AP NEWS

Times are really changing on, off the playing field

April 25, 2018 GMT

Apparently, there are no baseball or softball teams at Tolsia. And I thought they were doing well. No track, either. Wayne COUNTY News

Well this was an email I opened up this week.

Trust me when I tell you, I am not pleased about it. The individual that sent this email is completely correct in their assessment. For that I am sorry.

However, due to the distance in the county and the lack of personnel, it has been difficult to get to Glenhayes this season.

I have asked for someone, anyone from all three of our main communities to provide game information, any player they believe is having a good season and deserves a feature, photosanything.

If it was not for Melissa Booton, Wayne Middle’s baseball and softball teams wouldn’t get recognition. Vinson Middle baseball and softball hasn’t received the first piece of ink (until now) and I have a child attending there.

There is not one email or texted bit of information that has not been placed in the paper. Anytime we receive locally sourced information, it is published. In fact, it takes top priority over anything the HD or our sister-publications have produced. I have not received a lot if any information from Tolsia since basketball season.

The track team did make the paper this week on the front page, because someone provided us with information. And it was greatly appreciated.

Times have changed. The paper industry has changed. I know the sports coverage has been nothing the county was used to when Randy Peyton was sports editor.

Who could compete with that or live up to the standards he set for not only Wayne County, but sports reporting in the state period? That man ate, slept and breathed local, high school, college and national sports. He was also only expected to do sports and he wasn’t married. He did not have children. He had support from the community. I am not Mr. Peyton - there never will be another one.

Again times have changed. So I apologize to the student athletes of the Tolsia community because that is who is truly getting the raw end. There is a girl on Tolsia’s softball team that also caries a job to pay for her car insurance. The Rebels are hosting a wooden bat tournament this weekend that was a huge success last year.

We try our best and I assure you that this is not something I take lightly. It burdens me.

Speaking of Tolsia, principal Reva Wallace and basketball coach Ric Morrone deserve a huge pat on the back for fighting the public/private school discrepancies in Class A sports. I am well aware that girls basketball has been a hot-button since several players on Huntington St. Joe are from Wayne County, but the numbers do not lie. Same as in football, baseball and softball.

There is a glaring difference at the Class A level.

According to the data, private schools have won 28 girls basketball state championships in the last 31 years; 12 girls softball and 18 girls tennis championships in the last 22 years and in the last 20 years 17 boys basketball, 11 football, 10 baseball, 16 boys golf and 16 boys tennis championships.

Private schools essentially do not have the same rules. An athlete lives in a school district, they are required to play sports at that school.

Private schools do not have same rules, yet compete against small town community schools that do. Every once in a while you will get a great Class A powerhouse like Vinson baseball or C-K football destroy all competition, but those days are gone.

Honestly, I was not aware that West Virginia as a whole including Wayne County had such a large Catholic community.

And there have been arguments and examples not just in West Virginia where private schools stack teams with essentially AAU teams. Case in point the high school Lebron James went to. They were all AAU teammates and ended up at the same private high school.

Wheeling Central and St. Joe have dominated certain sports for years. I agree with Proposal 9 and Proposal 10 (read this week’s story). It is time to level the playing fields for our smaller communities.