Monday, February 18, 2002

Whew! Is that a buncha stuff, or what? Two months content in one day; but housecleaning sure feels good when it's done. Hope this is enjoyable and useful to anyone wondering about some of what goes on in the Hebron area, around Hebron Christian Church, or just with Jeff, Joyce, and Chris! I'll continue to use this as a repository of generated text, and would welcome feedback as to what's useful to you, the reader!

Are there readers? Holler back and let me know . . .

pax et gratia,
Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

"Everyone has a stubborn spot," says Larry, one of the top-choppers at Henry Porter's Barber Shop on Main Street.

I'm not sure if he's talking about that awkward edge on my square Scotch-Irish head, or my three-year-old's cowlick he was working on at the time -- or about the human nature he's seen up close and personal over the decades of haircutting.

"Everyone has a stubborn spot;" the winter that won't quite go away, and keeps hanging on stubbornly, or the spring that persistently continues to peer out of groundhog burrows, buds on tree limbs, and the faint nudging of crocuses at the humus covering them.

What is more stubborn: the tendency to keep writing 2001 on our checks, or the enjoyment of a new year that looks the same way front and back, 2002? Is it that stubborn spot that keeps Christmas lights up on roof lines, and gets out the seed catalogues while the frost still peels off our windshields in wide, thick ribbons?
Our stubborn spots are probably best seen in how we keep trying to fit seasons into tidy categories and people into narrow little boxes; taking each day as it comes, accepting people on their own merits, enjoying what's happening right now takes very little stubbornness to master.

Kind of like Larry and Henry do at the Barber Shop . . .

A number of local families are already collecting and cooking down their own maple sap for syrup, like John & Penny Slater on Canal Road. Christian, Samuel, & Abigail are in for some good flapjackings this next year, if the return on all their folks' effort matches the smell. "We've been doing this the last three years," says Penny, "tapping our own trees and evaporating it down with our own equipment." It takes some persistence, if not stubbornness, to see this whole process through to a tasty conclusion. What I really love about their home set-up is the giant wok that they found which happened to fit over the gas burner perfectly, keeping a hard boil in the center but a gentler temperature up the sloping sides. What was that commercial 30 years ago that ended "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?"

Speaking of learning self-sufficiency, Prime Producers 4-H Club is kicking back into high gear this Sunday, Feb. 24th, at 6 pm. 4-H is 100 years old in Ohio this year, and it is a great program for children who want to learn and share their learning about anything from small engines to sheep & hogs, from meterology to making making clothes to making . . . well, maple syrup! Call Martha Cable at 929-1282 for more info; they'll be meeting at Hebron Christian semi-regularly right up to Hartford Fair time in August. Come and pick a project and improve your head, hands, health, and heart in 4-H.

The Hebron Historical Society is having their next meeting on Monday, March 4th at the Masonic Lodge building.

Joe Artz will tell us about the Hebron Power Plant, an attractive and imposing structure which once stood right behind Porter's Barber Shop. For more information on the meeting, call Marsha Justice at 929-1545.

Soccer is really getting rolling in the Lakewood area, with intermediate school kids getting into the action; if you have more information about that or youth baseball starting up, contact me at the e-mail or phone number below. With adults working on their Lenten commitments or still-surviving New Year's resolutions, and with parents eager to get their kids up off the couch and out of the house, plus the kids themselves starting to feel a touch of spring fever -- or is it cabin fever? -- outdoor activities are starting to look more and more attractive to all of us.

We'll see you on the walking track at Lakewood or Evans Park: don't let your stubborn spot hold you back!
Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and has a stubborn streak, not just a spot, about a mile wide. If you'd like to try to budge him with news or info of interest, e-mail, or call 928-4066.
* * * * *

Commissioner’s Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

This is the time of year that unit leaders hear about "the charter."
Is this just another piece of Scouting paperwork, or is there
something special about a charter? The best way I can summarize the
significance of this annual ritual is in three words: identity,
continuity, and liability.

Identity, because unlike other youth service organizations (i.e., Girl
Scouts, Indian Guides, etc.), Scouting does not "own" our units; your
chartering organization is where your Scouting identity is held, even
if that’s not where you meet as a pack or troop. Scouting comes to
you "through" their partnership with you, the unit leaders.
Continuity with that chartered partner, as well as your updating of
leadership, training status, and membership, is how the unit gains
history and credibility in your community, and allows some units to
wear the silver or gold bar above your number. And liability because
. . . well, this is almost a whole ‘nother Comm. Corner, but suffice
it to say you want to get your charter in on time before your next
unit axemanship demo, OK?

