The Hash Road Hideaway: An introduction

BY REBECCA TOWNSEND
The pen-and-ink drawing leading this posting, used for Alison Cochran and Jo Jo Porowski’s 1983 wedding invitations, captures the original cabin, as it was when they arrived with me (Becca) and my brother, Ryan Wilson.

The original four-room log cabin (a notorious drug dealer’s hideaway in the ’70s) received a three-story addition built by JoJo (my stepfather/mom’s second husband) and his friends soon after we moved in around 1983.

In the ’80s, skinny-dipping hippies on the rope swing ruled — and the property’s reputation as a good place for a great time continued to build.

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Clockwise from top left: Mom and Jo Jo on their wedding day; Mimi, Mom and me in the old upstairs bedroom; Ryan salting Mom’s split pea soup in the old kitchen; musicians jamming on the dam; and JoJo standing against the cabin’s old south wall, in the place where he would build the three-floor addition with mom’s kitchen.

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This is the the south-facing exterior today. The ground floor (Mom’s kitchen) was the only part of the home damaged in the dam-crashing flash flood of 2012. The place is always a work in progress.

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Here’s what that view looks like standing up on the dam (above) and from the vantage point of the rope swing.

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The ‘80s addition included a summer kitchen (Mom’s kitchen) at the ground/basement level, a living room and bedroom (mom’s bedroom/living room) on the second level and a bedroom on the third level (where both my brother, Ryan, and cousin, Reuben, have lived over the years; now the “kid’s room”). Today, trees obstruct much of the home’s exterior when you look at the place from the rope swing. Compare that with this next photo, taken from almost the same vantage point, 35 years ago!

 

 

Original cabin from across the lake

This picture was taken of the original cabin on the day Alison and Jo Jo were married. Though the tent obscures the south side of the house, one may be able to tell that Jo Jo’s addition was not yet built. Also, what is now “the door to nowhere” on the top level then had a lovely platform deck and stairs down to the dam. Finally, note our old-school air conditioning in the upstairs bedroom window: a box fan. Today, the wood stove and box fans are no longer the only climate controls at Hash Road.

Rebecca Relaxing at Hash Road

Becca chilling lakeside in the grass on the dam. It’s a nice place to catch up on reading while soaking up some rays. Not everyone likes roaming in the buff, but those of us who grew up as products of the natural woodlands and the wild 1980s of Bloomington, Indiana, are accustomed to the luxury of total seclusion.

Around 2000, my brother, Ryan, and Richie (Mom’s boyfriend between her second husband, Jo Jo, and her third husband, the musician Chris Little) removed two of the cabin’s original rooms. The tiny original kitchen became a suite for my grandmother, including a living room overlooking the lake, a bedroom (“Mimi’s room”), a kitchen and bathroom.

 

Sitting Room

Mimi’s living room (above). This overexposed shot will soon be replaced. For now: Just imagine the lake right outside that window. You can vaguely make out the pine bench swing by the fire pit. Also, truth in advertising: that loveseat moved to Indy. We’ve opened up the space. Becca’s little A-frame bedroom became an open and airy space with exposed wooden beams, overlooking the lake (below left, facing lake) with another room tucked away behind it (below right, facing woods and spillway, which rushes into a waterfall during the rainy season).

 

 

Alison passed away on Valentine’s Day, 2010. She was 57. (Thank you so much to the Elenabella blog for providing a permanent online home for the obit I wrote and a piece of her music. Mom was a lovely fiddle player and singer.) Her mother, Ruth “Mimi” Cochran, also died in 2010 — on Labor Day.

Alison’s death left the family with the choice of what to do with the property: Sell out or try to protect a family legacy and one of the wildest spots left in Monroe County?

Keeping up with what grew from four rooms into quite a large house, plus the surrounding classified forestland (which insists on certain ecological protections), and the lake, creeks, and spillway involves a lot of cost and oversight. Still, the yoke of neverending responsibility presents what has thus far been an irresistible temptation. The pain is offset by the pleasure. I can’t not do my chores. The only constant in this nutty world seems to be chores at Hash Road!

What an honor to maintain the place as a natural memorial to my mother,  grandmother, and great-grandmother, who all lived there over the years and who all sacrificed so much to allow family and friends to have such an amazing place to commune with nature — to take some time out to relax and enjoy life.

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Thus, I welcome you, the greater public, to help me in my mission to preserve the property by experiencing Hash Road for yourselves!

The cabin is posted as “The Hash Road Hideway”  at Air B&B.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: HASH ROAD IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!!!! For instance, people who prefer their chillax spots to have granite countertops — or fancy finishings, in general — should probably look elsewhere. People who want cable television won’t have it unless they install it for themselves.

This is the country. The place is rustic. My mom, Alison Little Cochran, was an Earth mother, a wild, forest-loving creature. The home’s lines between wild and domesticated are sometimes blurred. Sometimes the power will go out and it takes a while for it to be restored. Sometimes the water feed to the cistern needs to be re-started. Sometimes people go skinny dipping or sunbathe naked.

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There is a cat, Sophi, who lives on the premises. She has her claws. She kills things. This is necessary when one lives in the country if one prefers to live without mice. Sophi can be kept out of bedrooms if allergies are a problem — or if one is just not into cats.

If allergies are a problem, please bring appropriate medication because one is guaranteed to encounter dust, pollen, Sophi, nature.

Speaking of nature, nature can include spiders, snakes, turtles, frogs, toads, mosquitoes, ticks, fish, horse flies and dragonflies (lots of really cool dragonflies!). Also, amazing stars  (we have a telescope) and geology (geodes) and hydrology with often dry creek beds that at times rage with rushing water … Future goals include installing a water quality testing lab in the basement.

When rainy season arrives, a lovely waterfall cascades in the spillway hugging the northeast corner of the cabin. Mimi’s kitchen and Becca’s bedroom overlook the spillway canyon.

Rushing water also led to a devastating flood of the property and partial dam collapse. It took 50 truckloads of dirt — $20,000 worth of work — to repair the issue. Because it was what they called an “act of God,” State Farm did not contribute a dime.

This is when it became clear that managing a constant flow of leaves, sticks and mud was the true legacy of Hash Road. That sometimes, the people who love the place and take care of it have to stand neck deep or even buried in nature to meet its management challenges.

God was good enough to get us through the very scary flood experience. The dam looks beautiful today.

Property management presents many unexpected responsibilities and expenses. This is why I encourage friends and family — old and new — to visit and introduce new generations and guests to Hash Road as a truly special spot in nature. That way,  Hash Road lovers can contribute to its long-term preservation and sustainability.

After all, ownership of property is a fleeting and temporary prospect. Really, we are just taking care of it for a bit. This Hoosier child, born in the Year of the Tiger — 1974 — is just following in the footsteps of the three generations of Buzzerd-Gerwig-Cochran/Wilson women who lived on the land in “the days gone by.” I’m just clocking my hours and one day the good Lord will call me home, too.

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This photo of a photo was taken at Alison and Jo Jo’s wedding. To the left, Jo Jo’s butt. To the right, great old friends Meredith Richmond and Chris Haak are on the scene as the wedding photographer snaps a group photo  of (from left) Aunt Mary (the eldest Cochran sister), Ruth “Mimi” Cochran, Alison and Aunt Sarah Cochran “the Reverand” (who passed away on St. Patrick’s Day, 2018).

 

Because the world gets crazier by the day (and water becomes an ever-more precious resource), protecting this precious sanctuary to share with future generations becomes as urgent a call as ever. The grounding connections one finds at Hash Road are incredible, ever-changing yet always rooted in an ever-present vibe of nurturing support.

A friend felt sorry for me one day as she saw I had a mountain of work to do at the place. I felt kinda sorry for myself, to be honest, my eternal Cinderella complex.

Why do you have this place?” she asked, as nicely as possible, maybe kind of gently asking, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”

Sometimes, when I have to clean up cat pee or battle a raccoon or face off with nature in some other crazy, unexpected way (a live, half snake, for example, or maybe …. DAM COLLAPSE!), for the ten millionth time in my life, I want to pull out my hair and run away to the beach forever. I’ll wonder why I remain tethered to the property. Then I’ll pause and look out over the lake. Look at the trees. Listen to nature. Wait for her to envelop me. And I feel better. In fact, I usually lose about 20 pounds of stress as soon as I hit Monroe County.

You can take this girl out of B-town, but you can’t take B-town out of this girl.

 

Becca and friends 9th bday Hash Road

Me, shortly after moving into the cabin, standing in the original kitchen (now sacrificed to make way for Mim’s place) surrounded by some of my best Harmony School girlfriends during a slumber party in celebration of my 9th birthday. Closing in on 40 years ago!!! I’m still friends with these chicks! From left: Genne (now Genevieve) Pritchard, Karina Pritchett, Heather Schultz and Leah. Drayton

Ultimate goal: Sustainability. Roots.

After I’ve joined the heavenly choir with Granny, Mimi, Alison and the rest of my friends and ancestors who’ve worked to provide for me, may the fruits of those labors and that love continue to multiply for the generations to come.

 

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I’m now working to formalize a timeline of Hash Road. So, if you’ve got an image you want to memorialize, send it my way!

We’ve had so much fun over the years …

In the ’80s …

Winter sports included clearing the ice and a toboggan run. Here you see people clearing the ice for skating (Mom, Ryan, Karina?) and Ryan heading down hill rapidly!

cleaning the ice at Hash Road 80s

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In the summers, sometimes the lake level can really drop. At this level, the drop from the rope swing is probably 20 feet! Swing at your own risk!!! (Ryan would probably still be doing flips!) But, seriously, this picture below is the lowest I can remember the lake. I bet it was taken during the ’88 drought.

Chris Haack and date in from of old stairs

 

Abbie, a great friend of the Hash Road family, paddling around the lake with her dogs, Stash and Janice. Recently she helped me with such adventures as “flush the cistern” and set up the wifi, and snap some new pics from the dam and rope swing!

