The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 3, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Remembering the name behind the match

(Continued)

Going home

That continued for more than a decade before his health finally forced him into retirement in late 1997. However, that twist in life allowed The Skull to return home to his roots.

When it was learned cancer came calling not long after he went home, Mike never flinched, using his heart of a champion to not only fight with all the might he could muster, but to keep writing — which he did for me here at the Star Beacon until the time of his death — and to laugh... at himself.

When the awful chemotherapy treatments took all of his hair, Mike — who like most of us ink-stained wretches, wasn’t exactly a rose — to quip to me, “This is the first time I’ve ever resembled Mr. Clean!”

Mike’s dear friend, Bryant Heisinger, said The Skull was laughing and joking the last time the old pals saw each other, even with Mike stuck in a hospital bed. The fact Mike was laughing at himself to the very end came as no surprise to those of us who knew and, yes, loved, the guy.

Fore!

With his eye issues not allowing him to drive a car, Mike still found a way to get behind a wheel, though it was on a golf cart. While he couldn’t see well enough to play, he like to hit the links with us just... well, just because. One time at Geneva-on-the-Lake, I was riding with him and the tee box was elevated a couple hundred feet above the green on a short par-3. After mangling my tee shot, I hopped in the passenger seat and Mike hit the gas.

It took only a few seconds before I realized I was in for the ride of my life, which I saw flash in front of me as it hit me that Mike didn’t see that the cart path went left of the tee box and down a path.

Instead, Mike drove us straight... over the cliff.

While my Irish half came blurting out — as in, “OH, (CRAPPPPPPPP)!” — Mike knew something was wrong, though he couldn’t see, and while keeping one giant paw on the wheel, he grabbed what seemed like my entire shirt and bellowed, “Hold on, Don!”

When our joyride came to an end at the bottom of the cliff, and after checking to make sure we, and our chariot, were still in one piece, we looked at each other and burst into laughter.

“If we were cats, we’d have no (flippin’) lives left, Don!” he said through a cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smile.

That’s one of probably a thousand stories about the decade-plus I spent with Mike here at the Star Beacon.

Text Only
Sports
  • Outlaws win opener

    The Ohio Outlaws Gold did not start well at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va. on Monday, but they sure did finish their opening encounter with a flourish.

    July 28, 2014

  • Racing remains at the fore

    Raceway 7’s Crate Late Models had an unsanctioned $1000 to win 25-lap feature with Kyle Zimmerman picking up the lion’s share of the glory after leading the entire distance for his first win of 2014.

    July 28, 2014

  • Coming attractions

    While it seems only yesterday school was letting out and summer vacation was starting, the time for respite will have the curtain drop for area high school football players this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGES:

    TUESDAY, AUG. 12

    • Lake Catholic at Perry (10)

    July 28, 2014

  • Lexi Outlaws gunning for national title in Virginia

    There’s gold in their name and that’s just what the Ohio Outlaws Gold softball squad is gunning for at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals this week in Salem, Va.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Brandon Easton A Don McCormack column:Easton on right pitch in Florida

    Paying a Monday morning visit to the variety store...

    Firing away
    The second summer as a professional baseball player has been an excellent one for Brandon Easton, to this point.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: OEW doing good job of passing it on

    On July 18, 19 and 20, the Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) along with Ashtabula Rod & Gun Club (ARGC) held their annual OEW (Outdoor Education Weekend) Weekend.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kaydee Vaulting to The Rock

    When Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo first started pole vaulting as a freshman for the Falcons, she knew it was the event for her.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video