Round Two: How to get ‘The Golden Dream’ and scared reader comments

Head shot of Tom Hardesty, a white man with short hair in a grey golf polo with the caption "Round Two with Tom Hardesty"

As hard as it is to believe, this season marks the passing of the two-decade milepost since the Kent State men’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

That was the 2001-02 season, but you don’t have to dig through the internet to scrounge up stories about that iconic Golden Flashes hoops team. Old KSU friend Steve Sefner, the former radio voice of the Flashes who called all the action that season, authored “The Golden Dream: The Story of the 2001-2002 Kent State Men’s Basketball Elite Eight Season” (Gatekeeper Press 2022) — and you will have two opportunities to purchase and/or get a signed copy of the book in the very near future.

Steve will sell and sign copies of his book during the Flashes’ Saturday, Nov. 19 game against Chicago State at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center. The game tips off at 2 p.m., with Steve signing and selling books from 1-4 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center Team Shop.

If you can’t make it, you can always head over to North Water Brewing Company (101 Crain Ave.) in Kent on Tuesday, Dec. 6, where Steve will sign books starting at 7 p.m. This event is part of North Water Brewing’s “Tap Talks” program and will feature Steve giving a talk and slide-show presentation on that unforgettable basketball season. Copies of “The Golden Dream” will also be available for sale.

I have the book, and if you’re a Kent State fan — or a sports fan in general — this is definitely one to get. The incredible insight from the coaches, players and then-Kent State Athletic Director Laing Kennedy — from the building of the roster, to the departure of the beloved Gary Waters as coach, to Stan Heath taking the reins from Waters, to the remarkable journey through the regular season, MAC Tournament and NCAA Tournament — puts you in the locker room, in the huddle and on the floor with that legendary team. Star guard Trevor Huffman also makes a sizable contribution to the book, penning his thoughts and emotions on how the season evolved from frustrating uncertainty to unparalleled success.

That’s not marketing promo talk, that’s what “The Golden Dream” gives readers: a rare, raw glimpse into one of the NCAA Tournament’s most memorable Cinderella stories.

A story that surprised everyone except the Flashes.

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I always enjoy receiving feedback from readers, particularly as it relates to their own personal experiences.

Which is why I loved the feedback I got a couple weeks ago after my Round 2 column titled “Horror movies that still haunt me.” In it, I listed my top five scariest movies that culminated with the 1979 television miniseries “Salem’s Lot,” based on the 1975 Stephen King novel of the same name. It was about vampires preying on the unsuspecting residents of a sleepy Maine town, but what made it a life-changer for me when I saw it at age 11 was the fact that the vampires attacked little kids, who themselves became vampires and went after other little kids.

All these years later, “Salem’s Lot” still disturbs me; it exploits our most primal fears of who or what is lurking in the dark or just outside our bedroom window. It featured a Who’s Who of Hollywood greats such as James Mason, David Soul, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Fred Willard, George Dzundza, Geoffrey Lewis, Ed Flanders, Elisha Cook Jr., Barbara Babcock, and Reggie Nalder as the horrific vampire Barlow – with child actors Lance Kerwin, Brad Savage, and Ronnie Scribner stealing the show. Director Tobe Hooper mixed all these talents together, and the final product was a masterpiece of horror that left a lasting impression on a lot of people, myself included.

So it was with great interest and a nervous chuckle that I received the following comments from readers detailing the movies that frightened them the most:

Reader’s comment: No movie moment was as scary for me as those flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz….assisted by that creepy music. But even without the music, my scariest moment was reading Stephen King. I read Salem’s Lot during the Ohio blizzard of 77-78. We in Athens had been on snow emergency status for the third consecutive week. Boredom, and when we could get to the supermarket once a week, I picked up a Cosmo. In it was an excerpt from the yet unpublished Salem’s Lot, by unknown author….SK. It was a 12 page excerpt, but I had to stop reading a couple of times. PS..The Shining is the one read that scared me enough that while sitting in broad daylight…I had to close the page for a while.

My response: I completely agree. The music is what gets you in this scene. It’s ominous, and the optics of all those sinister flying monkeys going to grab innocent, helpless Dorothy (and her little dog, too) is anywhere from distressing to frightening.

Reader’s comment: Daaaah-dum daaah-dum da-dum da-dum da-dum.

The Exorcist was my scariest movie. Saw it when it first came out and slept with the light on for a week. And I was 18 at the time.

My response: The first line here is in reference to the iconic threatening music in “Jaws,” which I didn’t have in my top five scariest movies list (because it’s not horror per se) but discussed at the beginning of my column. But it terrified me all the same. As for “The Exorcist,” that was No. 2 on my list. All I can say is: Only a week?

Reader’s comment: I know the feeling. I’m from a much earlier generation, but the movie “House of Wax” totally traumatized me as a young boy. In those days (the ‘50s), the Ravenna Theater, in the summer, offered Wednesday afternoon matinees for kids. It was all kids and so when I went to see “House,” I was on my own. I was spooked for a long time after that one.

My response: Yes, “House of Wax” is a very spooky movie — because Vincent Price was the spookiest actor who ever lived. Everything about him was spooky: his facial expressions, his appearance, his demeanor, his voice, everything. He always seemed to be up to something, and he always seemed smarter than everyone else. You just knew he knew something you didn’t. You had to watch “House of Wax” on your own as a kid? That’s courage.

Keep the comments coming — and pay no attention to those bumps in the night. I’m sure it’s nothing.

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Tom Hardesty is a Portager sports columnist. He was formerly assistant sports editor at the Record-Courier and author of the book Glimpses of Heaven.

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