Smith column: Put me in the game, y'all ... well, at least the practices
This probably won't end well, but it's worth a shot.
High school sports have always been a blessing to cover for me. Besides the great action, I've had the opportunity to learn the athletes off the courts and fields. I'll definitely joke with whoever and a new idea I'm about to share with you started as a joke last year, but will be taken to another level this season.
So, after hitting a couple of shots over the net after an Arendell Parrott Academy volleyball game, I decided to practice with the team shortly after. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well.
Shoot, it didn’t even start well — after converting maybe 30 percent of my serves and nearly taking out two lights with attempted digs, I just stopped and let the experts flourish (and considering the Patriots made it to the NCISAA 2A title game, it was probably for the best.)
Well, I’m ready for another hard lesson. Or 20.
Throughout the 2018-19 school year, my goal is to participate in a practice for every sport, giving the masses a better view toward what these student-athletes are doing on the courts and fields. I’m certainly not the most athletic person in the world, but I can deal with any and all derision as I struggle with some of these sports. Who knows, maybe I’ll surprise in a couple of aspects (I did recently beat one talented athlete in a free-throw shooting contest).
I do know there are some limitations — there’s no way I’m surviving a hit from a linebacker — but I’ll give pretty much everything a shot. During the fall season, you can catch me trying to catch a few passes in football, become a midfielder/goalie hybrid in soccer and maybe even do better in volleyball.
It won’t just be the big sports either — I’ll try to get my volley game proficient in tennis, go on a cross-country trek and even see what field hockey is all about.
As of right now, the only sports I’m not trying to mess with are baseball, softball and swimming. I don’t do well with objects coming toward the plate at absurd speeds with little time to react and I’d sink like a rock at the deep end. Also, I’m not sure if I could rock a wrestling outfit so I might have to pass there as well.
Overall, it’s amazing what this area's student-athletes do from all angles. Besides handling business in the classroom, they have arduous practices in order to prepare for the games we all love to see. It doesn’t matter which sport, the team’s record or the role (star player, benchwarmer and everything in between), it’s very commendable. Given the opportunity, I want to spend at least one practice at each of the eight schools in the area and have a report with video for the masses.
Hopefully I won’t embarrass myself too much.