Now for some classic Hash Road from over the years …

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Pitch Bitch, episode 6: 2017 finale

David Goldsmith on the attack

A North Carolina FC defender and David Goldsmith leaving it all out on the field. Note in the background Indy defender Marco Franco (who is in a three-way tie for team goal-assist leader with Ben Speas and Justin Braun). Franco pulled some fancy footwork, faking Carolina defense deep in enemy territory, to set up Goldsmith’s shot opportunity.

Visiting soccer squad North Carolina FC sliced through home team Indy Eleven’s defense, starting from midfield, three minutes and 47 seconds into the last game of the season at Michael Carroll Stadium.

The 40-degree afternoon took on an extra chill as a collective shudder shook the spines of the faithful. How ugly was this match going to get?

Thankfully for the fans: not too ugly or gut wrenching due to the team’s continued, cool-headed pressure. A connecting pass from Gerardo Torrado at the top of Indy’s 18 to David Goldsmith in the midfield, who turned and dished it out immediately to Ben Speas in the left-side channel, set up Speas’ perfect pass, feeding a hungry Zayed, on point for a one-touch equalizer at the far-side of the net. The definition of beautiful penetration.

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Striker Eamon Zayed controls Speas’ feed for an inside-of-the-right foot tap into the near-side net, breathing the air possibility back into the game for the home team. The goal marked 26 goals in two seasons for Eamon Zayed, the team’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Indy’s starting 11 worked well together to control several viable North Carolina threats and launch many promising attacks of their own. Don Smart was unlucky to have a first-half shot from inside soar high over the goal. (Delivered with perhaps too much power when a heavy dose of finesse was needed to tame the unruly ball, Smart’s opportunity was enabled by a ricochet off the Carolina keeper, who deflected a Zayed shot well set up by midfielder Tanner Thompson — a standout player from Indiana University.) Indeed, when we look at the whole field, the players deserve credit for playing tough defense as a unit — as well as aggressive on the attack. Everyone was involved in all aspects of the game. And while there certainly were errors, they were overshadowed by positive examples of connective chemistry and organized support.

Zayed captured amid one of several tasty opportunities on goal.

Zayed captured amid one of several tasty opportunities on goal.

Back-line defenders, for example, coordinated the play that pushed Indy Eleven to a 2-1 advantage 20 minutes into the second half.

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Defender Nemanja Vukovic lines up one of his legendary, killer freekicks. This one delivered to the far-side of the box where fellow defender — and Indiana native — Cory Miller met it for a one-touch goal.

The Vukovic/Miller freekick/cross/weakside run/one-touch to far-side netting combination that pushed Indy to a 2-1 lead elated the stands — and illustrated one of the most beautiful aspects of being able to watch the development of professional soccer: an international player from Montenegro (Vuko) connecting with a young man who grew up less than 30  miles from the stadium (Miller) to develop goal-scoring chemistry. Long-paying will be dividends of exposing a local audience to the concepts of international cooperation and the possibilities found by individuals who commit themselves to disciplined training.

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Exposing local children to concepts of international cooperation, teamwork and individual commitment to training (where they see local players who work hard achieve success on the field) are some of the ancillary benefits of supporting the development of local professional soccer.

The thrill lasted up until the final minutes of the game. But fate held a consolation prize for the visitors (the No. 3 occupant of the NASL’s eight-seat ranking table while Indy is No. 8), who were able to see a corner kick (perhaps deflected off an Indy player’s attempted head clearance) find the back of the net to equalize.

Minutes later, the ref blew the whistle marking the conclusion of both the match and Indy Eleven’s fourth season on the field.

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We don’t know what our roster will look like in 2018 — we’re not even sure about the shape of our league within a shifting landscape at the national level — but we do know we’ve seen some great soccer and have much potential to nourish in the years to come.

What does the future hold?

We know that Gerardo Torrado and Sinisa Ubiparipovic are retiring. But beyond that, this is where the business-side of the operation gets busy sharpening their pencils, negotiating the additions and subtractions to the roster, all while a tremendous amount of uncertainty swirls through the U.S. soccer community in terms of league structure and team development. [The inability of the U.S. Men’s National Team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the North American Soccer League’s suit against the U.S. Soccer Federation lead the narrative underscoring unrest and dissatisfaction with the status quo at the men’s pro level.]

We also know that despite insults from outsiders — and those who would judge our local attempts at a professional game as no more than gussied up amateurism — Indiana has seen — and played — some great games. Our future progress may happen in fits and starts; it undoubtedly has been hampered by our politicians’ inability to be early adapters when it comes to enabling the construction of a soccer-specific stadium that will allow Indianapolis to host world-class matches as part of the city’s sports-centered development strategy. But our progress is inevitable.

For four seasons, thousands of fans have continued to pack the stands and support the team, through good times and bad. Typically, we don’t see business ignore the willingness of so many people to pull out their wallets, which provides hope that despite league drama, Indy will persevere.

Plus, local love of the game continues to inspire new generations to become best friends with their soccer balls. Somewhere at this very moment in Indiana, a kid is working on individual footskills, others are juggling in a group, or taking each other on in cocky displays of creativity and speed. This is Indiana soccer at the grassroots, a deep-seeded passion that has driven us for generations and will continue to power us in the years ahead: the willingness to work to be the very best we can be — as individuals and as teammates. This combination leads the Pitch Bitch to posit that future success for Indiana soccer at all levels is pre-ordained, an inevitability that no amount of greed or ego will ever upend.

(Photos by Rebecca Townsend, who apologizes for the exposure and graininess, but hopes her humble equipment captured enough of the game’s spirit to convey the story.)

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A final shoutout to my husband and daughter, who have been dedicated Indy Eleven season ticket holders since the beginning, faithfully holding down their seats behind the East-End Goal through blazing heat, bitter cold and driving rain. Thank you guys for supporting local soccer — and indulging the incurable, lifelong need of your wife and mother to be involved the sport. You guys are the best and I love you!

Thanks to the Indy Eleven media team for this Scoring Summary:
NCFC – Billy Schuler (Danny Barrow 4’)
IND – Eamon Zayed (Ben Speas 20’)
IND – Cory Miller (Nemanja Vukovic 65’)
NCFC – Billy Schuler (Lance Laing 89’)

Discipline Summary:
NCFC – Danny Barrow 19’
IND – David Goldsmith 88’

Indy Eleven lineup (4-1-3-2, L–>R):  Jon Busch (GK); Nemanja Vukovic, Cory Miller, Colin Falvey, Marco Franco; Gerardo Torrado © , Ben Speas (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 58’), Tanner Thompson (Paulo Junior 75’), Don Smart; Eamon Zayed, David Goldsmith

IND bench: Keith Cardona (GK); Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Cory Miller, Christian Lomeli, Adrian Ables

North Carolina FC lineup (4-5-1, L->R): Brian Sylvestre (GK) (Macklin Robinson 32’); Paul Black, Connor Tobin, James Marcelin, Kareem Moses; Austin Da Luz (Lance Laing 79’), Tiyi Shipalane, Bolu Akinyode, Daniel Barrow (Nazmi Albadawi 64’), Marcel Kandziora; Billy Schuler

NCFC bench: Saeed Robinson, Jonathan Glenn, Brad Ruhaak, D.J. Taylor

Expanding my massage horizons

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Any trip to the Stutz Arts and Business Center includes obligatory drool. Hoosier classic.

The New Year will bring some major changes

Christmas special presents free massage opportunity

By Rebecca Townsend

Big news in two parts:

First, I opened an office in the Stutz Arts and Business Center (1060 N. Capitol Ave.) to build my own private practice within a longstanding massage collective that has occupied the space for over a decade.

To express my excitement at being able to work at Stutz, one of the city’s great historical buildings which Indiana’s largest number of artists working under one roof, I created my first holiday gift certificate promotion and included a limited number of free massages as a reward for folks who are getting in with me at the ground level.

Second, the new Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa, which is set to open at Clearwater Strip Mall (8505 Keystone Crossing) in early 2019, this week extended me an offer of employment. I’d never previously aspired to work in a corporate spa environment, but the educational and advancement opportunities the company presented distinguished Hand and Stone from their competitors. They won me over — and I think it’s mutual: I’m the Keystone Hand and Stone’s first massage therapist!

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The company’s director of massage therapy education and training, Nathan Nordstrom, was inducted into the 2018 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame at the World Massage Festival in Las Vegas this summer. His team will be arriving to train the Keystone massage therapists during the first week of January. Soon I’ll be fully indoctrinated into the ways of the Himalayan Salt Hot Stone Massage.

To help local owner Mark Roger prepare for opening day of his first Hand and Stone franchise is an exciting opportunity. From Modern Times Urban Truck Stop, the restaurant I opened at 54th and College 20 years ago, to the evolution of Lift over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed watching and helping local businesses grow.

Massage is so different from journalism. (For those of you who don’t know, I was a reporter for two decades before pursuing massage therapy after a local paper’s resource realignment eliminated my job and moved me straight into years of perilous cashflow.) I miss reporting because of my inquisitive and adventurous nature. However, practicing massage therapy and nurturing the skills of meditative silence and deep breathing while in session has probably saved the life of a hot-headed woman who may have lost her mind trying to reason with the crazy that has infected so many levels of political and social life today.

Guilt and/or Ego/Justice-Driven Temptation: I could make a career investigating all the contracts issued in support of Trump’s wall by government officials who espouse efficiency in government spending as a top priority.

Question: How can I let myself sit on journalism’s sidelines when so much insanity is running rampant?

Counterargument: Given the shifting sands of today’s media landscape and shrinking attention spans of possibly everyone, it is highly likely that I’m accomplishing the greatest possible good right now by helping people to slow down and breathe. Slowing down has been good for me, even as part of me will always remain a rolling stone. [Dan Rather is quoted as saying, “Fish gotta Swim. Birds gotta fly. Reporters gotta go.” Yep. It makes one feel alive to be on the go, always on the hunt for something important.]

