Last updated: August 23. 2013 11:00PM - 61 Views

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OTTAWA — Josh Leslie and his family weren’t sure what they were going to do.The Ottawa-Glandorf boys basketball coach had just lost the home he was renting to the flood that cut through Ottawa last August.He, his wife, Amy, and their four children — between the ages of 2 and 11 — were living with assistant coach Tyson McGlaughlin and his wife.The Leslies were looking for a place to live. They weren’t having much luck finding one.“It was like a culture shock for (McGlaughlin). After a week, we took the kids down to live with mom in Jamestown (near Dayton),” Leslie said.“We were all set to move back to St. Marys (where Leslie previously coached) since we still owned a house in St. Marys. I figured I’d drive back and forth to O-G every day, but then we’d have to move our kids back to school there. Fortunately, that day we found a house up for rent a block from the school.”And when Leslie and his wife began to move, his team pulled up to lend a helping hand.“The kids showed up at that rented house and helped us move and get it done. They brought trucks and trailers,” Leslie said.Those were the same O-G football Titans who placed sandbags around town after the flood.In all, 11 of the 15 O-G basketball varsity team played football and were involved in the sandbagging.All things considered, Leslie wasn’t surprised at how his Titans bounced back after three Western Buckeye League losses to win the Division III state championship Saturday.“They are very resilient,” Leslie said. “They’ve seen things a lot bigger than a basketball game. They were willing to help out when they are only 16 years old. There’s no place I’d rather be.”Leslie, too, has been through quite a year.He lost almost everything that was on the first floor, including his television and furniture.He’ll never forget being trapped in his house waiting for help to arrive.“We took the pictures and the things you couldn’t replace to higher ground on the second floor,” Leslie said. “They brought a front loader, which is like a bulldozer, right up to the front door of the house. I jumped on with the wife and four kids and we were allowed to take one bag of stuff. … The water was up to my neck in front of my house and I’m 6-5. It was a mess. We were fortunate to be renting and we were able to move.“All I had was the clothes on my back. We had a small Dodge, which I took up to the school. But our SUV was totaled. There were water marks on the hood.”The problem with the small car was it couldn’t fit the entire family at once. If they wanted to go anywhere, the family had to be taken in shifts.Leslie said he was grateful for the generosity of many, including several merchants at the Lima Mall.“When stores found out what happened, they gave us big discounts,” he said. “And the Lima Auto Mall gave us a great deal on a new SUV.”A stunning 48-47 upset loss to Elida may have caused some teams to jump feet first on the panic button.But not a Titan team that sandbagged in August.Instead, the Titans came back the following night and knocked off Lima Senior, 71-57.“After Elida, there was no chance for a league championship,” Leslie said. “… But they didn’t feel sorry for themselves.”An hour or so after the Titans posted a 62-44 state title victory over Sugarcreek Garaway, they would have one more adventure.While coming home, just north of Columbus, the Titans’ bus broke down. With smoke rising from the hood, the bus limped into a rest area.The band bus, which had left ahead of the team, was called back and the team rode back with the band.For the Titans, it was just one more story to tell about the 2007-08.On Monday, Leslie stared at the state championship trophy on his desk.He thought of all he and his team had gone through this year.It left him nearly speechless.“I’m shellshocked,” Leslie said. “It hasn’t sunk it yet.”Finally, Leslie can take a deep breath and relax.His family and his team have earned it.


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