Movie Quote of the Day:
“Attention campers, lunch has been canceled today due to lack of hustle. Deal with it.”
– Tony Perkis, Heavy Weights (1995)
When I was proofreading the sports section of the local newspaper where I work, I noticed a story that said that the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBOE) killed a new proposal by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) to allow athletes and coaches to have year-round practices.
I couldn’t believe some of the responses from current high school coaches in West Virginia that opposed the new rule change. Most responses said they didn’t think it would be fair to the players who play multiple sports. Claiming “it would be too hard on the kids.”
This is the stupidest thing I’ve probably ever seen. I played high school football at a nationally prominent program. We were successful because we had practice year-round. We started offseason workouts when school returned from Christmas Break in January. We worked out five days a week, every week, until school let out in May. Then we worked out in the summer four days a week, every week, until school started in August. Once school started that meant the season started for the team, so the coaches would only have us work out three days a week. We had certain weeks off throughout the year like spring break, Memorial Day week, 4th of July week, etc.
My high school had an overall record of 41-4 in my three years of varsity and JV and made back-to-back-to-back trips to the Alabama state championship. There’s no doubt in my mind that we were that successful because of the year-round practice policy that the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) implemented, and my high was NOT the most talented team in the state by any means. We were as good as we were because of a lot practice. (Shocker, practice makes perfect)
Coaches at my high school were more than understanding about players that played more than one sport. Basically, if that team was in season, that athlete was devoted to that team. That kept rotating throughout the year. So coaches in West Virginia are going to have to come up with a better excuse. If the kid can’t handle multiple sports, then it should be up to him if he wants to continue playing multiple sports or just focus on one.
People in West Virginia claim that there’s no talent in the state because of the lack of high school athletes that D-I programs recruit in West Virginia. That couldn’t be more false. There’s talent in this state, but they can’t reach their true potential unless they have year-round practices.
Not just the high schools, but West Virginia University and Marshall University are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to recruiting because their own backyard is so far behind from the rest of the country. The best collegiate sports programs in the country are located in recruiting hotbeds because their high schools have year-round practices and those athletes are ready for the collegiate level.
West Virginia needs to keep up with the rest of the country and quit being stubborn about change.