Reflecting back on the four years since I returned from the 2014 Brazil World Cup is a dizzying exercise.

After losing my beloved local news job just a month after my return, and not able to see/find a viable/enticing local replacement, I entered the Indiana College of Sports and Medical Massage (now Indiana Massage College) and began coaching a high school girls soccer team (that I started from scratch). During this same time, I was living with my husband and then-12-year-old daughter in an RV in our backyard while a gut-job home remodel was working its way through hellish dimensions that ultimately took four years to complete. In May of 2015, I graduated from massage college and landed a job with Lift Therapeutic Massage in the Downtown Indianapolis Fletcher Place neighborhood.

Lift provided a nourishing, warm environment in which to unfold my wings as a massage therapist.

The Lift team supported me while I (barely) survived the RV days and the challenges of making a mid-life career transition without any assistance from unemployment, which included several days of folding sheets, putting on a happy face and not making a dime while waiting for clients to discover me. They supported me while I coached the inner-city rec team in the spring and the fall, plus the high school girls in the fall. They supported me when the school broke my heart by replacing me with a teacher to coach after three seasons leading the high school girl (despite my winning record). They supported me when I took time off to cover Indy Eleven and they were happy for me when the team hired me to be on the broadcast team. And they supported me when Indy Eleven broke my heart by eliminating me from the broadcast team.

This support probably kept me alive because these four years have capped a most challenging decade.

Massage therapist Tasha Blackman, who co-owns the business with artist Nicci Herren, sets a gold standard for client care and attending to a host of experience-enhancing details. I am forever grateful to her from teaching me so many lessons about the business. Her enduring influence on my approach to the work is unquestionable.

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Nicci Rebecca and Tasha after I graduated massage college in the summer of 2015.

When I announced to Nicci and Tasha a few weeks ago that it was time to plan my exit strategy … they may have been in shock. After working for so long to build a solid book of business, I’m finally at a place where I’m booked most of the time. In fact, looking out over the seven shifts I have remaining at the business, I currently have just one more opening available. [Please consider trying to squeeze in with me before my time expires!] Having the end so near is bittersweet.

For clients who have come to know and rely on me with regularity at Lift, please know that I’ve been honored care for you. Lift clients are an astounding lot; my life is immeasurably enriched by thousands of experiences we’ve shared over the past three and a half years. Understand that I owe my relationship with you to Lift, so I must honor a customary no-contact period with Lift’s clients.

Meanwhile, you will be in capable hands on any of the studio’s tables. My co-workers are a wealth of talent and experience.

Lift sets the standard for client care, allowing a half hour between each session to allow for detailed intake/exit interviews and flexibility with session times to build in a little extra TLC when possible/necessary. Even when my time as an employee is finished, I will continue to recommend Lift as a destination massage therapy studio.

Moving forward, I will do my best to build business at the Stutz while I wait for Hand and Stone to open. Please visit the spa’s Facebook page to track its progress. I’m glad to give my clients both Downtown and Northside options.

One way friends and family could do me a huge solid is to help me meet my goal of getting 14 rebookings within Hand and Stone’s first 14 days open. Any of you people who help me achieve that goal will receive a gift certificate for a free 90-minute massage at my Stutz office, ok? That is a darn good deal for both of us!

Hopefully, some of you tired and weary souls will soon find your way to my table.

Maybe we can work together to accomplish health, happiness and good fortune in 2019!

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Entering the Belly of the Beast

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A month chills on the upstairs bathroom glass as I clean at Hash Road late one night. Nature has a way of taking the edge off Hash Road chores. (Looks like the glass needs some attention!)

The Hash Road Chronicles

Filed Aug. 11, 2018

By REBECCA TOWNSEND

(The abbreviated History of Hash Road will help orient the uninitiated.)

Prelude:

My summer job cleaning rental houses after the Indiana University students vacated  Bloomington, Indiana, when classes released was THE WORST JOB!

I will always remember this one toilet …

Now that I have decades of experience and several degrees, one would think I would be smart enough to avoid property management duties. But no. My sense of duty and adventure keeps to traveling back to Bloomington, cleaning up after guests so that new people can arrive — an ever-continuing cycle.

The cycle was about to re-start. After a couple of long-term tenants (plus their twins and a big hairy dog) vacated the premises, it took a little more deep cleaning than I would face following the average weekending guests. It took a while to accomplish the necessary trips to the dump and squeeze in the several hours of scrubbing, sweeping, wiping, climbing, crawling needed to tame the amorphous beast that is the cabin at Hash Road, but finally, about two months after the past people were out, I was ready to take the plunge and re-open for short-term guests.

Providence would have it that, within days, an old friend of my mother’s who had spent many days at Hash Road back in the ’90s contacted me to say she’d found the listing on Air B&B and was going to be visiting from Germany with her two kids!

Great!

I purchased new linens and pillows, washed everything and (after working my massage job in Indy on Saturday night) proceeded to drive from Indy to Bloomington. Making beds and doing a final dust/mop before my guests arrived did not seem like such a daunting task. I had all day Sunday ahead of me and the guests were arriving on Monday. Maybe even enough time to shoot down to Louisville to watch Indy Eleven take on their nearest rivals to the south…

I proceeded to fall into a deep sleep. The kind I can only get at Hash Road, where nothing from the outside world disturbs me. I slept from 1 a.m. till 10:30.

In the morning, the first thing that became clear was that an absolutely foul smell was emanating from every pipe in the house. No escape to Louisville. Also not a situation to be solved with emergency plumbers: too big a task to have their hourly rate doubled.

So Monday morning, as I headed back up to Indy to do another massage shift, I called my plumber from the road. The guy who’d installed the most recent upgrades to the system (the guy on staff who best gets Hash Road) was not available until Tuesday morning, so we agreed to wait until the following morning so the best guy for the job would be available.

Dang it! The guests were set to arrive Monday evening. Just the next chapter in my ever-unfolding lessons in humility. I drove back down to B-town after work to greet them.

“Hi, guys! Welcome to Indiana! Sorry about the foul smell flowing from all the pipes…Don’t worry, though, you’ll find that we have plenty of clean, good drinking water in the cooler in the kitchen.

“I’ll be staying in Bloomington tonight and dealing the plumbers first thing in the morning. We think because the place has been unoccupied for a while — and the water is unchlorinated — that the microscopic organisms it contains die and degrade, leading to that awful smell.

“We’ll flush the intake and the filters and the hot water heater and get this all situated for you. It should not take much longer. Terribly sorry for the inconvenience.”

By the time I’m finished with my reassurances, it was nearly 11 p.m. on Monday night.

Thank God for Joan, a Btown friend since approximately 1985. The kind of friend I can call at the last minute and say, “Hey, can I crash at your place?”

She’s like, “Sure, I’m not there, so it’d be great if you can let my dog out!”

Peaceful but quick sleep before I arise at 7 a.m., ready to face MY BIG DAY.

 

Tuesday, August 7

Upon rising for a big day in B-town, fueling up at my local mainstay, the Uptown Cafe, is always a safe bet.

So I headed to the Square where I began slamming caffeine and trying to sketch out a battle plan in what were still somewhat unknown and unfolding circumstances. While waiting for Scott, the plumber, to call and tell me he was on his way, I went about making an appointment for technicians to re-establish the Hash Road wifi (still in dinosaur land) and catching up on news, messages and business.

That’s when I notice a text from my stepdad Jo Jo, a caregiver to a world-famous bird named Charlie.

Charlie rides a perch on the back of Jo Jo’s bike and goes kayaking and has entertained legions of people who he encounters at the farmer’s market, during school visits, and around town. A big-time Indy broadcast journalist put Charlie on the news! (https://www.wthr.com/article/only-in-indiana-ridin-with-charlie)

Charlie appears to have avian bornavirus. (Friends of Charlie are helping out here: https://www.gofundme.com/mpcne-charlie-needs-your-help.) He’s virtually stopped eating and drinking water. After breakfast, I go sit hospice for a while. Preparing to miss a friend is sad.

As we pondered the ways of life and death, I noticed that the day was beginning to drag on — that it was already 10 a.m. and I hadn’t yet heard from the plumbers that they were on their way to Hash Road. I called them for a status report. No room for any wasted time with guests currently enduring the hardship on the premises.

“We sent Scott out there this morning, but we haven’t heard from him since,” the receptionist says.

“He’s at Hash Road,” I reply. “It’s like a black hole. The Bermuda Triangle.”

I excuse myself from Jo Jo and Charlie, saying, “I gotta get out there!”

I turn onto Hash Road just as Scott was about to turn off. I give him the signal to stop and turn around. We convene at the mouth of the cistern (the strange pit-like structure pictured below) and he gives me the news.

“I flushed and changed the filter, the air tank and the hot water heater,” he says. “The smell in the air tank! Whoa!”

“Well?” I say?

“Smell’s still there,” he says. “And we don’t clean cisterns. We can give you the name of a company…”

I begin to use more “familiar” language with Scott the plumber. He was not offended.

As we talked, we began to realize that the smell coming out of the cistern was nothing like it was in the house. Why would it be God awful in the house but hardly nothing outside where there was a large tank of water sitting?

We posited bacterial deposits in the pipes. The system must be disinfected from its source: from the cistern to clear the remaining buildup that was tainting the otherwise glorious lake water.

“Should I shock the system with bleach?” I ask.

Scott nodded his assent and wished me luck.

So I drove back in to town, planning to find a disinfecting agent at Bloomington Hardware. After talking to a friend who’d dealt with a similar situation with his well, I settle on a gallon of bleach.

First mistake: Not scoping the job in advance and doing my calculations before driving to town.

But I’d decided on a course of action, at least. Back out to Hash Road with the bleach.

