By DYLAN MALONE
Girls are funny.
There can be no denying that the women-type are a lot different then the men and in ways that outnumber the stars that’s a great thing. In particular, though, girls are vastly different in the way they play sports.
I suppose it boils down to priorities for most girls. When I was in high school (back when Star Wars: Episode III came out and it was supposed to be the last one), the girls in sports played for different reasons.
Seeing sports from the other side now, I can’t say that I see any changes.
Some girls play for something to do. Others play because their parents made them, possibly dad wanted a boy and so poor Sally is forced onto the softball team. Still, others play because they want to impress people, a boy no doubt.
My favorites, however, are the girls who play because from a young age they just always had that killer instinct. Since the days they learned to sneak out of their cribs they grabbed a toddler version of a basketball and started to bounce it on the ground because it just seemed like what you should do with it.
Those are the girls who lead teams to wins, even if they are not the most talented girls on the field/court/pool/etc.
Where have they all gone in Adams County?
I can say that there were some on the Bellmont volleyball team this season. A lot of them, actually. Those girls, despite not winning regional, vastly outplayed their expectations. It was supposed to be a down year for the Squaws. Tell that to Norwell...
Adams Central had one of those last season named Alyssa Keller. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball for all four seasons as a Jet and she played them all well.
Keller was the kind of athlete that every coach dreams of. Someone who gets on the court and just knows what to do with the basketball but is also coachable. Most importantly, though, she wanted to be there!
The same can be said about South Adams’ Alyssa Bluhm. As a Starfire, Bluhm is the hardest hitter on the volleyball team, the best softball player, and now, one of the best athletes on the SA roster playing basketball despite taking a year off.
These are the types of athletes that bring victory to your program when surrounded by coaches and players who buy in to the winning philosophy that emanates off of these types of girls.
This brings me to Bellmont.
Are we turning the place into a small college?
Why are the most athletic girls in the school not the ones playing basketball? Isn’t that what high school sports are about? Playing on a team to try and earn your school a sectional title and beyond?
I realize our volleyball team is impressive year in and year out, don’t get me wrong (read this column two weeks ago), but since when do we specialize? This should not be an ultimatum for these girls. It should never feel like “choose this sport or this one”.
Yes, I fully understand that some of these girls want to go on to play collegiate sports. I support that. But 3.5% of female senior athletes who play high school basketball will go on to play collegiately. That number slides to 3.3% of athletes who play in more than one sport.
So we’re looking at .2% as the reason girls choose to focus on one sport and neglect another during their high school experience. Really?
I can’t imagine why but for some reason there are talented players in this county, not just at Bellmont mind you, that will not be bettering their school’s basketball programs so that they can join clubs and practice other sports during the off-season.
Not only do I think that’s a waste of God-given talent, but I think it’s absolutely selfish to the girls who are busting their rumps today playing basketball. Knowing that their team is not as talented as it could be would irk me to no end. Looking down the bench during the JV girls game and seeing two girls there is sad to me. The frosh squad has about as much to work with and our varsity is therefore stretched thin to nine players. That depth or lack thereof will hurt the team more often this season than not.
I support other sports teams at Bellmont and will say the same about those athletes when their season rolls around. If the best volleyballers, softballers, track runners, golfers, tennis players, etc. are not in the game when the season starts, then we have failed collectively as a coaching staff in Adams County.
If winning isn’t everything, then why split our talent? On the other hand, winning does bring in school profit and gate ticket sales so is it not in the school’s best interest as well to get the most out of their student athletes?