The Press Box for 11/11
There are some things that just don’t make sense! The old saying “Rules are made to be broken” was never so true, as is the case of the 2020 Class A volleyball tournament.. I have never in all my days witnessed anything so disgustingly unfair as the recent ruling knocking Magnolia and Paden City high school volleyball teams out of the sectional tournament, because Wetzel County schools were shut down. According to the WVDE the shutdown put the county in the red on the map, therefore eliminating the schools from any extracurricular activity.
I have heard some say it’s a shame that the top two teams in West Virginia Class A were not allowed to play. No, it’s more than that, in my opinion it teeters on illegal. While the West Virginia Department of Education is entrusted with making rules, regulations and laws which impact the well being of the children of the state, they are also responsible to make fair and just decisions with regard to all aspects of our children’s education including their participation in sporting events.
There is no reason why extra precautions could not have been put in place to safely allow the Region 1, Section 1 tournament to go on as scheduled. If it meant testing of entire teams and coaches, then so be it. If it meant playing with no fans including parents and siblings, so be it. If it meant changing locations so be it. But to abruptly end the high school careers of some of the top volleyball players in the state because of an outbreak of COVID-19, in the county, but not in the schools, is irresponsible and damaging for every athlete on the teams affected.
High School sports has to be one of the highlights of any child’s life. Today more than ever before, children are taught from an early age, that if you work hard, put in the time and do everything you are supposed to, you will be successful. You will be treated fairly when it comes to life in general. Last week we saw events that cut to the very core of what these young people have been told all their lives.
It has to be one of the hardest things a young athlete can even imagine, work your tail off all though high school to achieve a goal, and then have it snatched away from you with the swipe of a pen.
Now, everyone knows we are living in different times.
We have a deadly virus that is spreading like wildfire throughout the country. It has infiltrated our local area and is on the rise. The superintendent of schools tested positive and was quarantined.
He is an ex-Paden City athlete who made it to the state basketball tournament as a senior in high school.
He is a Wetzel County native who cares deeply for all the people in the county and for Paden City in particular.
Mr. Toman made the call to close all Wetzel County schools based on what he believes were the guidelines and recommendations of the health department, the rules of the WVDE, and the WVSSAC.
He was also strongly supported on the decision by the Wetzel County Board of Education, including the President of the Board Brian Price who is also a Paden City resident.
Toman also has a niece who plays for Magnolia and is a first team all-state volleyball player. The whole idea that Ed Toman shut down Wetzel County schools by himself is just not true and is unfair to suggest that he would do so without first considering all options and consulting with the B.O.E. .
Some of these girls have been playing volleyball competitively since grade school. They have devoted many hours of hard work developing their game, and some are on the verge of playing at the next level. Some were counting on strong performances in the state tournament to propel them to the next level with perhaps a chance at scholarships. It’s disappointing to say the least. When you get beat out of the tournament, that’s one thing, but getting tossed out on your seat with no recuse is another. The old saying “wait till next year” does not work for the seniors who have spent their high school days preparing for the tournament. All that can be said is “the best team didn’t win.”