Finally, there I stood. Alone with the cistern. My guests had disappeared to town for the morning. Up until that point in my life, I’d done every dirty job at Hash Road, except one. I’d never gotten into the cistern. I’d put the hose into the cistern to feed the lake water in. I’d taken the hose out of the cistern to stop the inflow. Never, though, had I crawled into the cistern.

The time had come to venture into a place where not even the plumber would go.

First, this entailed the negotiation of a 20-foot extension ladder. Got that that bad boy dropped in pit and I began my first descent. Little by little I dropped through the cistern mouth. The hole I had to squeeze through reminded me of the tiny holes the tourist-welcoming Viet Cong showed me in 2002, the ones they used to escape the American war machine in the jungles of the Mekong Delta back in the day!

Since I hadn’t planned on this adventure, I hadn’t packed my work boots or overalls. I did have a pair of waterproof mary janes. Otherwise, I stripped to my bra and panties.

I penetrated the cistern mouth and hung on the ladder rungs a foot or so above the water level, which I’d drawn down as low as I could without burning out the pump. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I realized the need for a flashlight. So out I climbed to retrieve light. Then back in the tank. Siltation on the cistern bottom made the environment feel a bit like the trash compactor from Star Wars. Who knew what kind of serpentine creatures lurked beyond my sight. One creature was within my sight: a frog, surveying me from the water’s surface, at the edge of the tank about three feet out of my reach.

Then I notice a fish — a bitty bluegill, maybe three inches.

I’m about to go nuclear, but creatures need rescuing first! I’m not cleaning the pipes only to feed through bleached bluegill and frog!

So back up the ladder to retrieve some sort of container, I find a clear plastic container the perfect size holding a few clay shooting targets! Remove the clay pigeons. Return to the pit and enter.

“Okay, buddy,” I say to the frog. “Here we go!”

I made some noise and tipped my shoe to the tank bottom. I started to drag my feet, to give any subsurface creatures the head’s up. As the siltation crept up around the top of my foot, the nerve faded to drag the exposed tops of my feet and ankles to the unknown murk. (These are the kind of places young maidens get swept away to the nether realms. Good thing I’m no longer young!) I opted instead to tread lightly, with minimal, tip-toe steps.

The frog came along with relative ease. Maybe on the second scoop, he stayed put. Up the ladder, pushing the container up and out overhead before squeezing out behind, I carry the creature over to the marshland by the spillway and release him. Then I return to the tank for the bluegill, who proved a bit more challenging than the frog. My first capture was brief because he flipped out of the box. He swam in circles around the tank. I tried to find a balance between minimal movement standing in a central location and venturing into each corner when the fish would visit because the corners made controlling the fish’s direction easier.

Finally, I got him! Pushing the container up into the cistern’s surface housing, I lift my head back into the daylight — only to come face to face with a woman’s face! My guest along with her 13-year-old daughter and six-year-old son are peering down at me over the edge of housing. I wonder if in Germany these children have ever seen a half-naked lady emerging from a cistern with a fish in a box. On my way out of the tank, I encounter the most beautiful salamander, with blue and yellow and black and maybe even some red markings. I thought I had him nabbed in my rubber gloves, too, but when I opened my hands on the grass, the dude was gone. Hopefully, he found a safe spot.

“You’re not doing all this for us are you?” she asked.

“Oh, no!” I said, projecting my most confident countenance. “A lot of people depend on this water! I’ve got to take care of this. You are just like the fire under my ass. We’ve got the equipment in the house cleaned out. The smell is still there, but it will dissipate as we flush some disinfectant through the pipes, which is what I’m preparing to do.”

Of course, I reassured her, if she wanted to find a new place to stay, I’d totally understand. At the moment, she was cool to see how the situation evolved. The little boy took the fish back to the lake for me. (In the pressure of the spotlight, I forgot to take a picture of the fish before we released him!)

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Gathering my wits and documenting what like what could possibly be my last moments on this earth … the last moments before I really got down in there.

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I had to get down in there because I had to rescue this guy.

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Emerging from the belly of the beast battle tested, marked as a cistern warrior! The rescue effort was successful — and the area was ready to be blasted with bleach.

We laughed about what the Air B&B review might look like. (I tried to stay focused on my response to the situation — something I could control — rather than the situation itself, which I could not control.)

The woman held me by the ankles as I leaned back over the pit and dumped in the gallon of bleach. Extra dramatic on my part, but I was beginning to feel a little wacky. The family walked up the dam to play by the water. I sat and began contemplating how long I should let the bleach sit — and if I should add more water before flushing — or more bleach!

The woman peered back down at me a little while later.

“Are you doing ok?” she asked. “You don’t look like it.”

“Don’t mind me,” I said. “I’ve got a lot of steps going on in my mind. I didn’t receive a manual for this job. I’ve got to figure it out on the fly. But I do have a plan and I’m thinking right now that I need to know the bleach disinfectant ratio to figure out if I’ve got a solution of the proper power. Because the wifi is not connected yet, I have to drive back to town to get a signal on my phone so I can Google it. And if I need more bleach, I’m gonna go and get that too. Hang tight. I’ll be back!”

It’s a good thing I’d spent so much time quality time down in the cistern. It is so much bigger than it looks from the outside. While down there, I’d estimated it was about five feet wide by maybe 12 feet long. And since I’d stood on the bottom and seen how far the water went up my leg, I could estimate that it was 2-feet deep.

In the parking lot of the state Fish and Wildlife Service, I sat and did a series of calculations and decided I needed 2.5-3gallons instead of the 1.

Second mistake: Stopping at Bloomingfoods, my favorite health food store — and the closest grocery to Hash Road. I’d forgotten that bleach is such an evil and toxic agent that Bloomingfoods did not appear to carry bleach. (You can’t even buy it in Germany, my mom’s friend later told me.) So onwards to Kroger, which had chemical agents in great supply.

With bleach in hand, I returned to Hash Road and added it to the cistern,  allowing a few minutes, before firing up all the faucets in the house. Then I cranked everything on — hot and cold water  in all the faucets — and let them run for hours. For a while, the putrid smell of decaying bacteria kept wafting through the air.

Then, hallelujah! Bleach water began running through and the stench of stagnancy flowed forever down the drain. The continued effort paid off and the promise of brighter days began to dawn.

“Do you need some babysitting with this project?” asked one of the woman’s male friends, who’d come over to hang with her.

“Nope!” I said with a smile. “I think we’re on the tail end of this deal.”

Additional silver lining: The hot bleach water running in the shower was able to blast through some black buildup on the tile grout that I’d had trouble dissolving.

From there on out, I began filling the cistern with fresh water and continued to run the water in the house so that we could flush the remaining bleach water. While waiting for the tank to fill, I busied myself cleaning the nastiness people had left behind on the grill.

Then I cut two long sheets of black plastic from a massive roll and laid them connecting for about 15 feet down the face of the dam. WATER SLIDE! What a perfect way to end the day. I dragged the hose from the cistern up the dam to see if I could muster a test run. The hose cinched up, though, and the flow stopped for a minute, causing me to panic and quickly get back to the business of the cistern filling.

The prospect was too brutal to me, of looking like a blitzed hippie who would sacrifice all the progress of a day’s hard work in exchange for a fancy-free moment of spontaneity on a redneck waterslide…

So I returned to the job at hand. I hope, though, there is a Hash Road Chronicle entry soon titled, “Slide On!” One with lots of pictures…

Parting shots: Most people may be leery of frogs, fish, and salamanders near their water source, but I was glad to see them because their existence is a positive sign that the water supported advanced life. Yes, it’s better if they stay in the lake, but they probably got swept up in the hose as babies. An ultraviolet sanitation light and filter treat the water in the house (and we use store-bought water for guests’ drinking), but we are so lucky not to have to have constant chlorination.  Au naturale! L’eau naturale!

Water quality issues have always been of interest to me. I’ve written several stories on the topic over the years — even broken news that the television stations picked up

… Perhaps making a water-quality testing lab in mom’s old kitchen would be fun. I could study the changes in Hash Road hydrology over time — and help feed the information into the state’s volunteer-collected water quality database. That would truly be a solid contribution to my mom’s ecological legacy. (And help me atone for the sins of my bleach…)

We’ll see what the future brings … hopefully greater water quality awareness  — and at least of one hedonistic afternoon of sliding down the dam without a single care in the world!

Until next time …

The Pitch Bitch joins Bloody Shambles

Bloody Shambles Header graphic

 

The Pitch Bitch will no longer be on a solo mission. In mid-April, she joined forces with long-time Indy Eleven-centered soccer conglomerate Bloody Shambles, which now is hosting the Pitch Bitch’s creative contributions.

Need to catch up? Following below are the pieces she’s shared so far. We’ve got 12 more 2018 home games to go! If you need/want more, check out James Cormack, the Pitch Bitch and Guy-Jo Gordon getting their podcasting pipes warmed up. The Bloody Shambles crew plans to record again tomorrow night ahead of Indy’s 1 p.m. away game Sunday against New York Red Bulls II. The Pitch Bitch loves to join the faithful Brickyard Battalion flock to watch away games at Union Jack Pub, 924 Broad Ripple Ave.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Time To Hit The Reset Button – Indy Eleven V Bethlehem Steel FC REVIEW

Zach Steinberger scored Indy’s solitary goal against Bethlehem Steel in a 1-2 loss.
A disappointing week — with an early exit from the U.S. Open Cup, the only open, true test of soccer champions offered in this country — morphed into a disappointing weekend for Indy Eleven with a 1-2 home loss on Saturday to Bethlehem Steel.
In post-game comments, Indy head coach Martin Rennie was ready to push the reset button. His tired team was ready for a refreshment of minds, bodies, and spirits. He was the first to admit that the squad’s teamwork, passing and movement were off, that too many opportunities were given away because of rushed play. And, he said, he offered no excuses for himself or his team regardless of their recent grind of several games on the road with several talented players benched to injury. (Click here to read the whole post at BloodyShambles.com.)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pleasure And Pain Aplenty, Parting Shots From A Rough Ride – Indy Eleven V FC Cincinnati REVIEW

Ayoze from the spot gets his first goal for Indy Eleven (Photo: Clyde Townsend)

By: Rebecca Townsend

Minute 5, Cincy’s Corben Bone is not shut down as he streamed into Indy’s left defensive channel and launches a cross into the box where his striker Emery Welshman escaped a brief interaction with Brad Ring, somewhat akin to a do-si-do, before what looked from the press box to be rather incidental, off-balance contact with Carlyle Mitchell. To the ref it looked like a PK. Cincy midfielder Kenney Walker nails his shot. 1-0.

