From My View For Dec. 7
Now that the high school fall sports season has ended, and the winter sports have started, I have a few things to say.
First, the fall sports season of 2016 was a season we will try not to remember too much. Besides the River Pilots going undefeated in the regular season, we didn’t win many games at all. Magnolia, Paden City and Valley each won only two games, and if you add the Hundred Hornets’ 0-8 season, we only won six games and lost 24.
However, a good portion of the teams that I cover didn’t have as many seniors out and would play mainly underclassmen, while the Pilots will lose 12 of their 31 players to graduation.
Why is this you might ask?
In Class A ball, you must have a dominant senior class to be able to compete year in and year out.
Most of the schools in our area didn’t have a junior varsity squad, and it took loads of time to teach the new guys the proper techniques. Many of our youths didn’t play a sport during the fall and hurt many teams’ chances to be a competitor from the get-go.
Rather than participate in any of the fall sports programs, area athletes either played video games, or they would waste their time, instead of participating in an after-school contest.
Hundred High School showed the biggest jump in football participation, while the Eagles and Lumberjacks lost more than they took in. Paden City stayed pretty much the same, while the Pilots added a few more than they lost.
The Hundred volleyball team only had seven players out for the biggest part of the season, while the Lumberjills, Pilots and Magnolia showed just a small drop-off in participants in volleyball.
Both the Magnolia boys and girls soccer teams, as well as their golf and cross country teams, fell considerably, as did the Paden City golf and cross country teams.
Why are there huge drop-offs in athletes participating, you might ask? First, I believe the kids just don’t want to participate, but some of the players that had participated, didn’t go out because they work a job after school. Some said it’s because they didn’t get many opportunities to play, and others said they just wanted to play games or just wanted to enjoy the games as a spectator.
Then there are athletes who went and played in a different sport than they did last season. But a big portion of the kids just wanted to hang out with other students and be fans.
In wrestling, River and Tyler Consolidated are way down in numbers, while Magnolia is very close to last year’s numbers. The band numbers are down everywhere in the area and all around the state. I’m sure the kids all have reasons for not participating in after-school activities, but we as parents need to know where our kids are at and what they are doing. A small portion of our kids are good kids, but remember if you hang around not-so-good kids, you most likely will turn out bad. That’s not always right, but it is mostly true.
If your kids play sports or do after-school projects, go to them and encourage them, and help out if you can. But, if they don’t participate in a sport or after-school functions, know where they are.
I covered a couple recent basketball games, and I witnessed that the players play a lot better at the start of a season than they normally do. I believe that this can be attributed to playing a sport in the middle school. The fundamentals are being taught better than ever before.
That doesn’t always hold true, but in this case I believe it does. Now that wrestling and basketball has started, let’s get out there and cheer the athletes on. Just buying a ticket to a game doesn’t give you the right to bad mouth the players, coaches and the referees who are there to make sure the game is played fairly. I understand that referees are people too, so don’t carry on, and don’t upset your child in the way you behave toward a person trying to referee the ball game. Maybe that’s why some don’t go out for a sport.
Whatever it is, just go to the game or match and enjoy it, because we are to set the examples, not the kids. If they see a parent, fan or coach getting upset; well they more than likely will behave the same way.
Talking about rules… I don’t like the rule that coaches can get out of the coach’s box to coach, yell or scream at the referees or encourage the fans to do the same.
Rules are rules, until the powers-that-be want to change it for the betterment of the game. I remember when I played, coaches were not permitted to stand for any reason other than to clap, and had to sit down quickly or be given a technical foul.
Also, when teams start running up the score it irks me sometimes, especially late in the game, when teams can substitute freely and it not hurt them. Yet, they are still able to get quality minutes for their substitutes.
I understand that teams can come back from a large deficit, but you don’t have to press full court when you know the teams can handle the pressure. And, I also know that you can’t tell a kid not to shoot, but you can play a zone and give their opponents a chance to at least get a shot off. And, I also understand that the substitutes coming in have to be able to perform like the starters to get more playing time down the road.
It’s only my opinion about the coaches staying in their coach’s box, and the pressing when teams already have the upper-edge. I haven’t seen that this year, and I hope I don’t.
Lastly, I believe with all my heart that it hurts teams when they get on officials that make a questionable call, or rowdy fans that think they can yell or belittle players and officials. They are only human, and it might just cost your team’s chances.
I love to hear the student body and cheerleaders get into the game and yell for their teams, but please don’t belittle a player. Do unto others as you would want done to you. Keep it clean and have a good time, while supporting your teams.