Okay people, settle down and grab a seat; this is the problem that needs to be discussed. Somehow the student athletes in the state of West Virginia have been wronged in a subtle yet crucial way. There is no application for recording statistics from high school athletic competitions.
This is my job; I hunt down information to supply to the public in an effort to keep the public informed. With the right information I do a lot and a lot can be done for the student athletes of the area. I don’t know if anyone else notices the difference but I sure do. My articles and stories surrounding teams in the state of Kentucky are always based more in statistical fact. The articles and stories from games played by West Virginia teams are usually more of a play by play with whatever statistics available included.
On the Kentucky High School Athletics Association website (www.khssa.com) you can go to a team page on a certain sport and find a variety of information on individual players, including cumulative statistics from the course of a season, seasons past, and statistics from individual games. This is a great tool that I utilize frequently when I am covering Belfry or Phelps. This tool is like my ace in the hole to promote an athlete or team to help gain better recognition.
The biggest time this tool comes in handy is after the season when All-State teams are chosen and prestigious teams are being formed to highlight the players with the best abilities according to their statistics. I use it, other publications use it, colleges look at it, basically anyone who wants to research a team or player has the ability to do so with the click of a button. The program is responsible for reporting the statistics and occasionally a team or coach will slack in the area but for the most part everyone utilizes this tool.
The West Virginia Secondary School Athletics Commission’s website (www.wvssac.com) does not have this feature or anything like it. As a result, I and others who want to be informed in these areas are left in the dark and that should not be. I continue to put out a finished publication five days a week without it, it’s not me that suffers from it. However, it’s the athletes that suffer and we need to figure out how to remedy this.
Yesterday I covered the “Battle for Mingo;” the game between Mingo Central and Tug Valley. It was a wild game with a lot of action. Regretfully, it was the first time I had gotten to cover the Mingo Central Miners through an entire game. I was impressed by some of the players and after talking with Head Coach Jared Lester, after the game I agreed that he has some potential All-Starter’s on the team. Here’s the issue, I would love to send in everything I have on Ethan Collins for the West Virginia All-State team. After watching him play, I agree completely that he deserves it. If he wants to continue with his sporting career, at college or another higher level of play, a spot on the All-State team would bring a lot of attention to his name. I can’t do any of this because no one has individual statistics from the games he has played. It’s not displayed anywhere. Maybe it’s a bad habit developed in West Virginia teams because they have nowhere to send the statistics like Kentucky does.
Is it all coming together now? It usually takes a committed person, devoted to one particular team to compile and present these statistics. I have five high school teams, and as many underclass teams as I can catch at the right time, to keep an eye on. I am often shown that I left one player out or messed up on a certain bit of information and the only thing I can say is that there are just so many to keep track of I often get rushed and make mistakes. I’m human and apologize for that. Plus we all know how protective parents can be of their children. I get a dose of it weekly and actually agree with it. A parent should be involved completely in their child’s life.
This is something I would like to see changed. There should be a place for the statistics to be kept. That way, they stay statistics instead of turning into memories. I’m not sure who to bring this discrepancy to, or how to go about trying to get something done about it. I will try and find out. I’m not sure if this issue has been brought up before by anyone and I’m not sure what the result was if it had of been brought up. I just know it seems unfair to the athletes of West Virginia when it comes to recognizing their accomplishments. I think we should be promoting players better than we are.
If anyone has any useful information regarding this issue feel free to contact me via email or phone. My contact information is displayed at the end of everything I write.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)