If the district commissioner staff or our district exec have missed
you with this year’s charter, or you need help getting it filled out
properly, or even if you just want someone to come pick up the darn
thing, call me at 928-4066, or e-mail at

* * * * *

Commissioner’s Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

Scouting’s birthday in the USA is February 8th, and this year Simon
Kenton Council is drawing attention to the Scouting movement in
central Ohio by holding our annual meeting and Silver Beaver
recognition on that date in the State Capital atrium in Columbus.

Not all of us can get over to Broad & High on that evening, but any
troop or pack can hold a Scout Sunday observance on Feb. 2nd or 10th
simply by going to a worship service together, in uniform, ideally in
the religious service of your chartering organization. Many units who
are not chartered to churches may meet in a church building or simply
pick a service that is nearby; the point is that the presence together
of a well-ordered group of youth, looking sharp and observing the 12th
point of the Scout Law, can make a lasting impact on a community where
many may not know much about our history and program.

If you contact the priest or pastor in advance, you may be surprised
at how quickly your Scouts might be offered the chance to post the
colors, offer a reading, or otherwise participate in the service.
Give it a try! If you want info about how to do this, involve your
Scouts in chaplain aide or religious award programs, call me at 928-
4066, or e-mail at

* * * * *

Commissioner’s Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

The Roundtable – brave knights of old, wise King Arthur, clever Merlin
the Wizard. Is this what you think of when you hear "Roundtable?"
Well, you’re not far off if you also think about the first Tuesday of
the month, 7:15 pm at First United Methodist in Newark. There you
will find experienced knights of the Scouting fellowship, the
leadership of the district if you have questions or concerns, and
monthly programs that can bring some wondrous wizardry to your pack or
troop programming. After an opening and annoucements, the Cub leaders
and Scout leaders each go off to battle dragons of challenging
behavior problems, the trolls of discontent, and the Dark Knight of
"what are we going to do next month?" Strap on your armor or pack up
your crystal ball and join us at the Roundtable, where the fellowship
is as bold as Arthur’s was . . . but please don’t throw the mutton
bones on the floor.

If you want to know more about Roundtable night for unit leadership,
or just want a ride on the back of someone else’s charger to get
there, call me at 928-4066, or e-mail at

* * *

Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

Scouting is Outing -- we've used that phrase for years, mainly because it is true. Baden-Powell organized Scouting in 1907 around the principle that young people, whenever possible, tend to prefer to be out-of-doors to inside a classroom or building. Soon I know that teachers will be faced with pleas from their classes: "Oh, please, can't we go outside for class?" And "no recess" will again be a useful threat . . .

ScOUTING -- we need to get the kids outside; not only for campouts and Klondikes and camporees, but during meetings and as part of even the simplest activities. Yes, that means you need your adult leadership to be fully present (and not over at the coffeepot), and it means activity prep is a little harder, but if your physical fitness activity is on the sidewalk instead of on linoleum, if your star talk is out on the lawn as dusk gathers instead of on an overhead projector, if your equipment display is on a groundcloth on the porch instead of on a folding table under fluorescent lights -- the payoff is in more excited, and in fact more interested kids . . . who come back for more troop/pack meetings, as well as for your next outing!

* * * * * * *
Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

For our Cubs and Boy Scouts, the Oath & Law make up all they really need to know about the meaning and purpose of the Scouting program. We adults understand that there are some guiding principles that, while we don't exactly hide them from the kids, we don't lead with them, either.

In Scoutmaster & Troop Committee training, the summary of the adult side of Scouting is in Three Aims and Eight Methods that are our common benchmarks for providing a true Scout experience in our units. The Aims are: 1) To Build Character, 2) To Foster Citizenship, and 3) To Develop Fitness. All our programming on the patrol & den, troop & pack level should in some way fulfill those aims.

But what makes Scouting truly unique are the Methods, which are the use of 1) Ideals -- the Oath & Law, 2) Patrol Method, 3) Outdoor Activities, 4) Advancement, 5) Personal Growth, 6) Adult Association (call it role-modelling), 7) Leadership Development, and 8) Uniform. These particular methods are what makes Scouting, well, Scouting!
How is your unit doing in making all eight of these methods part of your program?

