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The Press Box for January 15

By Staff | Jan 15, 2020

Even though I have my favorites, I can watch almost any sporting event with contentment (although pro sports are no longer on the agenda)

However, I’m by no means a sports nut. In fact, I know very little when it comes to rosters, team history and even conference members. What I do know are the rules, strategies and a good athlete when I see one.

Recently, the Mountaineers have grabbed my attention. What a great defensive team! The announcers were calling them the best defensive team in the nation. They may be right on that, so far no team has proven them wrong.

It’s great to see the Mountaineers’ represent us so well as they battle some of the best teams in the nation. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, no one gets the job done better than Coach Bob Huggins. He sure has turned the program around since last season. If they could only make free throws the Mountaineers would be undefeated. As great as they have been playing, it’s just as exciting for me to watch our local athletes

If you want to see a good display of basketball, take in a West Liberty game. Now those guys can really shoot the ball. They have one of the best guards I’ve seen in a long time and it’s worth the price of admission just to watch Magnolia’s Preston Boswell.

Yes folks, we have some very good athletes in this area and for that matter, we have even greater kids. It amazes me when I watch a high school basketball player drill a 3-pointer from NBA range. When a wrestler wins first place in a big meet and is 21-0 on the season.

I was amazed this season watching volleyball players jump a foot higher than the net and slam the ball to the floor with enough force to hurt someone – yet the defense with reflexes that I could only dream about, dives on the hardwood and returns the slam. It really is something to watch!

I’ve been amazed to see soccer players move the ball with footwork that in all reality should trip them up, and then they kick it to the net for a score. It’s amazing when a player returns the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown or someone causes a fumble which saves the game.

I love watching little schools like Paden City, which hardly has kids enough to put a team on the court yet with every game they reach down deep inside themselves and come out to compete. With under-sized kids and low in numbers, they still make it all worthwhile. They haven’t been winning, but they never quit.

I love it when little towns like Hundred can come up with teams to be competitive and wins ball games. They’ve been doing it this year!

But the thing I love most is how sports bring people together. Yes, sometimes animosity can arise between overzealous fans or players. Coaches can go overboard with their antics. But in general, there is a healthy competitive nature encompassed by a sense of camaraderie.

I can only speak for the teams I have witnessed.

I’m sure other teams I don’t follow do amazing things as well, but this week at the games I attended, amazing things did happen. Both local schools proved to be just what they are “great schools.”

The Silver Knights and Wildcat basketball teams are both trying hard to get some wins and improve their level of play. Tyler’s boys team got the win against the Wildcats in Paden City to give them their second win of the season while the Cats fell to 0-10. Might not have been a lot of incentive to attend the game, but a nice crowd showed up which goes to show we have some of the best fans in the state.

When other area schools come to these two gyms, they are treated with respect. Sure, there will be an occasional flare up, but the administration is always there to quell any problems. Tyler Consolidated and Paden City fans stand behind their teams.

This weekend the Boggs Basketball Tournament will take place art TCHS. It’s a great tournament that will showcase some quality high school basketball. It starts tomorrow night with two girls games beginning at 6 p.m. and finishes up on Saturday with the consolation and championship games.

We also have two of the best booster clubs around, some of the best volunteers and the most dedicated fans. They work hard to provide the extras for the schools and athletes. But the camaraderie behind sporting events doesn’t even have to be about good deeds and notions like these. You can go anywhere in the nation, and if you are wearing your team’s logo, you are sure to strike up a conversation with other sports fans. It serves as a common ground for people from different towns and states, to connect on.

Regardless of how different someone might be, a Silver Knights’ fan will always be a Silver Knights fan, a Wildcat fan will always be a Wildcat fan, a Mountaineer fan will always be a WVU fan. Go to any big 12 game and you will see and hear a lot of down playing of the visiting team. It happens at every school. Though this may be seen as negative, (and a few fans can certainly make it so) in my experience of such interactions, it has always concluded in a sportful jest.

Sports can bring out the worst in us when we let our emotions and competitive nature take over although that is the exception rather than the norm. However, I stand firmly by the point that sporting events bring us together to enjoy and experience a single spectacle in unity. When one team suffers an injury, the other will always be there to help them out, and of course, continue the game with or without them.

With lots of sports left in this school year, let’s make each game an event for all to enjoy. Nothing is better for a school or an athlete than walking into a gym or onto a field and seeing the place filled with high spirited fans waiting to cheer on their favorite team or player. Take a trip sometime to a major college game and experience the excitement that fills the air.

I’m enthusiastic about people having a good time, getting together to tailgate and taking in some of the best sports in the world today, bar none! I truly love high school sports, but nothing compares to the atmosphere of major college games.

I strongly encourage everyone to take in a game or two, you won’t regret it. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com