As storm Sandy was playing havoc on the East Coast, including much of our home state, I felt blessed that it had bypassed our area with the exception of a couple of days of wind and rain. I was also reminded why I am glad to be home.
Even though we are accustomed to bad weather this time of year, the high winds and heavy rain made life miserable for the outdoor sports that are still in progress in our local high schools. As I was driving home from work, I noticed a lot of activity at the Elite Sports Center. The Elite seems to always have events going on for the kids of our community but to have the parking lot full at 5 p.m. on a school day seemed strange, so I decided to stop in to see what was happening.
I saw something that when I left Parkersburg 11 years ago, I would have never thought possible. The Parkersburg South football team was practicing on the indoor artificial turf with the Parkersburg High School's boys soccer team waiting on the sidelines to take over the field when South finished. As South was leaving the field, I was amazed at the number of kids from both schools that were talking and shaking hands, obviously friends.
I looked over to the basketball courts and saw some two-on-two games with young men from both sides of the river. Add to that, training was going on for kids of all ages, boys and girls from a little bit of everywhere. Ravenswood, Ritchie County, St. Marys, Athens, Warren, Marietta, Belpre, Catholic, Williamstown, Wirt County, Ripley and even New Martinsville all were represented that evening. The "E" is for Everybody.
Learning about Life through Sports is the motto at the Elite Sports Center. The 85 people/businesses that built this community-owned facility represent what great people we have in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Parkersburg received a great honor from ESPN in 2008 when we were declared runner-up in "Titletown USA." With the attitude I saw at the Elite, everybody working together for the kids, we may move up one notch.
I know I am proud to be back in Parkersburg.