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The Press Box For May 17

By Staff | May 17, 2017

Editor’s Note: This week, Tyler Star News Sports Writer Ed Parsons, and Wetzel Chronicle Sports Writer Bruce Crawford, combined forces for a special column. We hope you enjoy “From My View At The Press Box.”Bruce began the column.

This week, my friend Ed Parsons (sports writer at the Tyler Star News) and I are going to team up on a sports column, about sportsmanship.

We both observed sectionals in baseball and softball, as well as regional track, last week, and it was very uplifting to watch – and now to praise – the players, coaches, fans and umpires.

I will cover both the baseball and softball sectionals, while Ed will comment on the regional track meet at Ritchie County High School.

We both respect the people that had anything to do with taking part in anyway, including concession workers and ticket takers.

During the baseball sectionals, despite a few calls that could have gone either way, there was no arguing whatsoever, and the fans everywhere were class acts. It made Ed and I proud of our fans, coaches and players.

When a team made a nice defensive play, both teams applauded the play, as well as the fans. A couple of times, the pitchers were walking players, but you didn’t hear once that the coach should take him out. Of course, you couldn’t hear everything, but what we did hear was good.

At the Tyler and Magnolia baseball and softball games, I traveled back-and forth trying to catch both events as well as the local radio station with Brian Croasmun in the middle to announce both games.

The umpires had the game well-officiated and got the players focused on the game as well. A few times coaches asked for time and questioned a call, but went back learning that questioning calls is a no-no, that you never can change what they saw. Once, one official went out to ask politely to calm down, and they did without questioning at al – outstanding stuff.

With the Magnolia girls coming back to defeat the Lady Knights, after losing twice in regular season and once in the sectionals, they put it together and played clean-inspired ball and won. They didn’t gloat, and the Lady Knight players, of course, were hurt they couldn’t continue; yet, they still shook hands and wished Magnolia luck when they face Wheeling Central this week, with a state berth on the line.

The Tyler assistant coach told the umpires that they did a good job, and with him, was his daughter Madison – a senior on the Knights softball team. That’s real good stuff.

When covering Paden City baseball and softball during the sectionals, you can never say anything – one of the best sportsmanship teams around.

At the Magnolia baseball field, everyone talks about Dave Cisar, but I can tell you personally – he is a class act. It may seem harsh what he says sometimes to his players, but they understand he is teaching them the game of baseball and life. You can ask anyone that he has coached, and you will hear the same thing. I have heard more than once.

And now, for Ed’s take on the regional track meet…

Someone said the other day – something needs to be said about the good sportsmanship and lack of vulgarity this year during local sports events.

Well I thought on that a little, and on our way to the regional track meet in Ritchie County, Bruce and I talked about how things have been this year as far as sportsmanship is concerned. Bruce, as most of you know, is my counterpart between the Wetzel Chronicle and Tyler Star News – or you could say I am his. However, we had a pretty good conversation concerning sports, and how certain sports seem to be more competitive than others; therefore they seem to stir everyone up more often. Football, Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball seem to have more problems.

One thing we did agree on was that this school year has been one of the best either of us have been around. There have been very few arguments, zero fights, and disruptions have been few and far between. Now, if only we could get along that well when talking sports, we would be in business. We always seem to differ on which athlete or team is the best or which school has the best cheerleaders and so on and so forth.

Seriously though, we are very different in many ways, Bruce is more of the “smooth it over” type of guy and I am more of the “stir it up” type, and when you put the two together, it can be dangerous. Another way to put it is: Bruce is more serious than Ed! I like’s to take a bad situation and exploit it; while, normally, unless it is extremely out of line, Bruce will forget it and move on.

You might say, “How can those two work together when they can’t get along and are so different?” The answer to that is we are both ex-coal miners who have been around each other for close to 40 years. We know each other well, and we both are willing to do what it takes to make a bad situation good; neither one of us is afraid to tell the other when he’s wrong. We are both forgiving type of people, as long as we’re not being taken advantage of. Our most common denominator happens to be our belief in Jesus as our Savior.

Many times Bruce will say, “What makes them act that way?” I always answer in the same way: “You know what it is Bruce.” We are both proud to say, despite a few limited problems, that coaches, parents, fans, spectators and the local athletes have been a blessing to be around this year, and it has been our pleasure to cover sports at our high schools.

We will not say everything has been perfect, because it has been far from it. But it has been good. We see many great kids and most of them have great parents. The coaches have been fantastic to communicate with, and that alone makes our job much easier.

The Regional track meet at Ritchie County brought together teams from 10 different schools competing in 17 separate events. There were approximately 200 athletes competing.

When we arrived, we had two opposing thoughts. My first thought was, “I wonder what kind of problems there will be tonight.” Bruce was like, “Wow this is awesome!” It was awesome!

From what we witnessed, there were no disputes, great sportsmanship, no foul language that we heard, and parents stood around together, and sat around each other in the stands. We witnessed no arguments The best part was watching as the teams mingled together, as they congratulated each other on their times, and cheered for each other. It was an all-around amazing site to watch. One in particular was when the boy with the fastest time in the 100 meter reinjured a hamstring. Several of his own teammates went to his aid but so did others from competing schools. He was not able to compete in the finals, thus knocking him out of the event in Charleston. We watched as he stood and cheered on the boy from Magnolia who would take his place. Folks that’s great sportsmanship!

We were able to communicate with several kids from several different schools, and we can’t say enough good things about them. Hopefully, and we pray, this type of behavior will carry over at the state meet, and from there, to the next school year.

We love to watch the competitive nature of the teams, coaches and fans. It thrills us when the teams we cover win, and we are as proud of the kids as anyone. Parents, these are your kids, and they only go through this once in a lifetime. Stand beside them, support them, and do it in a positive way. They will be winners and so will you. You can reach us with comments, advice, or otherwise. We keep it confidential.

bcrawford@wetzelcronicle.com or eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.