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The Press Box For Week of Jan. 20

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

I had the opportunity to attend the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament in Wheeling this past week and it is definitely an impressive event, well worth the trip.

I never was much for wrestling because all I ever watched was the fake stuff on T.V. Let me tell you – I am now a fan of high school wrestling! Tyler Consolidated took about 10 wrestlers to the event and they gave it their all. Wrestling requires individual performance as it pits one opponent against another and from what I saw, the Silver Knight wrestlers are up and coming. They have strength, endurance and the will to win. They were well prepared and well coached.

The OVAC Tournament was well managed and drew large crowds. It is one of the largest and oldest wrestling tournaments in the entire country. One of the highlights was when Eric McKeever, an ex-Tyler wrestling coach and now Magnolia assistant, was named OVAC assistant coach of the year.

The Silver Knights represented Tyler Consolidated well and for that they can be proud.

Several things were going on this past weekend including the annual Boggs Roundball Classic held at the Silver Knights’ gym. It was a busy week covering the two tournaments as they both started on Thursday and finished on Saturday.

Tyler’s girls dropped a close one to Valley in the opening round on Thursday night. The boys’ team, which had knocked off Valley in the Paden City Bob Burton Classic, fell to Valley Friday as they had to play without three starters who are on the injury list.

Magnolia won the boys’ tournament with a victory over Valley on Saturday night and the Lady Eagles knocked off Valley’s Lumberjills to take the girls’ title. North Marion won the boys’ consolation game over the Silver Knights. Tyler’s Lady Knights got the consolation win over Clarksburg Notre Dame with some clutch foul shooting in the last 30 seconds. It was a well organized tournament and Boggs Pizza should be commended for their sponsorship of the basketball classic.

Several local basketball and wrestling tournaments have taken place over the past month and a lot of work goes into putting on these events. Sometimes the organizers and workers are there the entire day working to put it all together. These are the people that make high schools great, these are men and women who care about the kids in their schools, the ones who get nothing in return but the satisfaction of knowing they have helped provide an event the kids will never forget.

I thought of all the extra curriculum activities that go along with a local high school education. How fortunate we are to have school systems with dedicated employees and volunteers willing to help our students get the most out of their high school experience. I congratulate your efforts. I am proud of you all for caring enough to make our local schools successful. As I have said before, Paden City and Tyler Consolidated are two of the finest schools in West Virginia.

With all the activities the local schools provide, most kids can rest assured there will be something to participate in. Prom, Homecoming, science fairs, art, FFA, chess clubs, math competitions, spelling bees, band, drama clubs, honor societies, choir and many more plus the sporting events are all part of a high school experience. What a blessing to have dedicated teachers, administrators and board members who are working to give the kids these opportunities and help teach them to be better members of society. Every gym I go to has some special kids who don’t have the skills or ability to play the sports, yet they never miss a contest and are always willing to help out in any way they can. That also makes a school special. It gives the kids memories to last a lifetime.

All of this reminds me of when I was a 15-year-old in high school and a member of the freshman basketball team. We would practice every evening, but one week on a Sunday afternoon, my mother told us (her five children) not to make any plans in the evenings this week because we would be going to church each night for revival meetings. I argued that I had basketball practice but she would not budge.

“I don’t care what you have you are going to church,” she said.

That’s where I learned about Jesus. My JV coach understood the importance of what my mother was doing and although I missed a week of practice, it was not counted against me. My mother instilled a faith in me by example and my faith in God has never wavered. I understood at an early age that God is alive and no one can ever take that away from me. Thank God for all the great people in and around our schools who are willing to help.

Education is what you make it. If you want to learn, you will. If you don’t, you won’t. If you want to believe a lie, you will. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s not the teachers or coaches who ruin a child’s education, it’s usually uneducated parents who think they know more than those in charge. I call them wannabees! Coaching or teaching other people’s children are two of the hardest things a person can do and even harder if you have to deal with a disgruntled parent. No longer are teachers allowed to discipline the way they should be. We used to get it on the rear and let me tell you, it would straighten you out quick. Why has that changed? Well just like everything else, parents who thought their kids could do no wrong protested for change.

My point is this: you can’t live your children’s lives for them. They need to grow up and learn to make decisions for themselves and be held accountable for them. I was told you are old enough to know right from wrong, be careful what you say and do, and always keep your faith. I am thankful we have educators who are willing to provide good and strong academic and athletic opportunities for all of our children. It is an experience no child should ever miss.

A high level college basketball coach, who is a friend of mine, told me this: I may not be able to teach Christianity, but what I can do is teach my players right from wrong.

That brings me back to the OVAC Wrestling tournament. I was humbled by the opening ceremonies as the teams were led onto the mats carrying their team banners and the start of the event was preceded by the singing of the National Anthem and saying of a prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.