The hosts redoubled their efforts to regain the upper hand. It did not take them long.

Hungry Indy striker Jack McInerney worked for his meat, feasting on his interception of a Cincy pass in the 24th minute, Cool Jack Mack drives a shot toward Spencer Richey that sent the visiting goalie into full panic mode. In diving to block McInerney’s first effort, Richey set his rival up for a rebound shot. McInerney, a veteran of MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team, embodied cool, calm, collected focus and, with ease, guided the ball into the net. 1-1.  (Read the whole post at BloodyShambles.com.)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Soaring Like Eagles, Indy Eleven’s Power Animals Emerge – Charlotte Independence V Indy Eleven PREVIEW 4/28/2018

Indy Eleven going through final preparations before heading to Charlotte tomorrow.(Photo: Pitch Bitch)


By: The Pitch Bitch (Rebecca Townsend)

Today’s soccer story is not about individuals. It is about a team. About vision. About internalizing identity. Today’s soccer story is about what Indy is — and what it aspires to be.
Thanks to an upbringing among the hippies and woodland folk of Bloomington, Indiana, and the surrounding country, the Pitch Bitch is inclined to look toward her natural environment for signs and signals — for messages.
Today, the message was power — in the form of first an eagle and then three hawks. These magnificent creatures will bookend this soccer story. [I had so much fun writing this piece. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading the rest of it at BloodyShambles.com.]
———
Finally, we’re going to be podcasting throughout the season. In our first experiment, I talk a little about my soccer background — and Guy-Jo Gordon gives us a rundown on the futsal-driven community building an Indiana crew has partnered with in Cuba. (Guy-Jo is currently in Cuba and with his local partners has organized and hosted a new futsal tournament for men and women players.)
So where do we stand today, May 23, as we head into Memorial Day Weekend?
Indy Eleven faces the New York Red Bulls II at 1 p.m. on the road this Sunday, May 27. The next home game will be at 7 p.m. against the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, May 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tickets start at $15 at IndyElevenTickets.com or by calling (317)685-1100.
Currently, the team’s record stands at 4-2-3 (WLWWDLWDL) with nine USL regular season games played so far. On the road, the team is unbeaten. All three losses have come at home: once to Bethlehem Steel and twice to Cincinnati F.C. Cincy currently sits at the top of the USL Eastern Conference standings, boasting 20 points collects in 10 games. Indy has 14 points in 9 games played. (In professional soccer, a win worth 3 points, a tie is worth one and a loss is worth nothing.)

Stream of conscious coming out of the fantasy that is Indianapolis Ballet

Abbreviated reflections before bed following an evening of amazing Indy Ballet

By REBECCA TOWNSEND

The Indianapolis Ballet told three magnificent stories tonight at The Toby at Newfields.*

Victoria Lyras, Indy Ballet’s founding artistic director, never ceases to amaze with her creative vision and tonight’s world premiere of her original work, Éclat!, was stunning!

Indeed the ballet feeds an internal fantasy for its audience, transporting folks away from the mundane minutia of ordinary life and into something else. Éclat offered the experience of witnessing a real-life scene from Walt Disney’s epic animated musical work Fantasia. Literally, the dancers appeared to be part of the song as they weaved up and down through the exciting fabric of the third movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26. Minimalist lighting and costuming had a maximalist effect

The thought occurred that dance evolves — and is evolving. Both the dance and the music of Éclat illustrate this evolution. While listening to Prokofiev, one witness laughed to herself, asking, “Is this jazz or classical?” because it all seemed to be some kind of new hybrid. The toughness, the softness, the playfulness, the rhythm of the dancers resonated in a new way that felt fresh yet based in and true to the classical foundation.

The fresh-yet-based in the elegant and powerful beauty of classical ballet carried through into the other two pieces performed as part of the Indy Ballet’s May Residency program, the evening’s main feature — a delightful rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream — and the “Wedding Pas de Deux” of Don Quixote.

Why bother bashing out these quick thoughts tonight? Because there is still time for Indianapolis to pack the theatre on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 3 p.m. The performance entertained all ages Friday, including a child sitting right behind yours truly with lots of laughs for founding Indianapolis Ballet company member Chris Lingner’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s Puck. Andrew Phillips dancing as Bottom the donkey with Kristin Young Toner (also a company founding member) was also a hoot!

Here’s a hyperlink for tickets and pricing info:

Adult: $25/$30/$35

Students (K-12 & college): $20/$25/$30

Seniors (65 & over): $20/$25/$30

* Once known as the Indianapolis Art Museum

Pitch Bitch, episode 7: Indy Eleven 2018 season opener shatters attendance record

FC Cincinnati Scores

An unchecked Emmanuel Ledesma (near the Honda sign in the background) launched the perfect cross to forward Emery Welshman, who deserves credit for clearing two Indy defenders and an outstretched Fon Williams as he delivered his header into the net.

If you must lose, Indy, at least be killed by a beautiful goal. There is no shame in that.

By Rebecca Townsend

Photos by Clyde Townsend

Indianapolis, Indiana (April 2, 2018) — Indy Eleven lost its home opener to FC Cincinnati 0-1 on Saturday night.

Victory is usually delicious — and claiming it in the first match between American soccer squads playing in Lucas Oil Stadium would have been tasty indeed. But that honor will go to the Queen City, Indy’s neighbor to the southeast — one of a slate of regional rivals gained with the offseason change to the United Soccer League.

The top two tiers of 70,000-seat Lucas Oil were shrouded behind curtains. Below, a crowd of 17,535 stuffed the lower-tier seats surrounding the field, suggesting that Indy Eleven’s previous record of 11,048 people, which packed the team’s previous home at IUPUI’s Michael Carroll Stadium, was capped by the capacity of stadium, not by the limits of the local market.

Over 1,000 of Saturday’s spectators were Cincinnati folk of various manner, decked out in orange and blue —many armed with loud instruments, uncouth language and banners featuring evocative satirical symbolism involving Indiana’s former governor/current U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Brad Ring stoicism

Cincinnati fans heckle former governor Pence and Indy’s Brad Ring as the stoic veteran considers throw-in options.

In Indy’s North American Soccer League years, the closest opposing team was probably North Carolina. Now at home in the United Soccer League, Indy game nights promise much more drama with teams such as FC Cincinnati, Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC arriving with caravans of fans in tow, thrilled at the chance to party in Indy. The Pitch Bitch is here to help grow that party. More on that later on, but first: time to hash out the nitty gritty of the game.

WTF Pasher

Though the caption to this particular photo is essentially, “WTF, Pasher?”, Tyler Pasher wasted no time making his presence felt on the field Saturday as he served Indy attackers with SO MANY opportunities to score. Continued efforts on Pasher’s part should yield positive results.

The first name that comes to mind — and to the Pitch Bitch’s game notes: Tyler Pasher, a defender with great foot skills, capable of dribbling at great speed into enemy territory, shaking off defenders to his left and right before striking a lovely cross “into the mixer” of the 18-yard box where goal scorers lurk ready to strike. He first delivered just such a play about three minutes into the match — and continued to both bring the ball up field himself and share with this teammates in ways that satisfied the Bitch that he is certain to be part of many goal-scoring combinations to come.

Note to far-side runners when Pasher is breaking down the flank: Make sure one of you remains — or breaks — truly wide. On at least one occasion during the match, a Pasher cross overshot two runners streaming to the goal centrally. Perhaps instead of stacking up runs where two Indy guys are running in one top of each other in front of the goal, one guy can fade further toward the far sideline and collect Pasher’s lovely dish instead of watching it roll out of bounds.

In terms of constructive criticism for Pasher (a native of Elmira, Canada, who will turn 24 later this month): Young man, please do not attempt to dribble off the goal box when there is an FCC player standing there willing and able to stick you. That could have been a goal. You know what else could have been a goal? That awesome cross you made to McInerney’s head and was unlucky to be rejected by fate — in the form of the post. Keep up the good work, sir. The Bitch predicts it will pay off.

Other defensive issues noted, but not associated with any names in particular: 1) Stabbing at balls when no other defensive buffer was in place aside from the keeper. 2) Allowing attackers to turn on goal when a more aggressive approach could have slowed them. The first instance is a case of too much aggression. The second, not enough.

When a defender finds himself the last field player back — and an attacker is salivating for a goal because he is facing his defender, ready to shake that last obstacle before opening a shot —the trick for the D is to keep dancing, remaining an obnoxious obstacle, the D that can’t be shook. Of course, attackers sometimes get a little too cocky, or aggressive, or so dangerous that one must step in — and, at times, take them out. But taking an attacker out is a calculated risk, whereas stabbing at a ball, missing and leaving your keeper in a one-on-one situation is just sloppy. Talented attackers know how to exploit such weakness with devastating effects. (Luckily for Indy, the Cincy shot that resulted from this particular play amounted to nothing thanks to Owain Fon Williams.)  On the flip side, not closing down the space on an attacker receiving the ball with their back to your goal, allowing them time to turn toward the goal without feeling a defender breathing down their neck, that’s a critical lack of aggression.

