Featured Indiana Athletes: Marshall “Major” Taylor and Oscar Robinson
Marshall “Major” Taylor: This is the story of a young African-American boy who grew up in Indianapolis over a hundred years ago. Despite living at a time when African-Americans were often denied basic rights, Marshall Taylor became a world champion cyclist.
Marshall earned the nickname “Major” when he performed bicycle tricks as a very young boy dressed in a military style costume. When he was a teenager he stopped performing tricks and moved on to bicycle racing – and he was really, really good – world champion good! His story is inspiring because he persevered even when there were many people who didn’t want him to even be in a race, let alone win, just because he was African-American. Sometimes he rode fast just to get away from angry people chasing him! Author: Marlene Targ Brill
In Indianapolis, we have the Major Taylor Velodrome, a world-class bicycle racing track named for this cycling great. You can ride your bike and also use inline skates at the Velodrome. If you want to try riding there, it’s best if you are at least 10 years old. Call ahead and see if you can arrange a time to go try it out. And don’t forget your helmet! 3649 Cold Spring Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46222 Velodrome Phone: 317-327-8356.
Have you ever heard of Indiana’s own Olympian Oscar Robertson? In 1955 Oscar went to Crispus Attucks High School. Oscar’s team won the Indiana State Championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Robertson led Crispus Attucks to another championship in 1956. Oscar was so good he played in College and went on to win a gold medal with the US Basketball team at the 1960 Olympic Games.
ESPN 1070 the Fan Indy’s Sports Center: Interviews One on One with Mark Montieth, host of this local radio program. He interviews important sports figures in Indiana’s history. Many of them have compelling life stories to tell, not just sports stories. Previous shows are available as podcasts. Click on “listen to the podcast” to see the full list of programs. New programs are aired Sunday mornings at 11:00am and repeated Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm.
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It’s time again for the big game, even if our Colts can’t be in it this time. The Super Bowl has been around for 47 years. The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles, California. It was between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. This year, the Super Bowl takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana on Febuary, 3, 2013. The game is between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
Felix plays in 1854 and likes the New York Knickerbockers. Louis is a soldier during the Civil War and plays ball between battles. Arnold is a fan in 1894 and gets to meet his favorite player. Walter is a batboy for the Brooklyn Superbas in 1908. Frankie does a little betting on the game in 1926. Kat, a girl, plays for the Grand Rapids Chicks in 1945. Jimmy can’t believe it when he finds out the Dodgers are leaving Brooklyn in 1957. Michael just might pitch a perfect game in 1981. Snider turns baseball memorabelia into dollars on e-bay in 2002. Nine innings in a baseball game, nine kids in this story told in nine chapters…one chapter for each kid. The nine kids have baseball in common and something else, something really important…but you’ll have to get to the last chapter to find out what it is. TIP: Pay attention to the bat and the ball. Each chapter is a story itself but the way the author ties it all together at the end is really cool! Author: Allan GatzLook
Molly’s a pitcher. Her eighth grade year she does something a little different. She tries out for the boys baseball team instead of the girl’s softball team. When she shows up for try-outs, Molly brings her secret weapon, a weapon that comes as a suprise to the other boys trying out as well as her coaches. Molly can throw a floating knuckleball (a butterfly). And she can throw it hard.
But this story is about much more than a girl trying out for a usually all-boys team. Boys’ baseball isn’t the only thing different about Molly’s eighth grade year. This year, she has to learn how to do everything, including baseball, without her Dad, who died in a car accident before the school year began. Molly’s Mom is barely holding it together herself, which is hard, because now it’s like Molly’s lost both parents.
Molly is pretty honest about how she feels about her Mom. At one point Molly imagines telling her, “I love you and all that, but right now everything about you bothers me.” And it isn’t that Molly doesn’t love her Mom, it’s that her Mom isn’t her Dad, and the Mom she once knew is now different. The best part about this book is how intensely honest Molly is. She also has a best friend, Celia, who is the same way and is the only person Molly knows who still treats her like Molly, not like “Miss Difficulty Overcome.” It’s Celia that keeps Molly talking about her feelings so that she can deal with them. It’s Celia that nudges Molly and her Mom toward each other again.
To make the story even better, the baseball part is realistic - the boys are competitive and the games are intense. Some of the boys are not happy at all about Molly making the team. When Lonnie steps forward to give Molly someone to pitch to, he turns out to be a really good friend too. Author: Mick Cochrane