By DYLAN MALONE
It was an amazing holiday.
I had the rare chance to take a few days away from the sports world to just enjoy family and friends for a bit. The Christmas season was everything it should be this year including giving gifts to the family and just enjoying the time spent with those loved ones.
Hopefully it was as joyous for the rest of you. Now we're back in the saddle and winter sports part two is about to kick off in 2014.
While on my "vacation" I did sneak over to Adams Central to watch the always thrilling Braves/Jets match-up and the boys game was not disappointing living up to the hype as usual in a game between rivals just miles apart from each other.
I'll tell you the single greatest thing that I enjoyed about the contest. I sat around AC and Bellmont fans alike and you could hear in the conversations just how much the parents wanted their boys to beat the other team. Most of these parents had been through the very same rivalry when they were kids. Some of them actually played in the games.
Whatever the case was I noticed something on the court that I hadn't in a long time. It certainly wasn't the case when I was in school wearing Jet colors.
I know that the game meant a little more and that both teams left their hearts out on the floor that night, but one thing that did not happen was any heated exchanges that usually follow a heated rivalry.
There was a moment when AC's Nick Baumer was blocking out on a shot that Bellmont's Maverick Birch was eyeing for a rebound. Mav had the position and the offensive board in hand a moment before Nick could get his back into his opponent. The result was a foul on the Jets and Birch tumbled to the floor hard on his back as he was undercut.
By no means was the play malicious at all but being the rivalry that it is it very easily could have gotten out of hand. What actually transpired was a collective group of concerned Braves AND Jets who circled around waiting for Mav to get off the ground. He did, sank two free throws and the game went on. And what a fantastic game it was.
While I hated to see either team go down, there had to be a winner and it was Bellmont this year. I would have liked to see that one go to overtime. I may petition to get the courts widened so that in the future Byerly's three-pointer would have counted and not been a costly turnover. It was a shame to see it end that way. Overtime would have been fitting.
I have to say though it was refreshing to see two teams that played so passionately against each other while still keeping sportsmanship a priority.
There were guys helping each other up from the hardwood and handshakes and smiles all around at the pre-game tip.
In the social media era we're in right now kids who used to be separated by the barrier of schools are now buddies on Facebook. I saw in the student sections Jets with Braves and even a few Starfires sprinkled in. It was really awesome to see.
I know that this is not the case in all schools but I fully believe that anytime you see it so obviously on the court that it should be noted and shared.
There are some interesting matches taking place this weekend as well including part two of the boys' county rivalry as the Berne boys come to the Teepee on Saturday night. Also on Saturday is the second annual coaches team state tournament.
The Stars and Jets have both been invited to participate once again with AC being among the favorites to repeat at the single A level. Don't count out coach Humble's Stars, however, as his team has been on the up and up adding a few new members to the ranks making them no easy out. It should be an excellent tournament...despite Bellmont's ridiculous absence from it.
The Braves’ snub not withstanding, Adams County wrestling is back on the map and it should only get more interesting with several promising underclassmen from all three schools.
I’m not sure what else it’s going to take short of a near-perfect season for the officials of the newly formatted team state tourney to understand what Bellmont has going at the school.
While they were not ranked at the beginning of the season and had some kinks to work out they certainly have already done what they seem to do year in and year out with the excellent coaching staff and that is continue to get better each day. Look for some upsets in the upcoming weeks on Bellmont’s grueling schedule.