SPARTANBURG COUNTY EDITION
>> ‘Moose’ Durham
Youth Sports Magazine
ED OVERSTREET PHOTO
Spartanburg quarterback Diajha Littlejohn runs for yardage in a recent game at a packed Gibbs Stadium.
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Queen of the Road
logan morris is only 13, but the Spartanburg Christian eighth-grader is considered among the best cross country runners in S.C.
‘Moose’ on loose Preston “Moose’ Durham of Chapman HS is catching the attention of college football coaches, even as he has made a name for himself on YouTube.
Parents face tough decisions when kids play multiple sports. Read how two area families make it work.
Plus: HALEY STEPHENS
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Letter from the Publisher Hello, and welcome to the September edition of Upstate Game Day. As we enter our second month of publishing the only youth sports magazine in the western Carolinas, we express many heartfelt thanks for the kind words about our debut issue last month. Now it’s on to the second edition, which we hope you will enjoy as well. We’ve expanded our pages and our Athletes in Action section to include additional photos of young athletes who many of you might recognize. You’ll read about Logan Morris, a 13-year-old student-athlete at Spartanburg Christian Academy recognized to be one of the top cross country runLES TIMMS III ners in the state; “Moose” Durham, a Chapman High football standout who’s receiving college interest, and not just for his YouTube videos; and also we explore how area families cope with having multiple-sport, year-round athletes. In our “Next Level” series, we profile Haley Stephens, a Riverside product now playing golf at the University of Texas, and Konstantine Diamaduros of Wofford, who got his start playing Little League baseball on Spartanburg’s east side. Be sure to also read John Clayton’s column on the 9/11 anniversary. It is a moving, well-written piece. Which brings me to our cover story. In case you didn’t know, youth sports is an economic behemoth. Next year, at least $2 million will be added to our local economy when the Tyger River Park opens in Reidville in the spring of 2012. Elsewhere, millions of dollars were generated by the annual Southern Classic volleyball tournament recently when thousands of participants and their families traveled here to stay at hotels, dine in restaurants - in short, spend money in the Upstate, just as two major baseball tournaments did in July. If there’s a recession, youth sports doesn’t recognize it. Our “Money Ball” story will explore in greater detail. We have a lot on the plate for October, and it just might include a high-profile special guest in a Q&A interview you won’t find anywhere else. Other stories may include a 14-year-old race car driver who is too young to drive - legally, that is; youth football and what it means to building winning traditions, a local high school swimmer who’s going for another state title; the advancement in treating and preventing sports injuries, especially concussions; and much more! We also extend a special thank you to Bathfitter and Bojangles Corp. for joining the Game Day team of advertisers this month. This encompasses all the many Bojangles restaurants in the Upstate. Also, we welcome Kathy Nicholls to our sales team. Kathy is a talented, hard-working professional with many friends and contacts in the area. Be sure to contact her if you want to tailor your message to a growing niche market in an affordable manner. Her contact information is to the right. We look forward to hearing from you. LT
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GAME DAY Youth Sports Magazine
EDITOR & PUBLISHER Les Timms III email@example.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR / SENIOR WRITER John Clayton firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Karen L. Puckett Mary Caldwell Ed Overstreet Tim Lambka Kyle Owings Ken Finley To Advertise Contact email@example.com 864-804-0068 Kathy Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE www.upstategameday.com CONTACT GAME DAY 864-804-0068 Upstate Game Day Youth Sports Magazine is not responsible for the return of submitted photography, artwork, or manuscripts and will not be responsible for holding fees or similar charges. © Upstate Game Day Youth Sports Magazine 2011 Upstate Game Day Youth Sports Magazine is published 12 times a year. All contents are copyrighted by Upstate Game Day Youth Sports Magazine. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine, including publisher-designed advertisements, may be copied, scanned, or reproduced in any manner without prior consent from the publisher. Unauthorized user will be billed appropriately for such use.
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Where does tomorrow begin? ...it begins with opportunity.
Is your child missing out on the sports team experience? They wouldn’t at Spartanburg Day School
All sports programs offered at SDS have a no-cut policy All students are encouraged to participate in sports they enjoy and always provided the opportunity to try something new.
Boys & Girls Cross Country, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boy & Girls Swimming, Boys & Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball, Boys & Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Baseball, Boys & Girls Golf, Boys Lacrosse, & Boys & Girls Track and Field
New state-of-the-art athletic facilities and fields
The school enjoys new and renovated athletic facilities spanning 29,000 square feet of modern spaces. This includes a new performance gymnasium and locker rooms, state-of-the-art weight room, training room, dance and multi-activity studio. Our campus also features 15 acres of newly refurbished fields including a top-level track, revamped performance fields, and two additional practice fields.
PE classes are offered four times per week in our lower and middle schools, helping our students build a foundation for a healthy lifestyle and prepare them for middle school sports and beyond.
Intrigued about our programs? Let us show you more. Click, call or visit.
An International Baccal aureate World School facebook.com/SpartanburgDaySchool twitter.com/spartanburgday
spartanburgdayschool.org • 864-582-7539 1701 Skylyn Drive • Spartanburg, SC 29307
REMEMBERING 9/11 10-year anniversary
The day the games ended, our lives changed
t was a Sunday, and my memory of it is so very clear -- just as clear as the lowslung sky that seemed to hang just over the New York City skyline that morning.
The Jets would play the Colts later that day, but I don’t remember much if anything about the game I covered. I do, however, recall vividly the drive to Giants Stadium with colleagues Bob Kravitz, a New Jersey native, and C. JOHN Jemal Horton. CLAYTON Kravitz looked across the river and admired the skyline a little like a tourist and pointed out the World Trade Center, especially. Odd. Less than two days later, the World Trade Center and our proud, collective American psyche would lay in rubble. More than 3,000 lives would be lost in New York and more perished in a plane crash in the Pennsylvania farm country. On Sept. 10, I tooled around Manhattan with no particular place to be before catching a flight back to Indianapolis to keep a promise to my friend, Greg Rakestraw, to sit in on his radio show. I woke up the next morning to a ringing phone and a changed world. Most of my career has been spent both proudly and jokingly in “life’s toy department,” juggling sports coverage and automotive reviews. One time I said that I wrote about “cars, sports and car sports” just to prove the “Peter Pan Syndrome” as fact. But for about two weeks after 9/11, the toy department closed. We rightfully put away our toys and games because we needed to mourn. We needed to breathe again, even as sorrow turned to anger, even as we, as a nation, shook our fists, said our prayers and rattled our swords. Everyone -- from the NFL to college football to local high schools -- closed their gates on the weekend following 9/11, but returned the next weekend. I was in South Bend, Ind. Michigan State visited Notre Dame
as part of a classic rivalry. Again, I hardly remember the game, though I remember the clear blue sky with a single jet stream among the sparse clouds, and I remember the day as a stadium full of people started to heal under the unblinking gaze of Touchdown Jesus. And I remember halftime. Nearly all the fans in Notre Dame Stadium stayed in their seats. The Notre Dame and Michigan State bands took the field together during the intermission, playing Amazing Grace loud enough so the angels could sing along. Curmudgeonly old sports writers fought back tears in the press box, while fans wept and hugged one another in the stands. The next day, the Colts were at home in Indianapolis as the NFL returned to the field. During a tribute to the victims of 9/11, a press box hostess, who was a flight attendant most other days of the week, laid her head on my shoulder and cried as we stood for the tribute. The tears fell and the pads cracked and the footballs spiraled through the air, just as they had the day before across the country at college football games and the Friday night before at high school games all over the nation. Our stadiums and arenas and race tracks had become our new town halls -- our new gathering places over the years. We had become identified with our teams. We were Tigers or Terriers or Gamecocks. Panthers or Falcons or Steelers. But for a short time, we were just Americans, and we wanted to be together so that we could lean on one another without regard to team colors. We needed for the “toy department” to reopen to let us know things could be normal again, even if it would be a new kind of normal. The National Guard would be at airports with M16 rifles. People who called me by name would search my computer bag in every stadium and arena I entered for the next few years. “Wanding” would become a new verb. Yeah, it was a new world, but sports at every level helped us get there, maybe even more than we realize. All at once, they allowed us to remember -- and to forget, at least for a little while -- when we desperately needed to do both. That part is very clear now, too. GD
NEWS & NOTES FROM THE LOCAL YOUTH SPORTS SCENE SEND YOUR NEWS AND PHOTOS TO LES.TIMMS@UPSTATEGAMEDAY.COM
Game Day Q&A
Game Day caught up with some of Spartanburg’s young athletes at a recent high school volleyball tourney and asked them to list their FAVORITES. Here are their responses.