Now to some observations on defenders Reiner Ferreira and Karl Ouimette, who were teammates on the 2017 NASL championship-winning San Francisco Deltas.

Another head on attack for IndyThe second of a pair of credible aerial threats from Indy, this one featuring left back Reiner Ferreira, a product of Brazilian and Portuguese soccer leagues before claiming the 2017 NASL championship with the San Francisco Deltas.

Ferreira delivered a version of so-called professional foul when he took out an FCC player attempting to dust him down the sideline in a rush on the Indy goal. Ferreira may have thought the hard tackle of his opponent necessary so as to avoid possibly leaving Fon Williams in a one-on-one, but the move resulted in consequent injury and Ferreira ended up watching from the sideline with his left foot in a boot as Brad Ring stepped in to play his position. Did his tackle prevent a goal? Maybe. Was it worth it? Let’s see how long this boot stays on.

When it comes to fouls, Ouimette is one to watch. Some of his antics can hardly be mistaken as necessary roughness. (The Bitch witnessed Saturday the use of a choke hold on an opposing players in an attempt to gain position during an incoming corner kick.) Time will tell whether this level of aggression will become a problem in terms of penalties called against Indy.

The problem cropped copy

Cincy’s Welshman, shown here a step ahead of Ouimette, will get a threatening header on this incoming free kick. He will get a head on this ball — and Fon Williams will save it. But a few minutes later, he will be in a similar position, a step ahead of Mitchell and behind Ferreira, and will meet a Ledesma cross, using his head to make it a goal.

The defense generally did a good job with mobility and pressing into aggressive attacks — attacks that made credible threats on goal, attacks that could have easily altered the score line.

“Could have” can either be an inspiration or a curse moving forward. It will be a matter of the relative patience, cooperation and ambition of the Indy team. What kind of team will they be? Will players seek self improvement or sow discord? The roster is stacked with talented, experienced players, many of whom did not see playing time Saturday. Indy head coach Martin Rennie’s weekly roster-writing chores can’t be easy. And checking egos to keep a collective eye on team victories can’t be easy either, but humility will be rewarded. The meek shall and inherit the earth and the selfless players will succeed if they allow the pure joy of expressing their talent to drive their performances, even if their efforts are only used to lift teammates to higher levels in practice.

Looking at the plays leading up to FCC’s goal, here are some things that could have gone differently.

A minute or so before Emery Welshman’s header gave Cincinnati its game-winning goal, Indy forward Eugene Starikov (previously a member of the New York Cosmos) was on the attack, positioned in the midfield. While most of the action was unfolding in front of him and to his left, Indy fullback Ouimette sprang into action to offer an overlapping pass option down the open right flank. Starikov began dribbling to avoid defense in front of him, but then was shut down from behind. He was able to disrupt Cincy’s efforts to counter at that point, but as Indy tried to re-establish its attack, Pasher tried to dribble into midfield defense instead of using his open drop pass.

Ouimette’s cardio-intensive effort was wasted, leaving the poor Indy defender to haul ass to help shut down Cincy’s counter-attacking shot, which was indeed repelled just in time for Ouimette to clear it out of danger. But by this time, Cincy’s goal-scoring juju was churning. Cincy sent the ball out to its left flank, where it was crossed immediately back to Ledesma on the right. Indy was not able to pressure Ledesma quickly enough to prevent his beautiful service to Welshman’s head. Though Ouimette and Carlyle Mitchell were around Welshman inside the 18-yard box, he slipped their grasp — and he deserves credit for an outstanding goal.

If you must lose, Indy, at least be killed by a beautiful goal. There is no shame in that.

Watson on the attack

Captain Matt Watson, a UK native and a 12-year veteran of the MLS, USL and NASL, offered tenacious pressure from the midfield Saturday. But Cincy keeper Evan Newton met no challenge he could not conquer on Saturday.

Indy midfielder Matt Watson responded to the FCC goal with a shot of his own,  forcing Cincy keeper Evan Newton into action. But Newton was on point, rejecting that and all further attempts of the evening —including a Jack McInerney penalty shot, awarded around the 38th minute.

The Pitch Bitch appreciated the play of starting midfielders Zach Steinberger, a graduate of Butler University, and Nico Matern, a 6-foot Buxtehude, Germany native, who played for Indiana Wesleyan and earned National Christian College Athletic Association All-Team honors. Steinberger exhibited indefatigable hustle in trying to open attacking options through the midfield and Matern carried himself with an air of composure as he worked to neutralize Cincy attacks.

The only constructive criticism for Matern involves a beautifully placed ground pass that he launched from the Indy midfield with the hope of covering maybe 30 yards and avoiding several Cincy players before hitting his attacking teammate  ready to take off on the opposing flank. The idea is laudable because ground passes are great when they make it. But while Matern’s pass was on the correct trajectory across the turf, it was all but impossible to put enough speed on a pass that far. The inevitable interception could have been avoided with a well-timed chip over midfield chaos into the path of the breaking runner.

No one wants to watch a long-ball game, with long, high crosses bouncing back and forth between defensive thirds, but switching fields with a chippy cross is a great wave to upend an opponent’s defensive groove. It’s what Cincy did to Indy in the two plays before they scored.

The Bitch is excited to see the passing chemistry of the entire group grow as they learn to trust each other and anticipate the ebb and flow of their respective rhythms.

Last-minute substitutions Soony Saad, a product of the University of Michigan and the MLS franchise Sporting Kansas City, and returning Indy forward Justin Braun continued to tests Newton’s limits up until the match’s concluding moments.

Penalty stopped

Cincy keeper Evan Newton met every challenge presented to him Saturday, including Jack McInerney’s penalty kick.

Newton passed the test this time.

The Bitch would like to see what would happen in a Cincy rematch with Braun and Saad starting up top along with McInerney. Or perhaps a Braun, Saad, Speas combo up top.

To think about all the players yet to be featured, the gifts yet to be shared, the combinations and chemistry yet to be seen … Indy is just getting started.

Lucas Oil will be a good home for the season, even as the futbol faithful remain committed to a world-class grass field housed in a stadium befitting Indiana’s great soccer tradition.

Much talk will be had over the coming year on whether this team can survive, if owner Ersal Ozdemir will continue to bleed millions of dollars a year if a stadium deal does not materialize.

The Pitch Bitch knows the market is here to be had — that the capacity to grow this team — and the women’s team that we desperately need for the health both the men’s and women’s sport —is just beginning to be coaxed from its dormant state and into a vibrant economy. Solid commitment, work ethic and refusal to quit in the face of adversity can see this team capture the heart of the city and grow into a world-class legacy club.

One way or another, the soccer deal needs to be done in a way that makes Hoosiers proud, that builds on a powerful and honorable tradition we’ve grown here. Let no one and nothing stand in the way.

The Eleven travel to play North Carolina FC on April 7. The team’s next home game is April 14, when they will host Nashville SC at noon. All home games will be at Lucas Oil Stadium. People who believe that growing the professional game in Indiana is good for the state can put their money where their mouth is by purchasing tickets (which start at $15 for single games and $9 per game with a season ticket). Spread the word.

[The goal is scored in the 26th minute, the 38th minute of the video.]

USL game summary
Indy Eleven 0:1 FC Cincinnati
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN

Scoring Summary:
CIN – Emery Welshman (Emmanuel Ledesma) 26’

Discipline Summary:

IND – Reiner Ferreira 41’
IND – Jack McInerney 45 + 4’
CIN – Dekel Keinan 54’
CIN – Forrest Lasso 74’

Indy Eleven lineup (1-4-4-2, L–>R):  Owain Fôn Williams (GK); Tyler Pasher, Reiner Ferreira (Ring 44’), Carlyle Mitchell, Karl Ouimette; Nico Marten, Matt Watson (C) (Braun 86’) Ben Speas (Saad 57’), Zach Steinberger; Eugene Starikov, Jack McInerney (Justin Braun 90+1’)

Indy Eleven bench: Ben Lungaard (GK); Brad Rusin; Brad Ring, Juan Guerra; Justin Braun, Soony Saad, Nathan Lewis 

FC Cincinnati  lineup (4-3-3, L–>R): Evan Newton Worra (GK); Blake Smith, Dekel Keinan, Forrest Lasso,  Justin Hoyte; Kenney Walker (Seymore 17’), Corben Bone, Richie Ryan, Lance Laing (Haber 65’); Emmanuel Ledesma, Emery Welshman (Konig 80’)

FC Cincinnati bench: Spencer Richey (GK); Matt Bahn

Professional Development Timeline

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This is me, Rebecca Townsend, in my library at home in Boone County, Missouri, a few miles south of Columbia, approximately 2010. (Photo credit to Clyde Townsend)

This timeline is a work in progress: I’m sorting through old files and papers, trying to create a visual map documenting my professional journey thus far. This is an evolving scrapbook.

As I have for well over a decade, I continue to enjoy coaching soccer in the inner-city. Here are some shots of my Tab Rec teams taken over the years, including one from the year I coached with my bro (also a true devotee of the game).

Sycamore landtrust HT feature 2015 webcopyThough I still write and have a heart for journalism, after losing my full-time position as news editor at Indy’s local alt weekly in 2014, I became a professional massage therapist, working to help build Lift Therapeutic Massage, a well-respected, independent studio near the Eli Lilly headquarters in Downtown Indianapolis.

I do some freelance journalism (such as the Hoosier Times story shown here and the two examples offered below: the first from Sophisticated Living Indianapolis, the next from Farm Indiana), but most of my creative efforts are now focused on personal endeavors to be publicized later on.

Also, a boxing story written in 2013 garnered the interest of John Bansch, a legendary Indianapolis Star sports reporter who also volunteered as publicity chair for the Indiana Golden Gloves. He knew he was going to die (which he did last spring, the day before the Gloves started) and he recruited me to take on his duties — essentially hitting up local media to support amateur boxing. So now I sit ringside during the tournament and publish the commemorative program for the championship, telling the stories of incredible athletes such as Frank Martin, the first Indiana fighter to win a National Golden Gloves title in 23 years. I’ve hyperlinked this photo of Martin to a digitized copy of the story I wrote for the 2017 Golden Gloves program:

img_3434 From left: Ike Boyd, Rebecca Townsend and Frank Martin following Martin’s victory in the Indiana Golden Gloves in April 2017.

