Prompted by the recent announcement that brothers B.J. and Justin Upton will be playing side-by-side in the Braves’ outfield this season, I’ve been contemplating the complications and contributions that siblings in sport often cause.
If internal and external tensions can often be enough to create a rift between average siblings, then why should we expect anything different from brothers or sisters (or both), who find themselves in a larger arena, competing with or against each other?
There are many examples of siblings, who have found themselves in competitive circumstances with widely varying results.
Consider the Uptons – the impetus for this (albeit broken) train of thought – who played with each other as children in Virginia; each cites the other as the reason he has attained the level of professional skill that he was able to develop.
Their sibling status appears to be one of the reasons why they are successful, and some predict that their playing on the same field day in and day out will provide a renewed catalyst for their athletic drives, beginning an era of development in each brother’s individual career.
Jim and John Harbaugh, who probably played electric football against each other as children, got to do the real thing at the Super Bowl last Saturday and proved an almost equal match by the end of gameplay.
There are times, however, when siblings develop their talents less evenly, which is a problem that can cause dysfunction in a family.
Everyone remembers Hank Aaron’s career home run total (755), but relatively few people remember that he and his brother, Tommie, amassed the most career home runs of any brother duo in the history of baseball: 768 home runs.
In case you can’t do that math in your head, Tommie Aaron hit 13 of the 768.
By Nick Nunn
In the spirit of “One Morgan,” the doctrine that is taking hold in the Morgan County school system, there will not be a Morgan County Middle School baseball team for 2013.
Taking its place will be a C team, which will be comprised solely of eighth and ninth graders, in addition to the standard varsity and junior varsity teams.
Although there are several individual reasons for the change, most of the results boil down to this factor: the C team will force sixth and seventh graders out of the middle school program and into travel and recreation teams.
Initially, parents may balk at the notion of having their young athletes’ participation refused because of their grade level, but the C team will create a change that will have a ripple effect, which will strengthen and create depth throughout Morgan County’s baseball program.
The first stage of development will occur in the players “left out” of a middle school team.
“Our younger kids will actually be playing more as many of them play travel ball and recreation ball and will be better served by getting game experience and then joining us in the eighth grade,” said MCHS varsity team head coach Brandon Patch.
By being forced into alternate teams, aspiring sixth and seventh grade baseball players will actually gain experience during those years instead of sitting on the bench while eighth graders are on the field.
Because of the changes caused by the C team, players with more experience in their younger years will eventually man the higher-level Morgan County teams, thus making the teams more competitive in the future.
The C team also reflects developments that have already occurred at larger schools
By Nick Nunn
On Jan. 31, the Morgan County Recreation Department (MCRD) held a town hall-style meeting to discuss the possible developments in the MCRD’s soccer program, which could lead to an increased level of community involvement.
Last year’s program involved 310 participants throughout the department’s age classes, which include micro soccer (four to five years) and leagues that span ages six to 13.
Discussion about the MCRD’s lack of a 13-14 soccer program turned quickly to the department’s relationship with the Madison Area Youth Soccer Association (MAYSA), whose program began with a 13-14 age group with very positive results.
Lance Alexander, director of the MCRD, mentioned the possibility of MAYSA and the MCRD “being under the same umbrella” in the future, which would, in turn, “give the community different options to play in different settings.”
Alexander later clarified his comments from the meeting by saying, “There is nothing in concrete yet, but there is information in the hands of MAYSA on how we might possibly make this work and we are working on it as we speak. The terms are many across the board but our goal in all of this is to make sure every child in Morgan County has a place to practice and play the game of soccer.”
MAYSA similarly states on their website, www.maysastorm.com, that their program, “has a close working relationship with the Recreation Department and coordinates the use of the soccer fields at Heritage Park and Dupree Track Field.”
Attendees heard about the department’s plans for training soccer coaches before the beginning of the season from Alexander, who stated, “We want our coaches to be better prepared when they step out on the field, so our kids learn the game properly and, in turn, have more fun as they grow in the sport.”
By Nick Nunn
This Friday and Saturday, the State Championship Swim Meet will be taking place at the Georgia Tech campus, and the MCHS Swim Dogs’ Mary Claire Cardwell will be swimming in the ladies’ 100-yard backstroke competition.
Cardwell will swim in the preliminary race on Friday, and, if Cardwell is one of the 16 swimmers to advance to either the championship or consolation matches, then she will also compete on Saturday.
Saturday, the State Finals will be streaming online at www.ghsa.tv, according to the GHSA’s website, www.ghsa.net.
Printed in the February 7, 2013 edition