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The Press Box For Aug. 30

By Staff | Aug 30, 2017

Someone asked me the other day a question I never know how to answer, “What is your favorite sport?” My usual answer is “whatever sport I am currently watching.” Too many variables exist to deem just one sport my “favorite” because each is uniquely special.

However, my first instinct would be to say my favorite sport is basketball. Basketball was my first passion. Probably spending more than half my time growing up on the outdoor court. Made my first basket about the age of 10, when a group of high school players needed another player to make the teams even and I was it. Someone threw me the ball at the foul line, I threw it towards the basket, it went in and I was hooked. I then played all the way through my middle school and high school years. Living in West Virginia, my favorite team became WVU. I will never forget the Mountaineers’ upset victory over No. 1 ranked Kentucky in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Even though I love basketball, I am also passionate about volleyball. Volleyball requires attention to detail, value of each possession and emphasis on teamwork, making it fascinating to watch or coach.

While watching is exciting, high school volleyball boasts the best in sports and is never dull, especially in November.

Although soccer is also thrilling, football is irreplaceable. High School football on Friday nights can’t be replaced. I have always enjoyed watching WVU play college football. The atmosphere of an electric college stadium on Saturdays in the fall cannot be accurately translated through the television, making football one of the best sporting events to attend in person and if you can ever make it to a Steelers game you will experience the ultimate football fever.

The last sport that I have an intense passion for is baseball. I follow baseball as much as any other sport. While some lament the idea of such a long season, I relish making the trip to watch the Pirates or Indians. Going to a Mountaineer game is another treasure. Some critics find each game dull and boring, but I find it the opposite. Nothing can quite replace the experience of a ballpark humming with excitement on a warm July night. The crack of the bat, dirt stains and long home runs are never, ever dull to me. This past season high school baseball provided some of the best excitement I’ve seen on that level for years. Baseball provides special moments, like the big hit by Pittsburg’s Josh Harrison that broke up a no-hitter and won the game in the 10th over the Dodgers the other night. Those things only happen on rare occasion but provide the excitement that makes it all worthwhile.

How can you pick just one sport to be your favorite? A goal in soccer creates more excitement than any other play. Basketball has the best tournament in sports. Football’s game day excitement cannot be replicated. And baseball requires attention to each pitch. Each sport provides unique entertainment and picking just one is impossible. So please, never ask me what my favorite sport is, or I just might go on a tirade explaining why I love each sport individually and equally. Golf, Cross Country, Hockey and Track and Field are also unique in their own way.

The sports world is “rocked” with macabre social issues. So let’s turn our attention to many who have daily contact with youth, and work hard to help them grow up to be responsible citizens.

How many young people are provided each day with positive direction by our local leaders. How many young people have been transformed by our local coaches, teachers, and parents. How many young people in our community have been provided positive examples of good sportsmanship by our local communities for their exemplary service to youth?

Paden City council recognizes students of the month on a regular basis. These programs, these people, and their committment are there in thousands of communities from one end of this great land-of-opportunity to the other. Welcome and encouraging news can be found every single day in the world of service to youth in America. Try and be part of a program in your community that helps provide positive examples for kids to follow? We pick local athletes each week as Players of the week. There are several teams to choose from and often the choice is difficult. Often we choose more than one and many times there are special and honorable mentioned. Anyone wanting to dominate an athlete for recognition can do so by sending the athletes name and sport to eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.

I always liked the story of the Dad and Son conversation. This is a revised version but it goes something like this. A father and his young son lying on the grass on a summer afternoon watching the clouds wander by, in the stillness of the moment the son asked, “Dad, why are we here?”

Dad replied, “Well son, I don’t think it’s all that complicated. I think maybe we’re here just to teach a kid how to bunt, turn a double play, and eat sunflower seeds without using his hands. Maybe we’re here to see, at least once, the pocket collapse around the quarterback, when it’s fourth- and-never with 26 seconds on the clock. Or to sit and watch as the count goes to 3-1 on the batter with bases loaded, and the pitcher begins wishing he’d gone on to Law school.

“We’re here to wear our favorite sweat-soaked ball cap, torn WVU sweatshirt and the Jordan basketball shoes we could never afford. It’s one of those Saturday mornings with nowhere we need to go and nothing special we have to do. We’re here to watch the Mountaineers make another big play to win as time runs out. We’re here waiting on the results of the big cross country meet. Were here to see who scored the winning goal in the soccer match or find out who won the volleyball tournament. We’re here to witness the PGA professional lining up a twenty-foot birdie to win the Open.”

Dad continued, “I don’t think we’re here to get on Sportscenter. Or to be spending so much time slaving toward a better car, the perfect house, or chasing happiness when happiness is already within ourselves. Does that answer your question, son?”

He said, “Not really, Dad.” Dad, with wrinkled brow, said “No?” And the son said, “No, I’m wondering what were here for when we were supposed to pick mom up 45 minutes ago.”

Summer vacation, as I called it way back then, was always a joyful time. School was out about the third week in June and didn’t resume until the Monday after Labor Day. It was a lazy do-what-you-want-to do time until I was 12. At that age, I began having a summer job still have one! Several summers were spent working on my grandfather’s farm, we worked the garden, raised cattle, bailed hay, gathered eggs and did several other chores. At the end of each week I recieved a dollar or so. It wans’t the money that made a difference, it was the quality talks like the one above – that I had with my grandparents. They left lasting impressions on me which helped me through life.

I am very impressed that this past Friday night’s football game between Tyler Consolidated and Williamstown was the first game of the year to be chosen as the Opioid Prevention High School Football Game of the Week. Every day Opioid painkillers are claiming the life’s of our young people and programs like this have positive effects on the choices that are made.

Opioid Pain Medications only temorarily relieve pain and do nothing to help the underlying problem . They have serious side effects and lead to increased dependence, abuse and addiction. Many people are now turning their backs on the problem of substance abuse and many of our neighborhoods are overrun with drugs. So it is great to see West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey making such an effort of awareness. It was a great game to watch on a beautiful night. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com