Longer games and even ‘furniture stores’ make basketball play-by-play more enjoyable for Jack Kramer


The first team to 50 points concluded Kramer’s first contest covered

From furniture store sponsor Rathman-Troup in Butler County 50 years ago to today’s Goffena Furniture and Mattress Center, one of the region’s very best, play-by-play sports announcer Jack Kramer of ScoresBroadast.com and WMVR radio has seen an interesting transformation on and off the basketball court.

When Jack broadcasted one of his first basketball games on the radio back in the late 1960’s, he represented a Middletown, Ohio, furniture shop on the air. Rathman-Troup on Broad Street sold primarily pieces for only living and dining rooms, plus rugs and draperies, some of which were created right in the store.

“Seamstress Thelma Cook of Monroe literally spent hours and hours sewing threads together and even mended repairs for customers,” recalled Jack, who often visited with Thelma before talking about the “advertising message” with store owners.

Cook contributed to World War II by welding airplane tanks and also sewed up parachutes and tents. “She told fantastic stories and was a real “stitch,” Jack laughed.

“‘The finest furniture in the middle of town,’ was the pitch Ernest Rathman and Charles Troup requested me to deliver,” Jack continued. “Three or four similar businesses were situated in or near downtown. So, I guess ‘middle of town in Middletown’ was considered a pretty good catch phrase back then.”

Jack remembered highlighting Rathman-Troup during the very first basketball game he announced for Miami University-Middletown (MUM) soon after the Miami branch was conceived. He was concerned because he didn’t think he would be able to give the store and other advertisers sufficient coverage when he found out the game would be stopped “prematurely.” By prior agreement, it was deemed to be officially completed when the first team reached 50 points.

“There was no defense. The taller players caught the ball near the rim and dropped it in, without being challenged.” Jack said. “And with the blink of an eye, 50 of the first 75 points were scored by one team and I fell short of giving Rathman-Troup the sponsorship it deserved.”

Different story today.

Several timeouts in the closing seconds of the Jackson Center at Fort Loramie game last Friday night gave Jack repeated opportunities to highlight anchor sponsors, including the Goffena Furniture and Mattress Center in Sidney. The final minute of the contest, which included numerous crucial free throws, took 10 minutes to complete.

For sure, boys basketball contests in the balanced Shelby County Athletic League can go down to the wire with players and coaches aiming for that potential, game-winning, final possession as the clock winds to zero. In Jack’s first broadcast of hoops at MUM, a clock didn’t even exist.

Jack added, “While Rathman-Troup positioned itself as the top shop in the center of town, Goffena is a seven-time readers’ choice recipient as best furniture store in west central Ohio.”

Close to the final buzzer of Friday’s contest, with listeners on edge glued to a superb SCAL clash, Jack announced that Goffena’s “superb” service and selection make it “far superior to the big box giants and e-commerce mega stores.”

West central Ohioans and even people in the Hoosier state have learned over the years that Goffena offers great quality furniture, at a good price. Shelby County residents and even those living in Dayton, Columbus, Lima and Fort Wayne provide repeat business from miles away, Jack pointed out.

Lamps, sofas, and dining sets nearly completed Rathman-Troup’s inventory long ago. That narrow, L-shaped shop measured about 3200 square feet. The modern-day Goffena store totals almost 32,000 square feet including a spacious showroom.

“Here in 2020, I have greater game and product to promote,” Jack said with a big smile. “I love it even more when we’re all tied up after four quarters and I can provide bonus coverage.”

He is also happy that the first-to-fifty format is a thing of the past.

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The first team to 50 points concluded Kramer’s first contest covered