ED OVERSTREET PHOTO
Dave Weekley, left, and John Gregory prepare to broadcast the Dorman and Gaffney high school football game on Aug. 26. The game was seen on ESPN3.com.
ESPN1400 to webcast prep games By JOHN CLAYTON While the late August matchup between Class AAAA powers Dorman and Gaffney was webcast on ESPN3. com, several other local schools will have their complete schedules broadcast on the internet through ESPNSpartanburg.com. ESPN 1400 AM Radio, which is the flagship station of Boiling Springs High School football, will also stream Chapman, Landrum and Chesnee games this season on its website. This will be the third year for Chapman and Landrum internet broadcasts and the first year for Chesnee. Listeners out of range of the Boiling Springs radio broadcast can also listen to the Bulldogs via the internet. “The technology has been here for some time, but now we feel like we’re
in a position to expand and do it more professionally,” said Mark Hauser, general manager at ESPN 1400 AM. Chapman competes in Region 3-AAA, while Landrum is in Region 2-A and Chesnee is part of Region 1-AA. Hauser, whose staff began selling sponsorship packages for the webcasts about a month ago, said reaction to the previous seasons of Chapman and Landrum webcasts has been good. “The numbers are solid. I think we’ve got a lot of students and people involved with the schools who listen,” he said. “And it’s the internet, so folks can listen anywhere in the world.” Listeners can tune in free on the web, just by following links to the respective webcasts on the ESPNSpartanburg.com home page.
Becca Burress Landrum High School, Volleyball Class: Junior Favorite food: Junk food Favorite movie: Dear John Favorite musical artist/ group: Anything country Favorite TV show: Keeping Up with the Kardashians Favorite athlete/team: USC Gamecocks
Katie Hayes Woodruff High School, Volleyball Class: Sophomore Favorite food: Steak Favorite movie: Soul Surfer Favorite musical artist/group: Jason Aldean Favroite TV show: Cake Boss Favorite athlete/team: Pat Summitt
Aubree Denton Landrum High School, Volleyball Class: 8th grade Favorite food: Chicken Favorite movie:The Last Song Favorite musical artist/ group: Brad Paisley Favorite TV show: Jerseylicious Favorite athlete/team: Clemson Tigers
Emily Taylor Woodruff High School, Volleyball Class: Junior Favorite food: Fried chicken Favorite movie: The Notebook Favorite musical artist/group: Sara Bareilles Favorite TV show: How I Met Your Mother Favorite athlete/team: Misty May-Treanor GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 7
Athletes in Action photos by: John Clayton * Tim Lambka * Ed Overstreet * Les Timms III * Lorin Browning
Gaffney and Dorman players meet at midfield prior to their contest on Aug. 26. The Indians overpowered the Cavaliers en route to an easy victory.
photo by Ed Overstreet
Athletes in Action For considered inclusion on this page, submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can.
‘We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time.’ -Vince Lombardi
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just the extra.
The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.
If you train hard youâ€™ll be hard to beat.
QUEEN OF THE
ROAD Spartanburg Christian’s LOGAN MORRIS, 13, takes running to new level By KAREN L. PUCKETT
or one of the fastest high school cross country runners in the state, it all began six years ago at the Spring Fling 5K in downtown Spartanburg. “I was seven years old and running in the 5K with my dad,” Logan Morris, SCISA two-time individual state champion, recalls, adding that her time was 27:11. But her father, Dwayne, was not one to hold her back. “I kept her with me all the way,” he says. “But when we got to the last 100 yards, I said, ‘If you want to go on ahead…’ and that’s all I had to say before she took off and left me.” It’s no accident that Logan, at 5’2” and 92 lbs., is the fourth-ranked cross country runner in the state, no small feat for the eighth-grader at Spartanburg Christian Academy. When Logan was much younger, her father, and mother, Angela, read books on personality traits and tried to match their child’s traits with the right sport. Logan, it seemed fit the profile of “does well in events where she is solely responsible for the outcome.” Dwayne, also an accomplished runner in school, then began to direct their middle child to the track.
Eighth-grader Logan Morris is considered to be among the top cross country athletes in the state, even at the age of 13. 14 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
Logan also had other influences. “My P.E. teacher would tell me that I’m a natural at running. So after a while I took his advice, but my dad got me out there,” Logan says. Running is a family affair with the Morrisses: Dwayne and Angela, as well as Logan’s older sister, Taylor, 15, who also runs on the SCA cross country team, and younger brother, Avery, 8, who just started running. Even the family dog, Maxwell, runs alongside Logan for about a half-mile during her practice runs. Four legs or two, it would be difficult to
“She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She’s a perfectionist and dedicated to excellence. Everything she decides to do, she’ll be top-notch at it.” Steve Conway, SCA Cross Country Coach
keep up with Logan much longer than that as her practice pace averages a 7:30-mile and her race pace, a 6:05-mile. Steve Conway has coached Logan at SCA since she joined the team as a sixth-grader, describing her then as already being beyond her years in ability and maturity. “Logan came in like a ninth- or 10-grader,” says Conway, SCA’s cross country coach since the school started the program nine years ago. SCA has won six straight SCISA 2A state titles. “She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She’s a perfectionist and dedicated to excellence. Everything she decides to do, she’ll be top-notch at it.” Conway notes that Logan has become a smarter runner over the last three years. “The main thing she’s learned is strategy and she’s learned how to race,” Conway explains. “She’s very intelligent and in running, you have to constantly decide whether you’re at the correct pace or not. You have to be at a precise pace to have a good run, and Logan is exceptional at that. She knows the correct pace and knows where she should be.” Although Logan is among the younger members of the top-ranked SCA team, she contributes as a leader. “You have to have five strong runners to be a good team,” Conway says. “We have a fantastic core group of girls and Logan fits in well. Her attitude has rubbed off on the other girls, and theirs has rubbed off on her. The team comes together, and the better you do, the better the team does.” >> GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 15
> AGE: 13, > SCHOOL: 8th grade, Spartanburg Christian Academy > HOMETOWN: Inman, SC > FAMILY: Parents, Dwayne and Angela Morris; Sister Taylor, 15, and brother, Avery, 8; Maxwell, their Maltese > OFF SEASON SPORT: Soccer > WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT LOGAN: She cuts the arch in her running shoes so they bend better > HOBBIES: Reading and crafts > LAST BOOK READ: “Treasure Island” (Summer reading requirement) > POSSIBLE CAREER: Teaching and coaching track/cross country in high school > TV SHOW: “Victorious” > FAVORITE MOVIE: “Soul Surfer” > FAVORITE BAND: Hillsong United, a Christian praise and worship group > PERSON IN HISTORY YOU’D LIKE TO TAKE TO DINNER AND WHERE: Former President George W. Bush to Carrabbas > FAVORITE FOOD: Strawberries > WHAT HER TEAM DOES BEFORE A RACE: “We sing a song, which calms our nerves, and we say a prayer. And I eat a banana.” > BEST WAY TO SPEND A WEEKEND: “Relaxing and having a friend over” > COACH STEVE CONWAY SAYS: “With Logan, I always reevaluate what is possible because of the things she’s accomplished as a seventh-grader.”
