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Chillin' with Dylan— Summer time, summer time...

June 5, 2014

By DYLAN MALONE
    If you are over the age of 25 it is no secret just how fast time flies.
    This May was no exception as it seems like yesterday I was in full swing covering three high schools with very full sports schedules.
    Part of the swiftness had to do with the early exits from all three schools in softball and baseball. I think we as a community were spoiled by the recent success of Adams Central and the Braves’ baseball teams.
    All six softball/baseball teams were handed slices of humble pie sending them to the off-season with a whole list of “what ifs”.
    The good news?
    There is another youth movement going on at Bellmont as it seems that there is a great group of young classes that are ready to bring BHS sports back to the limelight in all sports.
    Starting with the next available sports in the fall, volleyball and football in particular, it will be an interesting season. The football program loses a few offensive players and some hard-nosed seniors on the defensive end as well but there is a sense of optimism from the coaching staff with the amount of young players who saw plenty of grid time last year.
    I anticipate these kids will only get bigger here in the summer months and that come late August, Bellmont football will be something to keep an eye on.
    The volleyball team will be missing a few key pieces, mainly a pair of twins, but like coach Krull does every year, the Squaws seem to ignore terms like “down year” and “rebuilding.”
    The wrestling program was finally recognized not just for some functioning numbers and data in a computer, but for the simple fact that come January, coach Faurote’s Braves are just tournament ready for anyone, no matter what the records may say. Looking forward to team state with Bellmont back in the picture.
    Adams Central and South Adams tell similar stories as all three schools get ready for the fall push this summer break. For those who want to better themselves, not just in the fall, now is the time to do it. Weight rooms will fill up, courts and fields will be worn out, and pride will be (re)established in the off-season.
    Get to it, athletes.
    TO THE YOUTH!    
    Switching gears, but still talking about summer, I’ve been helping umpiring for the new NABL and even some softball games and it has really been a blessing to watch these kids play.
    No, it’s not always the prettiest baseball/softball you’ve ever seen but I’m starting to see those smiles again. The ones that I’ve been missing from the youth leagues in the last few years.
    It’s easy to speculate from the stands but when you’re right up in the action as a coach, player, or umpire, it is easy to tell who’s there to have fun and who had to be threatened with groundings to participate in a summer sport.
    There is definitely a fine line between where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what we should be focusing on in the youth leagues and in my opinion, the league directions seem to be in line with that for the moment.
    I’m talking about travel teams, mostly. I’m off the mind who thinks that those travel ball teams have a place in our leagues but it has to be the right touch.
    Too many times with travel teams you get those kids who know they’re better than the pack and it translates to sticky situations in the house leagues.
    Don’t you dare blame the kids, though.
    It starts with parents. Dads (and moms) who think that their mission in life is to make their kid(s) the best on the field living vicariously through them. That’s something every dad should be able to experience but with some taste.
    I’ve seen both sides of the fence helping this season so far but it can be disheartening to see the dad/coach who is hardest on his own kid to the point of tears.
    Are you molding that kid to be disciplined in a sport that will translate to real-world applications? Or are you the dad who is out there because he simply yearns to be back on the diamond and is forced to help your son/daughter lace ‘em up.
    If you’re the latter, don’t be surprised when your son/daughter loses their love for the sport in a year or two. Try and remember who the youth leagues are for, after all.

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