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Tag: BrianOutLoud

Brian Out Loud

It’s why I’m now a writer chronicling the achievements of athletes who can do what I never had a chance to do.

But no one wants to hear about my athletic hopes and dreams. So, on that note, we shall move on and
instead talk about the athletes who have been given a chance to live out their dreams and get the opportunity to take their talents to the next level.

Guys like Devin Wright at Navarre, Marcus Patterson at Crestview, Ty Pitts at Pace and Dre’Von Hollis at Milton only scratch the surface of the athletes we’ve seen sign with a college either last Wednesday or in the past couple of months.

There are more I didn’t name and plenty more who probably deserve to get a look from a school but just haven’t yet. Not that it can’t change over the final few months of the school year.

Of course, it’s no secret that landing an opportunity to play college football or any other sport has become a little more difficult because of the presence of the transfer portal.

Coaches can now take a look at athletes who already have experience rather than go out and recruit the athletes who have yet to play at the college level.

The transfer portal has gone crazy lately. Hundreds of athletes are in it. Some will find a school. Others won’t and end up regretting their decision to transfer in the first place.

I’m all for athletes taking advantage of the transfer portal. If you don’t like one situation, go give it a shot to find a better one.

But at the same time, I want to see the athletes who have spent four years playing a high school sport get their shot at playing a college sport.

Striking that balance between transfers and incoming freshmen is not easy for coaches, but there’s no question some schools lean more towards transfers over newcomers.

Playing a college sport is a great dream to have and it will continue to be a dream for every kid who puts on a uniform in one sport or another.

It shouldn’t be the only goal, though. The education side of the equation should matter as well, because only a small percentage of athletes are ever going to continue playing their chosen sport beyond college.

Those skills will fade, but the free education an athlete was able to get because of his or athletic ability is never going to fade and it can never be taken away.

That’s something the athletes who have recently signed their name to a national letter of intent should always remember while also making the most of the opportunity you’ve been given from an athletic standpoint.

They are fortunate to be there. And hey, they get to play the sport they love while I continue to write about them and their achievements.

Brian Out Loud

I’ve talked with a couple of the football coaches, a few athletes and have put together a handful of stories. Things are off to a good start.

Yet, there is no question that this is all still a work in progress, but the great thing is strides will continue to be made.

We have a former Crestview News Bulletin writer, Randy Dickson, coming on board next month, and that is going to take over coverage in that area to another level because he knows your area so well. I can tell you he is looking forward to being part of the team.

In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to provide the coverage all of you deserve and have made a few observations along the way.

For starters, the girls basketball team is pretty good. The Bulldogs are 13-5 through their first 18 games and are ranked fifth in the Region 1-6A rankings. Those rankings determine which teams make the playoffs, and if the Bulldogs continue to move in the direction they have up to this point, they should be postseason bound.

Having a veteran coach like Steve Williams doesn’t hurt. He’s won more than 500 games in his career, and he should win a lot more as he goes forward.

Then there’s the boys basketball team at Crestview. Head coach Greg Watson has that team in great position heading down the stretch run.

His team has won six consecutive games and has put a tough start to the year behind it. The Bulldogs are 11-6 through 17 games, and if there’s one thing I know about sports, it’s that you want to be playing your best basketball at this time of the year.

I know Crestview won a state championship in boys basketball a few years ago, and while it’s too early to say Crestview can be that kind of team this year, don’t rule out anything just yet.

I am a little surprised that Crestview is outside the top eight in the regional rankings, but look, if the Bulldogs keep winning, those rankings will take care of themselves.

Those accomplishments just scratch the surface. There are so many more stories to tell.

I reach out every week to coaches to try to collect stats and other info about their teams. Some respond. Some don’t. But that’s okay, this is all new to everyone. These types of things take time to get people into a routine and rhythm.

But as I said in a previous column, anything others can do to help me do the job the right way is going to make a difference. I welcome your emails, your input, your feedback. All of it will help us to keep moving forward.

For now, please email me at brian@navarrepress.com.

