Notes, quotes and a thought
This week kicks off our annual selection of Elite 11 football players for The Newton County Appeal.
In some way, I’m glad to see this return to some sense of normal. For a sportswriter, it’s always tough sledding coming up with stories during the summer months. Now, all of those stories I would have done over the summer were done the last two months. Now that leaves me with two months of summer to come up with stories.
But for the next 11 weeks, I’ll be featuring the best high school football players in Newton County. This is the first normal thing I’ve done in two months when it comes to sports writing.
And just a side note on The Elite 11 that I get asked all of the time, “Who decides who is in the Elite 11?”
Well that’s simple. It’s me and me alone. So, here’s the process. I talk with coaches and they nominate players that they feel are worthy for consideration and then I select the team. The only ground rule is that every school gets at least one player. There have been years where a player might not have been nominated but I thought they were among the best 11 in the county so they were on the team.
Now, I’ll be honest about a few things in the selection process. I like players who play multiple sports. And generally speaking, the better athletes also play multiple sports, which college coaches seem to like. So if college coaches like it, why shouldn’t I value it as well. In small schools, I think it’s important for the best athletes to play multiple sports.
Take Kemp Alderman at Newton County Academy last year. He was one of the best baseball players in the state and there were people who felt like he shouldn’t play football because of the risk of injury.
But Alderman never thought about not playing football or basketball for that fact. It would have been easy for Alderman to say that his future in baseball was more important than high school football but he didn’t do that and I appreciate that.
And for me, when it comes down to picking those last few spots on the Elite 11, there has to be something to break the tie.
So by starting the Elite 11 this week, I hope it gives more of a sense of normalcy than we have been experiencing.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal. You can reach him at email@example.com