It’s that time of year again. Fall sports are coming to a close and winter sports are slowly heating up.

Having grown up in ACC country, I know this transition period all too well. Midway through October just as the leaves begin to turn, the focus of many schools along the East Coast turns to basketball.

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Some of us just enjoy football. It’s in our blood. From Thursday till Monday we do nothing but watch our favorite teams, or just whatever happens to be on that day.

For others, the fast-paced action up and down the court and the shorter games are more enjoyable.

I’m a football guy. College football to be precise.

I enjoy the tailgating, the pageantry, the 80,000+ screaming fans, and everything that surrounds a football gameday.

For much of the late summer and early fall, Friday night football games become the focal point in small towns all across America, as is the case here in our community.

Businesses shut down, the lights shine on the field, and the stands are filled with everyone ranging from younger siblings to grandparents.

With the exception of the Velma-Alma Comets, those days are over for the area schools. The players will no longer be dressing out in pads, nor will they be practicing outdoors. It’s time to head inside the gym and take a break from the fields.

Winter sports season is upon us and that means it’s time to support the basketball and wrestling teams.

For the athletes that will be jumping from football to either basketball or wrestling at their respective schools, I commend you. You don’t get a break. Instead, you go straight from a physical, punishing game into one that will wear you down in other ways.

Most of these kids have gone through this transition period for the past several years. It seems like something that they might be used to, and in some ways that may be true.

The important thing to remember is that these students are participating in extra-curricular activities and putting forth a lot of hard work. Often times their effort goes unrecognized, especially during the transition period.

As fans, we can take for granted what we see out on the floor. Hardly any of us go behind the scenes and see the sweat-filled practices. It is even harder to fathom the hours they put into their day.

It was not long ago that I went through the same routine those students are going through now. The long practices always seem endless. The games are a reward, but there’s not enough of them. Before you know it, a new season will be upon us and it will be time to move on.

To the families and friends: Support these teams. These guys and girls only have four years to make an impact here. Let it be known that they have done such. We all know high school sports are a big deal in this community. Never miss an opportunity to return the thanks.

To the student-athletes: The best thing to do is enjoy every minute of it because it goes by way too fast. You can complain all you want, but in the end, you’re going to miss going to practice. I promise.

Ben Whitehead is a sports writer for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 165, or via e-mail at

This Week's Circulars