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By Staff | Dec 12, 2018

The crew here at the county papers had been predicting the winners and losers in the 2018 state high school football playoffs. Wouldn’t you know it! Vance Ash came out the winner with only two bad picks out of 45 games. The guy’s a wizard.

Your local sportswriter didn’t do bad either as I came in with 39 out of 45. Longtime Wetzel Chronicle sportswriter Bruce Crawford was one step behind with 38 of 45, and our “Goode” buddy R.J. came in last with 36 of 45. I think R.J. could have won, but he tried for some upsets that didn’t happen. He said wait until next year.

I always like it when someone who never played a sport in their life, except maybe ping pong or billiards, knows it all when it comes to high school sports. Sitting in a local gym last week I heard some strange but funny comments. One girl was going in for a layup off a steal and was all alone; she missed it, and a guy sitting in front of me yelled, “Come on, pass the ball.” What? To who?

Same game! Different guy. “Come on ref, get with the program.” Listen, it’s not a program; it’s a ball game. Oh well, same thing to a guy who doesn’t know the difference. The best one came from that same guy, who then hollered, “Possession arrow? Possession arrow? Man, that was a jump ball!” That’s right; lay it on the ref, you fool.

That was just one game. It got worse as the week went on. The kids were all playing hard; the coaches were doing their best, and the refs were very good. The know-it-alls were out in full force. More comedy! Honestly, this really happened! This guy jumps up and screams, “Three seconds ref, come on!” He was upset because the other team took longer than three seconds to get the ball up court. He later said, “No wonder we’re losing; the refs don’t call anything.” Another guy beside him said, “The rule is five seconds, not three.”

The season has just started, and I hope things get better, because I don’t think I can take much more of this insanity.

I love sports, but come on, let’s enjoy it. I mean there are some stupid rules, but three seconds to get the ball up court isn’t one of them, neither is five. I wonder what these people tell their kids when they get home. Do they say, “Those referees really messed that game up.” I’ll bet they have plenty of good basketball advice.

Now let me say, this isn’t even funny because these were professional people. They work in our school system and county offices; they make decisions that affect our daily lives, and they teach our children.

My biggest fear is they may even be involved with our churches because that old familiar passage of scripture says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Don’t want a fool teaching my Sunday school class.

Let’s move on here! It’s a great time of year, lots of Christmas parties; the holidays are nearly upon us. Football bowl games will soon be on; basketball tournaments are happening. Kids will be on Christmas break soon; let’s try and not spoil things.

Get behind the kids, and support them. Win or lose, they are giving their best. Help the coaches out if you can, and most important, thank God for their opportunity and ability to play. Not all kids get the chance to be a part of their high school sports team. Years from now they will look back on it as a rewarding experience, and the wins and losses won’t mean a thing.

A wise old guy once told me that sports is like everything else. If you do the best you can, no matter what the circumstances, you will come out a winner in someone’s eyes. I saw that this past week as I watched a team taking a good thumping. I’m not sure if anyone else picked up on it or not, but one athlete in particular never quit. Down by 20 plus points, the athlete continued to play like the game was on the line. Not only did she add to her totals, but she worked to get a couple younger kids the ball who also were able to score.

I also saw a local boys team with a new coach battle a team down to the wire, only to come out on top because they never gave up. Even with a few things stacked against them, they got the points they needed in the end to etch out the victory. While all the time, the coach was doing his job – directing the kids, encouraging the kids, instructing the kids, and supporting them to the end. Keep up the good work.

On the other hand, anyone can have the title coach, but not everyone can be a coach.

eparsons@tylerstarnews.com, 304-652-4141 or 304-771-9373.