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Open Mike (Column): Football all-star teams can evoke some varsity blues

Senior Nick King was Frontier's lone All-WNY selection as an honorable mention. The Falcons finished 6-3 in 2012.

After the first night of the Hamburg Lions Club Tip-Off Tournament last week at Frontier, I stood waiting in the gym for the coaches to exit the dressing room in order to speak with them regarding the game.

My work also as the sports editor of The Sun in Hamburg keeps me in that region for the majority of my time.

While waiting, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was an obvious fan of Frontier, with an axe to grind about what he felt was a player and team being snubbed in the selection of the All-Western New York football team.

He made a good argument for the Frontier player, who was one of WNY’s top tacklers and only wound up being an honorable mention selection, and for a team that finished 6-3 and as a Class AA semifinalist.

He asked if it was fair that some more successful teams got three, four and five players on the first through third teams, while other teams not even as successful as Frontier in 2012 also got at least one player higher honors.

There I was at the start of the basketball season, but football and its postseason honors remained a hot topic of conversation. He wasn’t the first to complain and definitely won’t be the last.

While I agreed with much of what he had to say, it also only strengthened the argument that picking these teams, like trying to choose any all-stars from a field so wide-spread and talent-filled, is such an imperfect endeavor to take on no matter how you go about it.

At the end of every season, some will be happy with the decisions and others mad no matter who is selected. I’m not exactly sure what the process is for leagues and newspapers when they choose the all-stars but it will never not be open for second guessing.

I know on a smaller scale through my work also as the Metro Source sports editor that we had a difficult enough time choosing a first team of football all-stars and our coverage area extends only a portion of WNY through its 12 publications, along with The Sun’s coverage area. We did collect the opinions of our reporters and a few coaches and experts in making our decisions.

Although we don’t get as much examining of our team that the All-WNY teams and some other all-star teams might receive, already we’ve had a coach who decided he doesn’t want us covering his football team anymore because none of his players were named to our first team. I have great respect for that coach’s passion and support of his players, but has it really come to that?

I’ve also seen a Facebook posting from a colleague, who’s well known for his top to bottom coverage of the WNY high school football scene, reading that he may never select another all-star team after naming his brought some negative feedback and arguing about who should be on what teams.

I believe it’s a form of flattery in a way and shows that people are reading and paying attention, but at the same time, the scrutinizing of the all-star teams is a little much.

Let’s be able to heap deserved praise on our outstanding athletes by bestowing these honors on them without worrying about what sour grapes it may bring.

There is nothing wrong with healthy conversation and having an opinion when these all-stars are named — like that gentleman at Frontier who I spoke with, but let’s not make this into something bigger than it is.

It’s simply an all-star team picked by people with the good intention of honoring as many of those deserving as possible. Unfortunately, that still may mean some players will be missed.


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