Extra Points: Brian Spano 6/25
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
After this past season’s NFL Pro Bowl, all-star games were getting a bad rap. But look around our fair city and see the buzz that surrounds the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Some may look at all-star games as glorified exhibition games, but don’t tell that to the kids who participated recently in the 21st Annual Country Mart Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game. Those who were selected to play are considered some of the best of the best in the metro.
But because they are all players who have completed their senior year of high school, these are kids moving on to the next level, so it makes the game even more special. Why? Because it’s the last high school game they will ever play.
Sure, seasons may have officially ended last November, and emotions ran high with teammates, coaches and family when players took off that high school jersey for the final time, but the Missouri vs. Kansas All-Star Game gives a select few to live out their high school careers just a little bit longer.
“It was a great honor to get chosen for this because as soon as you know that you are chosen, you know you are one of the top players,” said linebacker Brandon Goodman, who patrolled that area for Paola last year. “You’re going to get to play with the top players in the metro. And it’s just a great feeling to come out here and play with all these guys that know how to play football. It’s a nice feeling to know you were a part of something like this.”
But Goodman also knows that this closes the chapter of one era of his life as the next one begins to open.
“It’s a big deal even if you go on to play college and when you get older you can say hey, I was one of the top players in the metro,” he said. “I have a jersey to show for it. I was on the Kansas team. I was there. You want proof, you have a jersey with a name on the back, and that means something.”
While the players find it a great honor to be selected for the all-star game, the coaches get just as big of a thrill to be a part of it.
This year’s Kansas head coach Jeff Gourley from Olathe South notes that the memories forged from the week-and-a-half of practice is just as important as the game itself.
“It’s a huge deal,” Gourley said of being a part of the all-star game. “The defense we had on the field…wow, I’d go to battle with any of those guys. There were some big hits going on out there, and that’s what an all-star game is. More than anything, it’s the memory of the week. It’s not so much the win or the loss, it’s the memory of the week. I look forward to watching these guys through their careers and being a tiny part of their high school career. It’s really exciting to meet them, get to know them and then sweat, blood, and toil. That’s where you learn the character, and we’ve got some great character kids out here.”
Maybe an all-star game is about bragging rights and showcasing some of the best talent, but those who were selected to play know they can take one final memory of their high school career with them as they take that next step in life.
Brian Spano is a Senior Writer for PrepsKC.
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