LOGAN MORRIS / FROM 16
One way to get better? Eat a chocolate-chip Eggo Waffle before a race. No syrup. “It’s a weird tradition for me and my sister, but the shot of chocolate gives me energy,” Logan adds. She generally loads up on pasta the night before a race, and continually hydrates herself with water and Gatorade to be prepared to run to her potential. She’s learned the hard way that a hot dog for lunch is not a good idea hours before a meet that afternoon. In cross country, runners not only take to the asphalt, but also to the grass, dirt, sand and even gravel. She runs on the multiple surfaces in training, compiling about 40 miles a week. Self-disciplined, Logan admits that she puts pressure on herself to constantly improve. “I have a Type A personality. Maybe I just think through everything too much. I feel I need to improve, and if I don’t, I let my team down,” she says. But it’s that type of discipline Logan says has made her a better person in other areas of her life. “You have to teach your body how to run and how to work out hard,” she says. “That kind of discipline you can use in school or anywhere.” GD
One-Day Bath Remodeling
PROFILE PREP FOOTBALL
loose By JOHN CLAYTON
8 GAME DAY u AUGUST 2011 18 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
preston durham CATCHING ATTENTION OF COLLEGE coaches, AS WELL AS BECOMING A YOUTUBE SENSATION
reston Durham earned the nickname “Moose” on the day he was born. “I came out at around 10 pounds, and that’s what they called me,” said Durham before a recent football practice at Chapman High School. It stuck. And Durham has stuck in the collective memories of area fans for a variety of reasons, most notably his abilities as a hard-nosed linebacker with the Panthers that has him rated among the top recruits in the Carolinas. Durham, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, has caught the attention of several high-profile national recruiting websites, including MaxPreps.com and is reported to be consistently on the radar of Duke University and head coach David Cutcliffe. He has also been named to MaxPreps. comPreseason All-American second team in addition to the website’s U.S. Air Force All-American junior team after last season.
JOHN CLAYTON PHOTOS
Chapman High School linebacker Preston “Moose” Durham, above left, says Duke and Appalachian State are among his top choices as to where he could land next year.
“It’s just words, man,” said Durham, who also lines up at fullback for the Panthers but considers himself a linebacker by trade. “You’ve got to go out and prove it on the field.” So far, so good. Durham has started for the Panthers since his freshman season when he led the team in tackles with 126. Two years later, he has 388 total tackles for his career and is eyeing 500 before playing his final high school game. But there is more to Moose than the guy under the helmet. As a freshman, he became something of a minor YouTube sensation for his six-minute-plus “Evolution of Dance” video while participating in the school’s Mr. Panorama contest as a freshman. In the video, he tackles everything from the Twist to the Robot to the Chicken Dance. Since then, Durham has introduced audiences and YouTube to Johnny Cash Moose, Vanilla Moose (an homage to Vanilla
Ice) and Disco Moose. While Moose may have danced his way onto your computer screen, Durham has hit his way into the hearts of college scouts and coaches in addition to Chapman High School head coach Andy Farmer, who knew he had something special in Durham as a freshman. His nose for the ball helped earn Durham All-Region 3-AAA honors and the All-American accolades in 2010 as well as the ensuing interest from colleges. Durham has most notably been associated with Duke and has been featured on the website, BlueDevilNation.com, but said he is also interested in Appalachian State as a potential landing place for his college career. “I like the state schools, but (Duke and ASU) are both far enough away where I can get away, but close enough that I can come back when I need to,” he said. “I like the campuses and the education opportunities there -- especially at Duke.” GD GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 19
By any other name, it’s not your father’s Little League. It’s a multimillion-dollar business that can mean big bucks to places such as Spartanburg and Greenville...
Tyger River Park is scheduled to open next year. With 13 fields, the complex is expected to add millions to the local economy.
> Youth sports pack huge economic punch in Upstate, reports show The Blade junior golf tournament in Greer brings in the best golfers in South Carolina along with their families.
Youth Soccer also contributes to the local economy.
20 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
The Big League World Series, above, was played in the Upstate and televised on ESPN.
By JOHN CLAYTON
hey called themselves volleyball teams, but they seemed more like colorcoded, chatty, bouncy swarms. And they were everywhere. Club South, Spartanburg County’s oldest and largest volleyball club, brought them to the Upstate from all over the Carolinas and Georgia March 5-6 for the Southern Classic volleyball tournament. They came by the van load and packed SUVs with parents, siblings, coaches and others in tow. An estimated 4,000 participants and another 6,000 spectators were spread across the Upstate with tournament venues in Easley, Simpsonville, Anderson, Spartanburg and Duncan. Anderson officials estimated the economic impact in Anderson alone at $120,000 for the two-day event. And this is not an anomaly. Across the nation, young athletes are not just participating in local recreation leagues. They are part of pay-to-play club sports or traveling to tournaments in individual sports such as golf or tennis. They call themselves the Sparks. And Rockstars. Or the Storm.
By any other name, it’s not your father’s Little League. It’s a multimillion-dollar business and it can mean big bucks to places such as Spartanburg and Greenville. For instance, the Carolina Football Club of Spartanburg estimated that the annual Publix Presidents Medal Spring Cup soccer tournament for boys and girls Under-13 and Under-14 teams, generated about $235,000 locally, bringing 50 teams and nearly 3,000 people to the Upstate. Earlier this year, American Athletic Union (AAU) officials announced that as many as 600 of its baseball teams will invade the Simpsonville-Greenville area for the East Coast Nationals. Four age divisions were to play on 14 fields at Simpsonville’s Heritage Park, Mauldin’s Sunset Park and Lakeside Park in Greenville.
GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 21
They came; they played; and they spent money. Todd Bertka, vice president of sales for the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the invitational tournament would provide a $2.5 million economic impact to the area. The tournament started July 8 and lasted for nearly three weeks, ending July 31, just as the smaller but ESPN broadcast Big League World Series got started in nearby Easley. In the case of the Southern Classic volleyball tournament, only about 15 percent of the tournament’s participants were actually in Anderson, while the other 85 percent were in Greenville and Spartanburg counties, meaning Anderson’s estimated economic impact was only a small piece of the total pie brought here by the tournament. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” said Club South Director Jimmy Peden. “The changes and the growth of club sports have been phenomenal.” Club South is a case in point. Two decades ago, Peden said he had 18 players. Now, there are more than 700 at different age and skill levels and some 50 coaches to teach them the sport. And it has grown in the face of the worst economic climate in the U.S. since The Great Depression. Even as businesses and families have struggled to survive economically, club teams have flourished, despite travel expenses and costs for coaching. “Parents find a way to do things for their children,” said Peden. “Even if they can’t afford anything else, they find a way.”
Getting in the Game
In Denver, more than 10,000 girls annually compete in USA Volleyball’s 10 nationalqualifying events, bringing an estimated economic impact of $13 million to the Mile High City. In Richmond, Va., the Richmond Strikers’ Jefferson Cup soccer tournament annually draws more than 30,000 people to the area. According to the Richmond Times, the tournament is the second-largest sporting event in the region behind the area’s two NASCAR weekends and brings more than $9 million to the area. Spartanburg County had to get in the game, meaning officials had to decide to make an investment in a state-of-the-art sports complex that would have the ability to attract lucrative sporting events. Officials with Spartanburg County Parks and Recreation are aware of numbers and the others like them across the country that mean big business to merchants -- business that Spartanburg business owners hasn’t been getting. “It was very important for us to get this done,” said Parks and Recreation official Dennis Hodges, whose post-graduate work at the University of West Virginia included
a study of the potential economic impact of the Tyger River facility. “We do plan to hold a world-series type of event every year here, and that’s with 200-300 teams coming to the area, eating in restaurants and staying in hotels.” Work is still being done on the Tyger River Park, a baseball/softball complex located just off I-85 in the Duncan-Moore area between Greenville and Spartanburg, but the economic impact is expected to be almost immediate. Tyger River Park won’t officially open for a few months, but an early season college baseball tournament for snowbird baseball teams seeking sunshine and green grass is already slated for early next year along with a “world series level” event with an unnamed youth organization set for the summer of 2012. The official announcement of that event and its sanctioning body is expected in early October. Spartanburg County Parks and Recreation owns and operates one other sports complex -- the Highway 295-North Spartanburg Complex with several soccer and baseball/softball fields. According to Hodges, the North Spartanburg Complex creates about $750,000 annually. Tyger River Park is expected to realistically create $2-3 million in economic impact in its first year of operation.
In reality, the Southern Classic has outgrown any one venue, and that is why it is spread out across the Upstate, playing at the Anderson Civic Center, the Middle Tyger YMCA and the Westside Athletic Club, to name a few. When the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium staff studied the possibilities of expansion into a downtown convention center several years ago, the contracted study determined that an adequate facility for indoor sports could realistically host 52 spectator events annually. If you’re counting, that’s one event per week every year. “These are not piein-the-sky numbers either,” said Steve Jones, director of the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. “The concept was to take an arena and break it up into 30-by30 (foot) grids and determine from that what’s needed.
“You have tennis courts, exhibit halls, nine volleyball courts or basketball courts, the layout would make us more of a multipurpose facility. . . . We saw a huge need for sports events and youth events – everything from basketball, wrestling, indoor tennis and volleyball to cross country.” Even if the struggling economy can’t stop the growth of club sports across the nation, it put at least a temporary end to any possible expansion to the 50-plus year-old Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. Jones said the proposed expansion would have cost between $32 million and $59 million, but could have annually drawn thousands of sports participants and their supporters, each spending an estimated $140 per day, according to normal economic impact mathematics.
Friday nights in the Upstate from late August through November are weekly events for local football fans, who tailgate or often frequent restaurants before and after games. They may not rent hotel rooms, but high school football has a unique impact all its own -- and not all of it is monetary. Over the past decade, Dorman, Landrum and Chapman have gotten new stadiums that sit adjacent to their new campuses. Any resemblances to their functional but mundane predecessors is purely coincidental. Gaffney opened its new “Reservation,” retiring the older one in downtown, beside its campus in 2008 and welcoming fans to a state-of-the-art facility. Though
Gaffney’s loyal fan base would show up to watch the Indians play in an empty field, firstyear head coach Dan Jones, a former assistant, said the new stadium was a boon for one of the state’s highest profile programs and the town. “More than anything, I think, it’s something the community can take pride in,” said Jones. “It’s an inviting place to come; it’s clean and new; and it accommodates everyone.” It also seats 8,000 fans with another 200 end zone seats for the home band, compared to the capacity of 6,000 at the old downtown stadium. With the old Reservation empty on Friday nights, some traditions have moved to the new stadium, while others have faded away with the old white paint of the former reservation. The Indians still emerge from a tunnel onto the field, just like at the old Reservation, but more importantly, Gaffney is still winning and the home fans keep coming out to support the Indians --- they just get to check out the new Jumbo-Tron scoreboard while they’re doing it. “With winning, new traditions will come, but right now, the young guys just want to put the pads on and hit somebody,” Jones said. “But new traditions will be built in the new stadium, too. When Gaffney played at Dorman in front of more than 10,000 people and an ESPN3.com audience Aug. 26, the Upstate was on display for a national audience, just as it had been when Byrnes played in Ohio and Florida on the ESPN family of networks over the past couple of years. That exposure, which has become increasingly the norm for the nation’s football powerhouses, makes it even harder to put a true dollar amount on Friday night football in the area, even though it is evident each and every game night.
Links to the Links
While team sports appear to be growing without a ceiling in sight, junior golf, though still popular, is maintain-
ing its numbers around the state, but S.C. Junior Golf Association Executive Director Chris Miller said the sport is facing challenges. “We have families that were members of golf clubs five or 10 years ago who aren’t members anymore because they’ve had to cut that expense,” said Miller. Golf is also tightly linked to the real-estate market, and those same families perhaps can no longer afford homes on the 18th green and opt for a quiet cul de sac instead. And, of course, the Tiger effect is less of a factor. A young Tiger Woods drew a generation of players to the game with unparalleled play and the Nike marketing machine, but his popularity has waned in the wake of scandal and injury. He is no longer the picture of focus and professionalism, and he is no longer the No. 1-ranked player n the world. Still, the AJGA put together a study that said a 78-player field in a junior tournament can bring as much as $125,000 to a local economy. The SCJGA routinely eclipses that number. When the summer tournament arrives in Hartsville, 104 players are there to compete and 180 local hotel rooms are booked. There are similar or larger numbers in places such as Cheraw and Greenwood. And here. The Blade, contested each summer at Thornblade Club in Greer, is among the best attended events on the SCJGA schedule, including more than 125 golfers this past July.
