In the world of sports, you have casual fans, big fans and huge fans.
Then there are guys like Harry Johnson, of Lima, who are in a class of their own.
If the 76-year-old Lima man was given a Kewpee hamburger for every baseball, basketball or football game he’s attended, he could feed Allen County.
Johnson admitted it’s been a tough two months for him with the coronavirus pulling down the curtain on his favorite form of entertainment. He had a brief reprieve last week with the live telecast of the National Football League draft, but for the most part, does a lot of channel surfing when he turns on the television, catching replays of old games, listening to sports talk shows and watching old highlights.
“There’s only so much of that you can do,” he said.
One night he found a program featuring the 1954 World Series. The New York Giants stunned Johnson’s favorite team that year, the Cleveland Indians, which had set an American League record at the time by winning 111 games. The Giants won the series in four straight.
Another night he found a program featuring the 2016 World Series between the Indians and the Chicago Cubs.
“That’s where I drew the line. I refused to watch it,” Johnson said. “I was at Game 7 in Cleveland when the Indians lost in 10 innings. I didn’t need to see that game again.”
Johnson knew the coronavirus was serious stuff when March Madness and the high school basketball tournament were postponed.
“I’ve attended every state basketball tournament in Columbus since 1968, so that was tough. I thought we really had some local teams with an excellent chance of winning a state title,” he said.
He has hopes and fears of what’s ahead.
He believes Major League baseball will be played in some fashion, but it’s his first love, college football, that has him worried. You’ll have to pardon him, but Johnson’s a big Michigan fan. His wife is a cousin of Gary Moeller, the legendary Lima star football player who went on to coach the Wolverines. Johnson had a string of attending around 25 OSU-Michigan games as well as major bowl games.
“Until they feel it’s safe to get all the kids back on campus, there will not be any college football played. That’s what I’ve heard. That would hurt.”
Regardless, he pointed out most sports fans aren’t ready to fill stadiums yet anyway.
“I was stunned when I read a survey was taken of like 10,000 people or something. It was a high number and asked people if they would go back and watch a sporting event with fans elbow to elbow. Around 76% said no,” Johnson said.
His heart goes out to families who have lost a loved one.
“It is a scary, scary situation, that’s for sure. I want sports, but going back to the old normal, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The sharing of stimulus checks brings out the roses.
Rose: Several people have stopped by the Veterans Food Pantry at 810 W. North St. (across from Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center) to donate part of their stimulus check. “When the first person came I was so surprised, then others came too,” said Betsy Potts of the food pantry.
Rose: A parade of vehicles including politicians, county employees and members of law enforcement drove by the home of former Allen County commissioner Dan Reiff to offer him encouragement as he battles an illness. The event was organized by Allen County Children Services, of which Reiff is a board member.
Rose: To Gregory and Nicolle Merkel, of Shawnee Township. They held the COVID-19 Car Show, parking their five classic cars on their front lawn for passersby to see. On display were a 1965 Plymouth Satellite, a 1966 and 1967 Plymouth Belvedere II, a 1969 Ford Mustang Convertible and a 2006 Ford Mustang.
Rose: To Teresa Maag, of Leipsic. Her idea was featured Saturday in the nationally syndicated comic strip “Pluggers.” She noted a Plugger’s phone rings at the worst times and he answers it.
Rose: To Rob Bell and Jonah Agner, the co-owners of Greenhorn restaurant in Bluffton. They were awarded $3,000 in business plan reimbursement funds Wednesday evening after being named the first-place finisher in the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs’ 2020 Ropp Triplett Business Plan competition.
Rose: The West Central Ohio Association of Realtors report a slight increase in home sales during March, with the average sale price being $134,917, or about $10,000 more than a year ago in March.
Thorn: Fraudulent checks that are a close match to checks routinely issued by some business owners in Putnam County have been showing up and cashed at area banks. Officer Tammy Blunk of the Ottawa Police Department said she has had at least four or five such cases in Ottawa.
PARTING SHOT: If you’re still looking for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.