For better or worse, life changes. Old traditions fade into history. Would-be traditions wither on the vine.
Here are some events that were once part of our lives in the Mid Ohio Valley, but are now just a memory.
Soap Box Derby- America's love affair with the automobile begins at a young age. Kids would build and race their own cars. Speed was provided by gravity and the aerodynamic design of the racer. Heats were held in downtown Parkersburg and I can remember watching the finals of the local Soap Box Derby on WTAP. Kids dreamed of winning the local race and heading to Akron for the National Soap Box Derby...and who knows after that, may the Indianapolis 500!
Biking the Bridge and Brick- Keeping with the racing theme. Biking the Bridge and Brick was a professional cycling event that wound its way through downtown Marietta across the Muskingum river, and through the west end of town. The event took place only a few short years, but it brought an excitement and grace to Pioneer city for a weekend during the summer. The cyclists were world class, and watching them draft and race to the finish on Front street was like having our own miniature Tour de France in Marietta.
Ohio Valley Redcoats- Professional baseball made a return to Parkersburg with the formation of the Frontier League in 1993. The league featured teams from Parkersburg, and other small towns in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. The Redcoats brought excitement, and a pretty good brand of baseball to Bennett Stump field each summer. The players were housed by local families and the city developed an affection for "our Redcoats". The fans packed into the City Park on warm summer night's to support their team. The games were exciting, and some players used the Frontier League as their first step toward the Major Leagues. An enduring memory for me is a 16 year old Nick Swisher donning the Redcoats' mascot uniform and entertaining the kids and the crowds. The Frontier League was successful, and that led to new owners and the eventual moving of the Redcoats to Indiana.
Baseball diamonds- keeping with our national pastime, when I was growing up, you couldn't go a couple of miles in Parkersburg without running into a baseball diamond. The junior high school's all had them. Parkersburg high school had one, just to name a few locations. Every Saturday and Sunday during the summer, neighborhood kids would take their bats and gloves and take part in pickup games. It helped hone our baseball skills and keep us out of trouble. Most of these ball diamonds have long since become parking lots, or strip malls. Aside from youth baseball, and high school, you just don't see kids playing baseball on their own anymore.
West Virginia Open- The Pro Bowlers Association returned to Parkersburg for a 2 year run at the Emerson Bowling Lanes. The bowling was good, and the bowlers were great. They loved Emerson lanes and they loved the response and appreciation they received from local fans. All the big names game were on hand, and history was made when Sean Rash became the first player ever to make the field as a qualifier and then win the tournament.
These are just some of my memories of events that added to our quality of life here in the Mid Ohio Valley. You can share yours by entering your comments above.