Rivaling for a Cause

January 25, 2013

It’s impossible to include all the perspective we gain from every “Battle of the Fans” visit. 

But this anecdote, although it didn't make Tuesday’s story about our Frankenmuth trip, tells of another great example for what student cheering sections can accomplish.

Frankenmuth and Millington are heated rivals, to say the least, separated by 13 miles and made more competitive by plenty of championship-deciding matchups over the years.

But for their boys basketball game Jan. 10 at Frankenmuth, student section leaders from both schools almost completely on their own set up the game as a cancer awareness night, complete with Frankenmuth students in black shirts and Millington’s wearing pink.

The idea was the brainchild of a of Frankenmuth section leader, who then received help from a local bank and contacted Millington to get the ball rolling.

Battle of the Fans has shown us the obvious – these student sections need strong leaders – but also the special things they can accomplish with additional initiative.

“Never Forgotten”

Two more rivals, Fennville and Saugatuck, met late last month for their second “Never Forgotten” boys and girls basketball games with proceeds going to the Wes Leonard Heart Team for the purchase of AEDs.

Players wore jerseys with names on the backs of friends and family members who had died, and those jerseys were then given to family members after the games. Officials Ace Cover, Chris Dennie and Kyle Bowen also donated their game checks to the Heart Team, as did the winner of that night’s 50-50 raffle.

Leonard died from sudden cardiac arrest after making the game-winning shot in a basketball game March 3, 2011. The two schools played their first “Never Forgotten” games last season.

More support for less specialization

I’m asked once a year at least about sport specialization – that is, athletes focusing on just one sport, often from an early age, and if it pays off some way down the road.

Most of my evidence to support my belief in the well-rounded athlete has been anecdotal, based on conversations with people at the high school and college levels over the years. But a British study published this fall in the Journal of Sport Sciences by University of Birmingham researchers provides some interesting empirical findings.

The study of 1,006 people from the United Kingdom showed that those who participated in three sports at ages 11, 13 and 15 were “significantly more likely to compete at a national rather than club standard” between ages 16-18 than those who had practiced only one sport.

In other words, the study found that those who played more sports at earlier ages played at a higher level during their high school-age years, which seems to contradict the one-sport focus philosophy.

Click for more perspective on the study from Chris Kennedy, the Superintendent of Schools in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

PHOTO: The boys and girls teams for Fennville and Saugatuck pose together after their "Never Forgotten" games Dec. 21 at Fennville High. (Photo courtesy of Al LaShell.)

Be the Referee: Softball Interference

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

June 6, 2023

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Softball Interference - Listen

We’re on the softball diamond today for a “You Make the Call.”

Runners are on the corners with no outs. The batter hits the first pitch in the air and into foul territory near the first-base line.

The runner on first interferes with the first basewoman attempting to make the catch, and the ball falls to the ground.

What’s the call?

  • Is it the runner on first and the batter are out?
  • The batter is out and the runner stays at first?
  • Or the ball is dead immediately, the runner on first is out and the batter is charged with a foul ball?

If you said the ball is dead immediately when the interference takes place and that the runner is out, with the batter returning to the batter’s box with a one-strike count … you made the right call!

Previous Editions:

May 30: Officials Registration - Listen
May 23: Soccer Offsides or Goal? -
May 16: Track & Field Exchange Zones - Listen
May 9: Girls Lacrosse Self-Start - Listen
May 2: Baseball/Softball Overthrow - Listen
April 25: Fifth-Quarter/Third-Half Rule - Listen
April 18: Soccer Referee in Play? - Listen
April 11: Softball Strikeout - Listen
March 14: Basketball Instant Replay - Listen
March 7: Hockey Overtime - Listen
Feb. 28: Baker Bowling - Listen
Feb. 21: Ski Finish - Listen
Feb. 14: Swimming Touchpads - Listen
Feb. 7: In or Out-of-Bounds in Wrestling - Listen
Jan. 31: Over the Back - Listen
Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen

PHOTO by Gary Shook.