Sunday, February 12, 2012

Komet Tales

By Blake Sebring

Throughout the city's history, Fort Wayne sports fans have never been shy about expressing their favorites, which has led to some great rivalries. Indiana or Purdue? North Side or South Side? Bishop Luers or Bishop Dwenger? Northrop or Snider? Chicago Bears or Indianapolis Colts?

But the one team everyone in the Summit City roots for has been the Fort Wayne Komets. Maybe that's because the Komets have always been Fort Wayne's own team, a franchise we didn't have to share with everyone else. It's also because of players who came back year after year and built continuity, and the more than 70 who made Fort Wayne their permanent home when they retired.

The majority of the players weren't going anywhere once they got here, and they kept coming back to build continuity. The Komets were part of us when they played, and they still are. The Komets became a part of the community and the community adopted them.

One of the cool things about the Komets is that every generation of fans had its own favorites, almost by decade. A grandfather might have started in the 1950s, and his son followed in the '70s, and then the grandson in the '90s. They all had distinctly different experiences with the team and the players, but they all loved them the same.

Now the Komets are part of Fort Wayne's identity as much as Glenbrook Square, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo or the Johnny Appleseed Festival. They are part of who we are as a city, something we realized even more three years ago when they had to switch leagues. Suddenly everyone understood what the Komets meant to them.

All the media coverage helped make the Komets one of the home bases that people who have left Fort Wayne still connect with. Maybe as kids they hid under the covers to listen to playoff games on WOWO, but now they listen to Chase question a referee's vision on the Internet. They also participate on blogs and on Facebook by the thousands. The Komets are something they can talk about with their friends and family who remain here, once again, a common bond and cause.

Books about the Komets, several of them written by Sebring, are on sale in our gift shop. For photos and other information, see the News Sentinel’s page about the Komets:

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