Christmas morning always stirs up memories of sports-related gifts from those care-free adolescent days of decades ago.
There could be a shiny new and slippery basketball or football. Or, there might be a new baseball glove to break in before spring weather arrived.
Many probably remember the electric football game with little figures placed on a vibrating aluminum grid board. The trick was to figure out which ones would go in a straight line toward the end zone and not in circles.
For baseball enthusiasts, there was the All-Star “spinner” game with round player discs being placed on a board and a spinner stopping in a slot for a home run, triple, double, single, outs, etc. No. 1 was always a home run so Mickey Mantle’s slot would be much wider than that of Nellie Fox.
Electric train sets were popular years ago, along with family games like Scrabble and Concentration.
Computer and digital games are in style these days, but once in awhile it’s fun to dig out some of the old gifts.
The main local sporting attraction over the holidays used to be the Goshen High School boys basketball holiday tournament which drew good crowds until being discontinued about a decade ago.
The late Art Cosgrove, Goshen’s Hall of Fame coach, got the event started in December of 1961 with the Redskins defeating Middlebury 73-56 and Wabash 70-43 for the title.
Fred Hostetler scored 38 points in those two games for GHS, Randy Saal 34, Ron Miller and Charles Cotton both 28. Jim Gingerich, Terry Morgan and Mike Kettlebar were among other players.
Goshen’s great 1962-63 team, which observed its 50th anniversary this year, won the holiday tourney with victories over Wabash 63-39 and Fort Wayne Central 72-60.
Hostetler tallied 28 points in the tourney, Saal 27, Miller 25, Doug Smith 19 and John Corporon 12. The Redskins went on to post a 24-2 record and No. 5 state ranking.
Cosgrove coached five holiday tournament champions in Goshen and he brought to town such powers as Valparaiso, Indianapolis Shortridge, Portage, East Chicago Roosevelt, Evansville Memorial and Michigan City Rogers.
Bob Cross of Goshen scored 34 points in a 1964 title game win over Concord, 88-82; Royce Cripe netted 31 in a 1966 thumping of Concord, 92-52; John Westfall tallied 33 in a 1969 defeat of Muncie Burris, 73-67; and Marc Ruhling fired in 40 as GHS won the 1981 consolation game over Westview, 65-57.
Brian Bechtel, Goshen High School boys basketball coach, reaches a milestone Friday when he guides the Redskins in the NLC-NIC Shootout.
It will be the 308th game coached by Bechtel at GHS, topping the mark of the late Mike Sorrell who coached 307 from 1985-99. Cosgrove coached 294 Redskin games from 1959-72.
Jim Buller, in his 35th season at Bethany Christian, has coached more than 740 games for the Bruins who were formerly known as the Braves.
John Longfellow coached 432 games at Elkhart from 1929-48 and Max Bell 354 from 1954-68. Lowell Sheets coached 320 at Jimtown from 1933-48, Les McCuen 429 at Concord from 1938-57, Steve Johnson 376 at Memorial from 1978-83 and 1994-2006, Bill Leiter 318 from 1973-91 and Tim Sirk 357 from 1995-2010 at Lakeland, John Wysong 291 at Fairfield from 1978-81 and 2001-11, Dan Gunn 399 at NorthWood from 1975-78 and 1992-2007 and Irv Pratt 328 at Northridge from 1969-84.
Goshen High School’s wrestling program is observing its Golden Anniversary this winter. The first dual meet, a victory over Concord, occurred in December of 1963.
Joe Springer coached the first four Redskin wrestling teams and had a record of 31-9-2. John Hemphill was 7-5 in one season, Bill Doba 19-10-2 in three, John Dechant 204-63-4 in 20 and Mark Fioritto 29-8.
Current head coach Jim Pickard has a record of 327-101-2 about halfway through his 21st season.
That adds up to 823 dual meets with a record of 617-196-10 and a winning percentage of .759, not counting ties.
The 1983-84 Goshen wrestling team was 18-0 overall, 7-0 in the Northern Lakes Conference and captured sectional and regional team championships.
That Redskin team 30 years ago featured individual sectional champions Gary Gaskill, Roy Shively, Joe Grise, Shayne Rogers, Chris Bowman, Mike Wittrig, Don Biller, Rod VanderWey and Frank Robbins. Gaskill, Grise and Rogers also landed regional titles.
Dale LeCount, Mark Eveler, Bruce Abramson and Jeff Bontrager were among others contributing to that magical season.
Contact former sports editor Stu Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SwartzStu.