The man who manages the scoreboard clock during Edinburgh home boys basketball games has become as much a gymnasium fixture as the midcourt stripe.
Jackie Smith on Thursday wraps up his 33rd consecutive regular season as a press table presence.
Now 64, Smith, a 1968 EHS graduate who as a second-grader toured construction of the gymnasium so near to his heart, doesn’t plan to step away from his duties anytime soon.
Smith was born in Shelbyville and grew up on Edinburgh’s east side. He and Phyllis, his wife of 38 years come April 16, have lived in their current residence two blocks from the gymnasium since 1976.
With no children of their own, the Smiths have long considered those girls and boys who wear the Edinburgh uniform as members of their own family.
Jackie Smith a few seasons back also began running the clock for home girls basketball games. He even sprinkles in some middle school assignments here and there.
The Daily Journal caught up with one of Edinburgh’s true gym rats for a quick Q&A:
Q: Are you surprised you still enjoy doing this after all these years?
A: No. I like high school sports because it’s kids. They’re not there for money or for themselves. They’re there for the school.
Q: Do you remember the first game you ever ran the clock at Edinburgh?
A: It was the 1982-83 basketball season, but I can’t remember who we were playing. My nephew, Kyle Pendleton, his dad was a senior that year. Prior to that I had been an IHSAA basketball official and a baseball umpire. I gave those up, but wanted to stay involved in high school sports.
Q: What is the most memorable basketball game you’ve witnessed in that gymnasium?
A: Brown County won in five overtimes in 1974, and I believe the score was 107-101. I remember we had only three players left at the end of the game because they all fouled out.
Q: Are there Lancers teams that stand head and shoulders above all others in your mind?
A: I would say the 2012 team that made it to the (Class A) semistate and the 1973 team that won the Columbus Sectional. The 2012 team, all the players contributed and would do anything it took to win. That ’73 team was very much the same way.
Q: Has an opposing coach ever referred to you as a homer for leaving too much time on the clock?
A: No, I’ve never had that happen. But we used to be on the floor, and once in the 1990s a kid ran behind the table and his foot got tangled in the cords and shut off the electricity to the scoreboards.