Editor’s Note: For more information on the Platte Valley girls basketball team and its additions, check out this week’s story from their summer games, ‘Talented Platte Valley girls begin to mesh.’
I wrote a column a couple weeks ago about “sports hate” and how a healthy amount of sports hate is what makes sports fun. I even referenced high school rivalries with the example being Savannah and Maryville.
Where I draw the line with sports hate is when it extends to individual high school athletes. If you are an adult and feel the need to trash a high schooler for their choices that seems more about you than them.
This has been a topic recently due to the transfers of Northeast Nodaway juniors Paige West, Blair Stoll and Madelynn Mattson to Jefferson C-123 High School where they will participate in Platte Valley athletics. Their basketball team was already extremely talented with South Nodaway and Jefferson co-oping this year.
A Malia Collins, Stephanie Turpin, Kaylin LaMaster, Ashley Mattson, Jaclyn Pappert starting lineup is one of the most talented in Class 1. Or is it a Collins, Hannah Wilmes, LaMaster, Mattson, Miya Weiderholt lineup, or … or …
The options of quintets that could start for the newly formed team seem endless and with West, Madelynn Mattson and Stoll being added to the mix, they just add more and more possible combinations.
The bottomline is that Platte Valley is going to be very, very good and that certainly leads to some envy from the surrounding communities. How I first learned about the transfers was through complaints from others.
Rooting against Platte Valley and hoping that they lose games is a completely acceptable response to what is looking more and more like an East Nodaway super team. They will be big favorites nearly every time they take the court and rooting for the underdog is just a natural reaction in sports.
There is a difference between rooting against a team and villain-izing individual high-school athletes. Other high schoolers who choose to have their own opinions about fellow high schoolers are exempt from this as long as it doesn’t go too far, but an adult openly criticizing these three transfers’ decisions is a bad look.
West put the situation in perspective perfectly when I simply asked her the question at the heart of all of this. Why’d you transfer to Jefferson?
“I don’t even know, honestly, my parents just chose and I was like, O.K.”
If you feel that these kids are doing something wrong for some reason, it is ultimately not their final decision. If you want to criticize these kids’ parents, I’m not going to argue with you. That is an adult disagreeing with another adult, but keep the kids out of it.
The other argument that I’ve heard is that Platte Valley recruited these kids. That argument is laughable to me.
The three former Bluejays are all very good players, but personally, I could easily see the Platte Valley starting lineup not including any of them. That prediction is based on no information from within the program other than my own experiences from watching the players over the last couple years.
I’m sure coach Tyler Pedersen is excited to work with all the talented kids on his roster, but with the challenge of meshing two teams already and with finding minutes for all the players used to playing big minutes in the past.
In my opinion, the summer additions further complicate things. It could work out very well if everyone accepts their roles, but it could also throw a wrench into the whole thing if it disrupts chemistry. Time will tell.
West, Mattson and Stoll’s eligibility will come down to a MSHSAA decision this fall, but until then, let’s try to avoid a rush to judgement.