Editor’s note: This column was inadvertently left out of Friday’s print edition. Ross’ weekly columns will resume running on Friday next week.
Early on the evening of Friday, March 6, I was sitting in an end of the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center between games of the boys small school district basketball tournament. I gazed at the various championship banners at the opposite end including the one commemorating the 2019 boys state bowling title.
Since VB is in the same league as my Sidney Yellow Jackets, I took special note. Maybe we could do that in bowling or another sport at some point so we could finally call one of our teams a state champion. This exact scenario had unfolded in Vandalia only a year ago.
My continuing additional wait for that elusive title was amazingly brief. Sidney Daily News Sports Editor Bryant Billing approached me a few minutes later with a bulletin from Columbus that our boys had actually succeeded Vandalia Butler as state bowling champs by shutting out Centerville in the finals. After roughly a century of various OHSAA state championships, my school finally had one.
I’m delighted that this designation comes in the relatively new high school sport of bowling which was enthusiastically added and embraced by the OHSAA with the first state tourney taking place in 2007. The governing body claimed that bowling would attract many participants who were not otherwise involved in previously existing high school sports, and that’s exactly what has happened. I endorse both that goal and its result.
Proprietors of bowling houses like Sidney’s Bel-Mar Lanes stepped forward to make their sport more affordable and available to both high school teams and younger bowlers. This was also good business since adult bowling leagues had long been on the decline and were in need of future customers.
I’ve attended a few SHS matches at Bel-Mar and really enjoyed them. From the introductions to the national anthem to the competition itself, it’s a fine energetic environment for a very worthwhile activity. Too bad there aren’t more seats but that demand couldn’t be foreseen when these places were built.
In addition to the current acknowledgments, this initial SHS state championship team deserves to take some bows in front of a very large group that the current school year can’t deliver. Plans are now underway for them to be recognized at the first home football game in late August so several thousand of us can stand, applaud, and say “thanks” for a job well done.
We now have that first state title and it feels great.
Next week: The shot that became a pass to an NCAA basketball title.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has done extensive research of SHS athletics beginning with football in 1896. He’s a 1972 Sidney graduate.