthy in relation to attempting to fit in all submissions are subject to being edited at my discretion, but rest assured that nothing will be edited to be read out of context from the original statement being made.

Along with that, submissions that are too hypercritical of individual athletes (especially amateur athletes in the high school ranks) or ideas presented within this forum will automatically be disregarded and will not be placed within this newspaper.

Consider me the Ann Landers of sports, and feel free to go ahead and "Ask Abby", or drop knowledge on myself and other faithful Quill readers as the urge presents itself.

If you would like to be heard in our forum, submit your questions, comments, and criticisms by e-mailing them to me at, dropping them off at the Quill office either in La Harpe (the black mailbox by the door) or in Stronghurst, or mail them out to either of our locations.

Now, getting to my favorite part of this column.

We've just completed the sixth month of the year, reaching the halfway point of one of the most memorable years in sports in a very long time.

The Boston Celtics just won their 17th NBA title, their first since the glory days of Bird, the Detroit Redwings (AKA Team Sweden) adds their name once again to Lord Stanley's Cup, Fresno State wins the College World Series, UCLA again fails to live up to expectations and win a men's basketball National Championship with an extremely loaded team, and some guy named Tiger battled through two stress fractures in his torque-bearing leg, along with a torn ACL, to walk almost 30 miles in five days and play 91 holes of golf at one of the most rigorous golf venues this world has ever seen at Torrey Pines to win the 2008 US Open.

By the way, Candice Parker from Naperville, IL helped bring home another National Championship for Tennessee and Coach Pat Summit, and hours later was drafted number one over all by the LA Sparks and has made headlines in recent weeks for throwing it down on the competition.

On the local level, former Carthage Blueboy Ashton Gronewald was invited to Bears Mini-Camp upon the completion of the NFL Draft, likely heading to join WIU alum Russ Michna in the AFL to play for the Chicago Rush, and former Mendon-Unity standout Josh Rabe hung his spikes up and filed for retirement from professional baseball.

Also, supremacy was established by local girls basketball program, as West Hancock won an IHSA title, West Central fell short by only a few games, and Illini West was a force to be reckoned with as well.

Illini West was rather impressive in their first year of existence, making the playoffs in football, dominating the hardwood on the ladies end of things, coming up shy of the state tournament in softball and a Regional Championship in baseball, and finishing 4th overall at the IHSA Girls State Track Meet.

Although a lot has happened so far both locally and nationally, there's a lot to look forward to.

The NFL is getting ready for training camp this month (which I hope to be covering from Bears Camp at Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais), the Nathan's World Championship of Hot Dog Eating will be taking place at Coney Island on the Fourth of July, the NBA kicks off once again, and the Cubs will once again be denied of a World Series, leaving fans to wait again until next year for the 100th straight year, and last but not least, the Olympic games will be coming to us this Summer from Beijing, China.

Fans in West Central Illinois delight in the fact that the two-headed monster coaching staff that includes future Hall of Famers Jim Unruh and Timothy J. Lafferty strap it up and pad the kids up for a potential berth in the IHSA Class 4A Playoffs, and rather talented squads throughout our area will once again battle on the hardwood in the capacities of both volleyball and basketball.

I'm psyched and I know there are several other sports nuts in our little corner of Illinois are still excited about what is to come within the next six months of the sports year.

If you've got something to say, speak up now or forever hold your peace.

In the famous words of my idol, Paul Harvey, "Good day!"