The love of the game is the draw for many players – and the love of their children is very often the draw for the parents. But some also hope that more coaching and year-round play will help players land college scholarships or possibly a professional career down the line. Large tournaments are often showcases for college scouts and clubs such as Club South and Carolina Elite Soccer have good track records of players making it to the college ranks, despite odds that say a relatively low number of young athletes will receive college scholarships. But Peden said, while those hopes have been factors behind the growth of youth and club sports around the country, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor in a young person’s involvement. That impact, he said, should be more than simply economic. “The biggest payoff for the player is self esteem,” said Peden. “Typically, if they want to go to school and play, we can place them somewhere at some level, but the biggest payoff for me is to see is the improvement of a kid’s self esteem.”“Parents find a way to do things for their children,” said Peden. “Even if they can’t afford anything else, they find a way.” GD
BY THE NUMBERS > 60,000,000 - Number of American youth participating in organized sports, according to a 2008 study by the National Youth Sports Council. > 18 - Number of players Club South Volleyball Club started with two decades ago. > 700 - Number of players currently on Club South rosters. > 400,000 - Combined number of children participating in Pop Warner football (260,000) and cheerleading (140,000), as reported by the organization to CNN in 2006. > 10,000 -Estimated number of participants and spectators at Club South’s Southern Classic tournament this past spring. > 50 - Number of teams in the annual Carolina Football Club of Spartanburg’s Publix presents President’s Cup Soccer Tournament. > 3,000 - Number of attendees at last year’s CFC President’s Cup soccer tournament. > Up to 3,000,000 - Dollars expected to be generated by events held at Middle Tyger River Park. > 13 - Number of fields at the new Middle Tyger River Park baseball/ softball complex due to open next year.
Fans in the Stands
FOR MANY FANS, Tailgating festivities extend the fun before -- and after -- the game
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE A SUCCESSFUL ONE By MARY CALDWELL
ootball in the fall can mean much more than watching the game. The festive atmosphere extends into the parking lot at many stadiums, with friends grilling out, socializing and playing games. For many fans, tailgating has become an important, much-anticipated part of the game experience. “There’s just something about being able to come together before a football game and extend that whole event into more than just football,” explains Stacey Beeler of Spartanburg, who tailgates before Dorman High School football games at home and sometimes on the road when the Cavaliers play teams like Byrnes and Gaffney. “I enjoy fall - it’s one of my favorite times of the year, and football’s a great sport.
ED OVERSTREET FILE PHOTOS
Fans such as the individuals pictured above make tailgating a family affair during High School Friday Nights in the Upstate.
I just love being a part of that,” he adds. Beeler began tailgating during days as a student at Clemson and has continued the tradition at the high school level. With two children, one of whom attends West View Elementary and the other at Dawkins Middle School, and a wife that teaches at West View, Dorman was a natural fit for the family. They arrive at the games early to enjoy family time and socialize with their friends and fellow tailgaters. From their reserved parking spot on the way to the
stadium entrance, they have many friends stop by to chat on their way inside to watch the game. “It’s fun to have people stop and say hello and talk,” he says. Food can be anything from hamburgers and bratwurst cooked on the grill to take-out party trays to a Lowcountry boil. They also arrange a potluck about once a season, with nearby tailgaters bringing items for their own families, plus some to share with others. > GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 25
TAILGATING TIPS FOR A FUN EXPERIENCE / FROM 25 Their tailgating doesn’t necessarily stop when the game is over. If traffic is heavy, the Beelers may unpack their fold-up chairs, tables and food again, waiting for the crowds to clear. Apparently, the fun is contagious. “What I’ve seen is an increase in the amount of tailgating. When we started about five years ago, we got some odd looks. But year after year, it’s gained momentum and traction,” he says. Want to join in the fun? Here are some tips to help make your tailgating experience a successful one:
1. Make a list.
This will help avoid a last-minute panic over lost tickets, parking passes or food. Frequent tailgaters should keep their list on the computer so they can print out a new copy to check off each time.
2. Plan for a variety of weather.
From hot, humid evenings to frigid temperatures once the sun goes down, the weather can swing from one extreme to the other during a football season. Add some rain, and you might have uncomfortable conditions if you’re unprepared. It helps to dress in layers and bring extra sweatshirts, gloves, rain ponchos and jackets in case the weather gets more chilly then you anticipate. A canopy can also help provide shelter from the sun and rain.
3. Arrive early.
Extend the fun by arriving as early as 5:30 or 6 p.m., particularly for big rivalries or playoff games. There won’t be as much traffic, and you’ll get a parking space closer to the stadium and tailgating action.
4. Dress in clothes with team logos or colors.
It’s an easy way to start a conversation with your fellow fans or exchange some good-natured barbs with the other team’s fans.
5. Consider a reserved parking space if the stadium offers it.
The Beelers find it’s much more convenient and also lets them form bonds with the tailgaters around them, since they have the same “neighbors” each time.
6. Be flexible.
Tailgating can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. Follow the Beelers’ example and experiment with lower-maintenance takeout trays mixed in with more elaborate menus. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the food preparations, scale back next time.
7. Take plenty of Wet Ones, napkins and paper towels. These are the items that get depleted quickly as messes form.
8. Freeze some bottles of water
and put them in your cooler. They help keep your food cold and provide refreshing drinks as they cool.
9. Make sure to store food properly, especially on hot days. Keep cold foods chilled for as long as possible before it’s served. The old saying, “If in doubt, throw it out,” applies here. 10. Use disposables when possible. That way, you can throw away your plates, cups and utensils instead of hauling the mess back home and facing the dirty dishes late in the evening. 11. Bring a marker to write names on cups so it’s
easy to see which drink belongs to which person.
12. Bring plenty of heavy-duty trash bags.
You may not be close to trash cans, or they may be full. You’ll want to leave your tailgating area as neat - or neater - than you found it.
FCA spotlight ‘Trash Talk’
By Ryan Gloer
ou brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” [Matthew 12:34-37] It is plain, it is simple, and it is Biblical: Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The things that come out of our mouths are in direct relation to the things we have stored up in our hearts. In other words, what we are saying is an indication of what our heart is really like. Gossip, slander, filthy language, and things of the like do not just flow openly out of our mouths for no apparent reason; they are flowing from the source in which those things were put, the heart. Sometimes it may be simple to watch your mouth around a certain crowd of people or you may be able to clean up your speech for a short period of time; however that still cannot solve the problem of your heart. We must humble ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us and fill us with new attitudes from within. Then, and only then, will our mouths and the words that proceed from them be cleansed at the source. A few weeks ago I was sitting in Starbucks drinking some coffee and studying God’s Word when a man and a woman came and sat at the table right next to me. With that famous coffee shop being my normal study hole, I always seem to observe or meet very interesting people. I had my headphones in as I was rockin’ out to Jeremy Camp and thumbing through the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew. Due to the music that was blaring in my headphones, I could not hear what
the people were talking about, but when the CD came to an end, my ears were in for a surprise. I continued to read and study while taking some notes from the commentary I had come across, but through overhearing their conversation, I could no longer think straight. The two that sat just a few feet away from me were apparently leaders at a church in this town. They were talking in a very religious slang and began to embark down a trail of gossip. It turned into over an hour of complaining, slandering, and utter negativity, all while having a smile on their faces as they laughed about it. Here are some of the things I figured out: They were both married. They were not sitting with their spouses. They did not like their church leadership. They complained about the organization of the church. The music wasn’t what they wanted it to be. Shall I say more? I cannot recall a single reason why I would ever want to visit that church. The book of Second Timothy tells us to avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Thankfully I never got the name of the church that these leaders were representing because I’m sure my opinion would be scarred because of their nonsense. If there was an unbeliever sitting in the chair next to them, I think they would continue to be an unbeliever. There is no way that Jesus or anything of the church would seem positive or loving after overhearing an hour long rambling of gossip. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must be careful with what we choose to put into our bodies because at some point it is going to eventually come out. Our words carry far more of an influence than we may ever realize. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” [Proverbs 10:19]
Parents face difficult decisions when kids play multiple sports - but planning and a flexible schedule are keys to making it work.
how two area families create calm out of chaos. KAREN L. PUCKETT PHOTOS
THE GUEST FAMILY: (From left) Dad Robert, daughter Vanessa, son Charlie, mom Christie, and daughters Sabrina and Samantha.
