Category: Sports

Slam Dunk Turnaround

A fast rebuild for the IU Northwest women’s basketball program.

By Ben Smith

History and home. That’s what Nicki Monahan saw when Ryan Shelton came calling.

She was a basketball star at Portage High School who was a self-professed “family kind of gal” and so, when she was recruited by Shelton, the women’s basketball coach at Indiana University Northwest (IUN)–12 miles down the road–the appeal …

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Posted in Business, Current Issue, Fall 2016, Regional News, Sports | Leave a comment

Minor League Major Fun

Amenities-packed ballparks draw lots of fans and families.

by Ben Smith

He’s a Fort Wayne guy, but he’s seen nothing like this. On this blue June evening he leans on the railing and looks out across an expanse of billiard-table green, looks at the players soft-tossing and the fans filling up the concourse and reserved seating and outdoor cafes beyond left field. And something almost …

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Posted in Sports, Summer 2016 | Leave a comment

Indy 500 History Lesson

On its 100th running, no one knows the race like Donald Davidson.

by Ben Smith

He seems such a slender reed to carry the weight of so many years. That’s what strikes you first about the polite Englishman sitting here in this quiet office on the second floor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum.

Downstairs, in the museum itself, a blaring, tumultuous …

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Posted in Sports, Spring 2016 | Leave a comment

Practice Makes Perfect

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson has a powerful work ethic.

by Ben Smith

Practice is long minutes over for the Indiana Pacers this warmish December afternoon, but still the shots are going up out there, rising and falling in flawless net-rustling arcs. Glenn Robinson III, a young man with a ringing Hoosier name and a profile you have seen before, is working on his craft. It …

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Posted in Sports, Winter 2016 | Leave a comment

The Professionalism of Frank Gore

Colts sign veteran Pro Bowl player Frank Gore to build up the offense.

by Ben Smith

Frank Gore doesn’t really want to talk to you. Don’t take it personally.

Oratory is not generally a thing for NFL running backs, who traffic in the more elemental arts of collision and truckloads of hurt. And so, on this Friday back in September, Gore entered the Indianapolis Colts

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Posted in Fall 2015, Sports | Leave a comment

A Future With the South Bend Cubs

South Bend minor league team thrives as an affiliate of Chicago’s North Siders.

by Ben Smith

The past is here, beyond the shimmering emerald grass, beyond the walkway that runs behind center field, beyond the scoreboard welcoming everyone, on this blue-sky evening, to Four Winds Field and Back to the Future Night.

But first, back to the past.

It’s in a small enclosure behind the …

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Posted in Sports, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment

Sarah Fisher, Businesswoman

Pioneering race car driver settles into the ownership role.

by Ben Smith

The question stumps her, seven years along. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally a soft exhale floats across the miles and through the cellphone pressed to your ear, and in your mind’s eye you can see her on the other end: Brow knit up, eyes narrowed in thought.

“Man,” says Sarah …

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Posted in Business, Business, Sports, Spring 2015 | Leave a comment

Adding Fuel

New team brings professional hockey back to Indy.

by Ben Smith

Five days before Christmas, and no peace on earth this night.

Instead, there is only a scoreboard tilted against them again, and a flat crack echoing off the cinderblock walls of this narrow hallway outside the visitor’s dressing room in Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The Indy Fuel of the ECHL, …

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Posted in Business, Sports, Winter 2015 | Leave a comment

Back on the Field

Notre Dame’s Everett Golson takes on the H-word.

by Ben Smith

He arrives at 7:20 in the evening, fashionably but consistently late. Practice is a distant memory, 65 minutes in the rearview. Every other football player made available by Notre Dame has made an appearance, and some came and went long ago.

But Everett Golson will not be rushed.

He will not come out until …

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Posted in Fall 2014, Sports | Leave a comment

A Special Place

Gary’s U.S. Steel Yard, home of the RailCats, where a child’s game is a way of life.

by Ben Smith

Dreams are not born here, not in this small gem of brick and wrought-iron, not in this lovely green space springing up in the lee of toll roads and train tracks and belching smokestacks. Dreams don’t even grow to manhood here.

What they do is …

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Posted in Sports, Summer 2014 | Leave a comment