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The Press Box: Some Win And Some Lose

By Ed Parsons - Editor | Aug 18, 2021

We are about to enter the 2021 fall high school sports season in West Virginia. Some teams such as golf may have already started. My observation so far has been nothing but positive when talking with coaches and players. Most understand that winning doesn’t come overnight, it takes lots of hard work and dedication from many different people to build a winning program and even more when trying to maintain it.

A few things to consider when evaluating a school or a sports program is it’s not always the coaches fault when things turn sour. There are multiple reasons why teams fail to perform up to their fans standards. Most schools who produce winning seasons year-in-an-year-out are the ones who have seasoned dedicated athletes willing to do what it takes to win. Even with those forunate enough to have those type of athletes, they also fail when their support systems fail. Nothing ever stands long without a good foundation.

For many years these local schools were filled to capacity with high quality athletes who spent most of their spare time honing their skills in order to be the best they could be, and to set examples for the next group that would follow. As of right now we are not as fortunate to have an abundance of people and most of the time just getting enough to play is a task in it’s self.

When our communities were filled with factories, and the plants up and down the valley provided good jobs for the majority of the people, and coal mining and steel production drew families to the area, we managed to have great competivie teams without worrying whether there would be enough kids. Most schools fielded freshman and reserve teams made up of underclassmen. Looking back through the annuals of time, it was not unusual for a school like Paden City to have 40 kids turn out for the start of the season and instead of some dropping off, more would likely join.

Today is a different time, with more activities to choose from and lower numbers in the schools it takes more work on everyones part to keep the programs going. Don’t be disappointed if your favorite team doesn’t have a winning season or make the playoffs. Stay positive and work harder, nothing ever comes easy.

Building a program starts early. From middle school through high school kids really start to find out what they want to do. Some might want to play sports and others might not. Some might enjoy football and some may rather be in the band or in the chess club. Whatever it is make sure you support them in what they decide. A word of precaution would be don’t try an force a child at any age to do an activity they aren’t interested in. They will normally rebell and fail.

There are four major sports programs happening in the fall at most high schools. Number one in most observers minds is football. However volleyball, cross country, golf, and soccer are also important and at some schools they draw lots of excitement. Skill wise I have to say Golf may be the toughest of all to accomplish. It’s not easy knocking that ball a few hundred yards and putting it in the little round hole in five shots.

Soccer requires a lot of endurance and skill wise, you’re footwork has to be practiced over and over. It is also a very physical challenge for all who hit the field of play.

Now let me say I never thought I would be a fan of high school volleyball, but it may be my all time favorite high school sport. I can’t think of any other sport that requires faster reflexes that volleyball. It’s a beautiful sight to see when a young girl jumps with precise timing to block a shot by the opposition or is set up and completes a kill of her own. Just watching some of the digs is enough to have you skaing your head wondering how it happened. Let me say if you have never seen a high school volleyball match, you don’t know what you’re missing.

So, where does cross country fall into when evaluating skill and competition. Let me answer that as an ex-runner who competed in three marathons and several 12k races. Cross country by fall is the hardest of all the above. It requires constant training at a level most would rather forget. However, it also provides health awards some of the others sports can’t compare with. Go out for a six mile run sometime in 90 degree heat and see how it feels. Not to good until you cool down and realize you can engulf all the pizza you want without gaining any weight.

Football requires intense training. Everything from weight conditioning to speed and reflex drills. The ability to take a hard knock and get back up for another is not for the meak. However the awards you get from making a toughdown saving tackle, an interception that saved the game or from scoring on a long run or burst up the middle makes it all worthwhile. Catching a first down pass or blocking for the QB are just as rewarding and important. All ot these things take years to perfect and natural ability and athletic skill play a huge part in how good one can be.

Despite all the different sports and thrills and hazards of each, it takes good coaches at all levels of play to encourage, teach, and support each athlete to become the better with each outing. Coaches, boosters, fans, parents and friends all play an important part in the success of their teams and their schools. With cheerleaders, high schools bands, bus loads of followers and community support high school athletic programs can be the best time of your life. It comes and goes quickly. Enjoy it while you can and if you’re not a member of a team you can still be a part of the progran as a fan and supporter. Good Luck to all during the 2021 fall sports season and may we be blessed with playoff teams and individuals in state meets from everyone of our schools.

One more thing, there’s no excuse for missing all games this season Tyler County Residents get in free to all home events. Wetzel County students are admitted to all home events free of charge. Take advantage of a good thing and support your teams.