* * * * * * *
Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

Last week we talked about the Aims & Methods of Scouting as a tool for understanding what adult leadership needs to offer and maintain with our youth leadership. Of the eight methods, the last one is the least understood and also the most misunderstood; let me try to take some time to talk about the Scout uniform.

Can you be a Scout without a Scout uniform? Of course you can; the problem is . . . how long will you be a Scout without one? Forgive me if I lapse a bit into my day job as a pastor, but this question reminds me of the often asked, "Do you have to go to church every Sunday to be a good Christian?" My answer is, actually, "No, you don't, but I find it highly unlikely!" Habits of mind tend to follow habits of body, and if you're on the 12th Hole during the worship hour, my strong suspicion is that your mind will not be much on God during that hour or many others in the week, as well. The uniform is a reminder -- to oneself, as well as to others -- of who you are trying to be.

When I ran a Scout summer camp back in Michigan, two staffers had to go into Kalamazoo to pick up some equipment, and I asked them to wear their uniform since they were going by both the United Way and Red Cross offices before returning that evening. They agreed, and left; returning after dinner, one grinned at me as we walked up the hill and said, "Y'know, as hot as it's been, we would have stopped for a beer on the way back if we hadn't had on. . ." Seeing the smile on my face, he stopped, and then added, "You rat! (Or words to that effect) You knew we wouldn't . . ."

Exactly. (More on uniforms next time!)

* * * * * * *
Commissioner's Corner
Jeff Gill, District Commish

Uniforms are a visual reminder of the Scout Oath & Law, of our history as an organization as well as telling a bit of our own history, if properly worn. They are primarily a tool for eliminating unfair distinctions of wealth and class between Scouts, and that's precisely as Baden-Powell intended it back almost 100 years ago. He saw how some of the other youth organizations intended to bring together youth of different backgrounds, but often failed on the basis of the social divisions that so plagued England in his day.

Just as we often bemoan the insanity of $200 sneakers and the pointless competition in brand names between our kids, even Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island wanted to leave those cultural markings behind, and so he requested everyone get a uniform that was easily obtainable by any family from an Army surplus store, and would look the
same regardless of the the family income or lack thereof. Soon there would be distinctive marks on those khaki-clad kids, but they wouldn't be corporate logos or multinational swooshes, but badges of merit and symbols of earned rank. The coolest uniform, then and now, couldn't be bought, but had to be earned.

As a church camp director each summer, I find myself wishing I could bring uniforms into the mix, and banish logos and t-shirt ads and the consumer fashions of the day. It makes me appreciate all over again how wise B-P was to bring uniforms into Scouting as one of our distinctive methods. Uniform banks, church clothes closets, and even
the stray shirt from a surplus store can bring a shirt and insignia within the reach of every youth in every unit.
Come to Roundtable and ask around if you need uniform parts for some of your Scouts and I'll bet you'll find all you need!
Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

As the days are lengthening, with the light prying open the blinds earlier and earlier each morning, the morning schedule seems to have a bit more room in it, and it doesn't seem like evening already at 2 in the afternoon. The Old English (ital) lencta (end ital) meaning "to lengthen" is the source of the word Lent, the season of the Christian calendar that began last week with Ash Wednesday.

Before the activities of Spring are well and truly upon us, there might be some time for soaking up a little local history in the early morning light or during a quiet evening, as part of your Lenten meditations. A web site that you can find at has a number of Ohio turn-of-the-century histories scanned in that you can read right on your computer (or print off if you like to hold onto your reading material). If you go to "heritagepursuit" and scroll down to Licking County, you'll click into N.N. Hill's 1881 "History of Licking County, O., Its Past and Present."

Scholarly historians may rightly point out that such "boosterish" histories of that era are as filled with myth and wishful thinking as they are accurate description of real events, but this volume -- also available at a number of local libraries -- is almost the only first-hand glimpse into this area's pioneer days. If you go down to "File Eight" you'll have the section that tells the story of Union Township, and Hebron as well as Luray, Moscow, and Union Station.

You'll find some of the landscape shift beneath your feet: Ramp Creek is almost exclusively referred to as "Auter Creek" (how'd we let that name get away?), and many localities are referred to as the "Blank Farm," with serene confidence that the Blank family had always and would always live on that property.

All the townships of Licking County are described and narrated in this huge work, which often took accounts or letters that no longer exist anywhere else, and fortunately preserved them here. In looking at the histories of area churches like Licking Baptist or White Chapel United Methodist, whose roots go back to 1805 or even 1803, "Hill's History" is often the only source or corroboration of tales we've long told each other.

