I guess sometimes one just has to go with the flow.
That appears to be the case with how the West Virginia state volleyball player of the year award will be selected from now on.
Wanting to stick with the same philosophy used in naming various other major state award winners by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, it appears only scribes will have a direct say as to who the best volleyball player is in the Mountain State.
Personally, I'm not too keen on this idea, but as the all-state chairman for volleyball I have to go with what is set forth by our association. I also fully understand the reasoning behind this because volleyball needs to be in alignment with the other sports.
Although we've done the player of the year balloting in volleyball the same way for numerous years, that's all going to change starting this fall. Of course, like the other all-state teams, coaches still will have the option of turning in their all-state ballot and voting for players from each of the three classes as well as recommending their own top players.
Probably my biggest fret with the change is that on average only about 12 percent, give or take, of the sports writers in the Mountain State even fill out an all-state ballot for volleyball.
One might consider that pretty low - and it is - but believe me when I say the percentage of writers who vote on other major state awards isn't as high as a lot of people might expect.
"I would agree with the sports writers if they would attend volleyball matches and know who is a great player," veteran Parkersburg High School head volleyball coach Carl Harnish noted of the situation.
"I just wish more sports writers would give volleyball more newspaper time and attend more matches."
Another head coach I have a lot of respect for and one who has seen her fair share of outstanding players come through the George Washington High School volleyball program is Missy Smith.
In an e-mail coach Smith thought the idea was, "ridiculous," for various reasons that included, "we see most, if not all, of the best players in the state and we see them multiple times a year. We don't just rely on numbers and stats reported by coaches."
Honestly, I think that has quite a lot of truth to it, but like my opinion on the matter it's of the same value as coach Smith's - not relevant.
With this change in the volleyball format my next thought process turned immediately to wrestling and the Robert Dutton Award, which is given annually by the WVSWA to the best grappler in West Virginia.
However, I've been told by Chris Johnson, a former colleague of mine when he worked here in Parkersburg and the current president of the association, that since wrestling does not have an all-state team then the Dutton Award voting format shouldn't change.
My plan to help rectify this situation somewhat is to involve the coaches to possibly help narrow down a state POY list.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org