Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wrong End of the Horn - or Horse

Mrs. Canfield, my seventh grade teacher at Kent School on Akron's rough and tumble east side often looked my way and said, "Dick, someday you're going to laugh out of the wrong end of the horn." I never have figured out exactly what that meant but still the message came across. However, writing about how this blog got its name recently made me wonder if she didn't mean "'ll get the wrong end of the horse."
This has to do with predicting the winners of high school football and basketball games during the years when I spent my days and sometimes my nights toiling for the Muncie Evening Press. I could say that I was pretty good at it but modesty forbids. Truth to tell, though, I was great. Year after year I was correct between 73 and 84 per cent of the time.
If you think that's easy, try it sometime. How was I to know what was going on in little towns such as Logansport, Wabash and Tipton that were many miles away? Maybe the star quarterback just broke up with his girl friend, the all-state lineman ate too many Twinkies for lunch and had a bellyache at game time, the fleet-footed running back was up until 3 a.m. drinking beer with his buddies. My predictions depended upon such things and no one should ever have to depend upon a bunch of high school kids. Boys especially.
I overcame such obstacles, though, with near-sensational results. Still, there were bad moments. That's where the horse came in. It was all the fault of the Delta football team, a contrary bunch that wouldn't do what they were supposed to do. Delta, a consolidation of four small high schools - Royerton, Desoto, Eaton and Albany - lies on the flatlands of Indiana a few miles north of Muncie.
This particular Delta team had a good record but ruined my own because I was wrong on nine of their ten games. That's right, I was 1-9 when Delta played. This resulted in them inviting me to their awards banquet where I was presented a trophy - the south end of a northbound horse.
The following year, needless to say, I gave special attention to Delta games. My record was a spectacular 9-1. They invited me back to their banquet and gave me another trophy, this one the front end of that horse.
It was all in fun, of course, but there were times when I wondered if the folks out at Delta didn't have it in for me. There was the day, for example, when I was dead wrong in predicting that Delta would lose an important basketball game. The next morning I arrived at the newsroom to find the entire ceiling covered by helium-filled blue and gold balloons. Boy, those people out there among the corn and soybean fields sure knew how to rub salt in a wound. I wonder what Mrs. Canfield would have had to say about such shenanigans. "I told you so," probably.
Which reminds me of a story about Mrs. Canfield herself. She was a well-padded, portly woman. Fat, to be truthful about it. The week before Christmas one year she opened the door to the hallway and stepped out just in time to be flattened by a boy running at full speed. She broke an arm. The next year the week before Christmas she opened the door to the hallway and stepped out just in time to be flattened by a boy running at full speed. She broke the other arm. Only a cretin would laugh at such things. I didn't, of course - at least not when Mrs. Canfield was around. Posted by Picasa

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