Hold the feet to the fire


Mt. Pleasant News

Sometimes, it is best to pass.

Following the Iowa-Iowa State football game, I thought about writing a column. Those thoughts were never put on paper and that is a good thing.

Of course, most of the verbiage would have centered on Hawkeye mentor Kirk Ferentz?s passiveness. Silly me, I always thought a coach, or any supervisor for that matter, was supposed to put his team in a position to win, or program them for success as one of my former publishers liked to say.

Sitting on the football in the game?s last possession with over a minute left on the clock and two timeouts in your back pocket is not my idea of putting your team in a position to win. Neither is settling for a field goal on a fourth-and-one in overtime.

But what really baffled me was Ferentz?s answer when asked about the decision to opt for the field goal. ?We thought we could get a stop,? the $4-million man said. Huh? Iowa State had just scored touchdowns on its three previous possessions and was moving the ball at will.

The game is over and I moved on. I am sure a similar situation will arise again and the $4-million man will do the same. How does that saying go? No guts, no glory?

Iowa State outscored, outplayed and outcoached Iowa. On that day, the Cyclones deserved to win. Even had Iowa won, I wouldn?t have felt good about it because they were not the better team on the field that day.

Something that does bother me is that where have all the good sports editors and broadcasters gone? Have you ever listened to a post-game interview? The sports media lobs softballs at the coach instead of asking the difficult questions. Why? Hopefully, it isn?t because they fear the coach might become irritated. It isn?t the job of the media be on the Christmas card list of coaches. It is the job of media to inform the public. Asking cream-puff questions is not fulfilling the media?s responsibility to their readers and listeners. There has to be some accountability, and the media should see to it that there is.

There?s a millionaire out there, probably in Iowa, and he/she doesn?t even know it. Somewhere, someone has tucked away a Hot Lotto $16.5-million Hot Lotto ticket and time is running out for the lucky winner to claim the prize.

Nearly nine months have passed since the jackpot-winning ticket was purchased during the 2010 holidays at a Des Moines convenience store along the interstate. No jackpot winner in Iowa Lottery history has ever taken this long the claim the prize, and the jackpot is current the second largest unclaimed prize in the country.

Making it even more mysterious, the ticket has never been checked on an Iowa Lottery terminal, so it is quite likely that the winner either lost the ticket or buried it in the bottom of the glove compartment or purse.

The Hot Lotto jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Quik Trip, 4801 N.E. 14th St. in Des Moines. The ticket matched all six number selected in the Dec. 29, 2010, drawing. The winning numbers that night were 3-12-16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11.

The $16.5 million jackpot is the third-largest prize ever offered in the game and the seventh-largest Iowa Lottery prize won to date.

The prize will expire at 4 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011. The jackpot can be claimed in annual, annuitized payments totaling $16.5 million over 25 years, or a one-time, lump-sum payment of nearly $10.8 million.

If unclaimed, the money for the jackpot will go back to the 15 lotteries that offer Hot Lotto in proportion to the percentage of sales that come from each jurisdiction.

The largest U.S. lottery prize expiring without being claimed was a $68-million ticket purchased in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a December 2002 drawing.

So, if you are reading this and discover you have the ticket, you can drop my 20-percent off at 215 W. Monroe St., in Mt. Pleasant.