28 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
By KAREN L. PUCKETT
THE GREER FAMILY: (From left) Son Andrew, mom Natasha, daughters Anna and Elizabeth, and dad Travis.
obert Guest was taught at an early age that idle time is the work of the devil. “I was always doing something. It was football, then basketball, then baseball and when baseball was over it was time for spring football practice,” says Guest.
Guest now practices juggling year-round as he and his wife, Christie, make sure their four children are on time for their own sports activities. One look at Christie’s system—a pencil and paper calendar—and it’s clear that no one in the family has idle time, or even time to watch “American Idol.”
“During the school year, we don’t have time sit around and watch TV,” Christie says. “It’s school, church and sports.” But the Guests do make time to eat together, preferably at home. “I use a crock pot a lot,” says Christie, who works as a senior tax analyst for Milliken. “I cook chili, ribs, baked chicken, beef tips. I cook rice before I go to work, leave it on the stove and warm it up when I get home.” The next-best thing is dining out at a restaurant that has specials for kids. And even better is when two of the kids get their driver’s license to help shuttle themselves and the younger siblings to practices. Samantha, a freshman at Anderson University, has played volleyball for seven years, for Dorman High School and Club South. Vanessa, 16, also plays volleyball.
GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 29
Charlie Guest, 10, plays football, basketball, soccer and baseball.
Sabrina, 12, plays volleyball and dances. Charlie, 10, plays football, basketball, soccer, baseball and is a member of the Anderson Mill Running Club. When the girls were younger, they also played multiple sports—softball, basketball, dance, soccer—until they decided to focus on volleyball. Robert has coached some of these teams; Christie has been a parent representative for Club South. “It’s really hard to specialize at one sport at a younger age,” he says. “Because high school sports have become so competitive you have to focus on one if you want to start on the team.” The Guests plan the travel arrangements for the upcoming busy week on Sunday. But even those plans are cast aside when one child’s match goes overtime. Each child has his or her own calendar and is expected to keep abreast of practices, games, etc. The older children have emails so coaches can contact them directly, and they are responsible for relaying any last-minute changes to the schedule. As for homework, the children are responsible for completing that on their own, as well. In other words, Robert and Christie do not hover over them. 30 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
Andrew Greer, 10, plays two sports a year. He just finished baseball and is now into football season.
“It teaches them responsibility,” Christie says. “They learn to be independent and be responsible for their own schedule. When they were little I’d pack their things and put it by the door the night before, but as they have gotten older, they do it themselves.” Not only do Samantha (when she’s home from college) and Vanessa pitch in with the driving duties, but they are also expected to support Sabrina and Charlie with their athletic endeavors. “I remind them they were dragged along to their activities when they were little and now it’s time to support them,” Christie says. “It makes them realize they are not the only ones playing a sport. You owe it to them as siblings to support them.” Even with two extra drivers in the family, the daily schedule after school can be complicated and the Guests, who have no relatives in South Carolina, often rely on the kindness of friends and coaches to take or pick up when necessary. So, where do Robert and Christie find time for themselves? At work. Robert, division finance leader at Milliken, meets his wife for a
child-free lunch in the company’s cafeteria, usually after Christie has worked out in the company’s fitness center. Robert works out, too, but at the YMCA. When Charlie’s grown, they realize they will have more time for themselves but for now, it’s rewarding to give up so much for their children. “It’s our family entertainment,” Christie says. “Aside from church, it’s how we bond. We like knowing they’re not in trouble and seeing them get better at the things they do.”
In the Greer household, there’s the “Two-Sport Rule.” Travis and Natasha Greer’s two older children, Andrew, 10, and Anna, 9, may play up to two sports a year. Andrew just finished baseball and is playing football this fall; Anna plays soccer in the fall and tennis year-round. Their youngest, Elizabeth, 3, is a special needs child who has grown accustomed to the hectic family sports schedule. Making it even more complicated is Travis’ frequent business trips as development manager for Workwear Protection Fabrics at Milliken.
Thursday is the day for planning who will take and pick up whom, when and where because the weekends are typically the most jam-packed with tennis tournaments and baseball games. Weekdays are generally set aside for lessons and practices. Wednesdays are for mid-week Bible Study and Services at Boiling Springs Church of Christ, where Travis serves as a deacon, and Natasha, a Sunday School teacher. “Working out the logistics and keeping your energy level up are the biggest challenges,” says Travis. “There are times I want to come home, lie down and take a nap, but this is something we’ve committed to do with the kids.” Travis remembers the children enjoyed watching him play softball and tennis when they were younger. “At some point you have to take a back seat and support them, which means you don’t get to play your own sports as much,” he says. “I don’t get much ‘me’ time. I quit playing tennis this year to spend more time getting them to their sporting activities. I can sacrifice this time for them the next few years,” Natasha adds. But there is one thing the Greers won’t sacrifice. “Date night is a priority, especially if it’s been an extraordinary busy week,” says Natasha, who homeschools Andrew and Anna. The couple goes out “no less than every other weekend,” usually to the movies and a quick bite to eat. Once every three months or so, they go out for a nice dinner and to the theater. They try to keep a routine concerning dinner:
Natasha cooks Monday and Thursday with leftovers on Tuesday; Wednesday they eat out after church; Friday is pizza night. “We have to be flexible if the kids are doublebooked with games and matches,” Travis adds. “It’s important that we are at the table together.” Like the Guests, the Greers don’t have local relatives and constantly depend on friends and coaches to help with transportation. “There’s always someone nice to help us out,” Travis says, adding, for example, that recently Anna had a tennis match at the time Andrew was to be picked up from Bible Camp. The preacher gladly gave Andrew a ride home enabling Travis and Natasha to cheer Anna on the court. Elizabeth has some health issues that also require a helping hand. “She can’t be outside when it rains because of breathing problems, and sometimes I call on people to help. And we had a lot of doctors’ appointments. One of us takes Elizabeth to the doctor and the other takes the other two to their games,” Natasha says. The Greers see advantages to their children being involved in multiple sports. Anna excels in tennis, but soccer is a complement to tennis because it is a team sport, which teaches her how to work with others on a team. “That’s something that will carry on to the workplace,” Travis says. “There’s a whole list of positives. In the long-term, it helps them develop healthy habits and exercise. It builds friendships. In the teen years, it will keep them out of trouble.” GD
Anna Greer, 9, plays soccer in the fall and tennis year-round.
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For anyone with the desire to play sports at the college or professional level, the road is long and hard. This regular feature is about local athletes, living their dream, competing at ...