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2015

In my one-year contract as sideline reporter for Indy Eleven broadcasts to local television and national streaming audiences, I covered one of my life’s greatest passions (soccer) from an intimate vantage point. Some of my favorite memories include witnessing the posturing between the opposing coaches and the refs that one can only truly appreciate from close range.

More clips to come, but for starters, here is my interview with the legendary Thomas Rongen, then coach of the North American Soccer League’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, in town for a May 30 match against Indy Eleven.

Here’s a brief clip from later in the season with Indy Eleven coach Tim Regan.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test taken in 2015

Also in 2015, while working toward my degree at the Indiana College of Sports and Medical Massage, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. My answers placed me in the “supervisor” category: ESTJ. Here’s a brief summary of the characteristics associated with ESTJ personality types.

2014

A year of great highs and lows. 2014 took me to Brazil for the World Cup.

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2014 also saw me lose my job at NUVO a month after returning home from the Cup. No, I did not lose my job because of my sabbatical at the Cup. At least not that anyone would admit to my face. I was told by the managing editor (who himself would quit a short time later), “NUVO is moving a new direction, we’re going to have to let you go. We feel you’d be happier at a place with more resources.” “Who wouldn’t be?” I thought. And the ironic thing is, aside from being heartbroken and feeling betrayed, I was happier as soon as I drove out of the parking lot and never had to check my NUVO email again. I had been a one-woman newsroom, unable to stick to just one beat. Keeping up with the avalanche of information dumped on me 24 hours a day was exhausting. [Also, I’d been through the personal wringer during this time: the loss of my mom (57) and grandma (93) in 2010, my dad (60) in 2011, a catastrophic flood at the cabin I grew up in Monroe County in 2012 and a four-year, total-gut-job home renovation project in Indianapolis that lasted from 2012-2016. One of those years we were commuting back and forth between Bloomington and Indy. The last year of that project (while in massage college), I lived in an RV in the back yard of our Indy house with my husband, then 12-year-old daughter, two dogs and a cat. Chaos.]

The afternoon after I lost my NUVO job, at my soccer coaching job on the International School of Indiana’s beautiful grass fields just across the White River from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I thought, “Yeah, I’m happier already. Who is the loser here? Me, out on this glorious field inspiring the Lady Gryphons to greatness? Or the people who will likely die of heart attacks, cracked out on their laptops under fluorescent lights in partitioned cubicles?” On more than one occasion in the newsroom, I’d been exhausted and overwhelmed, certain that I’d die at my desk and no one would care — that all the effort it took to be a committed journalist would be a waste.

So it came to be, following a blissful vision of health and balance that began to unfold to me one night under the stars near the lighthouse on the coast of Salvador, Brazil (just a few hours after the U.S. Men’s National Team conceded defeat to Belgium in the Round of 16), I entered the Indiana College of Sports and Medical Massage in Carmel (now Indiana Massage College). Downsized out of my alt weekly job after earning an SPJ award for my coverage of the shrinking Star newsroom (see the 2011 section), I figured I may need another trade to support myself as a journalist. Given the political headwinds blowing ever since, perhaps the temporary pause in active-duty, front-line journalism served as a blessing — an opportunity to breathe deeply and release stress during a period of intense national anxiety, compose my thoughts on “fake news,” “citizen journalism,” and the roles different forms of journalism can play in democratic society.

It invigorates me to look back and know I produced a solid body of work during my tenure. (And I know I have plenty more in the tank.)

Consider the variety of topics my NUVO news desk covered…

Keeping track of the State of Indiana’s activities on environmental issues occupied a good deal of my time. Here are some examples:

My cover story:

NUVO state sues over clean power plan

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2013

Editing retired U.S. Congressman Andy Jacobs Jr.’s weekly Thought Bite columns led to a sweet but brief friendship.  Jacobs, a 30-year member of the U.S. House of Representatives, prolific writer and a veteran of the Korean War, passed away in 2013, less than two years after I met him. I was honored to publish the following tribute (click the hyperlinked picture to read the full piece):

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***

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Here you can see two examples of my cover stories, as well as the results of a re-design the publisher carried out while I was working at NUVO. I received a promise that the news section would never drop below two pages. Months later, I was fighting off an attempt to cut it further.

The following story is among my favorites from the NUVO days. Randy was able to stay in school and graduate — and school officials were on the hot seat. This story also provided and example of how I would publish web packages using my photos, video and info graphics to complement my written stories.

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Also during this time, a professional soccer team developed in Indy from the ground up — and I had a front row seat. I produced many web exclusives as the team developed over the seasons, but I also may hold a state (possible national) record for most print real estate dedicated to soccer coverage. The feature pictured below was released just ahead of the team’s inaugural game. Anyone recall another Indiana soccer story that garnered a cover plus five whole pages inside?

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The same week we ran my Indy Eleven story, I covered efforts to bolster inner-city quality of life (among other items) — and we ran an opinion piece by Dr. Louis Profeta. “Your Kid and My Kid Are Not Playing in the Pros” probably still holds the record for one of the most popular pieces we ever posted online. Dr. Profeta introduced himself to me at the gym one day after I finished boxing. He, too, boxed, if I remember correctly. That conversation led to him running his piece with me. Lucky NUVO!

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Also this year, my coverage of the Golden Gloves earned an SPJ sports reporting award.

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2013 Best Sports Reporting Golden Gloves

2012

This year was an endurance test: a presidential AND a gubernatorial race, not to mention a slew of local offices up for grabs. (We’d just had a mayoral election in 2011!) But most importantly, a story I edited and contributed to with my data analysis and reporting skills, “Separation Anxiety: The Twisted Web of Church and State” earned SPJ Indiana Pro Chapter’s first place for investigative reporting in 2012.

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Here’s what my election guides looked like. (The latter won SPJ’s second best political coverage for a non-daily in 2012.)

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2011

As soon as I returned to Indiana, I began winning awards for NUVO, including for my 2011 Election Guides. Within a year, SPJ’s Indiana Pro chapter asked me to be on their board and soon promoted me to vice president, a position I held until resigning in early 2017. (Please note the local reporting awards are judged by out-of-state chapters and our chapter reciprocates by serving other regions’ judging needs.)

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Best-nondeadline reporting 3rd place

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On June 8, 2011, NUVO ran a letter from the publisher announcing my arrival as news editor:

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Though I love traveling the world, it felt great to be welcomed home to Indiana in 2011.

2009

As I was wrapping up my thesis, my advisor and I distilled its core findings into an article for the peer-reviewed journal Literary Journalism Studies.

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My authentic coffee-or-wine-stained cover of the issue of “Literary Journalism Studies” containing an article on my theory of writing culture.

In the summer of 2009, for a number of reasons but driven chiefly by the financial burden of having an unsold house Missouri while we were paying to live in Downtown Chicago, I resigned from Dow Jones and the family returned to Missouri where I began volunteering at KBIA while I plotted my next career move. During that time, I helped bring the KBIA team a 2011 Edward R. Murrow investigative reporting award for a nuclear industry whistleblower’s chronicle, “Safety Culture at the Callaway Plant.”

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By the end of the year, the Missouri Broadcasters Association offered me an opportunity that presented one of the greatest challenges and triumphs of my career: the chance to build a multimedia newsroom from the ground up inside the magnificent Missouri State Capitol.

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Newspapers, radio and television stations statewide would pick up my stories, video clips, photos and audio packages from Missouri News Horizon. Here are two examples pulled from the online archives of the Southeast Missourian and KOLR Springfield’s OzarksFirst.com.

Here is an example of a citizen environmental blog picking up a piece I wrote for statewide distribution:

Big Muddy News Blog picks up Missouri News Horizon

2008

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Working with these dudes (and Ian Berry, not pictured) was one of the highlights of my professional career thus far. From left: Tom Polansek, Theopolis Waters and Andrew Johnson with me at the Chicago Board of Trade, New Year’s Eve 2008.

Seven months after moving to Jersey City, I was given what the recruiting editor said was the fastest promotion in Dow Jones history when they sent me to Chicago to be a commodities reporter, which put me at the Chicago Board of Trade on the day during the financial crisis when the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed out.

During the chaos, I achieved a career milestone: my bylines in the Wall Street Journal. Not the front page, and no major investigations, but still, I had arrived …

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This picture of some of the pieces I wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal shows the variety of headlines and issues I was handling during the Dow Jones days.

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2007

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The stack of papers is the total data requests I filled for newsrooms around the country the morning after the tragic I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in which 13 people were killed and more than 100 injured. I was the sole employee on duty that morning at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

My investigative environmental work is featured in Mizzou’s alumni magazine.

Mizzou Mag feature

Despite the tragic fashion decision I made by wearing those shoes, I was happy to be featured in MIZZOU Magazine. I especially like this quote the reporter used: “Environmental reporting isn’t just about the scare of the day,” Townsend says. “The journalist’s role should be to consistently assess the health of the environment and let people know what you find.”

The public media outlet KBIA on campus allowed me to fulfill a lifelong dream of broadcasting the news on the radio. In recognition of my efforts, the news director Sarah Ashworth gave me a sweet certificate:

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In addition to completing an independent mapping project with Professor David Herzog, I also earned a Mapping Boot Camp certificate with Professor Brant Houston.

NICAR Mapping Bootcamp

By the fall of 2007, I had a full-time reporting gig at Dow Jones Newswires, relocating to Jersey City. My daily reporting focus shifted from the environment to the economy, which was on the verge of an epic meltdown.

