I can’t take it any more. Somebody has to speak up for the boys of Botetourt County. I am a 10 year resident of Botetourt County and a concerned parent of both past and soon to be Botetourt County student-athletes. I’ve lived in and around this Valley for 20 years and there is a notion going around that for some inexplicable reason, this corner of the Valley is devoid of enough male athletes to be consistently competitive at the Varsity level of football, basketball and baseball. I absolutely refuse to accept that notion. Such a thought is as ignorant and unfounded as believing there is just “somethin in the water” and in my opinion is a shameless attempt to pass full blame for the lack of success in Botetourt Varsity male team sports on to the kids. All one has to do is look to the success of individual young men in team sports where individuals can and do excel (e.g. wrestling, swimming, track, etc.). Also, look at the success of other men’s team sports such as golf and soccer. And even consider the on-going success of the women’s varsity sports in this county. My point is that all of those athletes are coming from the same gene pool that is producing the male athletes for the “big 3″ team sports. There is nothing unique about the population of this county compared to those that produce the other teams we play in our Region and has not changed in decades and isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
The success of the JV and Rec team sports is not a recent phenomenon. Last year’s class of Senior male athletes had VERY successful JV seasons when they came through including JV football only losing 4 games during their two years and going undefeated in District both years which included William Fleming at the time. They came to Varsity with the same “winning” attitude and high expectations. Past JV teams before them and past Rec teams have enjoyed high levels of success as well. Obviously some classes are stronger than others in terms of having a few exceptional athletes which can make the difference between just winning and championships, but 20 years or even 5 is not a “cycle”. Given our population and resources, an occasional down cycle should be a .500 season and a good cycle should be competing for championships and all the years in between should at least be competitive. Other counties around us prove that they can win consistently with the boys they have year in, year out. We are being asked to believe that our boys are just not capable of winning and I just plain don’t buy it. I’ve sent two kids through Botetourt, one of which is now playing college ball, and I’ve seen their passion, their desire, their hurt and their desperate plea for somebody to MAKE them into what they can not become on their own. Our boys are able, willing, and have the desire to win, but they need men who will believe in them and demand excellence from them and bring out their full potential without giving up on them. Men lead boys because we’ve been there, done that and know what they are cable of becoming even when they don’t. Leaders have to earn trust and faith, not the other way around. It is time for this County and the School Administration to quit settling for mediocrity, quit blaming the kids, believe in the boys of Botetourt County, and give them the excellent leadership they deserve. I believe in my sons and every Botetourt Dad I know believes in his. Go Boys!
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