SPORTS ADDICT: Area schools’ athletic programs can’t succeed without community support…

by dentonramsey

SPORTS ADDICT: Area school’s athletic programs can’t succeed without community support…
By Denton Ramsey, Managing Editor

First of all, let me begin by saying this: any given athletic program, at any given school, cannot taste complete success without community support – despite the amount of talent on the team.
On top of that, all stars need a good supporting cast in order to take home the gold – in other words, it takes an entire group of individual athletes working as one entity to truly understand and attain victory.
In the Lone Star State, nothing reigns higher than high school football – at least in most parts of Texas.
Locally, I was disappointed this past pigskin season by a complete lack of community support for the Bulldogs football team.
Where was the town on the Friday night that our Dogs fell in a nonsense call game against Centerville – a game that turned out to be the nail in the coffin for Marlin’s postseason dreams?
Standing on the sidelines, and having a momentary lapse of reason (resulting in a personal rant against the closest official) after a ridiculous call by the men in stripes literally handed Centerville a playoff birth, I was shocked and devastated.
The Bulldogs lost a fight no one expected them to lose, and the sad thing is that not many local fans were there to see it.
If Marlin fans had showed up for that Friday night match-up against Centerville, giving the Bulldogs their support through cheers of excitement and appreciation through applause, I have no doubt that Marlin High School football would have come out on top.
No doubt.
And if the town’s support of local school’s team has that low of morale in high school football, it’s tough to even begin tackling other sports such as basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball.
Last season’s community support for the girl’s softball team was pathetic – and claiming the team was bad isn’t an excuse for not attending the games… those girls need the town’s support, whether they are pitching shutouts or getting shutout.
Last year’s high school baseball team, meanwhile, began the season on a hot streak – and despite a decent turnout at homes games to begin district play, the Bulldogs collapsed late and fell in a large part due to fielding errors that seemed to stick with the team the rest of the season.
I will say this: I’ve been impressed with the community support for the Lady Bulldogs basketball program this season – the girls deserve it, without a doubt, and are definitely on a mission to finish strong.
Based on what I have seen from the Lady Bulldogs thus far this year, through both live games and stat sheets, the only real place for improvement would be at the charity stripe – where despite poor free throw shooting nights, the girls have compiled an undefeated record in district play.
Let’s look at the game on a bigger scale.
In college hoops, the local area has a lot to cheer about – especially in the Big 12 – with basketball teams from the University of Texas and Texas A&M University both currently sitting amongst the elite.
Baylor can now be added to a growing list of teams to be excited about as well, with Head Coach Scott Drew’s Bears remaining hot and beginning the season with an unbelievable 16-2 record and currently undefeated in conference play with a 4-0 mark in the Big 12 – garnering consecutive wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State at the Ferrell Center before picking up a pair of wins on the road: in Nebraska last Saturday night and then in College Station last Wednesday night.

