B-A, Tyrone soccer co-op has hit goal

Sunday Sports Mailbag

Sifting through some old boxes, I came across a bunch of clippings from a debate that kind of dominated this Sunday space for several weeks: Bellwood soccer.

It’s been 10 years since my friend Bob Crook and I presented our case to the school board only to be shot down on our first couple attempts.

Eventually, the fine administrators in Bellwood and Tyrone agreed to a co-op not only for girls and boys soccer but also swimming and tennis.

I thought I was going to have to put my house up for sale suggesting soccer for Bellwood kids.

The backlash was outrageous to say the least, and I was doubled over with laughter reading some of the negative comments a decade later.

The biggest worry stemmed from taking athletes from the football team, something I thought was crazy based on how popular and well run the youth programs were run then and now.

Let’s look at how things turned out. The B-A football team has gone 106-24 the last 10 years, a slightly better record than the 10 years before soccer.

Dozens of Bellwood kids have made all-star teams in all three sports, some going on to play in college and some even coaching now.

The team has competed for district titles, including this year — not to mention the lifelong friendships that have formed thanks to this partnership once predicted for certain doom and gloom.

Bellwood and Tyrone school administrators deserve credit for taking a risk 10 years ago.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Jeff Bartlett

Bellwood