It’s an exciting time of the year

Last updated: July 09. 2014 10:35AM - 406 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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It is difficult to comprehend that high school football players will soon be in pre-season practices, with the regular season set to begin at the end of August.


When I was in school, students were dismissed from classes near the end of May and did not return until after Labor Day in September. Not so any more, especially this year when make-up days were scheduled throughout the Mountain State due to the severe winter weather.


But practices will begin in mid-August with the players in action on August 29.


The abbreviated summer schedule and changes in methodology and thinking have altered how many teams practice as well.


In the older days, two-a-day practices often involved an early morning workout combined with one in late evening to avoid the worst of summer’s heat.


Today, though, many coaches schedule back-to-back practices, with a 45-minute break in between. Many think growing accustomed to the stifling heat will help a team, especially since many regular season games are played in boiling conditions. Additionally, modern-day schedules for families, coaches and staff just do not accommodate two separate practices. Rising gasoline prices is one concern, since a mother might have to drive her child 60 miles round-trip to each session.


It is an exciting time of year when football returns to American fields. Nothing takes the place of the game, even though baseball is still recognized as the “national pastime” (with a tip of the cap to Ted Ellis).


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One great friend and reader questioned my anti-soccer stance last week, pointing out that many youngsters participate in that “sport” as opposed to others. I never have understood that. In my nostalgic mood, I know my friends growing up with get up a horseshoe match in the backyard. We didn’t know what soccer was until ESPN debuted and starting showing unusual sporting events since the network had no contract to televise baseball, football or basketball.


Even when we saw soccer on TV, we were confused as to why the goals were blocked and never did understand what an “offside” was.


If a parent and his or her child(ren) decide to participate in soccer, it is not a problem for me. I do fear the injury rate that comes with bopping a ball off of a youngster’s head but there is risk in all things in life.


Likewise, my friends and I were fascinated with track and field events when we first saw them on ESPN. We didn’t LIKE them; we were just fascinated by them.


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Former Scott High star running back Jordan Roberts has still not signed with a Canadian Football League team as that regular season reaches its third week. Roberts, the former Kennedy Award winner as the best high school football player in the state, was cut in pre-season by the Ottawa RedBlacks.


Now listed as a free agent, Roberts could sign with any CFL team. He is, of course, also anxious to return to the National Football League, where he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.


No harder worker or better person than Roberts ever suited up. Here’s hoping he lands somewhere soon.


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Watch for former Harts/Chapmanville Regional star pitcher Andrea Williamson on national television as the season moves forward. The National Fast Pitch Association is teaming with CBS Sports to televise a number of league games this season.


Word from Chicago, where Williamson pitches for the Bandits, is that at least two July games will be televised from the Park at Rosemont. That’s the Chicagoland home of Williamson’s squad.


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Speaking of high school football, Scott High will open its season on August 29 by hosting Cardinal Conference rival Herbert Hoover. My triumphal return to Hamlin occurs on September 5 when the Hawks play Lincoln County High. Then, Chapmanville Regional comes calling on September 12.


Sherman will be at home to take on Tug Valley on August 29, with a game at always-tough Calhoun County in Grantsville the following week. Valley (Fayette) comes to visit on September 12.


Van rounds out the trio of home games to start the season when they host Meadow Bridge on August 29. Then, Fort Frye (Ohio) comes to town on September 5. A trip to Tug Valley is scheduled for September 12.


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Is the World Cup over? Did “we” win?


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Your comments, story ideas, game scores and rumors are always welcome. Use my email or call my cell, 304-533-5185.


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