The recent question-and-answer series with former Washington County athletes was just what I had expected and hoped it would be, a glance back at the tradition of Washington County sports and the people who are responsible for the program’s brightest moments.
I knew I’d be speaking to former athletes whom at one point had a major impact on the community with their play on the field or court, but what I wasn’t aware of was how so many of those individuals stayed involved with the community years after their playing days ended.
One thing I’ve noticed about Washington County is that it truly is a community in every sense of the word, and even if some of the athletes I spoke to have since relocated, they’ll be the first to tell you that they’re a Washington Countian above all.
It was also interesting to learn more about a wide range of personalities, who’ve had a hand in everything from magical state tournament runs to mentoring Washington County’s youth for decades. Getting to know some the people who represent WC’s athletic past puts a real personality with the banners in the WCHS gym.
In just a few weeks’ time, I couldn’t talk to every influential athlete Washington County has produced, but the ones I did speak to helped shine a lot of light on how WC has gotten to this point.
In fact, even the people I wasn’t able to speak to told a lot of the WCHS story just based on the accounts of those who saw them play. It turns out more Washignton County natives than I would have imagined went on to play a sport at the next level and you can label almost none of them as a one-sport athlete. For every person that recalls a basketball star from decades past, someone else remembers how impressive that basketball star was on the baseball or softball diamond or on the track. People truly remember the impact these athletes had in the community and it proves that WC sports has always been a hot topic among those who live here.
Washington County athletics is a rich tradition that has produced impact players on the field and quality individuals off of it, and that continues today. It’s no wonder so many former athletes hold onto their WC roots and look for a way to be involved with their alma mater, and who better to help guide the next generation of Washington County athletes on the court and in the classroom?
Thanks to everyone I spoke to over the past few weeks for the Q&A series. I learned a lot of what I thought I would through the series, but i also discovered a lot more. Springfield truly is as tight-knit of a community as they come.