homepage logo

The Press Box For Nov. 15

By Staff | Nov 15, 2017

I think once you read this article you’ll understand what that means. Back in the late 60’s and 70’s, really not as long back as some of you may think, there were some great athletes in the area. There have been many since, but several from that time still come to mind when I think of great accomplishments.

Bellaire, St. John’s, Ohio, had one of the best in Allen Hornyak, he was a three sport star, a first team All-State selection in baseball, football and basketball. Think about that! What kind of athlete would you have to be to make all-Ohio in one sport, let alone three.

Hornyak, is best known for his basketball skills. He was a dandy, averaging 40 points, (yes that’s right 40) per game for two straight years. He was highly recruited and ended up playing four years at Ohio State. Was drafted by Cleveland. But the thing that stood out the most was his ability to compete at a high level in multi-sports.

New Martinsville, had a couple great ones in Tommy Haught and Fuzzy Filliez. Again both were three sport All-Staters. Football, Baseball and basketball. I will never forget playing ball with both of these guys. Both ended up playing football, Division 1. Fuzzy set several receiving records at Marshall. Haught, ended up playing wide receiver for the Wheeling Ironmen, a minor league pro team.

Both of these great athletes honed their skills by playing multi-sports.

Paden City, has had it’s share of skilled players, but one comes to mind above all others. Norman Trowbridge, may be the best overall wildcat athlete ever. Just my opinion, but take into consideration his skill as a first team All-State football player, who was the fullback and kicker for the 1970 state championship team. He was just a sophomore at the time, he became a three time All-State selection. In basketball he played on the 1973 state championship team and it was his rebounding and hot shooting from the corner that gave the Wildcats an extra boost in their comeback win over Oakvale. He was selected to the All-Tournament team. He was also a state champion in track where he won in the shot put. Playing multi-sports made him a better athlete. He went on to play Div. 1 football at Ohio University.

I could go on and on with this but I think I’ve made my case. The really great ones play more than one sport. Recently, a highly successful volleyball coach told me he encourages his girls to play basketball and run track. He said if you think that specializing in one sport is the only way to develop enough skill to make it to an elite level, “You need to think again.”

The problem we run into today is parents and coaches are pushing and pressuring kids to specialize in one sport, hoping it will maximize their potential and lead to college scholarships. Sometimes it works that way but sometimes not.

As much as they’re pressured into playing on travel teams, AAU ball, or club ball, the evidence proves that specialization in one sport has many detriments. Multi-sport participation is proven to be 85 percent more beneficial.

Muti-sport participants are proven to have better team skills, and increased eye/hand coordination, plus their over-all athletic development becomes greater and the chance of injury and burnout decreases.

Kids who want to be great athletes have a far greater chance of earning a college scholarship by playing two or more sports than those that specialize in one sport.

Single sport athletes grow up with the myth that if you don’t stick with “your sport” you won’t make it to the next level, when in fact that’s not true. It just isn’t good for them and you will never get their best when they are playing one sport nearly all year round. Nothing causes burn out more, because nothing feels special to them anymore, especially when the pressure starts to build. Soon they start to feel guilty if they miss a practice or tournament.

Anyway, you can surf in many places, or drown in one. Small schools need all of their athletes to participate and they need to do so in a way that benefits themselves plus their school. The more success your school has in as many sports as possible, the greater your chances of being noticed by a college recruiter. Many small schools in West Virginia are no longer in existence, I believe it is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts a community can have.

Small schools can survive, it has been proven, however it takes dedication to your school, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to keep the school alive. Great athletes take pride in what they do and where they come from. Just remember, “winners never quit and quitters never win”.

With all that being said, I want to take this time to congratulate the Silver Knights Girls Volleyball team for making a sixth straight appearance in the state high school volleyball tournament in Charleston. Congratulations to Paden City freshman Hope Weber, for being named the 2017 OVAC Class A volleyball player of the year, It was a reward well deserved. Congratulations, also go out to two outstanding Paden City high school volleyball players who were selected to play in the OVAC All-Star game, Aubrey Neff and Malayna Price. All three were also named first team All-OVAC Conference Class A.

Good luck to all the area teams as the winter sports season begins. I encourage all kids to participate in anyway you can to help your sports teams, school, community and yourself have a rewarding high school sports season. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.