Specializing in one sport is a mistake

SIDELINES

October 02, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

Recently I heard someone question why Severn freshman Denard Melton was playing football because his future is in basketball and playing football is risking that future.

That's the thinking of the '90s, the era of specialization, and that is too bad. In fact, it's bad to encourage young athletes to specialize in one sport.

A lot of very selfish coaches are perpetrating such fraud these days, and they profit more than the athletes. Don't count Severn football coach Jim Doyle and Admirals basketball coach Wayne Fowler among them.

More power to Melton for playing football for the first time, having a ball and not worrying about injury. Injuries are often a matter of fate.

This committing to one sport is the in thing these days and all it does is deprive a student of the full high school experience.

Young athletes should be encouraged to engage in diversification. Playing different sports not only develops a youth athletically, but also socially and emotionally.

The benefits of committing to one sport come when an athlete is awarded a scholarship, but those opportunities are at a minimum. Any athlete who has ability won't be deprived of the opportunity because he refused to zero in on one sport.

Unfortunately, a lot of parents and coaches don't emphasize that enough. Thus, many young athletes have problems when they don't get to the top of the mountain.

Too often the fun is taken out of playing sports and it becomes work when an athlete puts all his energies into one sport. Former Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell once said, "It's play ball, not work ball."

Those simple words should be the motto of all young athletes, keeping in mind that youth and its experiences are fleeting.

So, when a coach tells a youngster to play one particular sport year around and forget other sports, tell him that you are a kid only once and when you become an adult, you will be an adult for the rest of your life.

Homecoming plans

Broadneck and Old Mill are planning activities for their homecomings Saturday.

The Bruins play host to Queen Anne's at 1 p.m. and have invited all football alumni for a noon reception at Lawrence Knight Stadium. For more information call Tim McMullen at (410) 757-1300.

Old Mill will use homecoming to open a Patriots' Athletic Hall of Fame, inducting five former athletes -- Mickey Stoffel, Jalene Chase, Ralph Spry, Chuck Sturm and Bob Golliday -- at its 1 p.m. game against Meade. Golliday will be inducted posthumously. Bruce Lawton has details at (410) 969-9010 or (410) 544-4143.

Running out the clock

Did you know that Southern staged a 19-play, 83-yard drive that lasted 10 minutes and 19 seconds during the second half of last week's 13-7 win over Howard County's Wilde Lake? Is that ball control or what?

Baseball notes

Former Chesapeake All-Metro pitcher/first baseman Jason White was home last weekend from James Madison University and said he is fully recovered from his late-summer appendix operation.

"I feel great and have been running five to six miles every day with our pitchers," said White. "I love it at Madison and made the right decision."

The left-hander received a baseball scholarship to Madison during the summer and later turned down an opportunity to sign with the San Diego Padres.

"There is a good chance I will get to pitch as a freshman," said White, who mulled offers from several other schools.

* Fall baseball coaches and High School Eligible League commissioner Frank "Jocko" Svoboda are applauding the efforts Al Fekays as the umpire scheduler.

This is a tough time of the year to get umpires who want to work, and Fekays has done a marvelous job in providing the men in blue.

Severn seeks tournament

Severn boys basketball coach Wayne Fowler is looking for a Christmas Tournament for his Admirals.

"We'll play in yours or if three other teams call me, we'll have our own," said Fowler.

Call Fowler at (410) 760-0300 or Severn athletic director Fred Hewitt at (410) 647-7700.

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