I have been fortunate enough to be coaching basketball for the last 28 years, and from elementary to junior high to junior varsity, high school and Division III college basketball, I have witnessed a great many events.
Currently I am the head ninth-grade coach at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School, and on Friday, Jan. 31, our team traveled to State College to play against State College Gray (or Mt. Nittany).
State College traveled to Hollidaysburg on Jan. 22 and beat us by 19. This time, we played by far our best game of the year and made a shot with two seconds left to win our biggest game of the season.
The reason I am writing this is that after the game I was fortunate to be a part of the most amazing display of sportsmanship I have ever seen.
After we shook hands - and the State College team and coach could not have been any nicer after such a tough loss - we made our way to the locker room. As we crossed halfcourt and headed toward the door, the State College fans began to give us a round of applause.
They shouted encouragement to the team, and a few congratulated me on the win. This wasn't one or two parents, but rather the whole State College section.
I am not sure it registered with the team as to what just happened, but it certainly made quite an impression on me. I am sure that some of those people were parents of the State College players, and having just suffered only their third loss of the season, they could have reacted any number of ways after such a close game.
But they understood that it was a game, and that two teams of junior high players battled it out over four quarters, and one team just was able to make one more shot.
When you read the paper and see what happens in sports with fans of all levels today, this gives one a great feeling about being involved in school athletics. State College parents who were at that game should be congratulated on setting such a wonderful example for their children.
That is an act of sportsmanship that I will remember as long as I am coaching.
From the Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School boys basketball team, I salute the State College team and its fans for their total class and for providing an example that all parents and fans can learn a lesson from in athletics today.
Rudel no friend to Franco
In response to Neil Rudel's article about John Franco, he states that he is a friend of Franco's. If this is true, I cannot imagine what Franco's enemies are like.
Also, I know a lot of Tyrone football fans, and they are all excited about Franco's return. There is not one negative word.
I know kids that have played for Franco, and they have nothing but praise for him.
Tyrone made Franco
Please quit writing about John Franco and what his future intentions are because other than most of Tyrone, no one else cares. I think his "Nick Saban" act has really damaged his regional reputation.
Franco won at Tyrone because he had great players and a lot of them. Players make coaches look good; without them a coach can't do much.
What happened at Tyrone was simply a case of blackmail. Give Franco the job he craved or he leaves for Altoona. Don't believe the line about driving 17 miles. This is all about John Franco and his pursuit of more money.
Why couldn't Franco win at Altoona? Because he didn't have the horses to compete in the WPIAL, and not long after taking the reins at AAHS, he was crying about playing in the WPIAL. This was all an act so Franco could wind up at Tyrone with the cushy position he wants.
If the AAHS school board had any backbone, they'd show him the door instead of waiting at the altar for Franco to play one against the other.
I say go back to Class AA ball, John.
Coverage featured wrong focus
This letter is written about the article from the Jan. 26 Altoona Mirror sports section, entitled "Mo Valley boys involved in fight."
The article reads " a punch was thrown, clearing the benches and threatening to bring fans from both teams onto the court" and cites that multiple sources attest to this quote.
This leads one to assume the author was not a primary source at this event.
Was this article embellished to make a persuasive argument of a mere factual reporting? It is a sickening spectacle to behold when a so-called professional prefers to write about the behavioral patterns of players and fans, especially from a secondary source perspective, rather than document the game, which one assumes is the job.
Kudos to Jon Christoff of The Clearfield Progress who also reported the game in a manner which brings honor to these young men, both of Moshannon Valley and Williamsburg.
Christoff chose to report about the game, and only about the game, in the article "Pirates down Black Knights" in the Saturday, Jan. 25 Progress.
The Mirror's article appears to hold bias against Moshannon Valley, with the headlines speaking in such a tone as to insinuate shame to the school and players. It is for the officials, appointed by the PIAA, to make the decision of who is to blame.
However, if one writes from a secondary perspective, is it ethical to sway the tone towards one side or the other? Why decide to write about smut, not sports? During these troubled times, shouldn't a professional report about lighter topics like sports, leisure and recreation? Why not focus on the facts?