So think about spending some of your am or pm quiet time these next few weeks reading a little bit about how we got here around the Hebron crossroads!

Sunday, Feb. 17th, around noon will be another Health Fair in the basement of Hebron Christian Church; with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and colon cancer leading the list of treatable, preventable killers, it is long overdue for more of us to start looking at preventative medical care -- to get better before we get sick, and to take care of ourselves so we can get better faster when we do fall ill. Blood pressure checks, health info, healthy food tips and even healthy food, and some friends from the Mantonya Chiropractic Clinic will all be on hand from about 11:45 am to 1 pm. Also in that same church basement on Wed. the 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, the Interfaith Legal Aid folks will be back to offer free, basic legal advice; we'll see them again on March 20th as well. These lawyers from around Licking County are moved by their faith to offer assistance to those who need a quick legal overview without having to pay for a full legal representation. This Lenten season I hope we're all on a journey to a healthier, less stressful life!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and also a lover of archaic words and ancient stories; if you'd like to point out a sign of the season or suggest a story idea, call him at 928-4066 or e-mail
Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

The Hebron Public Library is starting their popular "Storytime" program for children & adults on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 11:00 am.

Pat Walters says "we want lots of kids with a parent or grandparent to accompany them to come for the story and craft of the day." The staff at the library, on the north side of the new Municipal Complex, is pleased to be able to offer this early start on reading skills for pre-schoolers.

Storytime will continue on Tuesdays to June 30th, after which it will take a brief summer break.

My little boy Chris and I attended a few in the old library space, where table space was at a premium and floor space non-existent, and some adults would peek in the soor, see the crowd, and turn and take their youngster away. That won't happen in the new libary! It is truly exciting to see parents learning to work as their child's "first teacher," and the librarians are so glad they can effectively serve more families.

Most days the program goes exactly a half-hour, which for the five and four year olds who are the bulk of the audience seems about right. After the story is read by either a staffer or guest reader, a craft activity is ready for all the kids to do with their adult escort. Of course, many stay after Storytime to browse the shelves of books, videos, and publications.

A recent acquisition at the Hebron Library that might be of interest to adults is a book on display titled "From The Ashes -- A Spiritual Response to September 11th." This book contains sermons, prayers, and newsletter articles out of churches, synagogues, and mosques in the wake of the terrorist attacks. A good friend of mine and fellow Disciples of Christ pastor wrote a poem which is included in this volume, which he had told me about at a retreat we were at, but I hadn't seen until . . . I went to the library!

Another tip for adults and older children is the service available at There you can check to see if a particular title is available in the county-wide system that we're part of, and see if it is available and read more catalog information about the book.

Trying out the system, I looked to see if "The Proud Tower" by Barbara Tuchman was still in a library nearby; this book is about the world before World War I, and the second section on anarchism throws some interesting light on the century-old roots of terrorism today. Type, type, click, click, and there's my answer: one is on the shelf in Newark and can be requested.

You can't actually read whole books on-line at home, but how soon might that be coming, as well? Meantime, what we have right now is amazing enough, and I'm glad I still have to go down to the library, talk to the friendly staff, and actually end up holding a book in my hands. See you at Storytime next Tuesday!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and also the proprietor of a substantial little library that is his wife's dust-magnetic despair; if you'd like to borrow a book from him (and not return it, which Joyce would appreciate) or suggest a story idea, call him at 928-4066 or e-mail

