Of all the people I've encountered over many years of covering the area sports scene, I've never met anyone who enjoyed life more than Marcus McPhail, who passed away Saturday while playing golf with friends.
Marcus knew everyone and everyone knew Marcus. To know him was to like him.
He had more tales than the Brothers Grimm and Aesop combined.
I remember sitting in the locker room at Spencer High School during a break in the Little Kanawha Conference wrestling tournament playing hearts with Jim Hamric, Charlie Kupfner and Marcus. I don't think Jim, Charlie or I got in a word the entire time. And we didn't mind one bit, because Marcus was entertaining us with his homespun stories that made us laugh. He would have made a great stand-up comedian.
When he was inducted into the Mid Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame, an honor of which he was truly deserving, I told the person sitting next to me as Marcus got up to speak, "This will be a good one.'' Indeed, it was vintage Marcus. Humble. Proud. Humorous. Likeable.
Marcus was a standout athlete at Ripley High School and Glenville State and one of the winningest football coaches in the history of Calhoun County. He knew sports and loved being around the athletes who played the games.
When he wasn't coaching or teaching, you might find him strumming the guitar. Wherever you saw Marcus, he was having a good time and if you were with him, so were you.
When someone passes away, we always say they will be missed. That's especially true of Marcus, who touched many lives in the Mid-Ohio Valley. He was an unforgettable character and someone many considered a friend.
OK, I'll admit I was keeping track of the NFL scores on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, but I also was enjoying the bowling.
It was particularly gratifying to see Sean Rash qualify for the Final Four of the PBA World Championship. When Emerson Lanes brought the PBA Tour to Parkersburg in 2006, Rash captured his first PBA title here. Although he is one of the most talented and charismatic members of the tour, he's struggled to win tournaments as he has just three championships.
One of his three opponents on Sunday was Nathan Bohr, who was making the first TV appearance of his career. He is the first bowler I met and is a great representative of the tour. He has struggled to maintain the high level necessary to earn a living on the tour, but perhaps Sunday's experience will lead to other TV appearances.
The highlight of the day came in the semifinals when Rash started off with nine straight strikes and legendary Pete Weber had eight in a row. Bowling may seem antiquated to some, but there is no better group of pros representing their sport than the members of the PBA.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org