“The Press Box” For March 31, 2021
High School Winter Sports season is winding down. While it’s been an unusual season to say the least, however the highlights have been extraordinary. High School athletics are in my humble opinion the most interesting and exciting of all sports activities (excluding the Olympics) one can watch. Not only do you receive the opportunity to watch your kids, grandchildren, friends and neighbors, you also get to see the unexpected at close up range.
Now! I am one who loves the atmosphere of collegiate sports (especially the Mountaineers) and nothing in the world beats the enjoyment of taking a two or three hour trip to watch your favorite pro players battle it out in the big cities. The difference is, kids have their hearts in the game, while the pros are after the almighty buck, and the big school collegiate athletes are working to get to the next level, while trying to please ungrateful fans that only want to win, so they can continue tailgating.
West Virginia for example had an amazing year. Coach Huggins won his 900th career game, the team won with limited talent compared to many schools loaded with 5-star athletes. They won some games they were supposed to lose, and lost some they were supposed to win. They made plays that you or I could only dream about. Yet when it came to the end, it seemed as if the sun quit shining.
How can you call yourself a fan and not except the good and the bad. To me those type are just “bandwagon” fans. We’ll ride along as long as their winning, but once it’s over we’ll fall back to criticize mode!
I have been around long enough to know, that no matter what you do you can’t please everyone. It’s evident to see when you look at the Wetzel County Board of Educations decision to not renew a contract for Ed Toman who many believe to be the best Superintendent Wetzel County has ever had.
So, if you want to have some real fun attend some high school games. You may not get to party to much or enjoy the commeradie, however you will get to watch your local school kids flat out compete at a high level with nothing on the line except pride for themselves and their schools.
At some recent games we’ve witnessed on local girl score a school record 50 points and grab 15 rebounds. It’s a game she’ll never forget, it’s a game her teammates will always remember, and it’s a game fans will talk about for years. Mady Winters will no doubt provide some more highlights before the year is over. Magnolia has three underclassmen who can shoot the lights out, they are consistently in double figures. Last week in a battle against Ritchie County they fell behind by 16 points and for most fans the game was over. However coach Dave Tallman’s Blue Eagles battled back and with nine seconds to play trailed by one, with senior Chase Glover at the line. For those who know basketball, you know when the pressure is on, shots are harder to make. The secret is to get in the right frame of mind and step to the line blocking everything else out except making the shots. You don’t always have to be the top scorer to be the game hero. Glover demonstrated that by calmly stepping to the free throw line, sinking both attempts and giving the Blue Eagles the win. My opinion is he doesn’t shoot enough.
Down River at Paden City sophomore point guard Joel Moore took over in absence of team leader Ty Cain and scored 36 points in an overtime game. Tyler Consolidated got a big 35 point performance from Caleb Strode in a double overtime win over Ritchie County including the game tying three at the end of the first O.T.
Valley and Hundred have some great athletes this season. I am asking the coaches to forward stats to the Wetzel Chronicle and Tyler Star News. We will have some sports writers coming around, but we like to get information from all the games. If you have an athlete you would like to nominate for athlete of the week. Send their info to the papers.
Listen, the area is loaded with good quality athletes this year. Tyler Consolidated has perhaps three of the best wrestlers pound for pound in the state. I am excited that spring sports is next on the horizon. Track season, baseball, and softball are right around the corner. If all goes well and the weather holds cooperates good things are in store for our schools. Take time to enjoy our teams. You will not regret it and the kids will appreciate seeing you there. I had a young man ask me the other day if we would come take a picture of his little league team once they get started. He said he would get a hit for me if I came. Made my day!