December 20, 2012
Blake Sebring. Blake Sebring? If that name sounds familiar, it should. If you have ever seen the Sports section of The News-Sentinel, seen the local news or heard any local radio programs that cover sports, chances are very good that you have seen and/or heard Blake Sebring. He has been covering Komet Hockey in Fort Wayne for 23 years and only one other reporter has surpassed that longevity: his mentor, Bud Gallmeier, at 35 years. Sebring has also written three books on the Komets. Legends of the Komets chronicles the 13 iconic players who donned the retired jerseys that hang from the rafters at the Memorial Coliseum. Tales of the Komets expounds Fort Wayne Komets lore generated from over 55 seasons in Fort Wayne, with anecdotes and stories like the coach who, in front of his wife, said winning was better than sex, the fan favorite who was traded for two dryers and the reason Wayne Gretzky came to wear No. 99. His third Komets-related book is iconic broadcaster Bob Chase’s biography Live From Radio Rinkside – The Bob Chase Story. Chase is still going strong and into his 61st season covering the Komets. His smooth deep voice is as memorable as Harry Caray and Paul Harvey.
Chase was just this year named recipient of the Lester Patrick Award by USA Hockey and the National Hockey League for service to the sport in the United States. If you are a die-hard Komets fan and grew up listening to Chase call the games, there is an adaptation of Live From Radio Rinkside as an audio download that gives you a feel for the book along with the nostalgia Chase’s narration.
Sebring’s other sports-related biography involves another Fort Wayne legend, volleyball phenom Lloy Ball. The book is titled The Biggest Mistake I Never Made and references the fact that Ball was heavily recruited to play basketball at Indiana University under legendary coach Bob Knight. As history shows, Ball chose the path of volleyball and with that sport managed to carve out an amazing career that included both collegiate and professional acclaim and winning a gold medal in his fourth Olympics at age 36 in 2008. In his sports-related books, Sebring is intimately familiar with both the subjects and the sporting venues he writes about, thanks to his varied sports journalism background and his passion for Fort Wayne excellence.
Sebring shifted gears in his first novel, The Lake Effect, which postulates the unique premise that everyone at one time or another has had an experience or encounter in their life that ultimately shaped who they are today. The book is called The Lake Effect because in the book, the concept was originally contemplated by college friends who were hanging out on a snowy night, spending the evening inside due to the heavy accumulation that blows off of Lake Michigan’s surrounding areas. The story is fashioned out of fast-forward accounts by the main character as he revisits the college classmates 20 years later and gets their sometimes humorous, sometimes riveting accounts of their lake effect moments.
Sebring’s latest novel, Homecoming Game, is a sports book. Unlike his previous books, Homecoming Game is sports fiction and is centered around the game of football. It is a classic underdog, David vs. Goliath story that is very well written and gives you the sense that you are actually in the game and on the field during some of the plays. It is wholesome and witty, which kind of sums up Sebring, too. As his list of titles grows, it seems that his success is moving along with it. Homecoming Game debuted on Amazon at a very respectable No. 2 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Sports Fiction, just one book below a sports fiction book co-written by Stephen King, and it still remains in the Top 10.
Sebring is a humble, gentle soul who not only works 80 hours a week on his job covering the Komets, other sporting venues and writing books, but also finds time for community involvement and charitable commitments. He is very active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and regularly gives his time to their Lunch Buddy program and other functions. He did something very unique in 2010 when he participated in the MDA Lock-Up fundraiser. Sebring offered to use everyone’s name who donated to bail him out as characters in his next book which was Homecoming Game. The book is populated with friends and acquaintances names and some of the main characters are named after his Big Brother Lunch Buddies.
Sebring says he has a face for radio and a voice for newspapers which leads me to believe that he is most comfortable right where he is: in the print medium covering the Komets home games for his articles, perched in the press box at the top of the Coliseum and writing his novels and biographies in the comfort of his home. Fort Wayne is a better place with people like Blake Sebring in it to inform and entertain us with his take on the written word.
For more information on Sebring, his books and where to purchase your own slice of a Fort Wayne journalist-turned-author’s labors of love, there are lots of resources: www.blakesebring.com, his blog www.tailingthekomets.com and his publisher www.reviveworldmedia.com. You can buy Blake’s books at Amazon.com, too.