Youthful teams bode well for the future

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By Greg Woods



The theme throughout the fall season has been youthfulness.

I know I have repeated that often in these pages over the past three months, but the numbers just don’t lie. I went through the end-of-season rosters of all 11 local sports teams and came up with a grand total of 21 seniors playing fall sports at Henry County and Eminence.

The HCHS football team led the way with nine seniors. A decent number, but not exactly a senior-laden team. When you consider that there were only five juniors on the roster and two of them were hurt for a significant portion of the season, you understand that a lot of sophomores and freshmen were seeing serious playing time for the Cats.

That also means that the other 10 teams had a grand total of 12 seniors. Six teams had no seniors. One team-the Henry County girls’ soccer team-had no seniors and no juniors by the end of the season.

Eminence had a whopping six seniors playing on their three fall sports teams. There were four seniors on the football team, two on the volleyball team and none on the cross country team.

But when you consider the size difference and number of teams involved the numbers are even more underwhelming for Henry County teams. The nine Henry County teams competing this fall had a total of 15 seniors involved. Again taking out the football team, you are left with six seniors on the other eight squads.

So what’s up with the low number of upperclassmen playing sports in Henry County this year?

The senior classes at Eminence and Henry County aren’t particularly small. I know that both classes have a lot of high achieving, involved students. They just aren’t involved in athletics.

The Henry County class of 2013, which has 163 members, had the highest number of Governor’s Scholars allowed. There are over 80 of these young men and women taking college level courses. Thirty-seven are involved in the Love-A-Child mentoring program, in which seniors give up a couple of classes a week to help middle and elementary age students who are struggling. They have to make up the missed classes on their own time.

The Eminence senior class is no less involved. Eminence had five governor’s scholars in this senior class. All 31 seniors have helped with multiple community service projects including the renovation and repair of an elderly lady’s house and the Homeless Awareness project that took place last Friday night. The senior class also ran the Veterans Day program Monday at EHS.

So as one Henry County coach told me these are great kids who are involved in a lot of things…they just are not athletes.

That bodes well for the future of the sports programs. As long as the large number of underclassmen playing for both schools do not get discouraged or disinterested, both schools should see bright times ahead. The big if here is ifthey all stay out and continue to improve. In the case of EHS that may be easier because their young teams had some success this year. For Henry County it may be a little tougher.

 The key is that these young people must understand that as they get older, faster, stronger and more mature, they will be laying the beat downs on someone else. If these young people will stay with it through the tough times they will learn a lesson more important than anything else they learn at school. That is: stick with something even when it doesn’t seem worth the trouble and in the end your hard work will pay off.

There is no easy way to success. No magic pill, no button you can push, only hard work and experience will get you there.