A funny thing happened this past weekend. On Friday night the Carroll Tigers played the Ballard Bombers in Huxley. (That's not the funny thing, you'll read about that later. I'm just setting up the story for the next couple paragraphs.) Carroll is rated #2 in the State in Class 3A HS Football. Ballard was rated 6th, I believe. My brother Tim plays defensive end for Carroll. So the O'Tool family shows up to support brother Tim in his quest to not make a fool of himself.
Ballard's quarterback has already committed to play for the Hawkeyes, and at 6'7", 220lbs, he is quite imposing in his football pads. Before the game I remarked to my dad that he looks like the high-school version of Ben Rothlisberger, the QB for Pittsburgh who is notably difficult to bring down. I say to my dad that Carroll won't be able to get a sack on him. My dad responds "Not only will Carroll sack him, but Tim will be the one to do it."
All this is said while we huddled together in the stands for warmth. Fast-forward through the game, which was won by Carroll in relatively convincing fashion. There were several great plays by Tiger players throughout the game, several on offense that were worthy of making the highlight reels. On defense Tim had a fantastic game, recording not 1 but 2 sacks, and making several other tackles along the way. He managed to break the timeless O'Tool tradition and didn't even get yanked by the coach once.
So after the game the entire family gathers around the TV set to see if Carroll made the highlights. It was the featured game of the week and will be replayed on Mediacom (if you see a Carroll player jump on the Ballard QB and ride him to the ground like rodeo calf wrestling, that Carroll player would be none other than Timothy O'Tool). In addition to the Mediacom coverage, Channels 13, 8, and 5 all had crews at the game. So we were confident that one of the stations would have some good clips. Since Tim had such a solid game, with a couple highlight worthy plays, we hoped he would make some airtime.
Carroll has a pretty decent quarterback of their own. Blake Haluska, from the famed Carroll Haluskas, is the signal caller for the Tigers. His father Steve was my Driver's Ed instructor. His brother Adam played for both the Cyclones and Hawkeyes in a stellar basketball career, and the other brother Sean currently plays for the Cyclones. Adam actually went on to spend 2 years playing for the NBA team from New Orleans and is currently playing professionally for Tel Aviv. "Why does this have anything to do with your story?" you may find yourself asking. Stay tuned and I'll tell you.
So Carroll first makes the highlights on Channel 8. That was shortly after the game ended, and they only showed two plays, with Tim getting airtime only as being close to a blocked punt. We quickly switch over to 13 and they showed maybe 4 plays, again none of Tim's highlights. We hope this is because the game just ended and they would later show more. We then tune into the Blitz show on channel 5, the premier prep football program for the state. They had a whole segment dedicated to the Carroll - Ballard game. We all perk up.
Sean Haluska is shooting the ball in this photo
John Walters throws it over to David Bingham, who leads into the footage with a few comments about the Haluska clan. In fact, here is a semi-transcript "...of course, the Haluskas are there, so as we go to the video, let's play Name That Haluska." They then cut to the video of two guys huddled together in the stands. The announcer proceeds with "I know Steve always stands up there, so there's Dad...I think Sean's standing right there next to him, but I didn't see Adam anywhere."
Now, Channel 5 has the Blitz video up on their website, and if you're interested you can go there and watch it. The link is http://www.myabc5.com/Global/category.asp?C=7588. Copy and paste that link into your browser and go about halfway down to the videos section. Click on the Blitz video and start watching at the 12:23 mark. You'll see the video I'm referencing in this little yarn here.
All this to say, when you watch the video, look closely at Dad and Sean Haluska. Do they remind you of anyone? Say, possibly Frank and Louis O'Tool? That's right. Apparently Frank & Louis look enough like Steve and Sean that even someone who covers Iowa Sports professionally saw the resemblence. Now I know that there are many of you who will cite this as further evidence that everyone with Carroll roots is inbred to the point that you can't tell the difference anyway. And since I probably have cousins who are cousins on both sides, I can't argue with you. Although to the Haluska's credit, they are not originally from Carroll so they catch a break there.
Adam is the guy dribbling
So although Tim had a fantastic game with highlight reel plays, it was Frank & Louie with the airtime. And I need to take this opportunity to say that last time I played Adam in one-on-one basketball, I defeated him like 11-8. Although I was a senior and he was in 8th grade. But in my mind, it doesn't matter. I beat the Big 10 Player of the Year and New Orleans Hornet.
The one thing I am disappointed about? If I only get 15 minutes of fame, I don't want to use 8 seconds of it being mistaken for someone else. Next time I'll have to wear Tim's jersey so the sportscasters know, unless they think that Adam or Sean are avid supporters of the O'Tool family. Now if only I can track down the freshman girl that purchased the right to wear Tim's jersey for $50 at the homecoming auction...
From Left: Tony O'Tool, Timothy O'Tool, Samuel O'Tool. Not pictured are all-stars Louis O'Tool & Joseph O'Tool. From the famed Carroll O'Tools.