DAYTON – As Jim McKay would say with the opening segment of ABC’s Wide World of Sports, “It’s the thrill of victory and the Agony of Defeat,” that draws our attention to the magic of sports. But with high school sports in Darke County, the emotions and excitement mean so much more to the athletes, schools, and communities involved. As a former athlete, some moments seemed to just stand still in time, while others only lasted seconds. The ability to take those highlights and capture individual moments and turn them into memories is no easy feat.
For the past 16 years Darke County has been blessed, not only with impressive individuals and team accomplishments, but also with those who pen the agony of defeat into words while also photographing the thrill of victory. On Saturday, March 9th, 2019, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Southwest District awarded the Media Service Award to one of those individuals: long-time sports writer and photographer, Dale Barger.
With what began as a project to support the athletes and community of Tri-Village, Dale started with the creation of a website for Tri-Village boys’ and girls’ basketball in 2003. As an athlete at the time, I remember fondly the feeling of reading the game recaps and reliving the moments viewing the action photos. Even to this day, to reflect with former teammates on what was our “glory days,” it is not done so without a picture or an article to remind us of the moment.
Dale eventually expanded his support with coverage of high school sports as a stringer for the Daily Advocate in 2004, and even assisted in the creation and co-editor of the Cross County Conference webpage in 2005. In a region of Ohio with athletes that experience a tremendous amount of success, Dale has been there to immortalize Darke County’s finest. Though there are many moments that stand out, here are few that stand at top of the list:
Feature Article – Clayton Murphy Olympic Bronze Medalist 800 Meter Run
Game – Clayton Murphy State Track 1500 Meter Championship Run
Game – Tri-Village Boys Basketball State Championship
Game – Versailles Volleyball State Championship
Game – Versailles Girls Basketball State Runner-up
Game – Tri-Village Boys Basketball State Runner-up
Game – Tri-Village Girls Basketball State Semi-Finals
Game – Bradford Girls Softball State Semi-final
Game – Mississinawa 35 year football streak ends, defeats Ansonia in football
Game – Franklin Monroe Boys Basketball Wins District Title
Game – Ansonia Football Playoff Run
Game – Arcanum Regional Football Run
It has always been Dale’s goal to feature student athletes in a positive way and to photograph as many of them as possible to give them the recognition they deserve. Whether it’s in the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, Dale Barger has been there to support Darke County athletes. Giving back to the athletes, schools, and community is neither easy nor does it always receive thanks. With the OHSAA providing recognition, this night was about capturing the moment to say “thank you” for the memories these past 16 years.
Reach Gaylen Blosser gblosseraimmediamidwest.com or (937) 548-3330