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At the Mike
From Billy Goats to Guinea Pigs
Mike - At the Mike nw
Mike Marzolf

It is one of sports longest remaining curses. The Curse of the Billy Goat. It ranked with the Curse of the Bambino for the longest time. That Babe Ruth curse, though, was broken by the Boston Red Sox in 2004. That leaves the Curse of the Billy Goat. 

It is a curse that looms over the Chicago Cubs. It’s a curse that had made black cats run near the on deck circle in 1969 as the Cubs collapsed. A curse that pushed a ball between the legs of Leon Durham in 1984 on the cusp of a World Series. A curse that turned an entire stadium against an innocent fan going for a foul ball in the largest collapse of them all in 2003. 

The Curse of the Billy Goat dates back to 1945 when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave game four of the World Series at Wrigley Field because of the odor of his pet goat named Murphy. It was bothering the fans. Outraged, it is alleged Sianis yelled “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”

It was interpreted to mean there would never be another World Series win at Wrigley Field for the Cubs. So far – 71 years later – there hasn’t been. The Cubs lost that game and the World Series in 1945. They have not been back since.

Many attempts to break the curse have been made. 

They include – but are not limited to - Sianis’ nephew being brought in to break it twice, a Greek Orthodox priest spraying Holy Water around the Cubs’ dugout, fans with a goat named Virgil Homer going to another ball park and trying to forward the curse to that team and fans walking from spring training in Arizona to Wrigley Field with a goat named Wrigley.

So far, nothing has worked. 

Now the cursed Cubs stand just four games from their first World Series since 1945. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is finally the year the Curse of the Billy Goat is put to bed.

Prep thoughts

Can it be the post season already? 

State tournaments get started this weekend for some fall sports. Girls’ tennis is Friday and Saturday. Locally, Central Plains will send Emily Ryan in singles and Keeley Hipp and Janae Ryan in doubles. Emma Harmon and Tyann Schremmer will compete in doubles for Hoisington as well as Tara Collins and Katelyn Robinson for Ellinwood.

Monday girls’ golf takes center stage. Hoisington and Larned will be sending their entire team to state after winning regionals. Sydney Boxberger, Madison Wilborn, Hadleigh Gardner, Delaney Smith, Jaci Schremmer, and Trinity Dolezal will go for the Cardinals. Dorothy Keenan, Haley Skelton, Madison Gleason, Sierra Smith, and Jaicee Walker will represent the Indians. 

Allison Neeland for Great Bend earned a trip to the state meet as well.

The rest of the sports will have their state championships later in October.

Good Luck to all the area athletes.

Former Barton athlete/coach update

It’s time to check in with Ray Bechard and the Kansas volleyball team. Coming off the best season in KU history that cumulated with a trip to the Final Four, the Jayhawk had high expectations for this season. 

So far they have met them. The former Barton coach has KU ranked No. 6 in the nation with a 15-2 record. The only losses are at then No. 14 Purdue and No. 4 Texas. Kansas is a perfect 7-0 at home and 5-0 on a neutral floor. 

Several big games are left before the season ends in late November. At the Mike will continue to keep you up to date on Coach Bechard and the Jayhawks.

The referee house

As officials, we do our best to participate in tributes we run across yearly. Earlier this year were given gold ribbons to put on our lapel in honoring a little girl fighting cancer. Since the 2001 season and terrorist attacks in our country, our crew, through its changes, has always won an American Flag on its sleeve.

A couple years back when former KSHSAA football director Rick Bowden passed away we wore the old white knickers for a game as a tribute to him. He always liked the knickers.

This Friday we will put the pink whistles on our lanyards and wear pink wrist bands to help recognize the fight against cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we always try to recognize that at least one game every October.

You see, officials are not just out to make sure your favorite loses.

And finally

Sometimes God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes He gives you little surprises my wife Crystal calls God Drops.

A little history first. We lost two guinea pigs about two months ago within a few days of each other. The reason is still unsure but it was believed to be a Vitamin C deficiency. That left my daughter Katelyn, and our family, with just one guinea pig – her first one Pillow.

Being the dad I am, I went and got her another one, which we named Hope. 

Fast-forward to about 10 days ago. Pillow suddenly lost a lot of weight. A trip to the vet and yet another trip to vet didn’t help. Doc Briel did his best with antibiotics, steroids and advice. Thursday night Pillow passed away. I came home from officiating junior high football to a sad house. 

Crystal and Katelyn were both in tears. Only Hope, who had become very fat to say the least was left. She was getting a lot of attention. Donovan came over Sunday and played with her as well.

At the time he made a comment that was kind of brushed off. He felt something in her very fat stomach.

Tuesday morning started as usual. I woke up Katelyn and took off for work. I was two blocks away when my phone rang. Katelyn was screaming. “Hope had babies,” she screamed. “Hope had babies.”

So I turned around and went back home. Sure enough. There were four baby guinea pigs. Although Pillow and Hope had separate cages they had played together some. Evidently, they did a little more than playing at some point when they first met.

While Pillow is now gone and will be missed, he remains with us through four baby guinea pigs. 

God Drops.

Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at