The Times West Virginian

Sports

July 9, 2014

Athletes play summer sports for multiple reasons

FAIRMONT — Oh, the times, they are changing.

Gone are the days of a teenage athlete waking up with nothing to do in the months of June, July or early August. Now, if you’re an athlete, your summer months are filled with summer camps, personal workouts and a three-week period where it seems that breathing may be only a dream.

If you play a sport during the season in high school, there’s likely a summer league calling your name when the final school bell rings.

That’s the case for many Marion County athletes this summer.

But why would these teens rather spend their time lifting weights or playing an organized sport rather than spend their time playing video games or eating endless amounts of snacks?

There are many reasons.

For starters, summer is a time for fun, and what better way to have fun than to play a sport?

For a recent Fairmont Senior graduate, playing baseball has always been a way to relax and spend time with his friends. And summer baseball is just a better way of doing that, Gage Hannah said.

“It’s good because it’s relaxed and it’s fun. Sports are supposed to be fun, and it’s kind of the way baseball is meant to be played,” Hannah said of his decision to play for the Post 17 Fairmont American Legion baseball team. “But it’s still competitive, and it’s good because for some of us this is our last competitive thing.”

For an easy-go-lucky ballplayer like Hannah, who can be seen smiling and making all his teammates and fans laugh on the diamond, the idea of a summer sport offers something he can’t find in high school: a chance to play with other baseball players in the county.

“It’s a lot of fun. I get to play more baseball essentially and get to play with my friends more,” Hannah said. “Like my pals from North and East and Chris (Petrucci, from Notre Dame High School).”

But fun is just one reason to play a summer sport.

For Fairmont Senior soccer player Eviana Barnes, travel soccer is a way to keep up with, and even surpass, the competition.

“If you don’t keep practicing your touches during the off-season, it’s like you take a step backward,” said Barnes, who plays with a travel soccer team at Pro Performance called Fury Fire.

Barnes began playing soccer at a young age, beginning when she was just 4 years old. After playing soccer through recreational leagues until high school, Barnes knows the importance of a summer program now that she’s in high school.

“I definitely want to be stronger, more endured and have better touches for the upcoming high school season,” she said.

For players like Barnes, who are wanting to get a leg up on the high school competition, the summer months are spent bonding with teammates through travel teams, working out on your own with teammates and spending time with teammates.

But for others, the bar is raised even higher in the summer months.

One of the most intense forms of summer activity is AAU basketball.

The best way, according to most players, to get noticed by college scouts is to play AAU basketball.

Some AAU seasons can last from the springtime until the fall, but it’s the summer that counts the most.

“Our summer tournaments are the biggest because of the live periods,” Darhius Nunn, a Fairmont Senior basketball player, said. “College coaches are at the games.”

During a slew of tournaments last season, Nunn said coaches like Rick Pitino and Jim Boeheim were in attendance.

In addition to being exposed to college coaches, the competition is fierce, too.

“It’s good exposure versus great players all around the U.S.,” East Fairmont’s Nick Greely said. “It’s just a fun way to keep a ball in your hands and play against great competition.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time.jpg Texas’ Strong prefers not talking about national title

    Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game.
    The new coach toned down his honest assessment in future stops, then said Tuesday in his first appearance at Big 12 media days that he prefers not even talking about championships.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NMHS hopes new playing surface generates excitement

    The St. Louis Rams coined the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf” for their collective group or multiple Hall of Famer-caliber players in during the 1999-2001 seasons. If Rams can run on turf, why not Huskies? 

    July 22, 2014

  • FSU's Barfield, Jean-Charles named preseason All-Americans

    Chris Barfield and Jacob Jean-Charles earn preseason honors by being named to the USA College Football Division II Preseason All-American team.

    July 21, 2014

  • Baylor coach isn't buying schedule strength argument

    The College Football Playoff committee has vowed that strength of schedule will be a major criteria when selecting the four teams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Big 12 Commissioner says cheating pays

    Big 12 Commissioner says the NCAA lacks the resources to enforce its rules and that has to change.

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos