Playing more than one sport the norm for MBC athletes

Sunday afternoon was a celebration of Metro Buckeye Conference athletes in more ways than one. The reason the league gathered in a banquet hall in Xenia was to acknowledge 31 seniors who have signed to play their best sport in college.

As athlete after athlete was introduced, received a certificate from the league and stood in front of the league banner for a photo, a theme developed as each short bio was read.

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The seniors were recognized not only for the sport he or she will play in college but also for the other sport or two they played in high school. Specialization in one sport is far from common in small-school leagues like the MBC.

“The more data that comes out the more people are seeing that doing several sports benefits you as opposed to doing just one,” said Emmanuel Christian athletic director Dan Moore. “That’s what we’re trying to tell our athletes, and many of them are listening.”

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Moore said playing only one sport can lead to overuse of certain areas of the body, lead to more injuries and limit an athlete’s all-around development. Burnout has also been blamed on specialization.

”There’s no adaptation either,” Moore said. “So I’m playing one sport, that’s all I know. But if I’ve got a guy that’s playing soccer and he’s playing basketball they’re seeing different situations. I think that makes them smarter in their other sport.”

Dayton Christian’s Philip Miller will play college golf at Liberty University. He was a two-time district qualifier in Division III. He also played soccer.

“Playing soccer and golf kept me really busy, but it also kept me mentally tough,” he said. “Soccer was a whole different game, but also it has the same mechanics like when you kick a soccer ball you’re staying down and it’s almost the same as a golf swing because you’re staying down with it.”

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Kiana Klein was on the soccer, basketball and swim teams at Dayton Christian and was all-conference in all three. She will play midfield on the soccer team at Louisville.

“I have more opportunity with soccer because I spent more time with it growing up,” she said. “But I really liked playing basketball. A lot of the skills you use in some sports are used in others.”

Emmanuel’s Dylan Herring is going to Huntington University, an NAIA school in Indiana, to be a bowler for a young program that earned a top-eight national finish this past season. Herring also played golf and baseball in high school.

Herring has a long list of other benefits of playing multiple sports.

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Time-management skills: “You have all these different things and you’re training for other sports as well. And my junior year I had a job, so juggling all those things really helped. And actually my grades improved because of it. I learned how to manage my time with my homework and studying.”

Work ethic: “When you’re in high school, developing a work ethic is probably one of the most important things that you need.”

Building relationships: “When it came to building relationships with different teammates it was always a good time with them. Some guys maybe played golf and baseball so some of that carried on. It was something I really enjoyed about being a multiple-sport athlete.”

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Skills: “Golf you have to have a lot of patience. And baseball it’s good to get aggressive. And bowling’s all about timing and perfect repetition. And when you play the other sports you kind of put it all together. In baseball it’s good to have patience when a guy’s throwing bad pitches and you need to wait on a good pitch.”

After each athlete was introduced, various group photos were taken. First, each school lined up together. Then they did it by sport.

“It was a fun event,” Herring said. “It’s good to see all the other athletes who come through this conference. I was impressed by how many.”

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