WHO AM I TO SAY: Bose finally earns his place in hoops history
It appeared as if Orville Bose would miss his own party, but the powers that be decided that shouldn’t happen.
Bose, who was inducted in the 58th class of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, recently was diagnosed with leukemia.
Although too weak to give his acceptance speech, he was in a wheelchair and had to wear a mask most of the evening, the 1956 Hymera High School graduate stood tall among his family, friends and peers.
"Only in Indiana would they break a guy out of the hospital to come to a basketball event," said Ken Bose, Orville’s first cousin who made the trip from Washington state to watch his former teammate be honored."
Orville was surrounded by his wife of 60 years, Dixie, and their three daughters and other family members.
There were former teammates, classmates and other Hymera graduates that were there to see Orville finally receive the recognition that was long overdue.
And then there was me. Throughout the afternoon at the pre-party with Orville’s classmates, led by Dr. James Thompson, a 1970 HHS grad and his Hymera coach Keith Dougherty, also a Hall of Famer, I kept asking myself "what in the hell am I doing here?"
No doubt about it, I was the odd man out.
I have penned stories about Hall of Famers previously, including Dougherty, and even had the HOF reprint my stories in their magazine, but for the chunky white boy from Camby or the small-town sports scribe from Sullivan to be part of the actual induction ceremony was quite overwhelming.
People were thanking me left and right for my part in bringing Orville’s story to light.
For those who aren’t privy to this story, it was about 18 months ago when Orville was prompted by former Butler teammate and former HOF president Marvin Tudor to try and make his case for induction with Indiana hoop greats.
This led to Orville sending me an e-mail and what at first I thought was going to be a futile quest to find his stats. As it turned out, three years of Orville’s stats were lost.
After a conversation with Mr. Bose, I started my search and over a period of time I did what I do well — search for stories and stats from newspapers on microfilm.
I can’t say that I found everything, because I did not, but I found enough, along with Orville’s senior stats kept by Dougherty, to make a case for Bose.
My research just gave people on the Hall of Fame committee something tangible to see.
Daughter Nancy Phillips spoke for her father, reading his speech, thanking his teammates and coaches like Tony Hinkle at Butler.
Dougherty, Tudor, Thompson and yes, even yours truly, were among those mentioned. It was different hearing my name over the speakers and not being called to the principal’s office.
Other than Orville being there, the highlight of the night for me was Nancy. She exuded such poise and grace and seemed perfect to fill in for her father. It wasn’t until her final seconds on stage that she was overcome with emotion, probably thinking of the health of her dad.
She actually held it together much better than I did. For a long time, I have described myself as a sentimental old fool.
My daughter always makes fun of me because I watch movies on The Hallmark Channel.
I told a friend of mine once that I get emotional while watching episodes of "Blue Bloods."
Needless to say, this was one of the most surreal nights of my life.
Fighting back tears, I couldn’t help but be grateful to Dr. Thompson, Dougherty, Orville, his family and friends. Their kindness has been overwhelming.
I have had many great nights in my 30-plus years as a sports journalist, but none like this. To think I had anything to do with something like this, still is hard for me to wrap around my thick skull. I am so thankful that Orville got to attend his own shindig. It would not have been fair or right without him.
Me, not so much.
NOTEBOOK: In the end it was Orville and his teammates at Hymera and Butler and his coaches that did the heavy lifting and were ultimately responsible for his recognition. There was a scene in the movie Hoosiers where Dennis Hopper as Shooter told Gene Hackman as coach Norman Dale, you know I didn’t make a lick of a difference, referencing his brief time as assistant coach for the Hickory Huskers.
To be honest, I feel the same way.
Ken Bose said it best, “Orville was better than great. He played against a lot taller players.
“But it would be fair to say that as great of a player as Orville was, he was probably an even better person.”
One quick side note, Hymera graduate Mr. Bledsoe, cannot remember his first name, asked a great question — how many small schools have both a coach and player in the Hall of Fame.
We know that Hymera does and Loogootee does with coach Jack Butcher and after his son Barry Butcher was inducted on Wednesday night. There could be other HOFers from Loogootee that played for Butcher. It is a great question to ponder.