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This is Missouri Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow Class XII on its trip to DC in 2008. That’s me two to the left of Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. We watched his staff at the National Agricultural Statistics Service release one of its top secret crop reports. (Yes, just like from “Trading Places”!) Together our ALOT class traveled to every corner of Missouri, plus DC, and our experience culminated on a two-week tour of France and the Czech Republic. This underscores why I love agriculture. It is a global beat that involves nearly everything.

2006

I earned an A in investigative journalism from Professor Brant Houston, former president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, for a story I did using computer-assisted reporting techniques (joining tables in two separate spreadsheets of public information) to illustrate the challenges the county sewer inspection team was having in keeping up with the demands of the job, allowing local water treatment providers to operate on expired permits. The story made the Missourian’s front page on November 28, 2006.

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An “enterprise join” learned from the investigative journalists at the University of Missouri enabled me to write a front-page investigative story on the county’s sewage treatment inspection backlog.

Less than one month after moving to Columbia, on Jan. 23, 2006, I made the Missourian front page for the first time — with another story about water quality.

Drugs in Hinkson Creek, Missourian, Jan 2006

The state environmental officials did not want to turn over the study that ended up leading to this headline, but my Missourian editor, John Schneller, encouraged me to stay on them. Persistence paid off!

2005

In my seventh year of covering the livestock industry, I’d spent a lot of time writing about animal welfare issues and interviewing some of the world’s leading researchers on the topic.

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In 2005, SPJ’s national membership magazine put out a call, looking for “extreme journalists” to interview. I wrote and made a case for agriculture as an “extreme” beat. Quill agreed and sent a writer to interview me. They even gave me a shoutout on the cover.

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I’m proud to report that while working for AgriNews, a publication taken almost exclusively by rural, white farmers, I was able to produce award-winning coverage about issues faced by migrant workers.

SPJ Minority Issues award

(Even though I’d been married for almost 5 years at this point, I still used my maiden name at AgriNews because I’d started with the company as Wilson and I wanted continuity in my byline. The award below came in 2006, while I was already at Mizzou, for a story written in 2005, so I switched to Townsend.)

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SEJ membership

The Society of Environmental Journalists includes some of the world’s finest journalists — enabling them to support each other in bolstering the media industry’s — and the public’s — understanding of some of the most complicated issues this planet faces. I’ve attended SEJ conferences in Texas, Montana, Florida, Wisconsin and Vermont.

During what would be my last year with Indiana AgriNews, I joined teachers from all over the world for a week in Bloomington as we explored worldwide food and resource issues. This undertaking foreshadowed a continued interest in food systems, the environment and world economy, which I continued to build on the commodities desk at Dow Jones and as a member of Class 12 of Missouri’s Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT) educational/leadership development program.

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2004

My job at Indiana AgriNews offered the opportunity to write many articles about the intersections of the biomedical and agricultural industries. Here’s an example (that’s my picture, too):

AgriNews Medical Miracles

Letter from Dick Holden 2003

Dick Holden was my editor from 1992-1996 at the work study job I held at Earlham’s Office of College Relations all four years of my undergraduate career. He wrote this letter to me in 2003. As you can see, he was a solid writer. As you may imagine, I learned a lot from him.

1998

In late 1997, I received an invitation and a challenge to start a restaurant at the corner of 54th and College (in the same location Yat’s occupies now). I accepted the invitation, wrote a business plan, secured a $20,000 private investment and a $100,000 SBA loan and managed to have Modern Times Urban Truck Stop and Bookstore open in less than 6 months. Though I closed a year and half later, I count several victories for this project: 1) Most restaurants close in less than a year. We did better. And a lot of people loved us. We grossed more than $250,000 during our time of operation. 2) We did not have to claim bankruptcy. 3) We are still remembered for our legendary style.

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Me in 1998 making a Chicago dog in the Modern Times kitchen. And an snippet of the menu:

Modern Times Breakfast menu

1997

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This letter from my supervising attorney at Roberts & Bishop, Kevin S. (RIP), is among my most treasured endorsements.  Berkley rejected my application, but a decade later the University of Missouri offered me a free ride, so everything worked out as it should. During my time at Roberts & Bishop, I interviewed new clients and filed initial paperwork in personal injury and discrimination cases. Also, I solicited new corporate clients and helped a senior partner organize, edit and publish a book on practice management.

Ken Roberts says Rebecca Ken Roberts acknowledgement

1996

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Me with my hustlin’ Quakers defensive line getting our game faces on ahead of a 1995 match at Kenyon. We earned a program win record during this year, my senior season.

Earlham Transcript

Earlham Transcript 1

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Rebecca on Hoosier Outdoor aprox 1995

In the summer of 1995, I enjoyed taking classes at IU and my co-ed soccer team (read: three girls and 14 guys), Hoosier Outdoor, beat Pegasus, a team led by IU soccer alums, in Bloomington’s recreational soccer tournament, a highlight in my three-decade soccer career!

1992

My graduation project from Bloomington’s Harmony School required me to relocate to New York City, where I worked an editorial internship for Sassy Magazine, a national publication for teen girls.

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This is the evaluation of my supervisor, Christina Kelly, a senior writer and editor. I particularly like this part: “I really am very impressed with Rebecca. She shows a lot of promise, and I think she’ll be a success at whatever she decides to do.”

I enjoyed talking to Marlon Wayans. This interview happened before I had real training in professional boundaries, so before I prepared to leave the office where I was speaking to Marlon and one of his friends — and driven by a fluster of hormones and ambition, I used the strongest pickup line I knew: “Has anyone ever told you that you are a total babe?” It must have been hard for a comedian not to laugh in my face as his assistant kindly moved me toward to he door. Still, It looks like that theme inspired me as I wrote …

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Observing street life in the city and talking to some of the characters I met presented the opportunity for me to slip “The Best Thing About NYC Subways” into the magazine:

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Here’s a feature Steve Hinnefeld wrote for the Herald Times wrote upon my return:

Upon returning from NYC, I did some freelancing before leaving Bloomington for Earlham College in the fall.

Here’s a feature I wrote on storied drummer Kenny Aronoff:

Kenny Aronoff interview

Did you know that Kenny Aronoff started the famous Roach Motel across Indiana Avenue from IU’s Dunn Meadow?

1991

At 17 years old, I moved out of my mother’s house and began living in Downtown Bloomington, supporting myself by working at the Red Chair Bakery on Kirkwood. When I resigned that job before moving to New York City, the bakery’s owner wrote a recommendation for me.

Mike Baker recommendation

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Me on break in the summer of 1991, enjoying a Dagwood’s sub on the Kirkwood Avenue curb in front of the Red Chair Bakery (now absorbed into the Village Deli).

A time-honored tradition: Indy/NY draw

(The Pitch Bitch, episode 5 … the beginning of the great multimedia experiment)

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Smoke hovers over the field following Indy’s second goal (a Don Smart assist finished by Eamon Zayed) against the New York Cosmos on Oct. 7, 2017. (Photo by Rebecca Townsend)

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 8, 20717) — Among the most dramatic storylines in the history of Indy Eleven: Which team would first earn a win — Indy or the New York Cosmos — after the first six meetings (all 2014 and 2015 games) resulted in draws.

And though the sting will always remain for Indy of losing the 2016 championship to the Cosmos (in penalty kicks), Indy will forever have the glory of being the first to claim a victory in the match up (Eamon Zayed bagged two goals in a thrill-packed 2:1 home win April 16, 2016). And some of the best goals in the North American Soccer League have come as Indy and New York players have scrambled to protect team honor — or earn bragging rights.

Last night’s match was no exception. Beautiful goals all around for a 2:2 finish.

Thanks to Indy Eleven and the North American Soccer League for this highlight video:

In the East End Goal stands, the Pitch Bitch launched a new multimedia experiment. GoPro video will enable some cool new features, but the Pitch Bitch is issuing a formal apology to Don Smart, who scored the first goal of the evening last night — and delivered it at the perfect angle for us to see. His perfect goal came so quickly that our audio/visual skills could not engage the equipment in time to capture the beauty of his triumph (streaking up the right flank he released a shot that hooked just under crossbar and into the far side of the net). Here, however, here is the aftermath: (Warning: The Pitch Bitch is a screamer)

There are risks involved in being creative — sometimes they don’t pay off. This Indy freekick, for example, failed to flummox the Cosmos:

Brad Ring, here’s our gut reaction to your most egregious foul of the evening:

Eamon Zayed was breathing down Cosmos keeper Jimmy Maurer’s throat — and came close — twice in short succession — to stuffing the ball in the back of the net:

And just for fun, some pre-game bonding:

Pitch Bitch, episode 5

Puerto Rico FC v Indy Eleven

An evening of soccer in haiku

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Eamon Zayed gets a critical step on Puerto Rico’s Ramon Soria as he nails a header into the net for his second goal of the evening. (Image/graphic courtesy of Indy Eleven)

Searching for inspiration while watching the first half of this evening’s match, the Pitch Bitch opted to exercise an under-utilized tool in the field of sports reporting: haiku.

Inelegant ball

dominates back-and-forth play

in first-half review.

Indy’s fails unchecked,

PR club not so lucky.

Zayed slays loose ball.

Oh no, Don Smart down!

Worry fades as speedy Don stands,

remains in the game.

At half, home team up

one-nothing, but game open.

Much is possible.

Perhaps tight passing,

creative, play-making runs:

The beautiful game.

On to second half:

We see many more long passes.

One sets assist.

Marco Franco spies

Zayed streaming up weak side;

cross to head finds goal!

 

With just minutes left

Indy allows handball in box

Puerto Rico scores.

 

Visitors earn a

consolation prize from hosts:

goals for everyone.

 

Too bad teams lost cool.

Near match’s end, fight breaks out.

No class in violence.

 

The win is Indy’s

but Puerto Rico returns

to play again soon.

 

P.S. Hurricane

Relief more important than game.

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