The Next Level
Hook ’em HALEY Former Riverside HS golfer Haley Stephens making name for herself as a Texas Longhorn
By john clayton
t’s been two years since Haley Stephens was the state’s most dominant female junior golfer. Since then, Stephens, the Carolina Junior Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008, has changed her zip code and her home course — moving from Thornblade to the University of Texas Golf Club in the Texas Hill Country near Austin. While she has changed courses, her singular sense of direction remains the same. She has added a Big XII Championship with her Longhorn teammates to a lengthy resume that includes state titles at Riverside in 2007 and 2008, four all-state selections and a 2009 AJGA Heritage Junior Championship. And she is hoping the same course that led her from the Upstate to the expanse of Texas will lead her one day to NCAA glory and the LPGA Tour. “I’ve worked this hard for as long as I have,” Stephens said of a potential professional career after her career at Texas is complete. “Of course, I still want to give it a shot and
24 GAME DAY u AUGUST 2011
see what happens.” More immediately, Stephens said the Longhorns are poised to make a run at Big XII championships for the next couple of years and she believes they will challenge for a NCAA crown as well. The team finished third in the Big XII during Stephens’ freshman year and won the title this past April. Stephens is among a trio of super sophomores — now rising juniors — leading the Longhorns. Madison Pressel (younger sister of LPGA player Morgan Pressel), Stephens and Texas native Katelyn Sepmoree were stalwarts in this year’s championship run with Pressel, who also teamed with Stephens in 2009 on the AJGA Canon Cup team, earning Big XII Player of the Year and All-American honors. The Longhorns didn’t have a senior on their roster this past season. So far, choosing Texas over a bevy of other schools offering golf scholarships two years ago has been everything Stephens had hoped for — and more. “They give us everything we need to succeed physically and academically,” Stephens said. “From tutors to our workout facilities
and the golf course, it’s just top notch.” Austin’s famous music scene was one of the drawing cards for Stephens when choosing Texas over several other schools, but she has also enjoyed the travel associated with women’s NCAA Division I golf. “They do a great job of making sure we have a chance to see the cities we travel to,” she said. “I loved the Palo Alto (Calif.) area when we played at Stanford, and we were able to go into San Francisco and see the Golden Gate Bridge and could see Alcatraz across the bay.” On the course, Stephens was second on the team behind Pressel this past season with a 75.13 stroke average this past season, which included a 1-under-par, fifth-place finish at the season-opening UCF Challenge in February, and a 75 average as a freshman. Her low round as a Longhorn of 68 also came during her freshman campaign. While Stephens’ game has found a home at Texas, it was honed in the Upstate and on courses across the Carolinas. There, she said, she learned about the mental toughness it takes to win at any level. “(Junior golf) taught me how to compete, really,” Stephens said. “It taught me how to finish and how to apply everything I’d practiced.” GD
> Hometown: Greer, S.C. > Sport: Golf > Birthday: Nov. 17, 1990 > College: Sophomore, University of Texas > High School: Riverside > Favorite food: Animal Crackers > Favorite sports movie: Hoosiers > Favorite actor/actress: Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock PHOTO COURTESY / UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
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The Next Level “It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you are, find a way to keep it fun. If you don’t like the game, there’s no reason to play it.”
garrett byErs PHOTO
Wofford outfielder Konstantine Diamaduros, who spent summer playing in Coastal Plain League, dispenses advice to young athletes: ‘Keep it fun’
By JOHN CLAYTON FOREST CITY, N.C. -- Practically anyone who knows Konstantine Diamaduros knows how he spent his summer -- playing baseball just like all the other summers he can remember before it. But this past summer, Diamaduros, a Wofford College outfielder and Spartanburg product, set records on the way to finishing his three-year career with the Coastal Plain League’s Forest City Owls. Diamaduros, who had won back-to-back CPL championships with the wooden-bat league team became the team’s and league’s all-time hits (174) and RBI (104) leader. “I can’t really believe that it’s over,” said Diamaduros moments after the Owls were denied a third-straight CPL title with a semifinals loss to the Gastonia Grizzlies. “Hopefully, this won’t be my last summer game of baseball, God willing, but we’ll have to wait until next summer to figure that out, I guess.” Diamaduros is hoping for a chance to
play professional baseball after completing his senior year and final season at Wofford and could be drafted in next June’s Major League amateur draft. Like most players competing in woodenbat leagues across the country, Diamaduros was both hoping to get used to the wooden bats used in professional baseball and hoping to get the attention of Major League scouts. “It just helps you, playing in a league like this with hardly any days off helps tune you up mentally for the grind that you have to endure if you do get the opportunity to play minor-league baseball,” he said. “Playing out here lets you get in touch with yourself mentally and lets you know you can get through that grind without taking any days off.” Before Diamaduros’ career veered toward Wofford and the Owls, he honed his skills at Spartanburg High School and for club teams such as the 18-under South Carolina Bombers, 17U UCB Bombers and the 16U Team Carolina Red.
He also was part of the 12U Hillbrook All-Stars who earned a trip to the Little League regionals in Florida. Diamaduros said the billboard proclaiming the accomplishment is still hanging in the outfield where Hillbrook still plays its games. And to those youngsters, Diamaduros offers up the sage advice of a college senior and three-year veteran of summers playing in one of the most respected wooden bat leagues in the country. “It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you are, find a way to keep it fun,” he said. “If you don’t like the game, there’s no reason to play it. “Just play it as long as you love it and play it as long as you can, but don’t lose that aspect of having fun while you’re playing. . . . There’s plenty of people our age right now fighting for their country overseas who’d gladly come over here and play a game, and sometimes we sit here and take advantage of it and complain about how hot it is.” GD GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 35
What swing is right for you?
here is not a perfect swing that fits everyone’s game. Just look on the PGA Tour and you will see many different players with many different swings that work. So with all the information out there, what is an amateur player to choose when making a selection on what type swing to use? In my teaching, I use this as a rule. If a player has a tight swing and is on the shorter side KYLE physically, I believe they should OWINGS swing tighter and set the wrists at the top of the swing. Some examples of this type of swing on tour are players like: Boo Weekly, Jonathan Byrd, and Chad Campbell. Have you noticed these players on the tour are not considered tall? To me,
this is not a coincidence. In Pic A, you can see a swing that has set the wrists much more. To initiate this downswing you simply need to just turn your shoulders. No increase in lagging the club is needed since you have fully cocked the wrists at the top of your swing. Now if you are a player that is tall and lanky, I believe you should have a “wide to narrow” swing. This means you turn to the top of your swing with your shoulders and arms to create width. From this point, as shown in Pic B, you should lag the club. To do this you should have the sensation of pulling the club in your downswing closely to your body. Players on tour that use this type of swing are: Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, and Gary Woodland. So in determining what swing is right for you, I believe it is important to figure out your natural swing and then simply fit to your body type. Happy Golfing! Reach the Kyle Owings Golf Academy at (864)205-4221
This swing is tight, and sets the wrists, best for players on the shorter side.
Wide to narrow swing, best for tall and lanky players
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Off-season training tips for young athletes
believe proper preparation is the key to any success and that principle holds true for athletes as well. As an athlete what you do in the offseason can make or break your performance during the season. Here is a list of tips that will help you maximize your abilities and enjoy your most successful season ever.
