The mailbag was full again this time with comments relative to volleyball, football, competitive balance…and yes, even one who found something negative to say about bowling.  Enjoy the best of what the readers write in this week’s forum.

With respect to the end of another volleyball year, we highly appreciate the kind words sent in about our coverage of the season, the tournament, and the recent Division IV championship played at the Nutter Center.

“To Press Pros Magazine, I was not aware of your website prior to the recent state tournament…until a friend from Cincinnati shared it with me.  I was amazed…what you did (and the photos).  I will say that it’s a shame Cincinnati media doesn’t take the time or care enough to show up for area teams the way you did New Bremen and Fort Loramie high schools.  Beautiful work, and thank you.”  …  Jack Kippenmeyer

“I congratulate Press Pros for another fabulous year of coverage for Ohio volleyball.  I enjoy what you write and the photos are the best I’ve ever seen for volleyball.  I share your site with everyone who’s a fan of this wonderful sport.” …  Jacqueline Quellhorst

“I was interested to read your recent post where you shared that readership for local volleyball exceeded the readership for football in your area.  That’s an amazing, and well-deserved compliment to a sport that’s long due better coverage and equal attention.” …  Theresa Donnelly

Picture this…New Bremen players give thumbs up to the 2019 state volleyball title.

“Thank God for Press Pros coverage of the state tournament, because if you’ve had a knee or hip replaced there’s no way you can climb the steps in and out of the Nutter Center to see it in person.  Great job.” …  Lynn Dankworth

From our October 29th column on competitive balance in Ohio football, there was (as always) no shortage of opinions shared:

“I was unaware of the Joe Eitel website until I read your column (Oct. 29) and it (Eitel) was eye-opening.  Obviously there’s a lot of travel and expense to have three regional games, then a semi-final round, and then a state championship game.   Someone has to pay for this.  Who is it?”  …  Wm. Bartz

(Ed.Note:  Well, it’s not your local school board, if that’s what you’re wondering.  As far as I know the OHSAA still picks up the tab for travel, but that comes from OHSAA membership dues and a portion (a large portion, probably) of ticket sales.  That’s why there’s so many teams in the regional tournament.  More games, more gates, and more money.)

ML Dunn has moved. Check out their new location on West National Road in Englewood.

“Can you share with readers what the competitive balance issue is all about, and why it’s such a big deal in Ohio?” …  Ken (Greenfield, Indiana)

(Ed. Note:  Essentially, it’s an effort to match schools of equal size in athletic competition, and to get a handle on schools who fatten up their rosters through open enrollment, transfers, etc.  Originally there was even a stipulation about competitive reputation, and even a socio-economic consideration, so that schools with a history of winning would be made to play up a division to order to make it fair…or schools with a heavy free-lunch component would be considered.  The problem is, there are just some communities where hard work and expectation are greater than others, regardless of size (that and a better gene pool), and that seems to trump legislative efforts every time.  Unfortunately, there are no “Hoosiers” stories anymore.)

“I thought it was interesting that kids no longer consider winning their league championship as football goal.  When I played high school football that’s all there was.  I also remember reading in the news about teams that were chosen as the state champions and never gave a thought to my school even being considered.  We always wondered back then how those teams were picked.”  …  Richard (Mount Sterling, OH)

(Ed. Note:  Richard, we wrote that making the playoffs was a ‘bigger’ goal, in many cases.  And prior to the current OHSAA tournament format (that began in the 1972) state champions were decided by vote from the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI).  Sports writers would get together and decide who ‘deserved’ to be the state champions, but as you might guess their choices were often questioned and the source of many debates over ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’.  Obviously the current system is much more objective.)

One believed we put the ‘hex’ on Northridge when we wrote about their coach, Bob Smith?

There were also a couple of notes pertaining to features on Northridge football coach Bob Smith, and former Springfield South basketball coach, Wayne Wiseman:

“Press Pros, congratulations on putting the Sports Illustrated hex on Northridge and Bob Smith.  I don’t think they won a game after you wrote about him.” …  Ken Fullenkamp

“That was a great story about Coach Wayne Wiseman, and thank you for including the Waterloo community, the Waterloo Wonders, and his southern Ohio roots in your story.  It’s hard to believe someone still remembers Orlyn Roberts, Wyman Roberts, Beryl Drummond, Curtis McMahon, and Stewart Wiseman…the old Waterloo Wonders.  Thanks.” … Kenneth Meyers

Finally, to those who question if we continue to include high school bowling in our winter content, worry no more:

“I wondered if you’ll include bowling on your website again, or even expand it.  I really enjoyed reading about it last year and hope you’ll do more stories with people like Norm Duke and E.J. Tackett.”  …  Thomas Ovadia

(Ed. Note:  We cheerfully plan on writing bowling again, as evidenced by last week’s debut from Community Lanes, in Minster, Oh.  As to plans to expand, the blueprint is being drafted even as we write.  Thanks for your appreciation.)

“Bowling?  Really?  What about soccer, or swimming?”  … Rob Courtney

(Ed. Note:  Oy Vay!  It’s on our list with rugby, and  field hockey, and rowing.  And how about euchre?)