Sports commentary: A short story for you

-A A +A

Staunton River's hoop team overcoming short odds

By Mike Forster


In honor of the Staunton River boys basketball team, I'll keep this column short.

You're probably thinking two things:  "Thank goodness!" and "What does the Staunton River boys basketball team have to do with you being merciful to us poor readers?"

Glad I had you thinking that (even if you weren't).

There's no way to avoid a direct answer here.  The brevity of this column is reflective of the shortness of that particular team.

Here are the facts in evidence.  The team has 12 players on its roster.  Of that dozen, ten are listed at 5' 10" or shorter.  The other two players are listed at 6'0" and 6'1".

You should know that rosters typically inflate the real heights of players.  Still, taking the roster at face value, this is a short team.

I've covered Golden Eagle games where none of the starting five is taller than 5' 8".

There are stereotypes that match body styles with certain sports.  In basketball, you think of height. 

Throw out the stereotype with this group.  

When I was in the Army, I had a crusty old first sergeant.  Occasionally, troops would tell him they were "short," meaning their time in service was nearing an end.

First Sergeant Davis would look scornfully and bark, "Soldier, the only thing you're short on is brains."

Randy Newman had a famous song in the 1970s which disparaged short people.

There are scads of jokes about short people.  You could crack all of them about the Staunton River basketball team because, boy, are they ever short.

On height, that is.

When it comes to matters of heart and hustle, smarts and savvy, determination and desire, these guys are downright gigantic.

They fight for every second of every game.  They bow down to no one.  Intimidation?  They know not the meaning of that particular word.

And they are a joy to watch in action.

"I don't know if 'scrappiness' is a word or not, but that describes these kids," said River Head Coach Brandon Harris.  "They fight until the end and never really seem to get down."

On paper, the Golden Eagles should be getting blown out in every game.

In their case, however, "on paper" means nothing.  What happens on the court, both in practice and come game time, is what matters.

True, the team has a non eye-opening record of 3-9.  But those losses have, by and large, been games in which the Eagles have been close.

Here's something you don't see every season.  DeShawn Martin, all 5' 8" of him, is one of the leading rebounders in the area, pulling in over eight a game.

Harris noted, "They take whatever is dished out and keep coming."

They certainly do.  And, Coach, "scrappiness" is indeed a word.

In fact, it's a word which is synonymous with Staunton River boys hoops.


In last week's Bulletin, we had a big article about Liberty High School's first-ever Hall of Fame induction.

Now that the hoopla is behind us, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out a pretty key factor.  From where I sat, Jeff Monroe was the driver in making the hall happen.

Sure, he's busy teaching and coaching boys basketball and softball at Liberty.  Somehow, he found the time to a) conceive of the idea for the Hall and b) push to make it come together (along with AD Lori Mattson and the rest of the Hall of Fame committee).

Here's the neat thing.  Monroe did all of that work for a school he didn't even attend.  He's a graduate of Altavista.

Well done, Coach!


OK, I fibbed a bit.  This column is not really any shorter than usual.

Next week, I'll do better.