1. Define Your Expectations – Many business leaders and coaches talk about setting goals. I don’t believe in setting goals because goals are things that never really happen. Rather I prefer to define my expectations. You see goals leave too much wiggle room to get out of meeting them. Young athletes are great at coming up with excuses or sad stories. I simply don’t want to allow these in my training programs. The athlete with a goal says ‘My goal is to win today’. The athlete with expectations says ‘I expect to win today.’ Most kids don’t set clear expectations so don’t just let them off the hook. We have clear expectations (or we should) for their behavior or
their grades so let’s set clear expectations for their athletic achievement so everything they do will come back to whether or not they are doing what it takes to meet those expectations. I never pressure young kids to win. Winning and personal bests are byproducts of committing to those expectations that are set. Try it. You’ll see how on the fence kids are about trying KEN something that is difFINLEY ficult because they are afraid of tackling something difficult. Once they learn that they can meet their expectations then they learn they can meet any expectation in other areas of their life. That’s called character development and that is what makes youth sports so great -
It’s important not to overdo a workout when starting a new routine, instead, ease into it.
learning life’s lessons. 2. Take It Easy – The temptation is to start off like gangbusters with a new program or training technique. Consistency is the key to development. If you start off too hard then it becomes drudgery and you often see kids fade in their enthusiasm and in their commitment to the program. I would rather my athletes show up the first day of practice maybe a little undertrained but can’t wait to start the season rather than feeling like they need a vacation. I say 3 to 4 quality training sessions per week. Rest is an important part of a training program. 3. Build a Solid Base – When most people hear me use that term they think they need to go out and run several miles so that they are ‘in shape’. This is nonsense. Most sports require quick bursts of energy followed by a rest period or slower pace of activity followed by another quick burst. That is how we should condition athletes not by pouring on miles and miles of boring aerobic workouts. Also when I think of building a base I think of establishing the qualities that make up a good athlete. These qualities include speed, strength, coordination, balance and mobility. This doesn’t mean go out and perform a bunch of endless drills either. Focus on proper development of movement patterns and
footwork. This is where you need a quality coach (hint, hint) who supervises and really teaches the athlete to move correctly. The best teachers educate their students so that they can correct themselves when they make a mistake. This allows them to fix their errors while playing which helps them be more successful rather than having you point out again and again what they did wrong. 4. Get Strong – Everything in sport becomes easier when you get stronger. Your athletes will have a low ceiling in place when strength is a limiting factor for them. I don’t’ mean go throw a ton of weight on a bar and try and lift it. Technique in the weight room is, of course, critical. So don’t sacrifice technique to try and throw a million pounds around. Nail down technique and focus on developing the strength and power that allows your athletes to take advantage of the technical skill you teach during the regular season. Build your off-season training around these principles and watch your athletes become the best they can possibly be. GD
Ken Finley is a physical therapist and certified youth speed and agility specialist. To learn more about his youth athletic development programs you can contact him at email@example.com.
2010 Record: 7-4 (4-1), 2nd place
2010 Record: 14-1 (6-0) conference champs
Aug. 26 – at Travelers Rest Sept. 2 – Chesnee Sept. 9 – Polk Co., N.C. Sept. 16 – at Dixie Sept. 23 – Liberty Sept. 30 – at Whitmire Oct. 7 – at St. Joseph’s Oct. 14 – Southside Christian Oct. 21 – Blacksburg Oct. 28 – at Christ Church
2010 Record: 8-4 (4-1), 2nd place
Aug. 26 – Chase, N.C. Sept. 2 – at Landrum Sept. 9 – at Woodruff Sept. 16 – at Broome Sept. 23 – Chapman Sept. 30 – Liberty Oct. 7 – at Crescent Oct. 14 – Palmetto Oct. 21 – at Pendleton Oct. 28 – Carolina
WOODRUFF Region 2-AA
2010 Record: 10-4 (5-0), conference champ Aug. 26 – Greenville Sept. 2 – at Clinton Sept. 9 – Chesnee Sept. 16 – at Chapman Sept. 23 – Union County Sept. 30 – Emerald Oct. 7 – Newberry Oct.14 – at Saluda Oct. 21 – Mid-Carolina Oct. 28 – at Broome
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2010 Record: 6-5 (3-2)
2010 Record: 8-4 (5-0), conference champ
Aug. 19 – at Seneca Aug. 26 – Rock Hill Sept. 2 – Berea Sept. 16 – Greenville Sept. 23 – at Eastside Sept. 30 – at Union Co. Oct. 7 – Chapman Oct. 14 – at Clinton Oct. 21 – at Blue Ridge Oct. 28 – Chapin
2010 Record: 4-6 (1-4) Aug. 26 – York Sept. 2 – Union Co. Sept. 9 – at Seneca Sept. 16 – Chesnee Sept. 23 – Fort Mill Sept. 30 – at Mid-Carolina Oct. 7 – Emerald Oct. 14 – Newberry Oct. 21 – at Saluda Oct. 28 – Woodruff
Aug. 26 – Spartanburg Sept. 2 – at Broome Sept. 9 – at Gaffney Sept. 16 – Laurens Sept. 23 – at Woodruff Sept. 30 – Greer Oct. 7 – Chapin Oct. 14 – at Chapman Oct. 21 – Clinton Oct. 28 – at Blue Ridge
2010 Record: 2-8 (1-4) Aug. 26 – Seneca Sept. 2 – Wade Hampton Sept. 9 – at Travelers Rest Sept. 16 – Woodruff Sept. 23 – at Chesnee Sept. 30 – Blue Ridge Oct. 7 – at Greer Oct. 14 – Union Co. Oct. 21 – at Chapin Oct. 28 – at Clinton
2010 Record: 9-4 (4-1), 2nd place
2010 Record: 6-6 (4-2)
Aug. 19 – Boiling Springs Aug. 26 – at Dorman Sept. 2 – Greenwood Sept. 9 – Union Co. Sept. 16 – at Byrnes Sept. 23 – at Greenville Oct. 7 – at Clover Oct. 14 – at Rock Hill Oct. 21 – Lancaster Oct. 28 – Northwestern Nov. 4 – at Spartanburg
Aug. 19 – at Gaffney Aug. 26 – Greenwood Sept. 2 – T.L. Hanna Sept. 16 – at Clinton Sept. 23 – Mauldin Sept. 30 – at J.L. Mann Oct. 7 – at Dorman Oct. 14 – at Wren Oct. 21 – Riverside Oct. 28 – at Hillcrest Nov. 4 – Byrnes
Aug. 26 – Gaffney Sept. 2 – at Spartanburg Sept. 9 – at Greenwood Sept. 16 – T.L. Hanna Sept. 23 – at Riverside Sept. 30 – Hillcrest Oct. 7 – Boiling Springs Oct. 14 – at Mauldin Oct. 21 – J.L. Mann Oct. 28 – at Byrnes Nov. 4 – Woodmont
2010 Record: 12-3 (5-1) 2nd place; state champs Sept. 2 – Myrtle Beach Sept. 9 – Bayside, Fla. Sept. 16 – Gaffney Sept. 23 – at T.L. Hanna Sept. 30 – Mauldin Oct. 7 – Riverside Oct. 14 – at J.L. Mann Oct. 21 – at Hillcrest Oct. 28 – Dorman Nov. 4 – at Boiling Springs
SPARTANBURG Region 3-AAAA
2010 Record: 5-7 (2-3) Aug. 26 – at Union Co. Sept. 2 – Dorman Sept. 9 – Sumter Sept. 16 – Greenwood Sept. 23 – at South Pointe Sept. 30 – South Aiken Oct. 7 – at Northwestern Oct. 14 – Clover Oct. 21 – Rock Hill Oct. 28 – at Lancaster Nov. 4 – Gaffney
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