Thursday, March 11, 2010

March Madness/Remembering 1968




Returning from the Trophy and Shirt pick up at Wren, I look out the windows and I see a bit of rain has arrived...but the temps are still in the upper 50s, as a late winter warm up is taking care of the snow piles.

Next week I turn 61, it's March, but Birthdays aside, March is one of my favorite months of the year for other reasons:

(1) March Madness...College Tournament Basketball has arrived. In addition to the March Madness of the NCAA final 65, you get, if semi retired like me, to watch the various League Tournaments. You've also got the High School Championships....Celina moved on to the District finals last night in Division 2, where they will play league rival Elida. The Bulldogs of Elida defeated the Bulldogs of Celina by 1 point about a month ago, in Western Buckeye League play...Celina had a 16 point lead at Elida midway through the 3rd quarter, but couldn't hold it...they were then seeded #1 and #2 in the Sectional, both teams moved though the Sectionals, and both last night took care of WBL Rivals, Kenton(by Celina) and Lima Bath(by Elida)...should be a good game for the District Crown on Saturday.

(2) The first taste of Spring usually arrives...sure you still have mostly cold and wet weather, but on occasion, like last March, you get a mostly nice month....regardless, Spring is not far behind.

(3) Baseball...the meetings wind down, and before the month is over, I will be back on the diamonds....first with a scrimmage or 2, then the Regular Season, dodging the rainouts, gets underway.

Yes, I can say March, despite the ups and downs and Birthdays that roll by faster than a speeding locomotive, is a month that I look forward to, since I know what lies ahead, outdoors and warmer weather.

1968____

March 1968 is a month that I remember all to well. I received my draft status, and a call to head to Columbus for a physical to determine my fitness to serve Uncle Sam in the Military....yep, I got my first draft call. There were no "numbers", the lottery system would arrive the next year. So if you were physically able(mentally is another subject), unless you had kids, a wife, or were in college full time, you were going to be drafted, unless you elected to sign up for a longer, 4 year tour of duty.

Shortly after my 19th Birthday, I head on a Greyhound bus to Columbus, and draft central...I passed the physical, and knew I had a decision to make....(1) Wait for the Draft, and see if I got put in the Army or Marines, or (2) Join another branch, or the Army, and see if I could skip out of the Infantry. And no Number 3, Dodge the Draft, was not an option. Dad would have disowned me, and living in the small town of Celina, we just didn't do those types of things...frankly I could not have lived with myself...I would have rather died than skip out of that obligation, whether I believed in the Vietnam War or not...it's just the way I am.

So I came home, got my draft status, and then looked for options....almost went with my buddy Bob Jones and a few others, and joined the Navy...but instead decided to join with my buddy, the Late Eddie Bonifas, the US Air Force....sure I still ended up in Vietnam, but sleeping in a bed, rather than a rice paddy, was far superior to what I probably would have faced if I had decided to get drafted....42 years after that trip to Columbus, I don't have a regret. After all, I could have ended up like my Cousin Jack Poling, or my brother Mike's best friend, Kim Deeter, and not made it home from my Summer Trip.

After last nights rules meeting in Van Wert, I can pick and choose those I will attend, 4 are required, I have 7 in, plus the State Meeting....I usually get as many as possible in, but at least I have that option....








back later>>>>>
Photos-Basketball and March Madness are a natural. Photos from 1968...Bob Jones(L) and me, the night before I flew out to Amarillo for Basic Training...Me with my trusty M1, along with Turcotte the photo taker's weapon, at Dover AFB, playing Security at the Nuclear Storage Facility...and August 1968 one of Joe Prokop's Pups at Amarillo Texas Basic Training....

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