There’s no doubt the football season is just on the horizon since I attended a grid-o-rama with my six-year-old grandson, Jordan, the past weekend. Jordan, whose dad played for the runner-up state Class AA basketball team at Logan High a few years ago, was relatively excited before the scrimmage began.
It is not necessary for me to propound my long-held theories about amateur athletics. The past Saturday’s scrimmages at Duval Field in Griffithsville attracted a nice-sized crowd and the atmosphere was conducive to a good time.
Jordan plays for the Guyan team in what has been known, variously, as the Boone-Lincoln Midget Football League and/or the Boone Midget Football League. Buffalo in Putnam County scrimmaged against Guyan Saturday, so there is obviously now some team(s) other than Boone and Lincoln in the mix.
Jordan’s four-month-old sister, Mahayla, appeared to particularly enjoy seeing “big brother” in action.
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Combine midget football opening with the imminent East-West All-Star Classic (which ties the record for how many hyphens one can have in a game title) and the smell of tailgating touches the nose. It’s almost football time in the Mountain State.
The East-West Classic, for those I haven’t explained it to, is more or less the replacement for the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl. After 18 years, Kentucky officials apparently wanted to bury the old feud once and for all, declining to participate in 2014. That game was for just-graduated high school seniors in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Hatfield-McCoy game director Yogi Kinder, the famed Southern West Virginia coach, then decided to do something else. The result is the East-West All-Star Classic, which will be played August 2 at Mingo Central High School. Somehow, although I am not certain how, participants in the game will be divided into West and East squads from graduated West Virginia athletes.
Logan’s head coach will lead the West all-stars. River View Head Coach Gehrig Justice will lead the East.
Okay, Logan is “West” and River View is “East.” Okay, got it. Wait, no I don’t got it. Geography was never my strength, anyway.
The teams will also sport new colors. The West team will look like Marshall in their green and white; while the East team will look like the University of Southern Pennsylvania at Morgantown School (US-PMS) in their yellow gear. Let’s hope they PLAY better than WVU.
Organizers have pointed out that the West will have power-rich Charleston and the Kanawha Valley while the East includes Beckley and Bluefield. East? West? Where is Bluefield again? Ah, yes, it IS East of Charleston. But so are many of the other “football rich” teams of the Kanawha Valley.
Don’t mind me. Let’s just do the hoorays for the game if we are unbiased, legitimate sports writers. Got it.
In theory, organizers say, the squads reach to the far-corners of the state. Wheeling, for example, would apparently be on the West team with Jefferson County on the East. The fact that the 2014 teams are basically from Wyoming, McDowell, Logan, Mingo and Wayne counties should not confuse the geographical lesson we are receiving.
Mullins has said nine schools are represented on his squad. Players come from Hurricane, Tug Valley, Mingo Central, Wayne, George Washington, St. Albans, Chapmanville Regional, and Man, in addition to Logan. Apparently, nobody from Boone County rated selection to the team.
Unless, of course, Boone is in the Eastern part of the state. I never thought of that.
But Mullins and crew do know where Boone County is. They plan to alternate practices between Logan and Scott High so players from Charleston won’t have to drive as far. Thoughtful, indeed.
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My point, for those who might miss it and think I am somehow criticizing student/athletes, is that these all-star, all-state fiascos are simple popularity contests. They have little and sometimes nothing to do with talent and ability. If Coach A wants members of his team on the all-star squad, tell me who is going to cut them? Who is evaluating them? Coach A, I presume.
There’s nothing wrong with graduated seniors getting together for one last crack at the pigskin. But a way to legitimately select so-called “all-stars” should be implemented. The good old coaching boys network doesn’t get it done.
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