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Tomahawk Talk: All-conference or All-participation

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

[email protected]

Have you ever sipped on some watered-down Kool-Aid minus the ice? It’s not the same.
It takes those cold cubes plus a little extra sugar to make it so much more refreshing.
The same can be said about the recent Mountain East All Conference team selection. It definitely had a Happy Valley and Hampton flavor.
I understand they both had a banner season. The Warriors finished 11-2 overall, their best team since 1996. Hampton ended the year 10-2 and winning a first round playoff game.
A bunch of their players were among the area’s elite.  But I can’t see a combined 25 players being named to the first team All-Conference squad.
And here is why.
The Warriors placed 13 players on the first team unit including the defensive and offensive players of the year.

Hampton added a dozen players to the squad that included the MVP of the league and the lineman of the year.
Thirty more players were tabbed from the remaining six schools on the first team. Thirty-three more from the eight combined schools were added to the second team.
We now have a new card game, “Crazy 88.”
One hundred players minus a dozen have now been tabbed as the league’s best. My question is why?
Your All-Conference squad now resembles a youth league recognizing all its players with participation trophies. I totally agree with rewarding every child with a trophy that takes part in a team sport at a young age.

But high school athletics is about so much more than participation. It’s about hard work both on the field and in the classroom.
I witnessed it when my two sons played high school athletics.
My oldest son Rusty was All-State in two sports, basketball and baseball. My youngest son Drew was All-State in baseball. He was All-Conference in three sports.
They put up some astounding numbers while at Unaka. Two stand out.
They combined to hit 55 homeruns between them while wearing the Rangers’ uniform. I’ve often thought it might be a record for a brother combination.
Drew drove in 60 runs his senior season with 13 homeruns and a .492 batting average. Rusty hit .586 his senior year and averaged 19 points per game on his state championship basketball team.

That coupled with a lot of hard work and long hours of practicing helped earn them a spot on the All-Conference and All-State teams.
The above is not to boast about their numbers. I used it so that everyone can see what it takes to be on an elite squad.
They had some good numbers in previous seasons but weren’t selected to the mega squad. Being left off fueled them to work harder on their game.
One of their goals was to be an All-State selection. All their hard work would later pay off after a few unsuccessful tries.
That’s the way that making the All-Conference squad should be.
Choosing 88 players is absolutely too many.
It’s like sipping on some watered-down Kool-Aid minus the ice and sugar.
It’s not a cool thing.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. You can email him at [email protected]