Reader comments flooded the mailbox last week over officiating in high school basketball, tournament coverage, amateur baseball, and Geron Stokes’ leaving Minster to take the football job at Dublin Coffman.

It is a subject-rich time of the year.

The state tournaments, girls and boys, college and high school baseball seasons getting under way, and the big headline in area football last week…Geron Stokes leaving Minster to become the new head football coach at Dublin Coffman, in central Ohio.  We heard from Press Pros readers in abundance, and proportionately, about all of them.

Foremost, in terms of sheer numbers of response, was the March 15 column centering on the officiating of tournament basketball:

“Wow!  Imagine someone in the media having the ‘rocks’ to say what’s obvious to everyone who watches high school basketball.  The game IS too rough, disturbing to watch, along with the cultural overtones that no one seems to mention, either.  Great read.”  … Jerry Nemeth

(Ed. Note:  Just as an observation, don’t blame it on culture.  Where sports is concerned people are people, regardless of color, origin, religion, north, south, east, or west.  We all lose our minds.)

“You mentioned AAU in regards to school basketball games. It’s simple. AAU games are played in rented gym spaces. Knowing this, games must “stay on pace” in order complete all games to keep the schedule running smoothly. Any school-function game, grades 7-12, regular season or tournament, need to “stay on pace”. The toughness of the game which leads to the many things mentioned in this article could be avoided. Our youth are not dumb. They follow the lead of adult decisions. Stop “timed” games at the AAU level, and the game will clean itself up.”  … Phil Bertke

“Point one…you don’t have the same kind of men officiating now that you had thirty years ago, when there were just two, they made $20, and didn’t care if they got a state tournament game.  They ‘controlled’ the game better than they do now with three.   Point two…is ‘why’ new officials are signing up.  You get what you get when you advertise officiating as a great way to stay in shape and make extra money ($65).  If you haven’t noticed, Chick Ludwig actually says this on WLW, and the OHSAA runs the PSA during the state tournament games.  Worth noting.”  … John Nagelson

“Regarding a threat to basketball…you are spot on regarding how the high school game is officiated these days. Several people I know have quit watching high school basketball because 33-30 scores are boring and so physical. In my opinion, the high school game has become more physical than both college and the pros. Give me a shot clock and call the @$#% fouls.”  … Mike Bruns

“Amen to this article.” … Robert Lammers

“It was obvious with both the Tipp-CJ game and the Anna-Taft game that these games mean something more than just basketball to teams from urban areas.  Perhaps the OHSAA could address that, too, along with all the other issues associated with competitive balance.  We’re not blind and dumb.  Not ‘that’ blind and dumb, anyway.” … Doug Meyer

“Officials are game managers! There isn’t a coach out there that wants every little contact called, then have their star player on the bench. Tough to adjust. Everyone criticizes the officials, but not many get in line to become one!”  … Rob Maxson (Via Facebook)

“As a former official I think it’s a cheap shot for you to question officials.”  … Paul Justin

(Ed. Note:  As a former official I’m not criticizing officials…I’m questioning ‘officiating’, and the National Federation that makes the job a mess.)

“To your point about evaluating contact instead of calling it, I’ve never heard that comparison before and it speaks volumes.  Most adults can’t evaluate their own actions, much less those of others. #Blow the whistle.”  … Larry Minor

Several have written regarding our recent tournament coverage:

“I notice you chose to cover Columbus teams over local teams in some cases.  That’s disappointing.”  … Mike Francis

(Ed. Note:  For years we’ve heard it from locals that we cover one conference and not another.  And from those that say Columbus and Cincinnati basketball is better than that which we do cover locally.  You can decide for yourself, I guess.  In most cases, we just shoot for the best, or most interesting, games.)

“It’s wonderful that you’re covering central Ohio basketball now with the Press Pros style.  Steve Blackledge and Bruce Hooley are great additions to your page.”  … Tom Killilea

“First-timer from Columbus.  The photography on Press Pros is wonderful.  Great work.”  … Ken Giles

Check out ML Dunn at their new location on National Road, in Englewood.

On writing baseball…

“This leaped out at me in your recent column on Ohio State baseball – your commitment to amateur baseball, and that Ohio State sits atop of the food chain.  That high schoolers can read about them, and “they can read about you”.  Excellent .  I enjoy the stories, appreciate your purpose, and will continue to read.”  … Will Powers

“Writing in advance to say that I always look forward to your high school baseball coverage.  Hoping that area kids get a full spring season, and wondered what teams are going to be strong?”  … David Waller

(Ed. Note:  From where you sit if we could predict that we’d tell you what to expect from the Reds, too.  And no one can do that.)

The March 16th column on Geron Stokes leaving Minster to take the football job at Dublin Coffman brought us this:

“Great article. I lived in Minster from 2010-18 and now back in Columbus. Coach Stokes was a shot in the arm for Minster football. One correction, though.  Coach stayed in Columbus after the 2014 championship game was played in the ‘Shoe’.  I recall the talk through the crowds about Coach staying in Columbus and “partying”.   I really enjoy reading Press Pros Magazine. The MAC was some of the best football I had ever watched, and now I hear sports pundits talk about the MAC being the best football conference in the State. I tend to agree. Keep up the good work! I am a fan.”  … David Elder

“What a great example of a coach. He’s confident about himself and puts his priorities right.”  … Debbie Parker

“Can’t wait to see how the MAC experience plays in Division I and the OCC.  Playing against horses now, and not mules.”  … Craig Vosburg

“Looks like Coffman got a good one.”  … Jules Wilson  (Via Facebook)

“Great to see a kid from Urbana get this opportunity.  The size of the fight in the dog, indeed.”  … Jas. McCurdy

“He will be greatly missed, but his footprint was made here and Geron and the entire family will always have a place in Minster.”  … Holly Frericks (Via Facebook)

“Impressive article on Coach Stokes, and the impressive way high school football gets covered in that part of Ohio.  Very deserving. Wish him a lot of luck.”  … Brian Disch

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