Columbus – April 2019 – Ohio Sports History

The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.





The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.





A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.





One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.





While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.





The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.





High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.





Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.

The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.

Akron – July 2014 – Soap Box Derby Day

As most people know Akron has been the home of Soap Box Derby since the 1930s. Each July kids, parents and supporters make the pilgrimage to Akron from all over the World.

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Upon arrival we made our way to the top, where the pits are. Almost immediately we met a group from New Zealand, including their pit boss.

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Also topside is the ‘Hall of Fame’, all of the winning cars, including a couple of infamous ones that were originally winners until they were found to have cheated.

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This is one sport where the girls have just as good a chance as the boys.

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The racing action was great.

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In the end it is a long day for the kids, but well worth it ….

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Akron – July 2010 – A Day at the Derby

Most summers we tried to make a stop at the Soap Box Derby championships in Akron, where the parking lot was full of cars with out of state plates.

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Held at the legendary Derby Downs near the blimp hangar in Southeast Akron, this event draws people from all over the world, with the family and friends of the racers lining the one side of the track.

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Off they go all day long 3 at a time down the hill.

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To minimize drag they tuck down as low as possible.

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While up on the topside they queue up in the long line waiting for their chance.

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After their run the cars are hauled back up the hill by a pickup truck with a specialized trailer.

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Before heading back down again.

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A car from Germany.

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Most have excellent, professional paint jobs.

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In 2010 they were filming a movie whose plot involved a young racer from California overcoming the odds to make it to Akron for the finals.

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Complete with the fans as extras.

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They raced through the finish line at  another exciting day at the Soap Box Derby.

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