All athletes and coaches love being recognized for their accomplishments.
Recognition often comes once a particular sports season ends. Major League Baseball, for example, selects a Most Valuable Player, a top rookie and the best pitcher for both the American and National Leagues. Virtually every major sports league conducts an all-star game to celebrate its top stars (and to make money, which is the only reason the leagues exist in the first place).
At the college level, all-American and all-conference honors are passed out in virtually every sport. Perhaps no award gets more hype than college football's Heisman Trophy, which gets talked about from the preseason until the winner is announced during a one-hour prime-time show.
Then there are the many halls of fame. Not only does virtually every school have one, but nearly every sport at every school has a way to honor those whose accomplishments were deemed special.
The West Virginia State Sports Writers Association has a Hall of Fame that honors Mountain State coaches and athletes. Locally, we have a Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame that runs from Noble to Jackson counties.
Yet, we must remember that just as it is human beings that are being honored it also is a group of human beings doing the selecting. Quite often, the selections are credible and widely accepted. But it also is quite commonplace to look at a group of honorees and question several of the choices.
No sooner had the first all-state basketball team been released than my phone rang with a coach who had several concerns.
I understand his sentiment. Seldom do I agree with every pick. I've gotten so upset with some of the teams picked by the Little Kanawha Conference, I briefly considered not printing them before realizing the only ones I would be hurting would be the young people who were being honored.
One of my favorite lines is that I've never seen a statue built in honor of a committee. Committees are made up of human beings who naturally come with biases in favor of their area, their school or their friends.
It's hard to be a Heisman Trophy elector from West Virginia and not vote for an athlete like Major Harris, Pat White or Geno Smith when WVU has a legitimate candidate. Yeah, there may be a guy at Oregon who is just as good or even better, but odds are you've never seen him play in person and you figure if he's that good, let the voters from Oregon support him.
Although it is one of the most publicized and criticized sports polls, give the Associated Press college football poll credit for releasing the weekly ballots of the sports writers who cast their votes. I remember one year when I participated in the poll, Florida State fans targeted me because they thought I wasn't being fair to their beloved Seminoles.
As long as human beings are doing the voting, this issue never will go away. And as flawed as we are, I'd still rather have humans voting than computers.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org