Feature Cover story for the Community Booster East

Dawes Maple Syrup Tours

"This is one of our visitors’ favorite times of the year," says The Dawes Arboretum’s Laura Kaparoff, speaking of their Maple Syrup season.
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 19, Laura says, "The Maple syrup tours at The Arboretum are perfect for families and groups. It gives people an opportunity to get up close and personal with the whole process."
"We have both guided and unguided tours, depending on your preference. The log cabin will be open with staff members and volunteers on-hand to answer questions." You can take a self-guided Maple Syrup Walk at any time, dawn to dusk, until March 10th; interpretive signs tell the story of maple syruping.
If you want a tour led by a guide, those are available for no fee, but must be reserved by Feb. 15 and have at least 6 people. Volunteers and staff will be waiting for either kind of tour at the Sugarhouse from 10 am to 5 pm daily, except for Sundays starting at 1 pm.
This is a uniquely North American activity: only the United States & Canada produce maple syrup and maple sugar! Ohio is third, behind Vermont and New York state, in the production of maple syrup. You can see a picture of the basic process on Vermont’s commemorative quarter, as a woodsman taps two maple trees in a barren winter landscape.
The time of year is important, and hasn’t changed in centuries. David Vermilion, who heads the History department at Dawes, is also the co-ordinator of the Annual Maple Syrup Tour programming. He points out that, while Beman & Bertie Dawes began tapping trees and making maple syrup shortly after purchasing the farm and house they called "Daweswood" in 1918, there was "maple syruping on these same hillsides long before Columbus sailed the ocean."
A simple gash of the tomahawk into the tree bark, an inserted stick to direct the dripping sap into hollowed-log troughs on the ground, and fire-heated rocks helping to evaporate the water out of the sap reaches the same result modern day equipment can—just a whole lot faster!
No matter what the method or the speed, you still can’t rush Mother Nature and the basic timing of this process. As winter tip-toes towards spring, when night temperatures are below freezing and day temps are above, the sap starts running—the life-blood of those trees as they wake from dormancy. At two percent sugar in the sap of an average sugar maple (black maple, birch, and
butternut trees can also be used), they can spare a bit for our pancakes.
There’s plenty of hard work between tapping a "spile" (the metal tap that is hammered through the bark to get to the sap) and pouring syrup onto your flapjacks. Long-ago settlers may have begun simply by setting out a bucket of sap on a cold night, scraping off each morning the top layer of ice until enough water has left the bucket to concentrate the sap. The process you will see at Dawes is the next step up from that basic method, with evaporators that once were fired by wood, but now are gas-heated, speeding up the job considerably. That’s important when you consider it
takes about 43 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup!
In the Arboretum gift shop you can buy your own spiles for tapping a backyard maple, or skip a few steps and buy not only locally made syrup, but also maple tea, granulated maple sugar, and other products a la maple.
"Feel free to stop by and taste a little maple candy," says Ms. Kaparoff. "This is a time to learn and spend time in Nature." The Dawes Arboretum is north of Jacksontown on Rt. 13, and you can reserve a free tour by calling 800-44-DAWES.

Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

Charlie and Marian McDaniel live in one of the historical gems of Hebron, the Madden House on Deacon Street --
they could live there another 50 years and it would be "the old Madden House." They have a love of history that is
shown by their care and sharing of that home, especially with the Hebron Historical Society each year at Christmas.
Along with Larry Rodgers as president, they serve as vice-president and secretary-treasurer, and invite the
community to their first Monday of the month meetings, which are generally held at the Masonic Lodge (another one
of Hebron's great historic buildings). The next meeting is Monday, Feb. 4th, at 7:30 pm.
Virginia Artz was a long-time member and supporter of the society, and the theme of the next meeting, in honor of
her passing last year, is her "History of the Hebron Library." That community institution, now housed in the north
wing of the new municipal building, has a long and proud history, which Virginia documented and which will be
shared again at the meeting next Monday -- and watch next week's "Hebron Crossroads" for more on library
programming, particularly the "Storytime" which starts again soon for young people.
Marian says that, in honor of Mrs. Artz' love of history and the Hebron Historical Society, they'd love "to do extra
this year in her memory." Dues are $3 a year and visitors are always welcome to the meetings.
Speaking of the Madden House, it is generally estimated that the structure goes back to early canal days in Hebron,
making it perhaps 170 years old; it was only about 100 years ago that "Deacon" Madden bought it for the money in
his pocket and arranged to have it moved to the current location from where it was to be torn down by the canal
banks. He needed a larger home for his growing brood, and with typical Yankee ingenuity rolled it to where he
needed it!
Intersecting the Ohio & Erie Canal and giving Hebron a reason to exist was and is the old National Road, now US
40. Most of us in the Hebron area live sandwiched between US 40 and Interstate-70, its more modern cousin to the
south (aka "The Main Street of America"). As we approach the opening of the Winter Olympics, did you know that
the western terminus of the National Road today is, in fact, Park City, Utah? Originally built to connect
Cumberland, Maryland (as you can see clearly on the milestones dotting US 40 through our neighborhood) to
Vandalia, Illinois, it has extended both further west and east, now running to the Atlantic in . . . Atlantic City. I-70
ends east of us near Catonsville, MD just outside of Baltimore and to the west just dead-ends at another interstate in
Utah, making the National Road still the longer of the two, even if not coast-to-coast.
So think of that the next time you dash down Hebron's Main Street, remember that turning west and driving that
same strip of asphalt far enough will lead you to Olympic gold at the end of the National Road rainbow!