Brian Out Loud

The ESPN analysts spent part of the first day of the new year criticizing players that opted out of bowl games.
Herbstreit said college players don’t love the game the way those that came before them did.

Howard added that today’s players have a sense of entitlement and that bowl games don’t mean as much to them as it did to Herbstreit and Howard when they played.

Give me a break.

I’m around athletes all the time, and not once have I encountered an entitled player. Not once have I run into a college football player who doesn’t love the game. Not that they don’t exist.

But the analysts were unfair on their takes.

Players opt out of bowl games because they want to focus on getting ready for the NFL. They are doing what is best for them.

Yes, Herbstreit and Howard are right about bowl games not meaning as much to players anymore. But that’s OK. The phonebook doesn’t mean as much to society as it once did either.

Times change.

And players would rather use their extra time to prepare for the next step of their careers rather than risk injury in a game that doesn’t carry the meaning it once did.

If the players were opting out and not playing ever again, that’s a different story.

But if an athlete is dedicating time to get ready for the pros, he loves the game. You don’t go the NFL and only half love the game. You are either all in or not in at all.

If guys want to opt out of a bowl game, it doesn’t affect my life and it won’t affect yours. It’s up to you if you still want to watch the games minus some of the star players.

I get that society is quick to make the decisions for these athletes, and if they don’t like the decision, they criticize it.

But here’s the thing. College athletes have the right to make decisions based on what is best for them because whether you choose to admit it or not, the game they play is a business.

It isn’t up to you or I or anyone else to tell an athlete he shouldn’t make a business decision that benefits his life. If he gets it wrong, he gets it wrong. But that’s his choice to live with.

A lot of money is made by the NCAA from these “meaningless” bowl games. The NCAA still cashes checks regardless of who plays in the game. Same goes for the networks. Doesn’t matter if two players opt out or if 25 do. The money doesn’t change.

But the players have changed. They see the world differently than athletes in prior eras did. They understand the business side of sports a little more.

Their new attitude doesn’t mean they love the game any less. And it doesn’t mean they are entitled.

It just means they are changing the way they handle their business, and it’s none of our business to tell them how to do that.

Brian Out Loud

With the arrival of a new year, however, a new opportunity is born and the potential for things to change in the way schools like Crestview, Baker and Laurel Hill are now covered.

This week, we’ve come out of the gate with a feature on a former Bulldog football star in Jay Stanton, who now plays college ball at Samford.

The story is a first step in this new journey ahead, and I hope that you, as a reader of this newspaper, will follow along.

Now, being only one person – I have yet to discover the ability to clone myself – I can’t be everywhere every night no matter how much I want to be.

The good news is I’m familiar with a lot of your athletic programs, and I’m sure in the months ahead, I’ll learn a lot more.

Of course, your help can be a difference maker. Athletes say all the time that teamwork makes the dream work, and if I get the cooperation and help I need, sports coverage for your athletes can grow into something special.

I’ll be leaning heavily on coaches to help me out. If they can send in stats from their games, from the season, as well as any potential story ideas, that’s a major help. Having information on the teams can go a long way in allowing me to do the best job possible.

But I’m also looking for potential help from the community. Parents are welcome to send info as well or reach out about potential story ideas.

If you have a desire to cover sports or shoot photos of sporting events, there may be an opportunity for you. That help can ultimately make a big difference in the goals we hope to achieve with the expanded coverage we are now aiming to provide.

I’ll do my part to when it comes to coverage as well. That includes doing everything I can to be there for the biggest moments, such as the football team going to state in the playoffs or the baseball team winning a state title.

I have never been one to put half effort into something. Especially in my time at the Navarre Press. I expect greatness, and while there can be challenges in achieving that, that won’t stop me from pushing forward to make the coverage of sports for your schools the best it can be.

And as I mentioned earlier, your help is appreciated in navigating a successful path forward. I look forward to you having a reason to pick up the News Bulletin each week.

That said, as eager as I am to be great out of the gate, I understand it will take time. I won’t pretend that it won’t.

But in the end, it will be worth the wait.

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