16 - July 15, 2011
by Chris White It was only a few weeks ago when the Cleveland Cavaliers selected highly touted point guard Kyrie Irving from Duke University with the number-one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. One thing that stands out about this pick is that Irving played in less than a third of his team’s games last season (missing 26 games in all), as he was sidelined by a toe injury. This brought a couple of thoughts to mind. First, I hope the NBA takes the
Hudson~Litchfield Sports Hudson~Litchfield Sports
Five Steps to Future Athletic Success Inspired by the NBA Draft
chance to restructure its age restriction rules during this current lockout. The league’s owners are not allowing the players to go to work until a new collective bargaining agreement is done. This lockout is focusing mainly on issues like salary cap and revenue sharing, but one bargaining chip the players’ association holds is to push the league’s minimum age back to 18. The current age minimum is 19 and has only complicated things since it took effect in 2006. Too many high school stars were flopping after making the jump from high school ball to the pros, so the NBA hoped at least one year in college would help players
mature. But in Irving’s case, it really didn’t do much of anything besides hold him back for a year. Considering he was the number-one selection after barely playing this past season, he most likely would have been a top-10 pick coming out of high school. To me, lifting the age restriction is more about giving an 18-year-old man the options he deserves after working so hard than it is about whether it’s wrong or right to jump to the NBA from high school. And honestly, one year in college can help a player grow personally and athletically, but it certainly won’t make a person grow up in every case. Above all, it’s just not right to take away a young man’s opportunity to make millions of dollars playing basketball if he has the talent to do so. The decision should be left up to the athlete, even if he’s 18. This brings me to my next thought regarding how much pressure today’s young athletes can face in determining what’s best for their futures. While the Area News Group’s five towns (Hudson, Litchfield, Pelham, Windham, and Salem) most likely won’t produce an athlete who has the option to forgo
college and jump to professional basketball at 18, there are still plenty of decisions to be made by the area’s high school student-athletes before entering college.
Do I take a scholarship offer from a
Division 1 college to play one sport, or do I go Division 3, where I can play multiple sports? Do I go to a big university with a better team or do I go to a small school where the coach is telling me I’ll play right away? I love this athletic program, but the school doesn’t have what I want to study— should I consider a different major? Do I even want to keep playing sports in college? The list of things to consider gets pretty intense pretty fast, and with the summer recruiting season in full gear, I’ve put together a quick list to guide our high school student-athletes who are considering athletic opportunities at the next level: 1. Decide what you want and go get it. If you don’t quite know what you want out of your college experience yet, get together with your family, teachers, and coaches to talk about things like what you want to study,
what sport(s) you want to play, or even how far you’re comfortable with traveling. Don’t sit back and wait for college coaches to call you. Take the initiative and contact the schools that meet your criteria.
2. Like usual, school comes first. Any coach will tell you (or should tell you) the number-one reason you go to college is to get an education. You should never go to a school just because you like the coach. The reality is he could leave to take another job before you even have your first day of classes. A good way to look at this is to ask yourself if you would be happy at this institution, even if you had to stop playing your sport. If you suffer a career-ending injury and can still be happy with where you are, then you’ve found your school.
3. Go on as many visits as you can. Just like how you would determine your favorite foods or television shows, the more colleges you experience, the better you will figure out what you like and don’t like. And you don’t have to wait for coaches to tell you when to visit.
Go take a regular tour of a college and then see if you can stop by the coach’s office afterward. Or call ahead to let the coach know you’re visiting. College coaches love hearing from prospective student- athletes, no matter who they are.
4. Establish plans and back-up plans. It won’t sound like it when they talk to you, but with every coach you meet, you’ll be on their recruiting depth chart along with other prospective student-athletes. So why not make your own list of schools to pursue? Just like a regular student, make a list of dream schools, target schools, and safety schools, and take your athletics into account as well. Also, remember to value the importance of building good relationships with the coaches you are being recruited by. You never know where things may lead, and those relationships may even come in handy five, 10, or 15 years down the line.
5. Trust yourself. It sounds so simple, but you should always keep in mind that your future is ultimately your decision.
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submitted by Jerry Ruigrok Four Hudson United Soccer Club (HUSC) teams recently participated in the 19th Annual Memorial Day Tournament in Amherst. Over 250 teams from all over New England played in the tournament. The U14 Boys (the Cyclones) played four competitive games against U14/U15 teams from all over the region—Windham, North Kingston (RI), Hollis/Brookline, and Benfica USA (MA). At the end of the tournament, the Hudson United team was voted by the referees and opposing coaches as a recipient of the prestigious Tim Crisman Memorial Sportsmanship Award. This award is given to three teams each year in honor of a former Amherst soccer player. It’s a great honor to be chosen for this award. Congratulations, Cyclones! The U13 Girls (the Hurricanes) stepped up a division to play in U13/U14 Division A against some of the best teams in New England. The team played some of its best soccer of the season, playing close games against teams from three different states— Ocean State Soccer Club (RI), Benfica USA (MA), and Foundation Soccer Club (CT). In the final game against Foundation Soccer Club, the Hurricanes pulled out a tie in an exciting and well- played game to knock the Connecticut team out of the playoffs. The U11 Girls (the Wildcats), also participating in Division A, finished 2-1 in group play to make it to the championship game. The Wildcats defeated teams from Hooksett (NH) and Dover (NH) and lost a close game to Benfica USA (MA) in group play. In a rematch with Benfica USA, Hudson United lost 2-0 to finish as runner-up in the tournament (see photo). This was the Wildcats’ second tournament championship game of the year, as they also won the Labor Day tournament in Londonderry. The U11 Boys (the Mustangs) finished undefeated in group
Hudson United Teams Participate in Amherst Tournament
play, defeating teams from ConVal, Londonderry, and Ocean State Soccer Club (RI) to make the playoffs. In the semifinal match against a very strong Manchester Soccer Club team, the Mustangs played their best game of the year, finishing in a 0-0 tie through regulation and overtime. Moving on to a penalty kick shootout to decide a winner, the game remained tied (3-3) after five shots were taken by each team. Sudden-death penalty kicks were needed, and after seven total rounds the Hudson United team was finally defeated (5-4 in penalty kicks). The referees that officiated the game said it was one of the best youth soccer games they had ever seen.
Congratulations to all of the Hudson United teams for a great tournament!
Hudson United Soccer Club is a travel soccer club that plays in
the Granite State Youth Soccer League. For more information, visit www.hudsonsoccer.org
High School Athletes Step into Spotlight
submitted by Mitzie Kocsis, Academy of Notre Dame High School Athletic Director Lisa Zappala recently
acknowledged the many skilled athletes involved in the high school athletic programs at the Academy of Notre Dame’s
annual Athletics Banquet held at the Lenzi Restaurant in Dracut, MA. This evening recognized the many team and individual accomplishments, which took place throughout the past year at the Academy.
In varsity volleyball, taking Most Improved
Player, sophomore Paige Rondeau (Pelham) accepted the MIAA Sportsmanship Award. For their performances in junior varsity
volleyball competition, the Coach’s Award went to teammate freshman Jordan Blazak (Pelham). Achievements in cross-country were also
acknowledged that evening. In the varsity category, the winner of the Coach’s Award was junior Molly MacDonald (Pelham). Then it was on to cheerleading, with senior Amanda Creedon (Hudson) being named the winner of the Coach’s Award, and freshman Jordan Blazak (Pelham) as the Most Improved Performer.
In softball, named among the Most
Valuable Players was Alyssa Soby (Pelham). For junior varsity softball, winners included junior Kirsten Perrotta (Hudson), the Most Valuable Player. With the tennis season just completed, the MIAA Sportsmanship Award went to senior Amanda Creedon (Hudson). Twelve-season athletic award recipients included senior Alyssa Soby (Pelham). Five seniors also were recognized with special awards. Among them was the Alumnae Athletic Award presented to Alyssa Soby. The Academy of Notre Dame,
Tyngsborough, MA, is a private Catholic school comprised of a co-educational Pre-K through eighth grade elementary and middle school and a college-preparatory high school for young women. The Academy has a culturally diverse population, with students from approximately 40 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and welcomes students of all faiths. Sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Academy is based on the educational philosophy of their foundress, St. Julie Billiart.
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