Fighting to the finish: five overtimes in College Station
Last Wednesday’s game between the Bears and Aggies on the A&M hardwood was a true barn-burner, with the game going five overtimes before ending in a 116-110 Baylor victory – propelling the BU hoops program higher up the ranks with the biggest victory in the history of Bears Basketball.
Not only did the win snap the Aggies’ 15-game win-streak at home, it was also a huge upset – especially on the road at Reed Arena – as the No. 25 Bears (Last week’s AP Poll) rallied from an early 14-point deficit to knock off No. 18 Texas A&M (Last week’s AP Poll) in College Station.
As a die-hard BU fan for life, I can tell you that my throat was sore and my green and gold ‘Baylor Line’ jersey – tattered and faded through the years – was taken off the sports wall and donned once again in a rally cry and support of my Bears.
Sitting at the house while listening to the marathon hoops game taking place just an hour south on Hwy. 6 (due to the game not being televised), I was glued to the radio for four straight hours as my Bears battled back – and eventually pulled off the upset victory – in what I would have to label a no-doubt ESPN classic and a game that could very well redefine Baylor Basketball.
Where we’ll be sitting in the new polls has yet to be seen (especially with an early Monday deadline here in Marlin), although I can say this: last week’s game in College Station has to be the most exciting college basketball match-up in recent history.
Over time, the animosity on the fields of play between the Bears and Aggies have transpired into that of a Duke vs. UNC rivalry – and who knows where it goes from here.
One thing is certain: Coach Drew is far from finished.
Drew, along with his brilliant coaching staff and phenomenal young and talented squad, are just beginning to spread their wings and fly – and it’s only a matter of time before the BU hoops program and Coach Scott Drew become as well known and familiar to sports fans as the Duke Blue Devils and Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K).
Without the student body’s support of the players donning their school colors on the hardwood, hoops programs would never take off.
Coach K has done a phenomenal job since taking over the head coaching duties for the Blue Devils and is, in my opinion, the best coach ever – but even he will be the first to tell you that the Cameron Crazies (Duke’s faithful fans) are the team’s sixth man, and without them the team isn’t whole.
But whether we’re talking about Coach K’s Devils or Coach Drew’s Bears, one thing remains the same: the support for the school’s teams.
Come on, Marlin community, let’s get out there and support these guys and girls.
It’s been said before and it will be said again, like an old Beatles vinyl that continues to be played through the ages: without support, there will be no success.
The players on our local teams need us – whether facing a winless team or holding a winless record – a lot more than most fans realize…

The Mitchell Report and Roger Clemens
Looking at an issue off the field of play, yet remaining in sports and revolving around respect and support, I’d like to briefly say a word or two about the ongoing and controversial Mitchell Report – which named Roger Clemens as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.
In my opinion, and despite the flack the All-Star pitcher has received from both the sports media as well as the fans, Clemens is innocent.
After watching the former Houston Astros ace and Texas Longhorns legend during an interview on 60 Minutes, I believe Roger is telling the truth – there’s no way Mitchell’s Report can accurately prove that Clemens used steroids.
I simply don’t believe it and refuse to believe it – and Clemens was right on the money when he made comments about how in America, people are guilty until proven innocent.
And just because his best friend, Andy Pettitte, admitted to doing it, don’t just assume that a) Roger knew and b) he was being injected too.
I’m sure that Pettitte’s admission to steroid use came as just as much of a shock to Clemens as it did to the rest of the baseball world – leaving fans of all ages to wonder what has happened to America’s Pastime.
Here’s the point: despite the lack of evidence against Roger, despite the fact that this is basically one person’s word against another person’s word, and despite a country that will let former President Bill Clinton off with a slap on the wrist for perjury while holding America’s professional athletes to a higher standard, Clemens still isn’t getting much support.
Nor is he getting much respect – and it’s simply sad and pathetic that people would rather believe a convicted felon, forced to tell officers anything and everything they wanted to hear in order to avoid a prison sentence, over a dedicated and hard working athlete like Roger Clemens.
Roger is innocent.
And, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman’s analysis of the Mitchell Report.
“In my opinion, I think that really, the Mitchell Report in general is silly,” Berkman recently told MLB.com reporter Alyson Footer. “Instead of trying to figure out what happened in the past, if they really wanted to address the substance abuse problem in baseball, they should spend that money to implement blood testing. That’s the only way you’re going to catch guys using HGH.
“Who cares what a guy did seven or eight years ago? Let’s work on getting that out of the game now. The only way to do that is to blood test. I’m a huge advocate of that. I think they should do that. I’d be willing to submit to that at any time, and I think that other players should, too.”
Leave it to Lance to say what’s on his mind.
And I love him for it.
Whether you agree or disagree, my view on the Mitchell Report is simply this: it is not completely accurate and definitely lacks the facts in properly identifying players as having used performance-enhancing drugs in the past.
In addition, I completely agree with Berkman’s rants and raves about steroids in baseball.
“Far more good would be done for the game of baseball if we just say, ‘Let’s try to do something about what we can control, which is the future,’” Berkman said. “There’s no doubt that for the sake of the fans, and really for the health of the game, they need to do something. And I think that blood testing is the next step.”
Amen, Lance.
Now let’s play some baseball…

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com

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