Hebron Crossroads
By Jeff Gill

While many school districts across Licking County had something to
celebrate when the state proficiency test scores came out, no one in
all of Ohio had more to be proud of than Lakewood Local Schools, which
on achieving 19 of the 27 possible standards had the largest increase
in standards met of any district in the state – 11.

From 8 to 19 is an impressive advance, showing that our students,
teachers, and staff are all on the right track, setting a new
benchmark that will be hard to top . . . impossible, as a matter of
fact, since improving another 11 would take us to 30 and there’s only
27 standards all told! (Kudos, of course, to our neighbors to the
north in Granville who showed us that achieving all 27 can be done
right here in Licking County.)

Our status with the state Dept. of Education now goes to "continuous
improvement," leaving "academic emergency" far behind, and our
continuous improvement plan (CIP) that Lakewood staff assembled two
years ago will continue to guide us. Superintendent Lou Staffilino is
very proud of the work that the students have done to demonstrate
their proficiency in academic achievement, and also of administrators
like Arnie Ettenhoffer who prepared the CIP that laid the track for
the engine of accomplishment to follow.

Lakewood continues to face challenges in finance and public
education about funding and budgeting in the district; our school
board has held four public comment/question sessions by the time you
read this. Board President Larry Harmon has facilitated discussion at
the earlier gatherings, with questions about cost savings and the
possibility of income tax versus property tax both raised and
answered -- with business and industry paying about 60% of the school taxes now, versus none under an income
tax, the consensus is stick with the property tax.

Our teachers and staff continue to work under one-year contracts, which is very rare in Ohio, and again have
received no raise other than the small stipend each full-time employee got in December, which supports neither
their retirement nor other benefits. In teacher pay Lakewood is again 11th out of eleven districts in Licking

All residents of the Lakewood district will have to be forgiven if they want to
do a little bragging on the performance of the young people of our
Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a believer in Mark
Twain’s dictum that "those who don’t read have no real advantage over
those who can’t!" If you would like to support literacy by putting
interesting information into Hebron Crossroads to make it even more
worth reading, call 928-4066
Ok -- if there are readers of Knapsack blog; here's the new deal -- i'm going to start putting my Hebron Crossroads weekly column from the Community Booster here (a weekly published by our local daily, for you out-of-towners); and also my almost weekly Commissioner's Corner articles that appear on our area Scouting e-update and are reprinted at wclt,com. I', genrating so much text these days i'm not producing anything for "here", so i'll use "here" as a place to put, well, this --

Hebron Crossroads
by Jeff Gill

If you're looking for an entertainment option on a post-Christmas budget, one of the best sports values I've found is
down US 40 at Lakewood Middle School for the 7th & 8th grade boys basketball games. The other area papers do a
good job of following the senior high school teams, and occasionally mention the JV or freshmen outings, but for
just $3 you still have a chance to see some great basketball played this Saturday, Jan. 12th at 10 am, or on
Wednesday, Jan 23rd at 5 pm. Usually the 7th graders play first, followed quickly by the 8th grade game.

Josh Halter first told me that these games were "worth watching," and he was right in more ways than one. Have
you ever watched the Cavs or even a Buckeye game, whether in person or on TV, and wondered what exactly was
going on, sometimes? A half-dozen bodies all come flying together, the ball goes up, the ball comes down,
sometimes there's a foul whistled and sometimes there's not. . .and I have no earthly idea why. These 7th & 8th
graders are playing some very skillfully executed full court basketball, and even when they make some mistakes
(hey, they're middle schoolers), they're not as wrapped up in stuff like how to mug the other player without getting
caught by the ref -- they're there to play ball. I've seen good sportsmanship as well as excellent athleticism in a style
of play where the average observer can still figure out why the foul was called (well, most of 'em, anyhow) and can
see the shots as they're being set up. Quite a few go in the hoop, too.

The last game I attended started late enough that I got to see most of the 7th grade game, and William Harris had a
pretty good cheering section there, and later on Drew Daubenmire knew he had some fans in the crowd -- many of
them named Daubenmire! There are plenty of good seats at these games, and the players really know you're
cheering them on. School spirit and community support mean so much to our kids, and the three bucks is cheap at
twice the price for what you're supporting, let alone what you get to watch. If you know of any other
"underappreciated sports" for boys or girls, get me the information and we'll talk about it in Hebron Crossroads.