Don’t Lock Yourself In to Just One Sport

Josh Stope

WHEELING — Too many times today we see parents push their kids to one sport.

Whether that is because they think that is the ticket to the big time, or maybe they only have time and/or money for one sport.

On the other hand, some kids only want to play one sport.

Whatever the case, I saw a pretty interesting stat this week.

According to an article posted in USA Today, almost every player selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft played more than one sport in high school, including 30 of the 32 first-round picks and 60 of the first 64.

Of the 253 players selected, 222 played more than one sport.

Just because you a standout at one sport, that shouldn’t mean you should only play that.

Don’t get me wrong, specialization in one sport isn’t a bad thing. I only played one sport when I was growing up so I am not criticizing any young athlete. Studies and spending time with your friends and family are important parts of life, too.

I just hope there aren’t coaches or parents out there that are pushing kids to only focus on one sport.

When I look here at our local kids, we have a good mixture of both. In fact, some of our multiple-sport athletes, which one would they choose? Just to name a few:

∫ River’s Lukas Isaly. He is a standout in football, baseball and basketball.

∫ Wheeling Central’s John Burkhalter is an all-state receiver in football, a third team all-stater in basketball and one of the top track athletes in the valley.

∫ Wheeling Park’s Kat Donzella was superb in volleyball, swimming and softball.

∫ Heck, Weir’s Donavan Spencer is a two-sport athlete in the spring, playing baseball and being one of the top sprinters in the state.

There is no right or wrong answer to how many sports a student-athlete should play. I just hope they are keeping their options open and doing what is best for them.

Chapman, Dyson Lauded

It is not every day that one of our collegiate athletes is recognized nationally for their achievements on the field. So when two of our own — not just collegiately, but locally, — are lauded, it is a big achievement.

Wheeling Jesuit’s Mallory Chapman has been a dominant pitcher all season for the Cardinals.

Earlier this season she was named the HeroSports.com Player of the Week as a pitcher.

Friday, the former Magnolia standout earned the award for the second time this season — this time as a hitter.

Not to be outdone is West Liberty pitcher Parker Dyson.

The former Bridgeport Bulldog was named the NCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Parker came up big for Coach Eric Burkle’s Hilltoppers last week, firing WLU’s first no-hitter in more than three decades in a 3-0 victory against Fairmont State that kept the Hilltoppers tied with the Falcons for second place in the Mountain East Conference North Division.

Dyson carried a perfect game into the fifth inning and allowed only three baserunners — all on walks.

Jesuit Soccer Camp

Wheeling Jesuit will play host to a men’s and women’s soccer I.D. Clinic on Saturday, June 24.

The clinic is for all high school age soccer players. Each player will receive advice, have a question and answer session about the recruiting process and receive a collegiate training atmosphere from WJU coaches and staff. Full-field and small-sided games will be played.

There will be representatives from NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA school in attendance.

For more information or questions, contact WJU women’s coach Tyler Absalom (tabsalom@wju.edu) or Cardinals men’s coach James Regan (jregan@wju.edu).

Josh Strope can be reached at jstrope@theintelligencer.net.

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