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Three-sport awards

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, May 31, 2011.

  1. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I ready about all-region teams and such handed out by newspapers, and wanted to share our idea that we started a couple years back.

    At the end of each school year, we send out emails to the area coaches/ADs/statisticians requesting nominations for our "Three-Sport" athlete awards. Seems like more kids are going the year-around club route anymore, and I thought this would be a throwback way to honor the area's best all-around athletes.

    It's been received well with coaches really pushing for certain of their athletes to get the award...so it seems to mean something. Plus, it makes for a good transition from the end of preps to summer getting in gear.

    We'll feature a small-school winner, along with a big-school winner (we also select a top athlete from each of our nine area schools for a quick mugshot and a paragraph or two).

    We're in the middle of finalizing those awards now, so it was on my brain...thought I'd share.
     
  2. Sounds like a good idea. There definitely seem to be fewer three-sport athletes anymore, particularly on the boys side. Nice idea to spotlight these athletes.
     
  3. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Yes, I love the story of a high-level soccer player (went on to D-I, now fighting for an MLS spot) about 7-8 years back, who had soccer club coaches basically threatening him and his family with the play club only or don't play with us at all. Family called them on it immediately. Kid played soccer, basketball and baseball -- was all-league level multiple years in all sports.

    Still played with the club team, working schedules between summer baseball and other things.

    The moral of the story...if you're a good enough athlete the club will back down.

    I see so many volleyball families buckle to the all-mighty volleyball clubs in the area, and you follow promising freshmen to their junior and senior years and their knees are all bandaged up if they're still on the court at all. 10 months of the year spent jump at a net is too much.

    Coaches/clubs really need to see the benefit of switching things up.
     
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I know of a kid who graduated with 16 letters by doubling up in the spring. By his senior year, he was all-state in three of the four (soccer, cross country and track), and the best player on a mediocre basketball team.

    To me, those accomplishments ring truer than anyone who specializes in a single sport and dominates.

    I'll always remember in my high school graduating class, we had a guy who was the best player on our football, basketball and baseball teams, but he was particularly exceptional at football. Senior year, in the last regular-season game, he broke his shoulder on a tackle. He missed all of a very good postseason and most of the basketball season, then had a spectacular baseball season. He also had a 4.0 GPA.

    Other kids in our class actually did more with their sports than this kid, who went to an FCS school and started for a few years. But they were specialized, and I don't think a single one of those guys thought he was better at football/basketball/baseball than the three-sport kid, they just knew he was doing it all while they were concentrating on one sport.

    Basically, I fully support this because it's easy to get outshined when you don't dominate any one sport but are very good at many.

    But here's one question: What do you do if the best athlete in your area, let's say a nationally rated football recruit, happens to play basketball and run track just to keep busy and help out those teams. Do you value balance? Or do you reward this kid for being the best athlete and happening to play two other sports?
     
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I work at a chain of weeklies and each of the five papers I do covers one school. Because of this, we don't have an all-star team or player of the year in each sport. We also don't put other papers' all-star selections in our paper because we're not in the business of promoting other papers.
    I've thought about doing the three-sport award thing, but with so many kids focusing on just one sport, in most cases, you'd probably end up with somebody who is not really the best athlete in the school and is probably closer to the bottom of the top 10 athletes in the school.
    That or it would just be a cross country/track kid every year.
     
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I value balance over excelling at a single sport...but if you have a football all-star, who is also doing fairly well at two others, I think he should be in the mix. Now, if he's going D-I in football, but only gets in for garbage time in basketball, he probably wouldn't make the cut.

    @ Small potatoes...that's why it's a three-sport award...something to reward the shrinking pool of kids who change things up...it's not a best athlete at the school award.
    I've never had a call complaining about a 1 or 2-sport kid being left out...although I have yet to get a volleyball coach to nominate a kid. (Club volleyball is huge around here, and they are notorious for demanding kids play year around...I've seen a few players stand up against that pressure, but very few).
     
  7. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    The three-sport award is a great idea.

    Many years ago, I covered two girls who were classmates. Girl A earned three letters in basketball, one in cross country, four in volleyball, four in soccer and one in track. She was three-time all-state in soccer and played D2. Girl B earned four letters in basketball, three in volleyball, four in track and four in soccer. She was a two-time all-state high-jumper who was D1 (mid-major) in track. When they graduated, I did a combined feature that was long, but one of my favorites I've ever written. They were such great all-around athletes and I enjoyed covering them.

    It's too bad that there is so much specialization. What ever happened to playing sports for the joy of playing sports?
     
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think that's a good standard. Here's a potential situation: One kid is all-area in soccer, tennis and swimming. One kid is the state player of the year in basketball, plus a good-not-great starter on football and a relay runner for the track team.

    To some, you take the kid who is the superstar in one sport and good at two others. To me, you take the kid who is very good at all three.
     
  9. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    What about track? Around here at least, indoor and outdoor track are different animals. I mean you have guys who run the mile in both seasons, they're kind of the same, but what about a kid who is say a standout middle distance man in the winter but is also all-state caliber in the jumps or discus in the spring? Very different, but is it "two sports" to qualify for your award?
     
  10. Pilot

    Pilot Active Member

    But, but, but if they specialize, they can land that coveted $75 scholarship to Middle-of-fucking-nowhere Junior College.

    We don't cover enough high schools to do a "all-whatever team" but we do a "County athlete of the year" for high school boys and girls. There's no formula, but if one kid was good in three sports, that kid is much more likely to be picked than a kid who was great in one sport and didn't go out for anything else. A kid would need to be truly exceptional to be selected while playing just one sport.
     
  11. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    A school I used to cover gives out a "White Sweater" award to athletes based on a cumulative athletics career.
    A student pretty much needed at least two years varsity in three sports, with all-league and playoff appearances, as well.
    It was highly coveted and made nice features on kids who earned it.
     
  12. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Out of curiosity, how do you handle three-sporters who really are playing only one sport? I speak, of course, of the dreaded distance runners.

    In my neck of the woods, we get a kid every 6-8 years who wins a state championship in XC, the 3,000/3,200 indoors and the 3,000/3,200 outdoors in the same school year. Given the depth of talent in our state, that's a pretty neat trick -- but it's not really three sports either.
     
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