The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 19, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Not the way I wanted to do it...

Sports Editor

Paying another visit to the variety store...

Better late...

Of the many regrets yours truly has in this position are the countless stories I have not, for one reason or another, been able to tell.

Be it the subject of the story cannot be located, or if they are, doesn’t want it to be shared or, worst of all, they are claimed by death, I am often left with a what-might-have-been feeling.

For example, the man who scored the most points ever in a high school basketball game — boys or girls — has never had his story told.

I located him about a decade ago, managed to contact him and set it up to visit him in his home to tell his tale.

However, the day I was supposed to meet him and his wife, I did as promised and called to let him know I was on my way.

At that point, the brief pause told me what we has about to tell me.

“Don, I really appreciate the fact you took the time to find me and want to write a story,” he said, his voice trailing off a bit. “But, if you don’t mind, the more I think about it, I’d really rather not have it done.”

Try as I might, I was unable to sway him, so I honored his wishes.

Every few years, or so, I’d reach out and try again, but his answers remained consistent.

Finally, the last time I talked to him, he said, “Don, you don’t have to keep trying. I appreciate it, but I’d just rather not.”

Then, he said something that haunts me a bit to this day.

“And really... no one cares about what an old man did back in the day, I’m sure.”

I respectfully disagreed then, as I do, now.

The former high school basketball star died last month.

Thanks to the efforts of several connections who, like me, disagreed with his “no one cases about what and old man did back in the day, I’m sure” assertion, I’m in the process of putting his story together.

The fact things went down the way they did is obviously making the mechanics of doing such much more difficult, but his daughter is willing to do what her father was not — talk about him.

No, he is not a member of the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame... yet. But don’t blame the good folks at the ACBF for they, like most, simply were not aware of his accomplishments on the hardwood.

So, Loyal Readers, I hope to bring you his tale in the next few weeks and, in the process, cross the top item on my list of sagas I have not been able to bring to you.

Stay tuned.

On track

Two weeks ago in this space, I mentioned how well some of coach Bobby McQuoid’s Geneva girls did at the state indoor track and field meet.

Turns out, a Pymatuning Valley Laker turned in a fine performance there, too.

Chet Mientkiewicz, a senior for the Lakers, ran in the Division II-III 1600-meter run and earned a 12th-place finish, posting as time of 4:41.55.

Fact check

Athletic directors and spring sports varsity head coaches in the Star Beacon coverage area are reminded that the deadline for your preseason informational fact sheets to be returned to us is Friday.

They can be sent by email at or via fax at 998-7938.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at